Answered by the Noble Scholar and Muftee
Shaykh 'Abdul-'Azeez bin 'Abdullaah bin Baaz 
Al-Istiqaamah Issue Issue No.2 - Safar 1417H / July 1996
INCREASING EEMAAN (FAITH)
[Q]: Firstly: I begin my question by seeking your advice that I may benefit from you with regards to how I may increase my eemaan (faith)? Secondly: I wish to learn about the religion, however Islaamic books are very rare in my country (Algeria), except some books which are with some brothers - may Allaah reward them with goodness. Thirdly: I work as a builder and the people that I work with do not really have sound faith and their speech is nothing more than gossip and obscenities. Fourthly: I keep company with a brother whose beliefs are corrupt and who constantly speaks ill of the righteous and believing brothers and I feel very distraught about this. So I hope that you will direct me to a cure for this disease.
[A]: Firstly: We advise you to recite the Qur'aan frequently and that you increase in your hearing of it and in your recitation of it. Reflect and consider its meaning to the best of your ability and what you do not understand of it, then ask the people of knowledge of your country about it, or write to those outside of your country from the Scholars of Sunnah (Prophetic guidance). We also advise you to increase in the dhikr (remembrance) of Allaah with such remembrances and supplications that are authentically related, such as saying laa ilahaa ilallaah (that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah), or saying subhaanallaah wal-hamdulillaah wa laa ilaha ilallaahu wallaahu akbar (declaring Allaah free from all imperfections, praising Him and declaring that none has the right to be worshipped except Him and that He is greater), and their like. For this purpose, we urge you to refer to books such as al Kalimut-Tayyib of Ibn Taymiyyah, al Waabilus-Sayyib of Ibn al-Qayyim, Riyaadhus-Saaliheen and al-Adhkaar both by Imaam an-Nawawee, and their like. This is because the remembrance of Allaah increases eemaan (faith) and causes hearts to attain tranquility, as Allaah - the Most High - said: "Indeed in the remembrance of Allaah do hearts find tranquility." [Soorah ar-Ra'dd 13:28]. Also preserve your five daily Prayers, your Fasting and the rest of your obligations - along with hoping in Allaah's mercy and forgiveness and relying upon Him in all your affairs. Allaah - the Most High - said: "The Believers ate only those who, when Allaah is mentioned, feel a fear in the hearts, and when His Verses are recited to them, it increases their eemaan (faith), and they put their trust and rely upon Allaah alone. They are those who perform the Prayer and spend out of that which We have given them, they are Believers in truth. For them ate grades of dignity and nobility with their Lord, and also forgiveness and generous provisions." [Soorah al-Anfaal 8:2-4].
Secondly: Islaamic books are easily found in every Muslim country, especially in public libraries and bookshops. So the one who seeks after them will find them. We advise you to refer to the people of knowledge of the Sharee'ah (Prescribed Law of Allaah) so that they may direct you to suitable books for you to read, borrow or buy. If there are any problems regarding this, then it is not fitting for us to stop answering your questions from the Pure Revelation - and We ask Allaah that He makes us firm in that, and only His help is sought.
Thirdly, Fourthly: It is upon you to keep good company and to sit in righteous gatherings in order to benefit from them and their manners and their knowledge and that they may assist you in cultivating obedience to Allaah. So be careful and beware of bad companionship, and evil gathering. Beware, so that they may not influence you, adversely affecting your morals and manners, such that you fall into ill-repute, or that they weaken your resolve and determination in fulfilling your religious obligations and the obligations to your family. Indeed, the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam advised the Ummah to sit in good gatherings, and he warned them from the evil and foul gatherings, and he gave a noble example about this, when he said: "The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of a seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith's bellows. As for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at the very least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith's bellows, then either he will burn your clothes, or you will get an offensive smell from him." This was related by al-Bukhaaree (4/323), from Abu Moosaa al-Ash'aree radiallaahu 'anhu. 1
CONCERNING A WOMAN'S MAHR (DOWRY)
[Q]: I and many others have observed that many people are very excessive when it comes to the matter of the mahr (wedding dowry that is paid to the bride), and that they seek great amounts of mahr when it comes to the marriage of their daughters, and they stipulate as a condition the giving of other gifts to them, along with the mahr. This wealth that people demand in such cases, is it halaal (lawful) or haraam (unlawful)?
[A]: What is prescribed in the Sharee'ah is that the mahr should be a small amount and that people should not compete with each other in this regard, acting in accordance with the many ahaadeeth which are related about this. They should also help facilitate marriages and be keen in preserving the modesty and decency of the young Muslim men and women. And it is not permissible for the awliyaa (guardians of the brides-to-be) to demand and stipulate gifts for themselves, since they have no right at all in this matter. Rather the right belongs to the woman, and in some particular cases to the father. He may stipulate a condition as long as it does not harm the daughter, nor lead to the delaying of the marriage. However, if the father forgoes such a right then this is better and more preferable. Allaah - the One free from all defects - says: "And marry those amongst you who are single and also marry the pious of your male and female slaves. If they be poor, Allaah will enrich them out of His Bounty." [Soorah an-Noor 24:32].
In the hadeeth of 'Uqbah ibn 'Aamir radiallaahu 'anhu, the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "The best dowry is that which is easy." This was narrated by Abu Daawood and al-Haakim who authenticated it. And once a woman offered herself to the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam for marriage. However, one of his Companions desired to marry her, so the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said [regarding the mahr]: "Bring something, even if it be an iron ring." So when he could not find even this, the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam married them for the dowry that the man would teach whatever of the Qur'aan he knew to her. 2
And the dowry of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam's wives was five-hundred dirhams, which is equivalent to one-hundred and thirty riyaals today. And his daughters were married for the mahr of four-hundred dinaars, which is equivalent to one-hundred riyaals today. Allaah - the Most High - said: "Indeed in the Messenger of Allaah you have a most beautiful example to follow." [Soorah al-Ahzaab 33:21].
So whenever the difficulties relating to marriage are lightened, then preserving the modesty and decency of young men and women becomes easier, shameful and evil deeds decrease, and the Ummah - as a result - will increase in number. However if this matter is made difficult, and people continue competing with each other with regards to the mahr (dowry), then the number of marriages will decrease, fornication will become more widespread and more young men and women will remain unmarried - except those whom Allaah saves.
So my sincere advice to all the Muslims, wherever they may be, is to facilitate the marriage process and to cooperate in this and make it easy. They should turn away from demanding excessive mahr and avoid unnecessary hardships and difficulties in the waleemah (wedding-feast). Rather, they should content themselves with a waleemah that is according to the Sharee'ah, in which the burdens and difficulties for the husband and wife are minimal. May Allaah improve and rectify all the affairs of the Muslims and may He give them the guidance and ability to cling to the Sunnah (Prophetic guidance) in all matters. 3
IMPURITIES UPON ONE'S CLOTHING WHILST PRAYING
[Q]: If a person finds some impurity upon his clothes after he has finished praying in it, does the Prayer have to be prayed again?
[A]: Whosoever prays, and is unaware that there are impurities upon his body or his clothes during the Prayer, but only realises after he has completed it, then his Prayer will be deemed as correct, according to the most correct position of the Scholars. Similarly, if he was aware of such impurities before the Prayer, but then forgot about this at the time of praying and did not remember except after the Prayer, then his Prayer likewise will be correct. Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic said: "Our Lord! Do not take us to task if we forget or fall into error." [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:286]. It has been authentically related about Allaah's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, that one day he sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam led the people in Prayer, wearing his shoes. Then the angel Jibreel came to him during the Prayer and informed him that there was some dirt on his shoes. So the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam removed them and continued with his Prayer and he did not repeat the Prayer.4 This is part of the ease which Allaah - the One free from all defects - has given to His servants out of His Mercy for them. However, if a person forgets that he had passed wind, then prays in that state, he must - by ijmaa' (consensus) of the Scholars - repeat his prayer again, when he remembers. This is due to the saying of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam: "The Prayer will not be accepted without purification nor will charity be accepted from wealth that is unlawful." This has been related by Muslim in his Saheeh (1/140) and the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam's saying: "The Prayer of any one of you who has released wind will not be accepted, until he makes wudhoo (ablution)." Related by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim. 5
SLAUGHTERING FOR OTHER THAN ALLAAH
[Q]: The slaughtering of sheep and other such animals at the graves of the pious people, for their sake and in order to please and draw closer to them, is a custom amongst my family. I have tried to prevent them from doing so, but it has only made them more resolute in doing so. I have said to them that this is shirk (associating partners in the worship) of Allaah. But they respond by saying: We only worship Allaah the way He deserves to be worshipped. However, we visit the graves of the awliyaa (the pious friends of Allaah) and supplicate to Allaah, through the right of the pious people, so that harm and difficulties may be averted from us. I have said to them that this is not from the religion, but they just tell me to leave them alone upon what they are doing. So what do you suggest should be the cure for such people, and what do you suggest I do to counter act this bid'ah (innovation)?
[A]: It is known from the evidences related in the Qur'aan and the Sunnah that sacrificing for other than Allaah, in order to draw close to other than Allaah - whether sacrificing for the jinns, awliyaa, idols or other than that from the creation - is an act of shirk and is an act of jaahiliyyah (pre-Islaamic ignorance) that was practiced by the mushriks (those who worshipped the pious men, jinns, angels, stones, statues, etc, along with worshipping Allaah). Allaah- the Mighty and Majestic - said: "Say: Indeed my Prayer, my sacrifce, my living and my dying are all for Allaah Lord of the worlds. No partner do I setup with Him in this, and this is what I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims." [Soorah al-An'aam 6:162]. So Allaah - the Most Perfect - clearly explains in this verse that sacrificing to other than Allaah is like praying to other than Him. And Allaah - the Most High - said: "Indeed We have granted to the Prophet sallallaabu 'alayhi wa sallam the Kawthar (a river in Paradise whose banks are lined with tents made from hollow pearls). Therefore turn in Prayer to your Lord and sacrifice to Him alone." [Soorah al-Kawthar 108:1-2]. So Allaah - the One free from all defects - commanded His Prophet in these noble verses that he should pray only to His Lord and that he should sacrifice to only Him, which was opposite of what the mushriks did, in that they used to prostrate to other than Allaah and to sacrifice to other than Him. Allaah - the Most High - said: "And your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him." [Soorah al-Israa 17:23]. And He - the Most Perfect - said: "And they have not been commanded except to worship Allaah alone making the religion purely and sincerely for Him." [Soorah al-Bayyinah 98:5]. And there are many other verses with the same meaning. So, since sacrificing is one of the acts of 'ibaadah (worship), then it is obligatory to make this action purely and sincerely for Allaah alone, without directing it to other than Him. Also 'Alee ibn Abee Taalib radiallaahu 'anhu said that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "May Allaah curse the one who sacrifices to other than Allaah." This has been related by Muslim in his Saheeh (no.765).
As for supplicating to Allaah and asking Him by the right of the awliyaa or by the right of His Messenger, or by the status of His Messenger - then this does not constitute shirk, but rather it is a bid'ah (innovation) which leads to shirk, in the opinion of the majority of Scholars. This is because du'aa (supplication) is an act of worship, and how it is to be done can only be known from the Revelation. And there is nothing authentically established from our Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam to show the permissibility or validity of this type of tawassul (seeking the means of nearness to Allaah by invoking an intermediary) in which Allaah is asked through the right of His Prophet or the right of the awliyaa or any of His creation. So it is not permissible for any Muslim to innovate new forms of tawassul which has not been prescribed by Allaah, as He - the Most High - said: "Or do they have partners with Allaah who prescribe for them a religion which Allaah has not prescribed." [Soorah ash-Shooraa 42:21]. And the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Whosoever introduces into this affair of ours that which is not from it, will be rejected", and in another authentic narration: "Whosoever does an action that I have not commanded, it will be rejected." 7 And the meaning of this is that such innovated actions will be rejected and not accepted from its doer. Thus it is obligatory for the Muslims to restrict themselves to only what Allaah has prescribed and to beware of what people have innovated into the religion. As regards the prescribed forms of tawassul then they are: tawassul (seeking the means of nearness to Allaah) through His Names and His Attributes and by righteous actions, and by one's eemaan (faith) in Allaah and His Messenger, and other righteous and prescribed actions similar to this. 9
1. Fataawaa Lajnatud-Daa'imah lil-Buhoothul-'Ilmiyah wal-Iftaa (3/185-187).
2. Related by Abu Daawood in his Sunan.
3. Al-Fataawa (1/168-169).
4. Saheeh: Related by Abu Daawood (no.650) and al-Bayhaqee (2/431), from Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree radiallaahu 'anhu. It was authenticated by an-Nawawee in al-Majmoo' (2/189).
5. Fataawaa Muhimmah Tata'allaqu bis-Salaah (no.14).
6. Related by al-Bukhaaree (2/166) and Muslim (5/133), from 'Aaishah radiallaahu 'anhaa.
7. Related by Muslim (no.1817), from 'Aaishah radiallaahu 'anhaa.
8. Al-Fataawaa (1/17-18).