Contemporary Fiqh Issues Fall 2010

Contemporary Fiqh Issues - Holidays, Celebrations and Imitation

Basic Outline of the Class

Topic 1:  Holidays and Celebrations (Eid) of the Muslims and of the non-Muslims

Topic 2:  Rules concerning Imitating Others

2010-09-28 Class Notes

Some people might not consider it to be not a major issue, but it can lead to other issues.  People’s identity is related to their holidays and celebrations. It’s what makes them unique. It identifies people and nations. Every religion also has their holidays and celebrations.

It is related to identity.  Unique identify of a muslim. Which then leads to another important issue, how free is a muslim to participate in activities in a non-muslim community?

It has an impact on the future of muslims. Minorities have a tendency to understand this fact and that they have to work or strive to preserve their identity. This has become a political issues in Europe, you have to be German and French, you culture has to be German or French to become integrated in the society. You have to learn the native language and culture, they have to pass some cultural exams. They don’t appreciate Islamic identity within their ranks and they are trying to remove it as much as possible.

Even in the US, there is a tendency to erode muslim identity, for example the argument against a mosque in Tennessee is that these Muslims believe in Shariah and that this is a threat to the US constitution. So they are questioning what Muslims can believe in. We hope the courts will not agree with their arguments. 

What should be the role of Muslim community within a secular society?

Every muslim should be a good citizen, he should bring good to the environment, and people who live around a muslim have a right upon him. Rights of a neighbor. A muslim should a model of ihsaan. This should never be a issue. He should never bring harm to others around him.

Is society demanding more than being good to others. Would it reach the level where a muslim is not allowed to live in such a non-muslim land from a shareaah perspective. And this brings the question of hijra or migration. We need to discuss the concept of hijra.

We see changes in the attitudes of our leaders and sheikhs. To a point that now some of them do not even consider hijra as a concept to be discussed. The prophet said that .... things will not improve wherein hijra is no longer necessary .....

Things to ponder:

We have nothing to do with terrorism, and we do not associate with them, however should the event of 9/11, consider re-evaluation of a basic belief of Islam of such muslims?   (Muslims should be sensitive to the hurt caused by some muslims, but should it result in their revaluation of the basic beliefs or tenents of Islam) Beliefs should remain the same. However ahkam during persecution could change. It could change your emotions. 

Somebody made a statement that what US stands for is no different than what Islam stands for? Does US stand for tauheed? Is secularism a religion? What is secularism? Separation of church and state. Church/religion should not interfere in the operation of the state, decisions of the state must be independent of the religion. So is secularism a religion? Does it tell you the purpose of life, what is going to be your end? Secularism can tell you who you can go to war against, who you can kill and who you cannot kill? You can kill in name of state, political benefits, economic benefits is okay according to some secular scholars but it is not permissible to do so in name of God.

Surah Taubah verse 41 where Allah swt is talking about jews and christians, they have taken their rabbis and priests as lords other than Allah. Umar asked the prophet, how is it that they take rabbis and priests as lord, the prophet replied, it is not that they worship them, but they take the rulings and prohibitions over the rulings and prohibitions of Allah swt.

The islam that the west want from us is to follow the ritual acts and to leave Islam from the public life, we were warned about this by our scholars 40-50 years ago. So we should just pray and fast, and leave the political and social aspects of our deen.

2010-10-05 Class Notes

Last week, Sheikh laid out the idea the plan for the full session. And Sheikh expressed some thoughts and gave a voice that is not heard that often anymore. There are certain views and voices that are dominated and some voices are being drowned out. last week, I was trying to present some points that I can have them taped and present but the tape did not work!

Holidays and celebrations is what makes a culture unique. Last week, someone asked me about Spain. It has a lot of weird things, running of the bulls, throwing of the tomatoes  Sheikh is from the area of Estudias (that was not conquered by Muslims). Then there is Basque. Then there is Catalan. Even within Spain, the have holidays that are not shared by the rest of Spain. One thing our ulema have emphasized throughout centuries, that holidays distinguish and make people unique.

Based on that, especially from shariah perspective, it’s not a minor issue. Our ulema have dealt with it as a core issue that distinguishes the Muslim. In Islamic terminology the thing we are speaking about is the word Eid. What does the word Eid really mean?

Definition of Eid:

It implies something that comes repeatedly, once a month, once a year, once a week. In particular, it also implies joy or sorrow or some kind of remembrance. 

How would you translate Eid into English?

Anniversary? Would an anniversary be a kind of Eid?


Memorial Day

How about holiday? Would holiday fall under definition of Eid? Holiday originates from holy day.

Shariah Definition of Eid:

It recurs on a regular basis. It has to be some kind of event or action that is related to that day and that is expected by people on that day. Concept is related to specification of time and place. 

Prophet referred to time as kind of Eid. He talked about Jumuah as Eid. He said, that this day is made for Muslims as a kind of Eid. 

Ibn Abbas said that he witnessed the Eid with the prophet, and he is referring to actions and gatherings of that day.

Prophet said that do not take my grave as an Eid, meaning do not take my grave as a place of gathering and special event. (Surah Bukhari)

Prophet told Abu Bakr, Every people have an Eid and this is our Eid. And he was referring to time, place, and event.

Ibn Ashur has defined Eid as a noun  that is used to represent a day that is repeated every year, that is used to recall a bounty or an incident that has occurred, where people reflect and give thanks.

Quran refers to the concept of Eid in Surah Hajj verse 34

ولكل أمة جعلنا منسكا ليذكروا اسم الله على ما رزقهم من بهيمة الأنعام فإلهكم إله واحد فله أسلموا وبشر المخبتين

Muhsin Khan

And for every nation We have appointed religious ceremonies, that they may mention the Name of Allah over the beast of cattle that He has given them for food. And your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God Allah), so you must submit to Him Alone (in Islam). And (O Muhammad SAW) give glad tidings to the Mukhbitin [those who obey Allah with humility and are humble from among the true believers of Islamic Monotheism],

According to ibn Abbas and al Farra (expert in Arabic language), the meaning of the word mansak  منسكا is described as Eid. 

Another verse ???????

In surah Al Furqan verse 72

والذين لا يشهدون الزور وإذا مروا باللغو مروا كراما

Muhsin Khan

And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with dignity.

The beginning of the verse والذين لا يشهدون is translated as those who do not witness falsehood.   The beginning of the verse is more general than the later part of the verse.

Ibn Katheer states that its meaning is that they do not participate in shirk, in falsehood, in evil, in vain useless activities and falsehoods.

Ibn Abbas, Abul Aliya ,,, Anas (leading mufaseeren from tabieen) say that it is referring to the celebrations of the disbelievers. They do not participate in the Eid of the Mushrikeen. So this verse is referring to Eid.

ibn Taymiyah says that it refers to not participating in any of the falsehoods and the festivals of the disbelievers.

So if you just take a look at the translation, you only get the most literal meaning and you do not get what is meant by that phrase. You will find among the mufaseeren of the tabieen refer it to as celebrations of the disbelievers.

By the advent of globalization, holidays that were specific to one location, are now being celebrated throughout the world. For example, Valentine’s Day is very big in Saudi Arabia and not just among married people. More and more muslims are becoming lax about this issue.

We need to study two hadith of the prophet that discuss this issue. 

Narrated by Thaabit ibn ....  an individual made oath during the time of the prophet, that he would slaughter a camel at a particular place outside of Medina called Buwana, The prophet asked him a question, was there an idol of jahiliyaah worshipped at that place during jahiliyaah? And the second question he asked was there some kind of Eid or celebration over there? The man said no. And then the prophet said, go ahead and fulfill your vow.

Recorded by Abu Dawood and classified as sahih by Al Albaani.

The questions that were asked by the prophet about actions or celebrations in the past. Note that Eid is related to a place. 

Souq Ukaaz or market was a festival before Islam. After Islam you don’t find a reference to this any more. This festival ended after the coming of Islam.

In another hadeeth, the Muslims before the Prophet came to Madeenah, they had two days where they had fun, they’d play sports and have fun. Their is no mention of anything about worship or related to idols. Most of the commentators of the hadeeth say that it was Nayrouz (solar new year -- festival of magians -- not mentioned explicitly in text only from commentators) and Mahrajan (spring equinox). Just days of fun and celebration. Prophet (saw) eventually asked them, “ma haadha yawmaani”. The answer was, “they were days of celebration for fun.” Prophet (saw) said, “Allah has replaced them for you with something that is good for you, better than them, that is the day of adha and the day of fitr.” 

Ibn Taymiyyah’s grandfather said, these festivals have been replaced by the two Eids. Replacing requires that you leave the things that it is replaced by.

ibn Hajar commented on this hadith and said that It is disliked to have pleasure over the celebrations over the holidays of the mushrikeen and to imitate them.

Al Munawi mentioned that we do not even find the prophet asking them what is the cause of those two festivals. He said that these festivals are replaced. Their purpose of those two days are irrelevant. 

Sheikh Nasafi from the Hanafis said that if someone gives an egg as a gift to the mushrikeen has committed kufr. 

What is clear from these two hadiths is that the our celebrations have to be unique. They identify us. Shariah has defined what are our Eid. What are the Eid that are sanctioned by the Shariah? Eid ul Fitr, Eid ul Adha, Day of Arafat. What about the days of tashreeq, 10th, 11th, 12th of Dhul Hujjah?

Why is Jumuah considered kind of Eid?

Recurring, we gather together, special actions related to that day, treat Jumuah special than other days, you perform ghusl, you wear good clothers. Hence it is Eid. Allah swt described this day as Eid. Lot of muslims do not treat Jumuah as Eid.  It is lost on many Muslims today, if it is casual Friday at work, they come dressed that way to Jumuah.

Menstruating women would come to Eid ul Adha and Eid ul Fitr celebrations. So this would be a difference between major and minor Eids. There is no such report about women on Jumuah. And women do not necessarily have to attend Jumuah.

We will discuss the qualities of major Eid and then discuss some of the unsound Eids found among Muslims, what is the history behind them and what do our ullema have to say about it.

2010-10-12 Class Notes

Important conclusions from last time (three or four):

Try not to forget these points as they are very important ;).

Qualities of Islamic Eids

Some of the qualities that we see related to the Eid celebrations for Muslims. One of the things we see about the Islamic Eids is that they are all tied in with some religious obligation and the performance of some kind of religious obligation.  

Eid al Fitr is tied to Ramadhan; upon completing that month of fasting, we have an Eid.  With Eid al Adha, the act and obligation of Hajj is being performed by the Ummah; it’s as if we are all taking part in it and we are all happy when it is accomplished.  The Day of Arafat, the Days of Tashreek, the days of Jummah are also examples of Eids.  

The Jummah is distinct from other regular prayers.  We should treat this as a special occasion with cleaning and wearing nice clothes.  Originally there used to be only one jummah per city, not ten in one building.  Then as cities became larger, there entered debate about the number of jummah congregations.

Distinction between Islamic Eids and Christian/Jewish Holidays

The idea of Eid being a time of performed a religious act, compared to some of the holidays from the Christians and Jews.

(#1) Related to an act

When thinking of these major holidays with the Christians and Jews, except with the possibility of Lent (40 days of fasting before Easter) which is rarely observed in the West, none of this has relation to an act that they are currently doing, they are all about things that have occurred in the past, more like a commemoration.  

(#2) Revolve around prayers

Another thing that we see about the Islamic Eids is that they are not just about fun.  There is relaxation, enjoyment and celebration but they are not all about fun.  One of the main things we do on those days is prayer; those days revolve around prayers.  There is some “seriousness” to them.  The Shariah point of view is that even the days of celebration are not simply about fun even though it brings about joy.  There is a difference between joy and fun, because you can do something that is not fun but can bring you a great deal of joy, like putting in a lot of hard work to complete a laborious task that can lead to joy.  Joy should come to the heart of people when they obey Allah swt.  [In the bounty of Allah, let them rejoice, it is better than anything others take for themselves]  Surah Younus, verse 38.

قل بفضل الله وبرحمته فبذلك فليفرحوا هو خير مما يجمعون

Muhsin Khan

Say: "In the Bounty of Allah, and in His Mercy (i.e. Islam and the Quran); -therein let them rejoice." That is better than what (the wealth) they amass.

Allah swt describes those who forget about their purpose and who are not remembering Allah swt as saying when they have forgotten the remembrance of us we opened the doors for them and when they took joy in these things we shut the doors to these things.

Life is not about fun and entertainment.  One of the things about the current day civilization is that everything is revolved around entertainment or fun.  We cannot even teach children unless it’s tied to entertainment or fun.  The point and purpose of Islam is different from the purpose of contemporary societies, especially the secular ones; this is reflected in their holidays as being instances to have fun. We have a purpose and a mission here; there is a seriousness in this life and that seriousness is in the worship of Allah swt.  We should have that thing in the soul that brings true happiness that does not leave us with emptiness.  

The Eid is still another means of getting closer to Allah swt.  Even our times of relaxation, fun and enjoyment are all means of getting closer to Allah swt.  

(#3) To take care of others

Part of our rituals on these days is not to forget others.  For example, on Eid al Fitr, we have Sadaqah al Fitr, which is for the poor.  We try to take care of them.  On Eid al Adha, we distribute a portion of the meat from the slaughter to the poor.  The days where we are the happiest are the days that our giving to others is reinforced actually.  It involves visiting and socializing in a halaal manner.  

(#4) Our Eid have purpose / Their holidays are based on myths

These celebrations are stable and have a very good history and purpose behind them.  If you look at a lot of celebrations of the Christians and Jews, a lot of it is just based on legends, fabrications etc that they know have nothing to do with what they are celebrating with.  There are a number of Christian groups in the US that refuse to celebrate Christmas due to its lack of connection to Christianity.  

(#5) Children are lied to and the effect of this lying

Another issue that we can get into is the psychology of teaching kids about something fabricated and then having them grow up and learning the truth about it.  What kind of trust would there be between the child and parent if these fabricated things are taught to kids?  

Attitude towards secular and religious festivals

The Islamic Eids, when you look at them and compare them to secular and contemporary practices of other religious group, the way, concept and aspects of the act are completely different.  What has happened unfortunately is that Muslims have begun to adopt, because of globalization and an inferiority complex, other days of commemoration, especially here in the US.  We want to discuss what our attitude would be related to these fake holidays.  There may be some religious connotation to some “cultural” practice when it comes to things like holidays.

Muslim festivals (not Islamic Eids)

What we want to discuss is Muslim festivals and what scholars have said about these Muslim festivals, now differentiating between Muslim and Islamic.  

A list of festivals celebrated/mourned by Muslims:

The sheikh conducted a poll for which of the above Muslim festivals to discuss and then as time permits, the following will be covered:

Discussion of Yaum Al Ashura

What do we know about it as day of mourning and celebration?

There is a group in the history of Islam took this day as a celebration, it was a very extreme pro-Umayad group called An-Nawasib; this was the day in which the grandson of the Prophet ﷺ was killed.  For this extreme, since the grandson was a leading figure for the Shi’a, they celebrate his death.  This shows the bid’a and bias and what it can do.  How could this be a religious holiday where someone grows closer to Allah swt, specially the death of the grandson of the prophet ﷺ ?

What do we really know?

When the Prophet ﷺ came to Madinah, the Jews were fasting the day of Ashura.  They were fasting the day of Ashura because it was the day that Musa (as) was saved from Faraoun.  The Prophet saas said that we are closer to Musa than you and initiated fasting on Ashura.  It was originally obligatory for every Muslim to fast on the day of Ashura.  

Could this hadith be considered as evidence for celebrating the festivals of other religions?

The Prophet ﷺ  then said that we should not follow this practice and that we should fast the day before it or the day after it to differ from the Jews.  So despite the connection with Musa, the Prophet saas made it clear not to imitate the Jews in their practice of fasting on that specific day.  Ramadhan superseded the fasting of Ashura.  

Are there any hadith about the day of Ashura and that one should spend more on your family and make it a kind of Eid?  For next time...

2010-10-19 Class Notes

Correct understanding of fundamental issues

If you want to understand an issue you better be good at the fundamentals. Muslim Eids. In the discussion, that took place concerning the muslims eid the shaykh noticed some fundamental points shaykh would like to clear up. The Shaykh thinks the fundamentals should be discussed now. 

1. Sunnah

Sunnah is an authority in Islamic law. There are different aspects of the sunnah. What is usually mentioned when sunnah is defined what is it that people say? The sunnah is the statements, actions and the tacit approvals of the Prophet. 

There is something that is in there that needs to be put in the fourth category. That is what the Prophet did not do. This is know as at-tark. This forms the Islamic Law. Majority discuss it in the section of the actions of the Prophet. 

If we look at the things he did not do, there are many things that the Prophet could have done that he specifically did not do. During his time he did not many things that were not available like drive a car. Those things were not available and they are irrelevant from a usooli point of view. We are concerned that he could have done and he specifically did not do. 

So when we discuss his actions we have to divide them into the categories such as there are some things he(Sallahu alayhi wasallam) did that were the custom who something he liked. The scholars have to analyze which is hujjah and what is it that muslims are supposed to follow. The same is true for those things that he did not do. 

Categories of actions that prophet did not do

1. When he was presented with the lizard he didn’t eat. the first response of the sahaba was that maybe they should not eat it as well. He said it is not the food of his people. This was his own personal dislike. 

2. There are somethings he did that were specific to him or his family. For example he did not take sadaqah. 

3. Then there is something else he did not do as an example for us that we should not do. e.g when he did umrah he did not leave the ihram until he slaughtered the animal (not sure about this part confirm).........he stopped praying over the graves of the munafiqeen. Lke the actions of the Prophet there are somethings he did not do that we do not have clear evidence of where it falls exactly. We will come back to this one. 

4. There are somethings that the prophet did not do for specific reasons. once the reason is no longer existing then the action is permissible for example, if he feared that something might become fard he stopped doing it like taraweeh in congregation. 

5. If there was an action that was a good action but not a necessary action in the deen, he feared it will lead to more harm then benefit like the rebuilding the kabah on its proper foundation because the people would not be able to handle it. He told this to Ayesha. 

Prophet’s actions related to worship or ibadah

When it comes related to worship, an action we are claiming that will take us closer to Allah, if the Prophet did not do these kinds of actions this casts a great doubt on the fact that whether they will bring us closer or not. 

Hadith: Prophet (Sa) said “There is nothing that will bring your closer to the jannah and takes you further away from hell fire except that I have ordered you to do it and there is nothing that takes you further away from Jannah and takes you close to the hell fire except that I have prohibited for you.

Tark == Abandoning / Avoiding

If there was some need to do it then there is a further sign that this is not sanctioned in the shariah. for example in eid prayer Prophet (saw) never made athan or the iqama for Eid prayer. Even though all the other salat have the athan. This inaction of the Prophet then this is a sign that we should not do this action if someone does it then this is against the shariah and is wrong without any question. This is what we mean by at-tark, what the prophet did not do as a hujjah in shariah.

If there is some worldly thing then people are free to meet ????

Once you start adding something else in the marriage then the shariee walima becomes less important. All these other things that are tied into this action the Prophet could have established. There is one dinner gathering meal wrt the shariah and that is walima. If people create customs related to shariah and tie them into the shariah then this is wrong.

Ibn al Qayyim’s categorization of prophet’s actions

Ibn al Qayyim describes the actions of the prophet and points out that there are two ways his actions can be described:

1.  First are those actions which are not to have been performed by the Prophet. This is part of tark and now become sunnah. Examples, He did not permit washing the bodies of the martyrs of uhud and not praying over them. second example, He did not used to have athan or iqamah for Eid prayers. Under specific circumstances the Prophet (saw) did not do the norm and to now go against it is a violation of the sunnah of the Prophet.

2. Those actions that have not been reported by the Prophet and the sahaba. and this was not part of the deen. The first example that ibn qayim gives is the pronounce the intention of the salat. No one ever did it and no one came up with it. no one taught them this. Someone later did it and added it to the deen. In these cases, his tark is a sign that this is not part of the deen. He would have done it. Another example is the imam turning to the people after salat and making dua and the congregation saying ameen. Ibn Qayyim said that if someone does this and claims that this is sunnah then he has contradicted the sunnah. The tark of the prophet is a part of the sunnah.

The statements of ibn al Qayyim are from the muwaqi al alimeen by ibn al qayyim(people who sign on behalf of Allah).

He is not doing things which he could have done. And then they would have become a part of the deen, especially things regarded to the ibadaat. For example the practices or innovations of the sufi sects. He did not do them.

For example he had a horse a camel and a mule. So it is possible he did not ride the mule. The actions that he could have easily done but he did not. The sunnah sets limits for us for what we should be doing and what we should not be doing. A lot of the innovations fall under this, like saying ameen after dua after the salat.

Q. Umar on taraweeh prayer, why did Umar allow it to be performed in congregation?

A. The Prophet explained why he did not made jamah for the taraweeh. Once the prophet passes away then there is no fear of it becoming a fard. once the cause is gone then the action is permissible. The prophet did it but the only reason he stopped was because he did not want it to become fard.

Q. Other than taraweeh prayers are there any other examples of actions that prophet used to do but he did not do as an example?

A. Making wudhu for every prayer. originally it was action that he used to do but he feared that it would become obligatory for  every prayer. And then once he did not do it and the reason he did it because he didn’t want it to be an obligation.

Thats one important fundamental. That is why you find statement from Imam Malik.  Imam Malik said, what was not part of the deen in time of sahab will not be a part of the deen in the future. if thy did not do an action then that is not part of the deen.

There is a reason why the Quran was not collected in one book. was because it was being still revealed. and some passages were being abrogated and taken out. That action that they did is for the purpose of a certain maslaha. People are free to do things in the interests of maslaha. like having classes like this. if we claim that we have to learn the deen in a certain way then that would be wrong.

Q. anyone who comes after the prophet do

A. if anyone had the right to add something to the deen would be the sahaba and last people to do so would be sahabas. and because of that they have the most right

Q. What about the two azaans on Jumuah?

This secon athan is the same purpose of the first one. the ulama said that if you dont have the necessity then you dont have to do it. Like having two jummuahs in mca. There is some need or necessity for it. However some people ignored the aspect of the need and made it a part of the sunnah which infact it is not.

If you do it temporarily to teach them then that is acceptable. But don’t try to use that to justify that it is in the sunnah.

Q.Can you give an example where we can adopt local culture without contradicting the sunnah? for example, you mentioned we need to follow the sunnah of marriages

if the local culture has some benefit it to then you can do it. like the cold weather clothes and hot weather clothes.

Next fundamental issue:

2. Bidah

What is bidah? What is the defnition of bidah? is there anything like good bidah. tark and bidah. Things will become clear. A sign of something being clear or not is the kind of questions they ask.

Someone was moving his finger in his salaat and one guy came and cut his finger off. if you fear that it will lead to a great deal of fitnah then you can. The Shaykh makes himself non noticeable. For example you are in a place and the shaykh knows he will not be questioned what he is doing.

Question about whether it is okay to make dua after salah?

It is okay to do so but then don’t make it a regular occurrence. The prophet did not make dua after the salah. If a dua moves you and you say Ameen, it is okay, since you did not do this dua as sunnah.

2010-10-26 Class Notes

Tark of the Prophet saas

So far we discussed general principles with respect to Eid in Islam and characteristics of true Islamic Eids.  We were going to go into a discussion of various Muslim (as opposed to Islamic) Eids and what the ulemah have said about these.  Last time we spoke about a concept related to the sunan of Islam and we spoke about this in response to the sheikh receiving material about people debating and commenting about eid.  From the comments, the sheikh was able to see that there were basic concepts lacking.  The tark of the Prophet saas is one of those concepts.  This is a subset or subcategory of the sunnah of hte Prophet saas: these are things that the Prophet saas did not take part in or do.  Part of the sunnah is to not do or take part in things that the Prophet saas did not take part in.  


The topic of bida is large enough to have an class about it.  This is a future goal inshaAllah. We have not yet tackled the topic of imitation of the kufar, it is a big issue which we will discuss in the next session.

Definition of bid’ah

Today we want to get an understanding of what bid’a is.  Human beings in general have an understanding of a word before using it (well not all cases with some groups of people).

Literal/linguistic meaning: Something new that did not exist on the path beforehand.  

Sometimes when people use a word, it can be used in a literal meaning or in a shariah meaning.  In general, when the ulemah use a term in the contexts of a shariah meaning it doesn’t always need to be a shariah meaning.

Technical definition: Something that is introduced, a new practice or belief that is brought into the religion of Allah swt for which there is no evidence in the Qur’an or the Sunnah.  

Is there a such thing as a good bid’a?  [[Yes there is example of the practice of taraweeh prayers as instituted by Umar which was a reintroduction of the practice that was started by the prophet and then discontinued. Is this what you said, Br Asif?]]

Why does Islam take a certain view on bid’a?

When it comes to both the worship of Allah swt, is it possible for a human being to use his mind and reasoning to be able to determine what is the best way or an acceptable way even to worship Allah swt.  The way Allah swt is supposed to be worshipped (the manner exactly) is beyond the realm of humanity.  This is not smoething  we can test in a lab.  We must turn to revelation from Allah swt; this is our source of knowledge and must therefore restrict ourselves to what we find in the revelations or what can be clearly derived from what is in the revelation.  

Can human beings create laws?

What are the best laws?? Even outside of ibadaah

Human laws are the result, for the most part, of guesswork.  For example, the norms of cruel and unusual punishment, once upon a time it was death penaly, now it is imprisonment. Is life in a prison not cruel and unusual punishment?

Even when it comes to laws, we need some guidance from Allah swt.  One of our problems as human beings, especially now in the secular world, by intention and default they have turned their backs on any revelation of Allah swt.  This is fallout with the western history of religion running society.  The rest of the world is suffering from the history that the west has gone through.  These lessons show us that we must be reliant on the revelation of Allah swt.  Part of the revelation of Allah swt includes the basic idea of law, outside of ibadah.  It is part of the ni’ma of Allah swt that we are sent this hidaya.

Complete and perfect guidance from Allah swt

On top of this, Allah swt has made it clear to us that this deen and what Allah swt has sent as hidaya for us has been completed for us.  We know this from the famous statemnet of the Prophet saas during his farewell khutbah.  The word in arabic, akmaltu and ?; when juxtaposed, akmaltu means to complete to perfection.  Allah swt is not just saying it’s complete; He is saying that it is perfected.  That was the deen of the Prophet saas and what he died on and some scholars say that this was the last revelation that he received.  

Why is bida’h disliked by the ulema?

One of the main reasons that the ulemah are opposed to bid’a is the feeling of emotion by association since bid’a is trying to introduce something into the religion, one is claiming that the religion is not perfect and that something is missing or not correct.  In a way, introducing something new is like saying the Prophet saas was dishonest in delivering the message.  Bid’a is a kind of front or insult to the deen.

[verse 153 from surah al anam] Allah swt has declared that this is His straight path and it is to be followed.  All other paths should be avoided.

As an individual, when presented with bid’a one is actually being offered a path that is other than the straight path.  Following that practice will cause someone to leave the straight path.  Because of these realities, bid’a is haraam in Islam.  

Based on these statements, we see that there is a strong issue with bid’a.

Two types of Bid’ah:

The burden of proof is on the person claiming that an act of ibadah has grounding and is sanctioned by the shariah.

Is attending this class an innovation? Learning and sharing knowledge is part of the deen but we do not ???? I missed the point here ????

One has to distinguish sometimes between something that is done based on its purpose, especially in certain cases where the Sahabah did something with clear restrictions. The example of Uthman having a brother go to the marketplace to make adhan before jummah time to let them know that jummah is coming up.

There is a hadith of the Prophet saas where it is described that there is a hijab between the person who commits a bid’a and tawbah. 

Bid’a is more beloved to Iblis than sin. The person who commits bid’a is convinced (often times) that he or she is right and helping them leave that sin is very difficult. One does not repent from the “right” things that they do. 

A bid’a is more than just a sin, which is simply a shortcoming of the individual. Bid’a is an actual insult against the deen. Even the Prophet saas, when talking about the groups of bid’a that will appear later, describes those who follow bid’a as those who should be destroyed but did not use such words for people who commit sins. 

The Prophet saas has warned about bid’a. He said that whoever introduces anything into this affair of ours that does not belong to it will have it rejected. [hadith needs reference] [Muslim?]

Whoever does a deed that is not consistent with our deeds shall be rejected. [hadith needs reference] 

This is a general statement and should be translated as “any deed” since it is an indefinite in the form of a conditional sentence. [Muslim]

The Prophet saas also said, when he used to begin his speechs, he often used the “khutbat al haja” and discussed as part of it bid’a and reminded the people of it. Worst action is bid’ah. Every going astray is in the hellfire. [need complete text as it relates to this]

This is fairly clear guidance and understanding from the Prophet saas that any kind of bid’a is to be rejected. Last part of hadith is not found in Sahih Muslim but is in Nis’ai’s collection.

What has happened though in the history of islam that has added to the confusion related to bid’a is that scholars have given different definitions of the word bid’a. The fourth one is different from the others and has recently been reported.

Approach #1: The approach followed by Al Ghazali, ibn al Atheer (the lexicologist), An Nawawi, Abu Shaama, goes back to As Shafi himself, Ibn Hazm.

Any new thing that has appeared after the time of the Prophet saas.

Based on this definition, Imam Shafi’ says that innovations are of two types: blameworthy or praiseworthy, if in agreement with the sunnah is praiseworthy and whatever is not in agreement with sunnah is blameworthy

Ibn Hazm said that .... some are praiseworthy and some are blameworthy

It is based on the linguistic meaning of the word bidah. If you consider everything that has come into existence after the prophet, some of them are good, some of them are blameworthy (Sheikh disagrees with this approach)

This definition is very confusing. According to this definition you definitely have bid’ah hasanah.

If the shariah restricts something, the first definition to be used should be the shariah definition as opposed to the linguistic meaning. 

What happens in the long run is the the understanding of bid’a amongst the scholars of the approach #1 is the same as the understanding of bid’a of the other scholars.

Some more recent scholars (ash-shahrawi) use this defintiion to claim that there is good bid’a in the deen itself based on Imam Shafi’i’s statement. This is not what the scholars meant; if their statements were followed up, this would be easily noticed.

Approach #2: Another defintiion for the word bid’a is any newly invented act that has no source whatsoever in the shariah that points to it. If something has something in the shariah pointing to it, it is not bid’a according to the shariah perspective but can still be a bid’a in the lexical sense. 

This was followed by Ibn Rajab, others (can someone fill this in?)

According to this definition, is there such a thing as a good bid’a from the shariah point of view?

No. There is no such thing as good bid’ah from the shariah perspective.

Is this definition sufficient or is it lacking something?

2010-11-02 Class Notes

Last time we discussed two definitions of bid’a. For a definition to be good, it has be all inclusive (جامع)  and all exclusive (مانع). Jameh wa maneh. Does definition #2 meet this goal?

Is crack cocaine bid’a from the second defintion of bid’a? This definition appears to be lacking -- it is too inclusive. So there must be something else other than bid’a. When the Prophet (SAWS) said that everything new is a misguidance, clearly he is not talking about everything. So it has some shortcomings. 

Imaam al-Shaatibi (الشاطبي) has a third definition of bid’a which is very comprehensive. He is from Al Andalus or Spain. His most famous two books are Al-Muwaafiqaat (الموافقات)  (first book to deal with the maqaasid of Shari’ah), and a second book called Al-I’tisaam (الأعتصام)  (adhering to the Qur’an and Sunnah). 

He goes through Quran and Sunnah to define bidah that is all inclusive and all exclusive. And he is aware that some scholars restrict it only to religious matters and other scholars say it should also apply to wordly matters.

Approach #3 (a): A bid’a is any invented act or path that is meant to resemble part of the shari’ah and it is followed as an act of worship of Allah. This definition is if you follow that opinion that bid’a is restricted to religious matters. 

And then Shaatabi goes on to add this caveat to his definition. 

Approach #3 (b): Any invented act that is made to resemble the Shari’ah and is followed for the same reason that the Shari’ah is meant to be followed. This allows it to include customary acts -- things that are taken as part of the deen, not done for the sake of some kind of worldly means, acts that are done that resemble actions sanctioned by Shariah. 

You can innovate in worldly means as much as you want -- and can innovate as much as you want. They may need to meet some requirements in the world. 

Q: What is an act that is done to resemble an act of the shariah?

An example of something covered by the second version of the definition but not covered by the first version. If you take a look at valima (وليمة), there are certain things that people add on top of the Islamic rituals. It is not an act of worship of Allah swt, it is a customary action, and it adds to the burdens of families and it is raised to the level of valima. So then this acts that are added to valima are bid’a according to the definition of Shaatibi.

Main thing about bid’a is that it is meant to resemble the Shari’ah. People are told “the family must do this or must do that” -- e.g. a pre-walima dinner, it is made to resemble the Shari’ah.

Sheikh prefers the second definition or caveat from Shaatibi. It is booth jaami’ and maani’. 

Q: Is every bid’a haraam?

According to approach #1, some bid’a are waajib and some are mustahabb, but they agree in the deen there is no bid’a. However, some contemporary scholars use their definition (including Mutawalli Sha’raawi -- متولّي  شعراوي) to claim that there is such a thing as a good bid’a (bid’a hassanah). 

Examples given by such people of good bid’as:

Some of the Sahabah said: “How can we do something the Prophet (SAWS) did not do?” One proof is that Allah (SWT) called it a book (thaalikal kitaaba). Another opinion is that it is just a change in the medium. It is just a matter of putting it in a book. It was already referred to as a book. Scholars looked at it and say that it is not bid’a or bid’a hasana.

Another example quoted as good bid’a is taraweeh prayers. We have statement of Umar, during his time there were groups of people praying in separate groups and he made one group and one imam for the taraweeh prayers, and then he said, what an excellent bid’a.

Why did he say that, or why did he use the word bid’a?

Bid’a was used here in a relative sense, since the prophet had already performed that actions and he had stopped it because he did not want to make it obligatory. But now that the prophet had died and there was no fear that this act would become obligatory, and hence this bid’a is used in a relative sense.

What about sahaaba doing some acts of ibadaah that the prophet did not teach and use this as proof of good bid’a?  The prophet approved them and made it sunnah.  But what about the fact that saying something in the salah that was not taught by the prophet such as saying sami-allahu hameeda. Here the argument was that the prophet was alive to correct them and if they did something that was not sanctioned, then he would have told them to avoid such actions.

Did the sahaaba did something that the prophet did not approve of? We have the example of those who said that they will fast every day. Prophet did not approve of these actions.

Another example is the person who took a vow to stand in the sun and the Prophet (SAWS) did not approve of his action and told him to sit in the shade. 

Once the Prophet (SAWS) has passed away then the set of acceptable actions are closed. Especially after the verse about the completion of religion came down, you are now claiming that the religion is incomplete. 

It is important to note that the hadith “Man sanna sunnatan hasanah ...” (He who does a good sunnah, he has its reward and those that follow it)  can not be used as an evidence to support bid’ah. The Prophet (SAWS) said this hadith in a context: a situation where some people were very poor and the people were asked to give, but they were a bit slow. So someone came with a big donation, then people followed suit. So then the Prophet (SAWS) said this hadith in reference to something that was already part of the Sunnah. Also the second part of this hadith is that he who does a bad sunnah get its punishment and those that follow it. 

Q: What if someone supports poor people in a new way? 

Then this is fulfilling one of the goals of the shari’ah and is not a bid’a. If others imitate you, then you fall under the description of this hadith and you will be rewarded by those who imitate you. 

Discussion of tasbeeh

There was a discussion of the story of companions after the death of the prophet and they saw somebody who used something other than their fingers. some beads to count the words of dhikr. And then the sahaba rebuked them harshly and said that this was bid’a.

Use fingers to count the words of dhikr. Because we can see the status of the rosary in the catholic church. Remember the tark, the prophet did not do it. 

Discussion of line markings for the salat. But they did use something to make the rows straight. Sheikh is aware that some scholars say that it is bid’a and should be removed from the masjid.

We don’t know why the prophet did not do it? If it was beneficial then he would have done it. Specially in acts related to ibadaah then it is better to leave it.

Next time we will discuss Ashura or Prophet’s birthday which are some of the other Eids celebrated by Muslims.

2010-11-09 Class Notes

No class next week since it will be Eid ul Adha.

So far we have been discussing what is the theory of celebrating and approaching eid. 

1. The Prophet ﷺ said that the Eid’s replace the days in which the people of Madinah “played.” (This was the term used in Arabic, they had fun on that day). Allah swt has replaced these days with the Eids.

2. A hadith when a person was going to slaughter an animal in a certain place. The Prophet ﷺ asked two questions, was there an idol at that place or was there any kind of Eid at that place (celebration or festival)?

3. Authority of the sunnah: also inclusive of what the Prophet ﷺ avoided and did not do. Tark in arabic. This is very relevant to the question of Eid’s because in a way he outlined things not to practice.

4. Every bidah is dhalaalah. Every bidah is a misguidance. There is no such thing as bid’a hasan from the shariah perspective.

We’re not done yet.... Sheikh studied four books in preparation for this class and one of them was a PhD dissertation. And none of them discussed the point that we are going to discuss today. Two weeks from now we will discuss maulid. So be ready with your questions

Al A’teerat العتيرة

People are referring to it as evidence and a basis to allow for festivals other than the two Eid’s described in Islam. 

Definition: It was a sacrifice that used to be practiced during the month of Rajab during jahiliyyah. Sometimes referred to as rajjibiyyah. They used it as a way to get closer to their idols, however it is not mentioned in all of the sources. In general it was a sheep that was sacrificed. 

Why the month of Rajab?

It was one of the four sacred months during jahiliyyah. The four sacred months was a pure Islamic concept from early days of the other prophets and it was carried over by the Jahiliyaah. We will now present evidence that this was indeed an Islamic concept and not a jahiliyaah concept.

Evidence for the holy months

Surah Taubah verse 36

Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him].

Hadith: Prophet ﷺ said, The time now has reverted to its original state. Out of these four are sacred. Rajab and the other three are in succession, which are Ramadhan, Dhul Qa3da and Dhul Hijja. 

Playing with the months is considered kufr

During jahiliyaah, the people played around with the months, if they wanted to fight they would insert a fictitious month or some other innovation. After the above statement of the prophet, the calendar was now in proper synchronization to its original state.

There are no authentic hadith that discuss fasting and other voluntary deeds during the month of Rajab. 

Ahadeeth discussing Ateera

Ateera was a udhiyah or sacrifice done during the month of Rajab. There are a number of hadith that speak about ateera. Here we present them:

#1) Sunan Abu Dawud. Al Arnaut and Albani declared this sahih. Someone came to the Prophet ﷺ and said we used to practice ateera in the times of jahiliyya so what do you tell us to do. He said : “to go ahead and slaughter during any month of his and to fulfil your duty and feed the people.” In this hadith, the person is asking about a practice of the jahiliyyah. 

Basically if you think about slaughtering this was not something that was done on a regular basis in the jahlilyya. It was for a special occassion. One of the things they used to do is they made sure they would do in the first ten days of rajab. In this hadith he said slaughter in any month for the sake of Allah. 

#2) Another hadith (recorded by An Nisai). During the farewell pilgrimage someone asked the prophet ﷺ about ateera and alfarra (when an animal gives birth the first time you slaughter the first born that one out of hopes of getting blessing from the wealth that will come forward from this animal). And he said: “Whoever wills should make ateera and whoever wills can make fara and whoever wills not to make ateera doesn't have to and whoever doesn’t want to make al afara doesn’t have to.” The scholars seem to agree that this hadith is weak

#3) Another hadith from Sunan Abi Dawud. In this hadith, the prophet ﷺ said: “O People, for every household there is an udhiyya and ateera. Do you know what Ateera? He said it is what the people call rajabiyyah. Albani says this hadith is sahih. He said its hasan. He started by saying its daeef. Some of the eraly scholars said it is weak. Shaykh says it is weak. Abu Dawd who recorded it said Ateera has been abrogated. And this report has been abrogated.

#4) Sunan An Nisai: we used to sacrifice an animal during the time of rajab and we used to eat form it and we used to feed those who came to us. And he said there is no harm in that. The shaykh says the chain is weak. Albani says it is sahih ligharihi.

#5) Sunan An Nisai: He was asked about ateera and he said al ateeratu haqq. Ateera is true, sound. Albani and Arnaut say it is hasan.

#6) Sahih Bukhari we find another hadith: The Prophet said,  There is no fara’ and no ateera.  This is from Abu Hurayrah. We see it is something that existed in jahiliyya. We also have this hadith. Abu Hurayrah became muslim late.

In general, when the Prophet negates something then it is abrogated. That is why Abu Dawud said it is abrogated. Imam Al Shafi understands this to mean there is no obligatory ateera.

Difference of opinion among scholars about ateera

View #1: For example some scholars say it is sunnah and mustahabb. This is the view of Imam Shafee and himself.

La of negation, it could negate existence of something, it could negate the act, or it could negate ????

Here Imam Shafiee is saying that in this case, la negates the obligatory nature of the act.  He also said that this ateera can be done in any month.

View #2: Another view is that the ateera is neither mustahab nor makrooh. It is mubah.

Some Shafis were of this opinion.  They understood this last hadith to mean that the practice must be “islamicized,” i.e. there is no ateera for idols.

View #3: A third view is that it is makrooh, based on the last hadith.

View #4: Some also say that it is haram, again based on the last hadith.  Some say that this is the view of the majority of the scholars. Qadi Ayyadh said that it is the majority opinion. He said the command to do it has been abrogated. He is saying it looks makruh.

Ibn Qayyim also came to this conclusion.

If we take all the hadith and see what is authentic and what is not we see that he did not seem to object it. And he also said that ateera is haq.

When the Prophet  said ateeratul haqq, what could this statement possibly mean?  This seems to give the impression that there is some shariah sanction for saying it is haqq.  It gives the impression that it is more then from jahiliyya. It could be a remnant from the time of Prophet IIbrahim (alayhi salam).

Ateeratul haqq

Someone was writing the following statement and it does not matter who is that individual. Remember to  focus on the issue, not the person. Someone you love may say something that you hate and someone you hate may say something which you like.  Analyze the issue as it is.  

Here is the statement:

Since the fourth of July just passed, I’d like to research this issue of ateera and what kind of fiqh we get from it.  (First he defines what is ateera and then he continues)  He chose to give the one where the Arabs used to sacrifice animals during the first 10 days of Rajab for their gods.  According to the well-known seerah of the Prophet , the Prophet was guided to islamicize this tradition and encourage people to give away the meat from this slaughter similar to the udhiyah.  

During his farewell pilgrimage, the Prophet said whoever wishes to slaughter, let him slaughter and whoever does not want to do so, let him be.

There is a common hadith that says no fara’ and no ateera.  

There are some people who disagree with this.  They say that any days other than the two days of Eid will be rejected as bidah by the people.

His explanation is that they are seeking to hide the opinion out of political frustration. So we can stand up against Western powers.  “standing up against the kuffar”

However, these four points come from scholars who wrote during the height of Islamic rule.

He further says that the hadith of who ever imitates a people is of them because we see the Prophet islamicized the ateera. And then he further stated that the prophet wore clothes just like the polytheist.

In conclusion he says, that there is nothing wrong in celebrating the other festivals

End of statement

So his argument is that since prophet islamicized Ateera, then we can use it as a basis to celebrate other festivals. How would you respond to it?

You are starting with statement of prophet which said ateera is haq, can you then proceed from that and say that any secular festival can be celebrated, because we do not have statements from the prophet that say that fourth of july is haq or some other festival is haq,  

Remember the prophet did not allow a day of play, he did not allow a sacrifice at a place where an Eid took place. So to go from Ateera and then ignore all of the points that we discussed earlier, you cannot say that Ateera is evidence for celebrating other festivals.

Remember Imam Shafiee took it away from the month of Rajab and it can be done any time. It is no longer a Eid. He removed the Eid aspect of Ateera.

2010-11-23 Class Notes


We have covered the Islamic Eids and now we will move to Muslim Eids and the first one we will analyze is Mawlid (المولد).

Mawlid is the celebration of the birth of the Prophet. There are two books written by non-Muslims.

They are: “Muhammad’s Birthday Festival - Early History in Muslim Lands” by Kaptein. This is more descriptive (Amazon Google Books)

“Birth of Prophet Mohamed, Devotional piety in Sunni Islam” by Katz (Google Books Amazon), this is more analytical in its approach. German author.

The first book describes the early history. The first chapter talks about the origin of the birthday, and we would expect it to start during the time of the prophet and the sahaaba. But ofcourse that is not in the first chapter, because it originated hundreds of years after the death of the prophet. So this should cast a doubt on its origins.

When did the Mawlid originate?

It started in the time of the Fatimids. They conquered Cairo in 300 Hijra. They are known as the Seveners (as opposed to the 12ers which refers to the shia imams) or Ismailis or Aga Khanis. They are an extreme shia group. First ones known to have started the mawlid. They had many celebrations, especially for their various imams. Many celebrations and holidays probably more than what Malaysia has right now. All kinds of grandeur in these celebrations, literally millions would be spend in terms of today’s amount. All kinds of food, prizes, awards would be given.

Why did it originate?

Speculation, in general, why did many of the Islamic governments do this kind of thing? Because they’re trying to legitimize themselves and they are trying to gain favor from the people. The first paragraph of Katz’s book begins, “...even the most avid supporters admit that it’s an innovation...” . Kaptein begins his book by saying, “it is one of the three major muslim festivals, …, although it is not canonical and is not prescribed by the Law, it is celebrated throughout the entire Muslim world.”

There were always people opposing this celebration during each time period.

Origins of Mawlid in Sunni Islam

After discussing the founding of the mawlid under the fatimid, his next chapter is about development of mawlid in sunnite Islam. He traces when did it first appear amongst the Sunni Muslims. Somewhere around the mid-500s Hijra. There was someone in the area of Sham, person by the name of Umar al-Mulli. He was in charge of Az-Zawi (almost like a monastery). Sufis had set up zawiyyah to study, live and pray outside the world mainly or secluded from the affairs of this world. He is the one who first started that practice. It was basically kind of the celebration that had poetry and songs and the local governor rewarded him. He was firstly not a scholar and people who wrote about him don’t have many kind things to say about him. Ibn Rajab, “...outwardly showed him to be pious, but I consider him to be from the people of bid’ah”. And he talks about an incident where he did dhulm to someone. So this event was not as elaborate as what Fatimid did.

After his time, there was a person by the name of Muthahiruddin Kukburi. He’s the first one who started in the Sunni lands (d 650), started lavish celebration. He was of sufi mindset. Two days before mawlid, he would bring camels, cows and sheep and they would go outside with drums and slaughtered and cooked for mawlid and candles lit and celebration goes on, on the day of mawlid. Taken from a biographical dictionary (wafayaat ul ayaan). The author then talks about, Kukburi is like a respected individual but did not have that kind of influence to establish it.

The Appearance of the first “Shariah Justification” for the Mawlid

First time we see someone justifying mawlid from shariah perspective, scholar by the name of Abu Shaama. He wrote a book about bida’h. He is one of the scholars who said, this bida’h is mustahab. He just simply approved of the practice of Mawlid. We discussed in last class about some scholars who believe in the 5 categories of bida’h.

Suyuti’s fatwa on Mawlid

Jalaluddin Suyuti came along and wrote a small fatwa (almost like an article in contemporary terms) and tried to justify Mawlid as a valid practice. Suyuti has a book “husnul muqsid fi amalil mawlid” (حسن المقسد في عمل المولد). Kaptein has translated this entire book and included it in his book. By Suyuti’s time, mawlid was not considered an acceptable practice and as Kaptein notes, supporters of mawlid were often attacked. So that was Suyuti’s goal, to justify the practice of mawlid as permissible. In the beginning of fatwa, his response is to another fatwa, the other fatwa rejects the concept of mawlid so he is responding to that. The way he describes it, the legal status of the observance of the mawlid and then describes it what it should contain and only what it should contain. Let’s be frank now, the mawlid is a party.  

One person writing about mawlid in Egypt, one of the times for women to cheat on their husbands, mix up with men that normally the opportunity is not there. This man was writing in 1800s and he’s talking about that. Lots of times, there’s munkar involved because these are celebrations. So Suyuti specifies what could be done, poetry, quran, talking about virtues of Prophet and then a banquet is done. This would be allowed since this is showing the love of the Prophet. He talks about the first person to innovate this custom, was a person by the name of Kukburi. And then he goes on in length to talk about what a great scholar and what a great man Kukburi was. Suyuti was one of the most widely read person, he wrote over 400 books. One of the things he’s talking about how pious Kukburi was. Kaptein mentions that there is no doubt that Suyuti knew the Fatimid did mawlid before and Umar Al-Mulla also did that. So it looks very suspicious that he starts off with Kuburi rather than Umar Mulla or Fatimids. So this fact, is very displeasing. As-Suyuti did not like Fatimids at all and he hates them, very harsh words against them. So to trace this practice to a group like that would be very problematic (for him).

Suyuti’s response to Fakihani

Al-Fakihani (الفاكهاني), a later Maaliki scholar, and he said that the Mawlid is a blameworthy innovation. This is the fatwa Suyuti is responding to. One of the things this scholar says is I do not know any basis in the Qur’an and Sunnah. He says, it is a bida’h that was innovated by idlers and eager gluttons.

Then comes as-Suyuti responds. He says, Ibn Hajr has found a basis and I have found a basis. And then he says, that it was introduced by pious scholars and not idlers.

Sheikh mentioned that we have a tendency in our religion to refer to authority in arguments, so even if a scholar says something is acceptable, that does not necessarily mean that we should do it. For example, modern scholars refer to the authority of Suyuti as evidence for the Mawlid.

Then he says, I want to mention the source on which this action is based on...

Hadith of prophet about fasting on Mondays

One of the points that al-fakihani said was that, this is also the month in which the Prophet died. Suyuti responds by saying, as Muslims we celebrate the good things in good ways and do not concentrate on negatives. He said that Prophet (saw) also spoke about the day on which he was born. There is a hadith of the Prophet (SAWS) about fasting on Mondays and one of the reasons the prophet gave was the day on which I was born. Ibn Rajab is quoted as one of the scholars supporting the mawlid.

Ibn Rajab wrote in commentary of Sahih Bukhari, “if some people fast those days out of expressing thanks to Allah and do not take it as Eid, then that is a good action, like the Prophet talking about Ashura (for Musa) and how he talked about fasting on monday (the day he was born) , however Eids cannot go beyond what Allah and His Messenger has sanctioned for the Ummah. And those days are two days out of the year and one day of every week.” So Ibn Rajab is saying the way you give thanks to Allah is not by a feast but it is by fasting. Otherwise the only feast and celebration we have are the Eids. So those that say that Ibn Rajab was a supporter of Mawlid is incorrect and a misrepresentation. To use this hadith, which is an authentic hadeeth to use it as a basis for a kind of celebration does not make any sense. How can you go from fasting to a party day. How? Doesn’t make any sense.

Aqeeqah of the Prophet

One of the other evidences that As-Suyuti gives, it is obvious it can be based on the statement of Bayhaqi that he performed his own Aqeeqah after his prophethood, even though his grandfather had already done so, though it should not be done again. This is showing gratitude for giving Prophets to the Ummah. So what do we say about this?

Firstly, he only did it once -- he did not do it every year. Also, earlier scholars are in agreement about not accepting it. Eg. Al-Bazzar said it was very weak. Ibn Hajr is the teacher of Suyuti. Ibn Hajr gave him ijaazah. Suyuti was four years old when Ibn Hajr gave ijaza to everyone in the room (including the children). Ibn Hajr rejects this narration. Al Albani, accepts this narration (one of those cases of earlier scholar differing with the later ones). And the most important aspect is that the prophet (saw) only did it once as a way of thanks. We do not see his sahabah doing this aqeeqah after this and Sheikh does not believe this hadeeth is not even authentic.

Dreams of the relatives of Abu Lahab

Then he has another narration that Abu Lahab appeared after his death in a dream to one of his relatives and his relative asked him how are you doing, he said in the dream, “I’m in the fire and each Monday night I’m granted relief.....this is because I manumitted (freed the slave) Thuwaiba when she informed me of the birth of Prophet and she was feeding him.”

Firstly, it’s not a dream of the Prophet, it’s a dream from the relatives of Abu Lahab. To use this as the basis of celebration in shariah is very weak. As Ibn Hajr noted, that the seerah and other reports make it clear that in the time of Khadeejah, Khadeejah went to Abu Lahab to free Thuwaiba and she was freed after the hijrah.

There is a report in Bukhari about Abu Lahab.  ‘Urwa narrates that when Abu Lahab died one of Abu Lahab’s relative saw him in a dream in a very bad state and asked him, what are you facing and Abu Lahab, I have not been given any rest since the day I left except I have been given a small amount of water for freeing Thuwaiba. So it does not mention that he freed her on the day of birth. This hadith is still not a source of shariah because it’s not the dream of the Prophet and not endorsed by Shariah. Remember the dreams of the relatives of Abu Lahab are not a hujjah.

That is the asl (basis) on which as-Suyuti says that mawlid is sanctioned in the shariah.

Analysis of Tatz about salvation through the love of the prophet

The shariah has come to give us guidance, and there are sometimes there are things we think of doing and we don’t realize that these things might do harm to us.  For example, in tawheed there are things we may say about Allah (SWT) that can easily lead to shirk.  We need to understand the limitations for visiting the graves.  

There are aspects in shariah that block the means for greater harm.  For example, there may not appear to be a big deal about putting up a drawing of someone on the wall, but over time, it becomes something potentially damaging. Continually ignoring these aspects can open the door to a “slippery-slope” situation where one can easily get sucked into doubtful practices that can cause great harm.  

Sheikh talked about Franco’s picture in Spain in the context of drawing images and how it can evolve into worship over generations. He mentioned that he was born in France.

Katz’s point is that one of the dangers is that the concept of salvation through the love of the Prophet (SAWS) instead of through acts of obedience and worship. This is the result of undertaking an action that has no basis in the Shari’ah.

Tark of the Prophet - Actions that he did not do which are part of his sunnah

When we talked about the Sunnah, we talked about the tark of the Prophet (SAWS) (Sunnah al Tark) -- the things that the Prophet (SAWS) did not do. We have to follow what he did as well as what he did not do.

There is someone who wrote a master’s dissertation about the tark of the Prophet (SAWS). So the second part of his dissertation who do not accept his tark as a hujjah.  Really the only group that doesn’t accept tark as a hujjah - a view of Sufi madhab.  This makes sense because the Sufis have their own fiqh and their own principles of aqeedah along with their own practices.  There is a booklet discussing this, “There is no ruling that can be derived from the tark of the Prophet saas.”  It’s about 20 pages, much of which is an introduction.  The author does not quote one scholar of legal theory. Almost all the scholars agree that his tark is a hujjah, e.g. Fakhruddin Al-Razy, Al-Kufi, Hassan Al-Basri,

Only a few people who rejected it, Al-Ghummari, which is roughly 20 pages, also discusses the idea of the tark of the Prophet (SAWS) not being a hujjah.  The examples provided in this booklet are weak -- they only included examples that were not really possible for him to do.

Ramifications of not accepting tark of prophet as hujjah

Al Syed al Maliki - in his series there is a book about seeking intercession through the Prophet saas and the awliyyah (the “saints”) and going on trips to visit graves to seek blessings (ziyaarah), a book about the jaariyah (like the girl who pointed to the sky when talking of Allah swt).

Books like these are dangerous because they lead people completely astray from correct belief in Allah swt. Because if you leave the tark then everything becomes permissible.

Everything that these people’s awliyyah do is acceptable but when it comes to the Prophet saas they say it’s not hujjah.

They also cite an “usooli principle” that something that is not explicitly forbidden in the shariah cannot be avoided or denied.  This is a very weak principle that is not actually part of usool ul fiqh.

Ibn Taymiyyah’s view on Mawlid

According to ibn Taymiyyah, these people will be rewarded according to their intention.  Usually they take two different quotes from Ibn Taymiyyah and use ellipses to extract the meaning they wish to present from statements that are taken completely out of context.

Ibn Taymiyyah’s point: if some poor fool does not realize something is bid’a but the person goes out and does it, perhaps he may be rewarded.  If someone does something out of genuine ignorance, we have no idea what Allah swt will do with the person.  This does not mean we should go out and commit kufr under the guise of “ignorance.”

They conveniently drop Ibn Taymiyyah’s comment near the end of his commentary, “They celebrate Mawlid out of imitation of the Christians or out of love of the prophet, they may be rewarded for their love but not for their bid’ah.” The clause in bold is dropped out by people who quote him.

Ibn taymiyyah is not accepting the concept of the mawlid, but he is saying basically that if someone falls into the practice out of complete ignorance and conducts the act with complete love and intention to seek good from Allah swt then inshaAllah that person will be rewarded for his intention.

He quotes Imam Ahmed and how a prince at his time spent 1000 dinars on a mushaf made of gold. And Imam Ahmed said leave him, for that’s the best the money could be spend on (by the Prince).

Thanksgiving: Harvest feast, common amongst many people, giving thanks to their god for the food given. Started by the native Indians (american). This is not something sanctioned by the shariah, once again the basis is not right and therefore no room for muslims to practice no matter how secularize or commercialize they make this event.


The prophet fasted on Mondays which was the weekday on which he was born. But he did not fast on any specific day of the month for his birthday. We have no evidence for it what so ever.

Remember the sahaba loved the prophet more than anybody else. They did not celebrate his birthday even though the loved him so much. So we should not try to innovate and we should stick to the Sunnah.

2010-11-30 Class Notes

We will discuss the concept of imitation next session inshAllah. What are the limitations of it. That will be lead us to the question of various non-muslim holidays. We will discuss two Muslim Eids today to finish this session.

Laylatul Nisfu Sha3ban / Gathering together of the night of the middle of Sha3ban

What goes on in the middle of Shaban?

People decorate homes/candles, some of them fast, some offer special prayers. It is a national holiday in Bangladesh, in addition to the two Eids and Ashura.

Are these things correct?

Signifying this day as an act of worship, according to majority of fuqaha is a bidah. Opinion of … imam Malik.

However it is authentically reported by  some of the tabieen, they used to do ibadaah on this day and extol this day, some of the people of Basra were also of this view.

Evidence #1

They base it on this hadith, found in Sunan Tirimidhi, which states, Allah (SWT) descends on this night to the lowest heaven and he forgives a number of people larger than the number of hairs on a goat from the tribe of Kalb. And then Tirmidhi says that this hadith was from Ayesha. I heard Muhammad say this hadith is weak (Muhammad is Bukhari here). As far as Sheikh has seen, all the scholars he has read from, this hadeeth is weak.

Evidence #2

There’s also another hadeeth in Sunan Ibn Majah, the chain the narrator is Rashid, haddathna Al-Waleed ibn Muslim (he used to commit tadlees at-tasfiyah), Ad-Dahhak and goes back all the way to Abu Musa al-ashari,  Prophet (saw) is reported to have said, “on the middle night of Sha’ban Allah looks upon his creation and He forgives all of his creation except a mushrik and someone who is involved in a quarrel.” Obviously this chain, for the hadeeth class student will recognize, vast majority reject this hadeeth but Al-Albani and Shuaib Al-Arnaout say this hadeeth is saheeh. They’re not basing it on ibn Majah, but on other narrations (like Bayhaqi etc).

Evidence #3

Also hadeeth in ibn Majah, comes from Ali ibn Abi Talib, comes as a command from Prophet (SAWS) to pray in the night of Sha’ban, “when its the midnight in the month of shaban, pray at night and fast during the day, Allah (swt) when the sun sets descends down to the lowest heaven and He asks, “who is seeking forgiveness from Me and I’ll forgive him, is there someone asking Rizq from me, and I’ll grant him, is there someone asking relief from sickness and I’ll relieve him...and ala ala...and this will continue until the morning.” It also specifically talks about making dua at that time and Allah will respond to it. Only problem, there’s a narrator who is known to be a fabricator, Ahmed ibn Hambal and Yahya ibn Maeen rejected, Albani said it’s extremely daeef or fabricated.

We have had 3 ahadeeth, first one is weak, second one, majority reject but al-Arnaout and Albani based on various isnaad declare it sahih and third one is definitely weak and rejected.

Another narration, Ikrimah (He was a Berber Muslim, student of ibn Abbas and scholar of Quran) where he quotes the verses from Surah Dukhan verse 3-4

إنا أنزلناه في ليلة مباركة إنا كنا منذرين

فيها يفرق كل أمر حكيم

Translation: Indeed, We sent it down during a blessed night. Indeed, We were to warn [mankind].

On that night is made distinct every precise matter -

Ikrimah says this is the night of the middle of shaban, all of the affair of humans will be written on that night and nothing will be added or subtracted.

Some ulemah have said that it has special significance because this is the day the qiblah changed from baitul maqdis to the ka’bah. Those scholars who give this day significance, they have difference of opinion on what exactly needs to be done.

Some of them say that it is recommended to spend this night in the mosque in jama’ah and pray and it is described as some of those tabieen/tabi tabieen they would put bukhoor and kuhl and pray at night in the mosque. One of those who agrees is Ishaaq bin Rahaway.

We can trace this even back to the time of tabieen unlike the mawlid. Amongst the scholars who accept special significance but say that nothing should be done in jamaah, person can do it individually, they dislike that anything is done in special jama’ah but accept the significance of the day, this was the conclusion of al-Auzai, ibn Rajab and as-Suyuti.

Given that background, what do you think about the middle of sha’ban?

If you take those three ahadeeth, the hadeeth that says you should fast the day and spend the night in prayer, that hadeeth is completely rejected probably fabricated,no doubt. The other two, the first one considered weak, doesn’t mention anything about special prayer.

In fact, when you think about this hadeeth, or the second one that al-albani say it’s authentic, do they really give the night of sha’ban a great deal of special significance? What is the only special significance of this night?

The only thing that might be a distinction, that this hadeeth of Shaban does not specify the last third of the night. Otherwise, this kind of thing, happens every night on the last third of the night. The one special significance to it, it’s the whole night and not the last third.

But there’s something else, that gives it special significance. It’s different from the other ahadeeth that we’re referring to. At least in that one, there’s action on our part, in this one, according to the hadeeth, we don’t have to do anything. He just forgives without any actions on our part.

So we don’t have any action from the Prophet or the sahabah they did anything special and even the only hadeeth they use as authentic, there’s nothing that we have to do. It’s a special gift from Allah (swt) [if we accept that hadeeth]. To go and extrapolate to do X Y and Z is a stretch.

All of these kinds of hadeeth, like “man qala la ilaha illallah dakhalal jannah”, you cannot take them in isolation. You have to take other restrictions and how they apply. Those might restrict the application. In any case, we cannot use that hadeeth to support the facts of doing something on this night.

Q: What about the writings of ibn Rajab?

A: So the thing about Ibn Rajab, it’s not true for just Ibn Rajab but for many scholars, you have to know the background of what they wrote, why the wrote and if there was some kind of evolution. Any of you remember Marion Katz? Her book about the Prophet’s (SAWS) birthday is looking at from philosophy of religion which we discussed in the last lecture. She makes an interesting point, when ibn Rajab wrote a book like at-taif (?) were written for the masses. So when it came to things like mawlid etc are considered populous religion compared to serious religion. You can see that in the writing of some of our ulema, like Suyutu, ibn Hajr and others.

So this book ibn Rajab wrote, he’s trying to bring all the significant events in this book so he’s already stretching it. So now you take ibn Rajab and go to his later book, Fath al-Bari (which he did not complete) you see that in his commentary of Sahih Bukhari is directed towards ulema and you see that a lot of statement he made in that commentary are very different from some of the things he wrote in his earlier books.

But otherwise as a whole, if you recognize somebody’s methodology, for example Suyuti agrees with bidah Hasana, so you can understand what conclusions he makes and where to draw the line, and when you convey to others and say why you won’t accept this from Suyuti, as long as you understand and you can explain. Some of Suyutis’ conclusion are based on bid’ah hasana and they might not realize it so when you convey, relay the theory he uses so they can better understand. Very good starting point if you can understand why an alim is saying such and such.

Another point Katz makes in the last chapter of her book, things have changed a lot in the world now a days, if you can go to another time and phase, where masses are not educated, where things are left to the ulema and masses did not understand. The idea was there, the people won’t be capable of following the deen as they would.

Even now, some of the shuyukh, would never apply any of those rulings on them so they give rulings for the masses to make it easy on the people. So maybe sometime ulema would give rulings the masses can handle. now the divide b/w the educated and educated elite, divide is much less. So if you go to an area now where the level of education is low, you’d find shuyukh distinguishing b/w rulings.

Personally, sheikh does not feel there’s any validity to this methodology. Every muslim is going to be able to understand din and that is right and that is wrong. There’s a book written about ibn T, his struggle against popular religion. Some of the shuyukh he debated with, they could not justify based on shariah but could only justify based on what people are doing.

Doing random qiyaam (like youth qiyaam night), it’s fine since it’s a matter of logistics and special night  is not being made. So a random night, and you get together and do qiyaam, no issues with it. What about doing it first friday night of every week, they may go back to how intelligent the group you’re dealing with. If they start thinking there’s something special about first Friday of every month, then you never know, 200 years down there may even be a hadeeth about it.

Something there is better than nothing there :) (on the question of where this practice of worship will fall on the middle of sha’ban).

Discussion on a fatwa given by Uthmaan in class about the support of mawlid:

From this article Uthman quoted the following passage:

Although the chain of narrators of some of these traditions suffers with some minor technical defects, yet when all these traditions are combined together, it becomes clear that this night has some well founded merits, and observing this night as a sacred night is not a baseless concoction as envisaged by some modern scholars who, on the basis of these minor defects, have totally rejected to give any special importance to this night. In fact, some of these traditions have been held by some scholars of hadith as authentic and the defects in the chain of some others have been treated by them as minor technical defects which, according to the science of hadith, are curable by the variety of their ways of narration. That is why the elders of the ummah have constantly been observing this night as a night of special merits and have been spending it in worship and prayers.

Saeed bin aslami, “I have never met any of our shuyukh and ulema that give any merit to the middle of shaban, or give any weight to the hadeeth of maqbool or any weight to the practices on this night”

Ibn Arabi, “ hadeeth, even worth the weight of paper”

Abu Shama quotes a number of scholars of his time having no basis.

To say that our ulema and our elders do this, that’s no basis. You cannot take what sufis do and accept that as ijma, this is problematic.

Lets say we have three ahadeeth. Ha, Hb and Hc. And we draw a Venn diagram (with points of intersection). All three ahadeeth have a common bond and a common meaning. Like for example, there’s some relationship b/w mid shaban and forgiveness and that is supported in all ahadeeth. Now just that we find that supporting aspect in the “sick” chains, and other chains talk aobut fasting in the day, praying or clothing. So does that mean we take the whole Venn diagram? All three categories? Some ulema of hadeeth do that, they take it boom. But none of the major scholars of hadeeth do that.

If the Prophet (saw) is the one who made this statement about the mid of sha’ban and at the same time he did nothing special about this night and the sahabah as far as we know did nothing special about this night, that’s very interesting.

What about the statement of Ikrimah? His interpretation of surah Dukhhan. These statements he makes, cannot be matters of ijtihad. It’s coming from the tabieen but no supporting statement from the Prophet. So the statement of a tabieen is not a hujjah. According to the majority of scholar, this is referring to Laylatul Qadr.

Ibn Rajab (in his book about the months) said these people who say that tabieen used to spend their night in prayer and in the mosque. The source for that is Israeliyyat. Thats ibn Rajab saying that himself. He is probably referring to the statement of Ikrimah.

There is a special prayer that some people perform. Like praying 100 rakats and then recite fatiah 10 times and all of that. This is all based on purely fabricated ahadith.

There is a possibility that Shoaib Arnaut don’t accept this narration. Even Bukhari doesn’t accept this narration. Especially one hadith is fabricated. if you accept Albani’s methodology then to give it some significance and to do acts of ibadah out of respect of this day then there is no problem with that.

Once you start defining do this many rakahs etc. then this is very problematic. as long as he does it sincerely and it is permissible in the shariah then there is nothing wrong with it. this is only true if you accept this hadith.

Q: About salah tasbeeh?

Albani says it is sahih. Sheikh asked Sheikh bin Baz about this hadith and he said that this hadith is weak. And Sheikh is very comfortable with Sh Bin Baz’s opinion.

According to some, salah tasbeen is a bidah. Amazing answer from sheikh :) why risk doing something that may be a bidah on the night of power?!?!