Ruling on leaving one’s hair to grow , cut it short or shaving it off – Shaykh al Albaani

[57] Question: One of the students of knowledge asked: Many school students ask one another concerning the ruling on leaving one’s hair to grow and shaving it off. They are confused about this issue because of what the school presses on them from the obligation of shaving all of the head or cutting it very short and because eof what the students see from some practicing teachers who let their hair grow and do not cut it, but they maintain and groom it.

So therefore I say [33] – seeking assistance from Allaah – that leaving the hair is Sunnah, as Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (rahimahullaah) said:

It is sunnah. If we were able to manage and control it, we would keep it. But there is discomfort and trouble with (keeping) it (long).”

And Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said in Zaad Al-Ma’aad:

And it was not preserved from him, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, that he used to shave his head except during the sacrificial ceremonies of Hajj (nusuk).”

There are many authentic ahaadeeth that clarify the description of the Prophet’s sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam hair. It is stated in Al-Mughnee:

It is recommended that a person’s hair be according to the description of the Prophet’s hair. If it is long, then it should go to his shoulders and if it is short, then to the earlobes. And if it grows longer than that, then there is no harm in that. This has been reported on Ahmad.”

[33] These are still the words of the questioner.


Indeed, keeping one’s hair and leaving it to grow must meet certain requirements, among which are:

There must be sincerity to Allaah, the Most High and following of the guidance of the Prophet, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in order to attain reward and merit.

There should be no imitation of women in his leaving of the hair to grow, such that he does with his hair what the women do with their hair, from the aspects of beautification that is specific to them.

He should not desire by it to imitate the People of the Book or anyone else among the idol worshippers. Or in imitation of the haircuts and hairstyles of sinful Muslims, such as music and film artists or whoever treads their way, such as the shameless ones among the sports figures.

One should clean it and groom it every other day. And it is recommended to oil it, perfume it and split it down the middle of the head. And if it grows long, then one can put it in locks.

As for shaving the hair off, then Shaikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah has written a detailed discussion on this subject and divided it into four types. A summary of what he said is as follows:

If the shaving of the head is done for (1) Hajj or ‘Umrah or (2) for a necessity such as medical treatment, then this is established and prescribed in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, and there is no doubt about it’s allowance (under these circumstances). As for it being done for any other reason besides those mentioned above, then it falls into being one of two types:

(3) First: That he shaves it with the intention of making worship to Allaah (ta’abbud), to practice his Religion (tadayyun) and to abstain from the worldly affairs (zuhd) and not for Hajj or ‘Umrah. An example of this is such as his making the shaving of the head a trademark of the people of piety and Religion or from the highest level of abstinence and worship. Or that he places those who shave their heads as being better or more practicing or more pious than those who don’t shave it.

Shaikh-ul- Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah said:

“This is an innovation that neither Allaah nor His Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commanded. It is neither obligatory nor recommended according to any of the Imaams of the Religion. Nor was it done by the Companions and those who followed them in righteousness, nor by the scholars who were well known for their piety and their worship, whether from the Companions, the Taabi’een, those who followed them or those that came after them.”

(4) Second: That he shaves his head for a reason other than the sacrifice of Hajj or ‘Umrah, and for other than a necessity, and not for trying to please or get closer to Allaah. The scholars have two opinions concerning this:

The first opinion: The dislike of it: This is the madh-hab of Maalik and others and it is found in one of the reports on Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy on them all.

Ahmad said: “They used to dislike that.” The proof used by those who hold this opinion is that shaving the head is a trademark of the people of innovation, for the Khawaarij used to shave their heads. And the Prophet, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Their sign is the shaving of the head.” Also, some of the Khawaarij consider the shaving of the head as the completion of repentance and religious sacrifices. It is established in the Saheeh that: “When the Prophet, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was distributing the war booty on the Day of the Conquest, a man with a thick beard and a shaved head came to him…” And it is stated in the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad that the Prophet, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “He is not from us who shaves his head.” Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “The one who shaves his head persistently is a devil.”

The second opinion: Its allowance: This is the most known opinion with the followers of Abu Haneefah and Ash-Shaafi’ee and it is found in a report from Ahmad also. And their proof is what Ahmad, Abu Dawood and An-Nasaa’ee have reported with an authentic chain, as has been stated by the author of Muntaqaa Al-Akhbaar, on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar, radyAllaahu ‘anhumaa, that: “The Prophet sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saw a young boy who had shaved part of his head and left the rest of it, so he forbade them from that. And he said to them: ‘(Either) shave all of it or leave all of it.'” Afterwards, three small children were brought to him and he, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, shaved their heads.

Because he forbade al-qaz’, and that is to have some of the head shaved, then this provides evidence for the allowance of shaving all of it. Ash-Shawkaanee said in Nail-ul-Awtaar commenting on the hadeeth that the author of Al-Muntaqaa mentioned: “In it is proof for the allowance of shaving all of the head. Al-Ghazaalee said: ‘There is no harm in it for the one who desires cleanliness.’ And in this is a refutation against those who hold that it is disliked.”

Furthermore, it is stated in Al-Mughnee: “Hanbal said: ‘My father and I used to shave our heads during the lifetime of Abu ‘Abdillaah. So he would see us while we had our heads shaved and he would not forbid us from it.” Ibn ‘Abd-il-Barr said: “The scholars have unanimously agreed upon the allowance of shaving the head. And this is sufficient as a proof.”

Question :

I say,[34] and with Allaah lies the success, this second opinion is what is more established to me due to the authenticity of its reports and their conclusiveness. And Allaah knows best. As for the school’s executive board preventing the general mass of students from letting their hair grow, then this regulation is only in the way of “suppressing the means and preventing the evil.” And this is because of what the school has noted in that a group of students, not small in number, keep their hair long not for the sake of following the Sunnah. But rather, they only do so for the sake of resembling and imitating the famous amongst the shameless celebrities and sports figures, regardless of whether they are Muslims or not. And this is done by them combing their hair in a manner that resembles the hair of these celebrities, expressing their love for them, their amazement with them and with what they are upon. Also, the harm of these students, who blindly follow, is not just limited to themselves and that’s all. Rather, their influence extends to their school colleagues and so they become affected by this false way, which leads to the wearing down of the students to having weak souls amidst their group. This is especially since they are in this age in which they have constantly changing personalities, numerous desires, and are quick to be influenced and quick to make make decisions. So you will find that the student at this age will receive more influence from his colleagues in school than from the incentives of his teachers or even his parents!! This is what I have to say and Allaah knows best.

[34] These are still the questioner’s words


All praise is for Allaah, and may the peace and blessings be upon Allaah’s Messenger, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his family, Companions and those who follow his guidance. To proceed, I strongly support the words that were stated in the last part of the fatwaa for it is traced back to an important legal principle, which is “Preventing the evil (mafsadah) comes before bringing about the good (maslahah).” So how can it be when there is no sort of maslahah (beneficial good), but only imitation of the disbelievers or the sinful people? And the Prophet, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said in the authentic hadeeth: “…And whoever imitates a people is one of them.” There are many other ahaadeeth in various subjects of the Religion that bear this same meaning. I have mentioned about forty ahaadeeth from them in my book “Hijaab Al-Ma’at-ul-Muslimah”, which I have printed recently under the title “Jilbaab Al-Mar’at-ul-Muslimah.”

So due to this, I will always give the ruling that it is not permissible for the male youth and students to let their hair grow long and that they should either shave it off or cut it short, as the general masses of Muslims are doing today, and with Allaah lies the success.

And furthermore, it is not for anyone to say today that it is disliked to shave the head, for there is no proof for that other than that it was a trademark of the Khawaarij. But today, they – and from among them are the Ibaadiyyah – do not adhere to this practice anymore, from what I know. And if they are found in some land to still be abiding by this practice, then the people of that land should contradict them in that due to what has been stated previously. And if this is not the case, then the fundamental principle is the allowance (to cut), as is stated in the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar which has been authenticated in Al-Muntaqaa. And Muslim has also reported it as I have verified in Al-Ahaadeeth As- Saheehah (no. 1123).

As for the hadeeth: “He is not from us who shaves his head” then it is a shortened version of the hadeeth of Abu Moosaa Al-Ash’aree, radyAllaahu ‘anhu, with the wording: “He is not from us who shaves (his head), tears (his clothes) and wails.” This is the way a group of the scholars have reported the hadeeth, such as Imaam Ahmad in his Musnad (4/411) and the two Shaikhs in their (respective) Saheeh collections. Al-Bukhaaree introduced it in his Saheeh by saying: “Chapter: What is forbidden from the act of shaving due to a calamity.” So therefore, the hadeeth is specific for someone who shaves his head as a means of announcing his grief due to the death of one of his relatives. What consists of this person’s objection of Allaah’s Divine Ordainment is the Prophet’s, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, linking it to his words “tears”, meaning his clothes and “wails” meaning raises his voice in wailing.

And what supports this is the occasion in which Abu Moosaa Al-Ash’aree, radyAllaahu ‘anhu, reported this hadeeth, for he reported it at the time when he was on his deathbed as occurs in the two Saheehs. And it is verified in Irwaa-ul-Ghaleel (no. 771) and in Ahkaam-ul-Janaa’iz. As for the narration from Ibn ‘Abbaas that has been mentioned in the previous fatwaa, then I have not come across its chain of narration and I do not deem that it is authentic. But if it is authentic, then it is likely that it is in reference to imitation of the Khawaarij based on what has been stated previously.

As for the saying that growing the hair on one’s head long is Sunnah, then there is no proof for it by which an argument can be established. And it is not sufficient in that regard to say that it is authentically reported on the Prophet (that he had long hair), for that was from his customs (‘aadaat). And it has also been authentically reported on him, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, that he entered Makkah while having four locks (of tied hair), as is mentioned in my book “Mukhtasar Ash-Shamaa’il Al-Muhammadiyyah” (35/23). And “locks ” means braids and plaits. But this was just an Arab custom, which some of them did not do all the time. So can it be said that this was the Sunnah also? Of course not! So then in customs like this, there must be a specific proof that asserts that it is a Sunnah of worship. But how can this be when the Prophet, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, has placed an equality between the one who shaves his hair and the one who leaves it to grow as is found in his, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, saying: “(Either) shave all of it or leave all of it.” Rather, he shaved those three children’s heads as was mentioned in the fatwaa. And that is an authentic hadeeth also, which I have verified in my book “Ahkaam Al-Janaa’iz wa Bid’ihaa” (pg. 166).

So it is not for any of the youth that are being tested with imitation of the disbelievers or of the sinful people in their hairstyles, to use the “Sunnah” as a pretext (i.e. excuse), for it is a Sunnah of custom and not a Sunnah of worship. And this is especially since many of these youth do not imitate the Prophet, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in what is obligatory upon them, such as trimming the moustache and growing the beard.

“Verily, in that there is a reminder for he who has a heart or lends his ear, while he is heedful.” [Surah Qaaf: 37]

Perfect are You, O Allaah, from all imperfections, and by Your praise, I bear witness that no deity has the right to be worshipped except You. I seek forgiveness in You and repent to You.

[Al-Asaalah, Issue #12]

Fataawaa of Shaikh Al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah)
From Al-Asaalah Magazine Issues 1-21, Translated and Arranged by: Isma’eel Alarcon

Birth Control & Family Limitation (of offspring) – Shaykh al-Albaani

[48] Question: What is the ruling concerning putting limitations to the amount of offspring one has?

Answer: The person that limits his offspring without having a legitimate reason for doing so, I hold him to be foolish if not a disbeliever in the Qadaa and the Qadar (Divine Execution and Preordainment) of Allaah. This is since the individual that limits his progeny to only three children, for example, and he has reached the age of fifty (!), the thought of death does not even cross his mind, or that some violent storm should come and take the lives of his three children, thus leaving him till the end of his life as if he were barren and without offspring. Therefore, those that put limits to the amount of children they have, they do not reflect upon the things that every Muslim reflects on. And it is Al-Qadar (Preordainment), which befalls the people in the way that He wants, not in the way that they want. So this practice that is done in current times, is a severe negligence and a clear deprivation.

[Al-Asaalah, Issue #2]

[49] Question: Does the ruling on birth control differ from that of family limitation (of offspring)?

Answer: Birth control has some detail to it. Therefore, I say that this thing, which has come to be known as “birth control” is from that which the Muslims of today are being tested by in the lands of Islaam. However, there are cases from it, which must be referred back to the motive behind it. An example of this is when the motive for this birth control is based on a prescription from Muslim doctors who are advising the couple towards this so-called “birth control” to safeguard the health of the woman who has departed from her natural state due to her having delivered many children! So if a skilled Muslim doctor issues these instructions as a form of advice, then that becomes a legitimate excuse for (the allowance of) this birth control.

This is an example in which birth control is permissible. As for an example that is contrary to this one, then it is such as when the motive behind it is due to poverty (!) or because of bills, which is always on the minds of the disbelievers!! So you can see one of them say: “My wife and I are two. And I have two children!! And the fifth member of them is their dog!! So this monthly pay that we receive is just enough for us (to pay our bills), and that’s all [five]!” This is not permissible in Islaam because this motive emanates from the logic of the Days of Ignorance, which we were warned to avoid and stay away from. Such is found in Allaah’s saying: “And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We will provide you with sustenance as well as them.” [Surah Al-Ana’aam: 151]

This is especially the case since the Muslims believe that the child comes with his sustenance (already) with him. This is because, before it comes out into this world, its sustenance is ordained for it while it is in the womb of its mother, as has been clarified to us in the Noble Sunnah. So this example of birth control, with this motive, is not permissible at all. As for the baseless and false reasons that some people have used to justify and allow it, then they have no place in the Religion.

[Al-Asaalah, Issue #2]

Fataawaa of Shaikh Al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah)
From Al-Asaalah Magazine Issues 1-21, Translated and Arranged by: Isma’eel Alarcon

What is the best way for women to give da’wah? – Shaykh al-Albaani

[40] Question: What is the best way for women to give da’wah?

Answer: I say to the women: “Remain in your homes.” [Surah Ahzaab: 33]

And you should not concern yourselves with da’wah. I reject the use of the word “da’wah” amongst the male youth by them making it seem like they are from the people of da’wah – as if the word da’wah has become the fashion of modern times. So every individual that knows something about the Religion becomes a Da’ee (caller to Islaam)! And this matter did not stop with the male youth until it was carried over to the female youth and housewives. And in many instances, they have begun to turn away from fulfilling the obligations of their households and their husbands and their children, turning away from these obligations towards something that is not obligatory upon them, such as establishing the da’wah.

The general rule concerning the woman is that she is to stay in her home. And it has not been legislated for her to leave it unless she has a dire need. This is based on the statement of the Prophet,sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: “And (praying in) their homes is better for them”, i.e. than the (congregational) prayer in the masjid.”

Today we see a prevalent phenomenon amongst the women in that they go out often to the masjids in order to pray the congregational prayer, not to mention the Jumu’ah prayer. In spite of this, their homes are better for them – unless there is a masjid in which the Imaam is a scholar who teaches those attending some aspects from the sciences of the Religion. So in this case, the woman could go out to pray in the masjid in order to listen to the knowledge. There is nothing preventing her from that. As for the woman preoccupying herself with the da’wah (!), then let her sit in her home and read from the books that her husband or brother or other male relatives provide for her.

Furthermore, there is nothing preventing her from setting a day in which she calls the women to come to her house or she goes out to attend the house of one of them. That is better than a group of women going out (to her). One woman going out to a group of women is better for them than all of them going out to her. As for her moving about and traveling, perhaps traveling without a mahram, and she justifies that by claiming that she went out for the purpose of da’wah, then these are from the presentday innovations. And I do not specify the women only with that, rather, even some of the male youth speak excessively about the da’wah and yet they have very little knowledge.

[Al-Asaalah, Issue #19]

Fataawaa of Shaikh Al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah)
From Al-Asaalah Magazine Issues 1-21, Translated and Arranged by: Isma’eel Alarcon

Shaykh Al-Albani on the Fashion of Dawah

The Fashion of Dawah – Shaykh Al-Albānī رحمه الله…
Translated by Owais Al-Hashimi حفظه الله
Video Courtesy: Brother Bilal Nahim

Allaah’s Attributes of Mocking and Ridiculing – Shaykh Al-Albaanee

[3] Question:

What should be said concerning Allaah’s saying: “Allaah mocks at them…” [13] and “Allaah ridicules them…”, [Surah At-Tawbah: 79] as well as what is similar to that from the Mutashaabihaat (unclear) verses?


The Salaf (Predecessors) used to say concerning these ayaat as well as those similar to them: “Leave them as they are stated.” But they did not mean by this to leave them the way they are without attaching any understanding to them. Rather, they meant by it, to leave them the way they are stated according to their correct understanding, without making comparisons for (the Attributes of Allaah stated in) them (tashbeeh), describing their manner (takyeef), misinterpreting them (ta’weel) and denying them (ta’teel). Allaah says:

“There is nothing whatsoever like Him (in comparison). And He is the All-Hearer, the All- Seer.” [Surah Ash-Shooraa: 11]

In this ayah, there is tanzeeh (negation of all anthropomorphic qualities from Allaah) as well as ithbaat (affirmation) for two attributes for Himself, which are hearing and seeing. The understanding of this elimination of all similarities to Allaah (tanzeeh) is that we must (also) affirm the attributes that Allaah has described Himself with or the Messenger, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, has described Him with, as it befits His grandness, may He be Glorified and Exalted. And we do not say “how” that is, such as by saying: “His hearing is like our hearing and His seeing is like our seeing.”

Likewise, we do not misinterpret that (i.e. make ta’weel) as has been done by some of the extremists from the Mu’tazilah, such that they have misinterpreted Allaah’s hearing and seeing to be His knowledge. And this is in spite of Allaah’s describing Himself with knowledge in many other ayaat of the Noble Qur’aan! Thus, the misinterpretation (ta’weel) of these individuals of hearing and seeing for knowledge constitutes ta’teel (denial of Allaah’s Attributes). The scholars say about this: “The one who commits ta’teel worships nothing, while the one who commits tajseem worships a statue.” [14]

Based on this, we say, concerning the two ayahs mentioned previously in the question, which contain Allaah’s mocking and ridiculing, that it is a mocking and a ridiculing that is befitting for Allaah. And it is not like that which limited intellects may perceive it to be, from that which has comparisons to the

[13] Surah Al-Baqarah: 15
[14] Translator’s Note: This is because the one who commits ta’teel (mu’attil) denies all of Allaah’s Attributes, so it is as if he is worshipping nothing. On the other hand, the one who commits tajseem (mujassim) ascribes anthropomorphic qualities to Allaah, for example saying His eyes are like our eyes and His hand is like our hands. So it is like He is worshipping a statue.

[Al-Asaalah, Issue #3]

Fataawaa of Shaikh Al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah) From Al-Asaalah Magazine Issues 1-21
Translated and Arranged by: Isma’eel Alarcon

Woman cutting some of her hair – Shaykh al Albaani

[42] Question: What is the ruling concerning a woman cutting some of her hair?

Answer: With regard to a woman cutting her hair, then one must look into the motive behind her doing it. So if a woman cuts her hair in imitation of the disbelieving or sinful women, then it is not permissible for her to cut it while having this intention. As for cutting only a small portion from her hair or cutting it in accordance to the desires of her husband, then I do not see anything preventing this from being done.

It is reported in Saheeh Muslim (no. 320) that:

“The Prophet’s wives used to cut their hair to the point that it would reach the earlobes.”

[Al-Asaalah, Issue #1]

Source: from the e-Book : Fataawaa of Shaikh Al-Albaanee
Translated and Arranged by: Isma’eel Alarcon

Women Praying in the Basement or Upper Levels of Masjid – Shaykh al Albaani

[37] Question: There are some masjids in which the women pray below the actual masjid, such as in the basement or in an upper level (above the masjid). We are women who pray in these masjids, at times following the Imaam from a point where we are not able to see him nor the male followers. And sometimes there is a large empty space left over in the area of prayer for the men. Is our prayer valid if we cannot see the Imaam or any of the (male) followers, and while knowing that sometimes we enter the masjid and don’t know what rak’ah he is in. Is it allowed in this situation to follow (the Imaam) by (hearing) the raised voice only? And is it correct for us to follow the Imaam while we are on an upper or lower level knowing that at times there is ample room in the masjid (floor)?

Answer: The answer is in two parts.

The first is that the prayer and the mentioned scenario is valid so long as the women pray in the masjid, regardless of whether it is in the upper or lower level. And it is so long as they are able to hear the takbeers from the Imaam indicating the change in position, such as from standing to bowing to prostrating.

The second part is that it is not proper for the women to pray like this unless the area for the men is filled with people and they (the women) cannot find a place behind the rows for them to pray in. In these circumstances, it is permissible for the women to pray in the upper or lower level of the masjid. But if this masjid, where the Imaam and the men behind him pray, has ample room left over, then it is not allowed for the women to go up to the upper level or down to the lower level where they won’t be able to see the movements of the Imaam or the movements of the men praying behind him.

The reason for this goes back to two matters:

1. When the Prophet, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “The best rows for the men are their first ones and their worst (rows) are their last ones. And the best rows for women are their last ones and the worst (rows) are their first ones“, he meant by it the same ground that the Prophet, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and his Companions behind him used to pray on. The women were not in upper or lower levels.

2. The underlying reason for this is that the speakers at times can be low and at other times they are not working. So the prayer of the women who are following him from an upper or lower level, from which they cannot see the prayer of the Imaam or those behind him, is subject to becoming invalid.

To summarize this answer:

The prayer that is performed while on an upper or lower level is valid. However, it is not permissible to designate those places for prayer when there is enough room in the prayer place (musalla), such that the women are able to pray in the back of it.

[Al-Asaalah, Issue #19]

Source : Fataawaa of Shaikh Al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah) – From Al-Asaalah Magazine Issues 1-21 – Translated and Arranged by: Isma’eel Alarcon

Does wiping over ones khimaar and turban replace wiping over the ears ? – Shaykh al Albaani

[33] Question:

Does wiping over ones khimaar and turban replace wiping over the ears, due to their both being part of the head? [24]


My opinion, and Allaah knows best, is that at times it does replace it and at other times it doesn’t. As for the condition in which it does replace wiping (the ears) then it is the state when the turban or the khimaar covers the entire head, including the ears. Thus, in this condition, the hadeeth would apply in that they (ears) are both part of the head literally.

As for the other condition in which it is not sufficient to just wipe over the turban or the khimaar, then it is when the turban or the khimaar does not cover the ears. This means that the turban is wide or aloof from the ears. Under these circumstances I hold that the authentic hadeeth about wiping the head itself. This is such that three ways of wiping the head have been established on the Prophet, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

The first way: This is the most common and normal of his ways and it was that he would wipe all of his head directly.

The second way: If the turban or the khimaar covered the head, then it was sufficient to just wipe over the turban or the khimaar, exactly like the head.

The third and final way: And this is the area that requires evidence and needs speculation. And it is when the turban would cover the last part of the head, yet expose the front of it (forehead). In this condition, the Prophet sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would wipe over his head directly and then grasp his turban.

[24] Translator’s Note: The Prophet said: “The ears are part of the head.” [Reported by At-Tirmidhee (37), Abu Dawood (134) and Ibn Maajah (444) and declared saheeh by Shaikh Al-Albaanee in As-Saheehah (1/36)] So we are obligated to wash them when taking wudoo and ghusl even though the ayah concerning wudoo doesn’t mention the ears but only the head. This question is based on this principle in that if we are permitted to wipe over certain garments in replacement of the head, are the ears included in the same manner?

[Al-Asaalah, Issue #8]

Source : Fataawaa of Shaikh Al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah) – From Al-Asaalah Magazine Issues 1-21
Translated and Arranged by: Isma’eel Alarcon

Guidelines with regard to Criticizing Individuals and Groups – Shaykh Rabee bin Haadee

AUTHOR: Shaikh Rabee’ bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee
SOURCE: His book “Manhaj Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah fee Naqd ar-Rijaal wal Kutub wat-Tawaa’if” (pg. 33-43 of 3rd Edition)

These are guidelines, which define those whom we are required to respect and honor from among mankind, such that it is not permissible to harm their honor. And they define those whom it is permissible to speak about and criticize, rather, whom it is obligatory to criticize at the time of necessity and benefit, without having to mention their good qualities.

· Those whom we are obligated to honor

First: The Messengers and Prophets, may Allaah’s peace and blessings be upon all of them

Allaah has related to us their stories, showing their striving and perseverance, while He has repudiated those who denied and opposed them. And He commanded the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as well as his ummah to follow their example.

Second: The Companions, may Allaah be pleased with them

There is nothing that the Muslim ummah should feel towards them except love and respect. Allaah has praised them highly in His Book. And He spoke about their high rank, their efforts and the sacrifices they made with their wealth and their lives in the Cause of Allaah.

Similarly, the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) praised them highly, both on an individual and a group level. This is such that the scholars of Islaam devoted special and close attention to their merits and qualities, writing many books concerning their virtues and special characteristics.

Furthermore, the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade us from insulting them, saying: “Do not revile my Companions. For I swear by the One in whose hand my soul is in, if one of you were to give in charity the likes of mount Uhud in gold, it would not equal a mudd (handful using 2 hands) of one of them nor even half of it.” [1]

Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah are well aware of their position and status, and so they guard it with the strictest form of guarding. And they forbid others from speaking vainly about what occurred of dispute between ‘Alee (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) and Mu’awiyah (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) and those who supported them from the rest of the Companions. Rather, they assert for them the reward that is given to the mujtahids. And they ruled that all those who spoke about them – or even about one of them – were upon deviance, misguidance and heresy.

Third: Those who followed them in goodness

This includes those who reached the (time of the) Companions of Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and were guided by their guidance, such as the seven scholars of Fiqh of Madeenah and those who followed their way in the rest of the towns. Then after them, are the scholars of Hadeeth, Fiqh and Tafseer – those who strove upon the way of the righteous Companions and Successors. And it includes those who followed their methodology with regard to Creed, holding tightly onto the Book and the Sunnah, avoiding innovations, vain desires and its adherents, and defending the truth and its adherents, up until this day of ours and after it, until Allaah’s promise comes about.

They are the ones whom the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was referring to when he said: “There will not cease to be a group from my ummah, triumphant upon the truth. Those who abandon them will not be able to harm them nor will those who oppose them, until the order (promise) of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, comes.”

They are better known as Ahl-ul-hadeeth, as has been agreed upon by the Imaams of Islaam and the scholars of guidance. And no one opposes them in regard to what they have agreed on except those from the people of vain desires, ignorance and misguidance.

Imaam Ahmad, Al-Haakim and Ibn Al-Qayyim have indeed accused those who criticize them of being heretics. And those who spoke vilely about them (the scholars) have been repudiated severely by Ibn Qutaybah, Ar-Raamaharzamee, Al-Khateeb (Al-Baghdaadee) and others.

And there is no doubt that no one speaks against them except for those whom Allaah has led astray and blinded. So if one of these (scholars) errs in an issue from the issues in which Ijtihaad is allowed, it must be clarified but not in the manner of condemning.

Shaikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullaah) said with regard to these (scholars):
“So whoever is known to have (the ability to perform) the allowable Ijtihaad, then it is not permissible for him to be mentioned in a manner of condemnation or blame, because Allaah has forgiven him of his error. Instead, it is an obligation due to what he possesses of Eemaan and Taqwaa to show loyalty and love to him, and to fulfill what Allaah has mandated from his rights, such as praising him, making du’aa (supplication) for him, and so on.” [2]

· Those whom it is permissible to criticize, disparage and warn the people against their harm:

First: The People of Innovation

It is permissible – rather obligatory – to speak about the people of innovation and warn against them and their fabrications, whether individually or as groups and whether they are absent or present. They include those among the Khawaarij, the Rawaafid, the Jahmiyyah, the Murji’ah, the Karaamiyyah and the people of Rhetoric – those whose knowledge of Kalaam (rhetoric) has brought them to corrupted and deviant beliefs,[3] such as the rejection of all or some of Allaah’s Attributes. [4]

So it is an obligation to warn against these types of people, their books and their misguided ways. And how great in number they are!

Likewise, the same applies to those who follow their methodology from the sects [and groups] of our time, such as those who separate themselves away from the people of Tawheed and Sunnah, oppose them and remain far away from their aspects of the methodology. In fact, they wage war against these aspects of the methodology and chase others away from it and its adherents (i.e. the scholars). The likes of these individuals are followed by those who support and defend them. And these followers of theirs mention their good qualities and praise them for it, praising their personalities and leaders. And they have preferred their (innovated) methodologies over the methodology of the people of Tawheed, the Sunnah and the Jamaa’ah!

Second: Reporters of Hadeeth and Witnesses, if they are deemed Unreliable

It is permissible to criticize these people according to the consensus of the Muslims. Rather, it is an obligation. This has been mentioned and related by An-Nawawee and Ibn Taimiyyah, may Allaah have mercy on both of them.

1. So if the scholars of the science of al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel all agree upon criticizing a narrator, accusing him of lying or making gross mistakes. Or they say: “His hadeeth are to be rejected”, “He has baseless (weak) hadeeth” or what resembles that, then it is permitted for everyone doing research or quoting to quote or report that. And it is not required of him – in the least – to mention that person’s good qualities, not to mention doing research on all of his good qualities and then mentioning them!

2. As for the narrators of which there is differing as to whether or not they are reliable or unreliable, or the narrators who were innovators, then:

The First Type: To list the mention of that narrator’s criticism first and accept it without considering the sayings of those who declared him reliable would be abandoning something from the Religion and from what has been established on the leader of the Messengers (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). And this is a great injustice and a negligence of something that is part of the Religion, which we are obligated to preserve. And it is a trust that falls on the neck of the scholars (i.e. it is their duty). So in this case, for the benefit of the Religion and for preserving it, and for the sake of giving a general benefit to the Muslims, we must seek to verify the reality of the matter. And we must weigh between the sayings of the scholars of Jarh wa-Ta’deel, taking that which is more established, whether it is from the criticism (jarh) or the approval (ta’deel).

All of this is for the purpose of bringing about this beneficial good, not because it is an obligation to make a balance for the condition of that individual who has been declared unreliable (between his good and bad qualities)! So if it is established that he is in fact unreliable after having done the research, it is permitted to relate his unreliability without mentioning this balancing (between those who criticized him and those who approved of him). And no scholar said that (mentioning) this (balancing) was obligatory.

As for the innovator, then if we are in the position of warning against the innovations, then we warn against him, mentioning his innovation only. And it is not an obligation on us to mention any of his good qualities. And if we are in the subject of narrating reports, then it is an obligation to mention his trustworthiness and honesty, if he was in fact trustworthy and honest, for the purpose of benefiting, attaining and preserving the narration. Not for any other purpose, such as the obligation of making a balance (muwaazanah) between his good and bad qualities, as some people claim! So it is not required on us to mention his generosity or his knowledge or his courage or his efforts and good manners, as well as all those other things that have no relation to the subject of narrating.

There were some among the Salaf who would reject the reports of the people of innovation and those who were accused (of weakness, lying).

Ibn ‘Abbaas (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) said: “There was once a time in which when a man would say: ‘Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said…’ our eyes would hasten to him and our ears would open wide (to listen) to him. But when the difficulties and disgrace befell the people, we did not take from the people except, for that which we knew.” [5]

And Ibn Sireen said: “The people never used to ask about the isnaad (chain of narration). But when the fitnah (afflictions) occurred, they began to say: ‘Name your men to us.’ So the Ahl-us-Sunnah would be looked upon and their hadeeth would be accepted. And the people of innovation would be looked upon and their hadeeth would not be accepted.” [6]

The words of Ibn ‘Abbaas and Ibn Sireen indicate that this was the general view of the Salaf at the time, during the days of the last of the Companions and their Successors (Taabi’een) after them.

Perhaps this existed in them due to their awareness of being in no need of the narrations of innovators. So they took this firm and solid stance against them. But when those who came after them were obliged to take the reports of the truthful ones among the innovators, they accepted it from them, only under certain conditions and stipulations, which consisted of taking the sound from it, while rejecting the crooked and corrupt aspects from it.

Imaam Abu Ishaaq Ibraaheem Ibn Ya’qoob Al-Jawzjaanee (rahimahullaah) said: “Among them was he who deviated from the truth, yet still possessed an honest tongue. And his hadeeth would be widespread amongst the people since he was forsaken for his innovation but trusted with his narration. So concerning these individuals, I see no other alternative but to take from their hadeeth that which is (already) known, so long as his innovation does not become strengthened because of that.” [7]

· Third: Those whom it is permissible to backbite:

An-Nawawee (rahimahullaah) said: “Chapter: What is permissible from backbiting:
Know that backbiting is permissible for a legitimate and legislated reason, of which the allowance for doing it (the backbiting) would not be possible without it. And they are six reasons:

First: Oppression

Second: Seeking help for changing an evil and returning a sinner to what is correct.

Third: When seeking a legal ruling

Fourth: Warning and advising the Muslims against an evil. This is in several perspectives, one of which is: Criticizing those who have been declared unreliable in narration and testimony. This is permissible according to the unanimous agreement of the Muslims. Rather it becomes obligatory for necessity’s sake…”

This is up to the point where he said:
“One last case is when one sees a student frequenting an innovator or a deviant, seeking to attain knowledge from him, and he fear that the student may be affected by that. Then it is upon him to advise him of the condition of that innovator, providing that his intention only be for the sake of advising…” [8]

His complete words will be mentioned later in its due place.

I say: So you see that he did not make it a condition for one to mention the good qualities of the person who is being warned against. And he did not say that it was an obligation to make a balance (between good and bad qualities) as those people make it an obligation, holding that if one abandons doing this balancing then it goes against the trust and it shuns equity and justice!

Shaikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullaah) said: “Someone once said to Ahmad Ibn Hanbal: ‘It is becoming difficult upon me to say, This person is such and such, and that person is such and such (i.e. criticizing them).’ So he (Ahmad) said: ‘If you were to remain silent and I were to remain silent, then when will the ignorant person know the authentic from the weak?’

And since advising is obligatory with regard to (bringing) beneficial good in the Religion, specific and general:

Such as is the case when reporters of Hadeeth have made mistakes or lied, as Yahyaa Ibn Sa’eed said: “I asked Maalik, Ath-Thawree, Laith Ibn Sa’ad – I think – and Al-Awzaa’ee about a man that was accused with regard to hadeeth, so they all said: ‘Convey (expose) his affair.’”

And such as is the case when the leaders of innovation from those who voiced sayings contrary to the Qur’aan and the Sunnah and who performed worship contrary to that of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.

Then indeed, clarifying their condition and warning the ummah against them is an obligation based on the unanimous agreement of the Muslims. This is such that it was once said to Ahmad Ibn Hanbal: “Is a man that fasts, prays and makes ‘Itikaaf more beloved to you or one that speaks out against the people of innovation?” So he (rahimahullaah) said: “If he fasts, prays and performs ‘Itikaaf then that is only for himself, but if he speaks out against the innovators then indeed this is for all of the Muslims. And this is better.”

Shaikh-ul-Islaam, Ibn Taimiyyah, said:
“So he has explained that the benefit of (doing) this is general for all of the Muslims with regard to their Religion. And it is from the types of Jihaad that is done in the Way of Allaah. This is since cleansing Allaah’s way, His Religion, methodologies and legislation, and repelling the transgression of these individuals and having enmity against them is a collective obligation (fard kifaayah), according to the consensus of the Muslims.

And if it were not for those whom Allaah placed to repel the harm of these individuals, the Religion would have indeed been corrupted. And the corruption experienced from these individuals is greater than the corruption experienced from being conquered by the enemies (of Islaam) during war.

For indeed, when these (enemies) conquered (the Muslim lands), they did not corrupt the hearts (of the Muslims) and what they contained from Religion, except for what came afterward. But as for these individuals, then they corrupt the hearts from the very start.” [9]

And he has lengthier words on this subject, which will be mentioned later.

So this is the true methodology of the Salaf, not just a claim. And it is that methodology, which was followed by Ibn Taimiyyah and others from the sincere and honest Mujaahideen. And no criticism of a critic ever rebuked them, because they did this for the sake of Allaah.

So where is it that making this kind of balancing (between good and bad qualities) must be a condition?!

And where is the obligation for mentioning a person’s good qualities (when criticizing him), which we hear so often repeated unjustly in defense of those callers to misguidance?!

Rather you have seen that Ibn Taimiyyah held that it was an obligation to refute the people of vain desires. And that it was from the different types of Jihaad in the Way of Allaah, since it is a way of cleansing His Religion, methodologies and legislation.

Sayings of the Imaams concerning the People of Innovation and (Hadeeth) Narrators:

Furthermore, the scholars of Islaam have indeed spoken out against the people of innovation and the (weak) reporters. And they did not indicate in the least towards the obligation of making it a condition to create this type of balancing (between good and bad qualities). They authored books on the subject of al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel and books in support of the Sunnah and in refutation of the people of innovation and in criticizing them. And they wrote books on the defects (of hadeeth) and books on the fabricated ahaadeeth. They did not make it an obligation to make this type of balancing (Muwaazanah) at all. In fact, they even wrote books specifically with just Jarh (discrediting of reporters) in them, and limiting them to mentioning only those (narrators) that were declared unreliable or those who were spoken about with criticism. So they did not place this principle (ofMuwaazanah) as a condition at all.

Thus Imaam Al-Bukhaaree – who was who he was with regard to possessing authority, religious characteristics, good manners and piety – wrote two books on weak narrators and he named them “Al-Kabeer” and “As-Sagheer“.

And An-Nasaa’ee wrote a book about the weak and rejected narrators called ad-Du’afaa wal-Matrookeen.

Al-‘Aqeelee wrote a book on weak narrators, which is known as ad-Du’afaa.

Ibn ‘Adiyy authored a book, al-Kaamil, about those who were criticized.

Ibn Hibbaan wrote a book specifically about those who were declared unreliable called al-Majrooheen.

Ad-Daaraqutnee and Ibn Ma’een have numerous books in which they answer questions concerning weak narrators and rejected reporters.

Al-Haakim wrote a book called ad-Du’afaa (Weak Narrators), which is a chapter from his (bigger book) al-Madkhal.

Abu Nu’aim and Ibn Al-Jawzee wrote on this subject also.

Adh-Dhahabee wrote three books on those who were declared unreliable and those who were criticized, which are al-Meezaan, al-Mughnee and Deewaan ad-Du’afaa.

Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr authored Lisaan al-Meezaan.

And likewise, the books on al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel are filled with the discrediting of those who were declared unreliable (majrooheen), especially the books of Imaam Yahyaa Ibn Ma’een. So they did not make it a condition that this Muwaaznah (mentioning good and bad qualities) must be employed.

Indeed, this methodology, which makes this Muwaaznah a condition, is indeed from that which results in: The discrediting returning back to the (past) scholars of Islaam, and their falling into the web of being accused with injustice and treachery (i.e. since they did not mention the good deeds of those whom they criticized). We seek Allaah’s refuge from a methodology that produces such kinds of consequences.

Here, it is appropriate to mention some examples of the criticism of the Imaams (scholars) on some people, in which they just mentioned the criticism without showing any consideration to what they had from good qualities.

Imaam Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy on him:

1. Al-Marwadhee (rahimahullaah) said: “Abu ‘Abdillaah (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal) once mentioned Haarith al-Muhaasibee and said: ‘Haarith is the source of all this affliction – meaning the innovations of the views of Jahm. There is no calamity except for Haarith.'” [10]

2. Habeeb Ibn Abee Hilaal: Ahmad said of him: “He is rejected.” [11]

3. Habeeb Ibn Jahdar: Ahmad declared him a liar. [12]

4. Al-Hasan Ibn Dhakwaan: Ahmad said of him: “His ahaadeeth are forged” and in one report, he said: “He is of no significance.”

5. Khaalid Ibn Yazeed Ibn ‘Abd-ir-Rahmaan Al-Hamdaanee: Ahmad said: “He is nothing.” [13]

Imaam Al-Bukhaaree, may Allaah have mercy on him:

1. He said: “Jisr bin Farqad: Yahyaa Ibn ad-Darees and others reported about him that: ‘He is of no significance.'” [14]

2. Khaalid bin Iyaas al-Qurshee al-‘Adawee al-Madanee: “He is nothing.” [15]

3. Dawood Ibn al-Muhbir: “His hadeeth are rejected.” [16]

4. Dawood Ibn ‘Ataa Abu Sulaimaan al-Madanee: “His hadeeth are rejected. Ahmad said: ‘I saw him and he was nothing.'” [17]

Imaam An-Nasaa’ee, may Allaah have mercy on him:

1. Ibraaheem Ibn ‘Uthmaan Abu Shyibah: “His hadeeth are rejected and he was from Koofah.” [18]

2. Ibraaheem Ibn Al-Hakam Ibn Abaan: “His hadeeth are rejected. He was from ‘Adan.” [19]

3. Ibraaheem Ibn Khatheem: “His hadeeth are rejected. He was from Baghdaad.” [20]

4. Ibraaheem Ibn Yazeed Al-Khoozee: “His hadeeth are rejected. He was from ‘Adan.” [21]

5. Asha’ath Ibn Sa’eed as-Samaan: “He is nothing.” [22]


[1] Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim from the narration of Abu Sa’eed

[2] Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa (28/234)

[3] Shaikh-ul-Islaam (Ibn Taimiyyah) has stated that there is a unanimous agreement amongst the Muslims on this.

[4] Likewise, the Sufis, except for the one who ascribes himself to them, yet he in his reality and his methodology is not part of them. These include those whom the Imaams of Islaam have testified as tot heir virtue, uprightness and perseverance on the Qur’aan and Sunnah.

[5] The Muqaddimah (Introduction) of Saheeh Muslim (1/13-15)

[6] The Muqaddimah (Introduction) of Saheeh Muslim (1/13-15)

[7] Ahwaal ar-Rijaal (pg. 538)

[8] Riyaadh as-Saaliheen (pg. 489) with the verification of Al-Albaanee

[9] Majmoo’ ar-Rasaa’il (5/110)

[10] Bahr-ud-Dam (pg. 99)

[11] Bahr-ud-Dam(pg. 105)

[12] Bahr-ud-Dam (pg. 109)

[13] Bahr-ud-Dam (pg. 114)

[14] Bahr-ud-Dam (pg. 114)

[15] Ad-Du’afaa as-Sagheer (pg. 418) with the verification of At-Tanaawee

[16] Ad-Du’afaa as-Sagheer (pg. 18)

[17] Ad-Du’afaa as-Sagheer (pg. 87)

[18] Ad-Du’afaa wal-Matrookeen (pg. 42)

[19] ibid

[20] ibid

[21] ibid

[22] Ad-Du’afaa wal-Matrookeen (pg. 56)

Etiquette Seven: Preserving and Safeguarding One’s Books : Shaikh Saalih bin ‘Abdil-’Azeez Aali Shaikh

Also from the etiquettes related to books is that one should make an effort to care for and reinforce their outer and inner parts as well as to keep them clean so that the books can be in a presentable condition that is befitting for others besides you.

This is since when a student of knowledge buys a book, he must have or should we say it’s preferred for him to have two types of intentions. The first is that he should intend to benefit from it in order to free himself from ignorance. And secondly, he should intend that others benefit from the book as well – such as either his wife or his children. Afterward, the books can either remain with that person (in his family) or they can be donated after him. Or perhaps one can give them away to someone as a gift or sell them, and so on and so forth.

So every time someone takes care of his books – whether by binding them or preserving them so that they can last longer in the future – the result of this is that his reward and recompense will be greater for doing that.

From the amazing stories about negligence shown towards books is what was reported by Al-Qiftee, author of the book Inbaa’-ur-Ruwaat, concerning the story about him and the book al-Ansaab of As-Sam’aanee. Perhaps I mentioned it to you before. Al-Qiftee was very enthusiastic for books so much so that he had gathered a collection of books that was from the best of what could be compiled.

He said: “The book al-Ansaab of As-San’aanee in the author’s own handwriting was presented to me, and it consisted of the second, third and fourth volumes, however, the first volume in the author’s handwriting was missing.” Even though there was a span of close to 250 years between the time of Al-Qiftee and that of As-Sam’aanee, he nevertheless purchased the three volumes and said: “So I bought them.”

Then some time had passed during which he would continuously ask people about this book trying to find the first volume. He kept asking about it and getting nothing in reply to the point that he thought the book was missing and that that was the end of it. Perhaps the book written in the author’s handwriting had been borrowed by someone and then went missing or it had gotten lost, and so on.

He went on to say: “Then one day, my servant brought me a parcel of legumes – i.e. a kind of vegetable – wrapped up in pieces of paper that appeared to be originally from a book. So I grabbed the paper before the legumes” – since they had no value to him compared to these pieces of paper – “and when I looked at it, behold it was the handwriting of As-Sam’aanee, which I recognized! I then took it to my copy of the book al-Ansaab and discovered that this page was from the first volume that was missing! So I rushed in haste to the one who was selling the legumes and found that only a few pages from it were still left. So I asked him: ‘Where are the rest of these papers?’ He replied: ‘We wrapped legumes with it and they are dispersed throughout the people’s homes.'” So he said: “Verily, to Allaah we belong and to Him we will return!”

Someone’s loss is another person’s gain! This one is sad because of his loss, while the other is happy because he found these pieces of paper which contain the handwriting of Al-Haafidh As-Sam’aanee that have no value to him and which he instead used to wrap legumes in and give out to people.

So it is said that he, i.e. Al-Qiftee, then spent a month mourning over knowledge and its people and for the book al-Ansaab of As-Sam’aanee.

We wanted to say by relaying this story that one must take special care of his books – whether by way of reinforcing them or by way of preserving them. If one has the pages of a book all over the place then it is easy that the pages will get lost. But if they are preserved and attached to each other, this is the best way to guarantee that they will continue to exist in your library.

The issues related to this subject are many. Perhaps what we mentioned here will serve as a reminder for some of the things that are required with regard to books. I ask Allaah to grant myself and you success, correctness, uprightness and guidance, and may the peace, praises and blessings of Allaah be on our prophet, Muhammad.

[End of the Lecture] 

Taken from : The Student of Knowledge and Books : Shaikh Saalih bin ‘Abdil-’Azeez Aali Shaikh

Etiquette Six: Reviewing and Inspecting One’s Books : Shaikh Saalih bin ‘Abdil-’Azeez Aali Shaikh

Also from the etiquettes related to caring for books, even though this topic is vast and covers many aspects, is that a student of knowledge should review and examine his books from time to time. This means that he should not amass books without reviewing what he has. So, for example, he goes out and gets this book and that book, puts them in his library and only refers to a small portion from them. One should continuously inspect all of his books.

You should go and examine what books you have so that you remember the subjects they cover. This is since some people buy the same book twice or three times or maybe even four times due to the fact that they have forgotten that they already have the book! And this is because of the few times that they inspect and review their collection.

But if one were to have a constant connection to his books – especially in countries such as ours where the libraries of some of the students of knowledge are big – if he does not review his books, perhaps he will ask to borrow the book from someone when he already has it himself! Or perhaps he may forget what is in the book or need to research a topic but because he doesn’t review his collection, he makes no reference to that book.

Another etiquette regarding books is one’s concern for donated books. Donated books refer to any book that has an imprint or seal on it that states that it is a donation (i.e. waqf). You may only keep these books in your library so long as you meet the donor’s conditions. When a person donates books he is (firstly) making them available for the students of knowledge. If you are not using the book and someone else needs it, then giving the book to someone else that needs it is better. Yes, you may have a valid need for the book, even if it is one time in the year that you refer to it. There is nothing wrong with this since this book was given as a donation for the students of knowledge.

However, if you do not refer to the book and two years or four to five years have passed by without you looking into it and you acknowledge that you have no interest in referencing this book or these books in general or perhaps you won’t need the book in the future, then in this case your keeping it contradicts its purpose.

Some scholars say that it is not permissible to keep these books (in this situation) and that they should be given to those who deserve them. They should be passed on to those who will use them and benefit from them. This is since the donor has intended them as donations for only those who will use them. If you are not using them then it is more fitting that it should go to someone who will.

There are some students of knowledge that feel that they are above keeping donated books if they have a lot of money and are able to obtain the book by buying it. This is since perhaps one may store away the book and not use it. So if the book is a charitable copy then it may be that he is sinning for withholding this book from someone who can use it. This is perhaps more noticeable in countries in which books are more scarce.

Taken from : The Student of Knowledge and Books : Shaikh Saalih bin ‘Abdil-’Azeez Aali Shaikh

Etiquette One: Arranging and Organizing Books : Shaikh Saalih bin ‘Abdil-’Azeez Aali Shaikh

A student should arrange his books in such a way that it is easy for him to refer to them if there is an issue that requires him to research some of his books. This means that he should maintain his books in a certain order. The way the books are to be organized depends on the preference of this student. So if he requires that all of his books on Tafseer be arranged together and all of his books on Hadeeth be arranged together, and he further divides the Tafseer section into its various sciences and the Hadeeth section into its various sciences, and the Fiqh books into their respective madh-hab’s and so on and so forth, then there is no harm in this. And if he decides to arrange his books in some other order that he feels is more beneficial, then there is also no problem with this. The objective is for the book to be in a place where if he looks for it, he will find it.

Books are divided into two types: Large books and small treatises. As for the large books, then these are the ones that we see in a library. This is since they are big – 10 volumes, 15 volumes, 13 volumes, 14 volumes, etc. This is clear. Rather, what deserves special attention are the small treatises, which are also important. It is possible that these smaller books may contain knowledge that cannot be found in the bigger books.

When he needs to refer to one of these small treatises, he looks for it but can’t find it. Why? It is because he has not put it in its proper place. One should take special care of these small treatises by putting them in a separate area. This means that they should not be put amidst the works of research and the larger books. So for example, a person may put a large book on his shelf and then next to it place a small book, in terms of its pages, and then next to that a small 40-50 page treatises and so on! The scholars have devoted some of their attention to this aspect, such that they have put forth what they call “compilations” consisting of a volume or more in which there can be found 10 or 12 treatises or more.

So if it’s possible, a student of knowledge should compile these small treatises into a collection, placing booklets of a similar subject into one volume. This means that he should put all the small treatises that deal with the manners of seeking knowledge in one specific volume, for example, or the small treatises that deal with the subject of Hadeeth terminology in a separate volume or the essays on the sciences of Tafseer and the sciences of Qur’aan in one specific collection and so on and so forth.

Likewise, he should place his Fiqh-related books and treatises separately. It is also appropriate to divide the Fiqh-related books and treatises into different sections, within themselves, according to what topics of Fiqh (jurisprudence) they fall under. So for example, one should place a treatise on crimes in its proper place amongst the chapters of Fiqh, thus organizing his books in this manner. He should begin with the treatises that deal with purification, followed by the treatises that deal with prayer.

Even those treatises on prayer should be subdivided into those that deal with the conditions of prayer first followed by the rulings on prayer which include the prostration of forgetfulness, for example. Each book should be put in its proper place. They should not be placed in the section of Zakaat, say, which comes after the prayer. The same should then be done with similar treatises, i.e. these small booklets that are hard to locate if one needs to refer to them. They should be organized according to their subjects of jurisprudence.

The same goes for the rest of the Islamic sciences whether they deal with history, Creed or their likes. One should put the books that cover Creed in general amongst the general books or treatises on Creed. Or he should place those subjects on Creed that he is researching into different sections on Creed so that it is easy for him to refer back to them.

So the first etiquette with regard to books is that one must organize his books in a good manner. Maintaining one’s library in order is an indication of a student of knowledge’s regard for his books.

However, if you visit and are granted access to a person’s library and find that his books are scattered around, in disorder and so on, this is due to ether one of two possibilities. The books are this way either because (1) the person researches his books a lot and needs to refer to them, thus causing his books to be scattered about – and even though this is something praiseworthy he should still put them back in their proper places afterward – or (2) he does not organize his books at all to begin with.

In his book on the judges of Egypt, which is called Raf’u-il-Isr ‘an Qudaat Misr, Al- Haafidh Ibn Hajr records a biography of one of the judges in Egypt and mentioned that when he was granted his judicial position, he would sit in a place where his books were on display. His books would be arranged in a nice and neat order. A student of knowledge entered his office once and saw his books and said: “What excellent order these books are in!” He was insinuating that the neat order and arrangement that his books were in indicated his lack of referencing them and using them. The judge understood this and kept it a secret to himself.

Later on, this man that had criticized the judge for having his books neatly arranged was put in charge of recording people’s marriages, i.e. the marriage contracts – something like an official that is licensed to wed couples. So the judge discovered that he had made an error in one of his marriage certificates and then rebuked him harshly. This shows that he had preserved that statement he made (a long time ago) in his memory.

The point is that this student used the fact that the judge’s books were neatly arranged as proof that he didn’t read or use them. But this is not always the case. If a student of knowledge wants to work on a subject or research an issue and he takes a number of books out, putting them in front of him and looking into this one and looking into that one, when he finishes, he should return them back to their proper place so that it will be easy for him to refer back to them at a later time.

Taken from : The Student of Knowledge and Books : Shaikh Saalih bin ‘Abdil-’Azeez Aali Shaikh

Etiquette Two: Acquiring the Most Accurate Editions of Books : Shaikh Saalih bin ‘Abdil-’Azeez Aali Shaikh

From the manners of dealing with books is that a student of knowledge focuses his attention on the revised and accurate editions of books only. In the old days, books used to be bought from a manuscript transcriber known as a warraaq. A person was called a warraaq if he had a place where he would manually transcribe a copy of a book and sell it to buyers or sell it to someone who intended to sell his manuscripts (i.e. dealers). These people were known as warraaqoon – those who devoted their time to transcribing books by hand or to just selling books. Amongst these transcribers were those who were vary careful in their work and others who weren’t.

The closest things in resemblance to them in our time are the publishing houses and print shops that exist today. They have inherited the work of the warraaqoon throughout the passage of time. This is why we say that the occupation of the copyists was taken over in detail as time passed on by the scholars. A student of knowledge should strive to buy a verified and edited book or to transcribe one by hand whilst comparing what he has copied to the original manuscript. Or he should buy a book and compare it with a reliable source copy that is studied in the presence of scholars and so on and so forth.

What this means is that a student of knowledge should focus on acquiring the authentic and verified editions of book whether in manuscript or published form. In this day and age, most of the students of knowledge devote their attention and concern to only the published books. This is why we see that the books in print today are many.

The publication of books in the Arabic Language began a little more than five centuries ago, i.e. printing books in Arabic started more than 500 years ago, which was around 1400-1500 AD, since that is the time they were dated. However, the majority of the books that were printed in the Arabic Language in the Arab and Muslim lands only occurred in the last two-hundred years. Whatever was printed before that was published in the western countries due to their high regard for publishing books.

The point of all this is to show that the publication of books is something old and well established. Today one can find displayed in the marketplaces and stores a variety of different publishing companies, books, and names of verifiers and editors, etc. This is why many times that a phrase or a sentence is quoted from a recently published book, which is not necessarily revised accurately or precisely, the result is that discrepancies and mix-ups occur.

This happened to me several times while teaching in the mosque’s study area. I confirm the reading of a passage (from a book being studied), for example, based on an accurate edition of the book, then one of the students of knowledge comes and presents a recent edition of the same book in which the passage in there is inaccurate. The reason for this is because the contemporary publishing companies are not all precise and meticulous with the books they print. This also can apply to the older publishing companies. So regardless if the book was published a long time ago or recently, you should strive to find which edition of the book is the most accurate.

If you are interested in purchasing a book or acquiring knowledge on some subject, you must seek to attain the most accurate edition of the book that has been published with precision. So you should ask the people of knowledge or those who have expertise on this subject, saying for example: “What is the most reliable edition of such and such book?” “What is the most accurate edition of Tafseer Al-Qurtubee?” “What is the most accurate edition of Tafseer At- Tabaree?” “What is the most accurate edition of Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree?” – which if you acquire, you will keep in your library and have no need for another edition of the book to go along with it.

What we have observed today from many publications is that you find the publishing companies only print books for commercial purposes and so they come out unreliable. This is why you should ask about which edition you should acquire or which edition you want to purchase. So you should not just buy any book that is thrown at you. Rather, you should ask about it and become aware of the publishing company that has produced it.

If a certain individual has verified and reviewed the publication of the book, you should ask about whether or not this individual is accurate or inaccurate in his verification. Is he a businessman or not? And so on and so forth. To reiterate, a student of knowledge should focus on acquiring only the most accurate edition of a particular book.

He should only buy a book after enquiring about it. For example, you should ask: “Which is the most accurate edition of Tafseer Al-Qurtubee?” So if you receive an answer to this question, you should then go and strive to acquire this edition of the book regardless of whether it is printed or photocopied or published in modern times via computer formatting. You should strive to acquire only the correct and accurate editions of books.

What I have noticed according to my opinion is that most of the books that the brothers have in their hands are editions that are not accurate and precise. They may have a valid copy of the book however it is not completely accurate.

Some individual has taken charge of the overview of its publication but what he has done can hardly be called “taking charge.” Or it is said that the edition was amended by the publishing house and so on and so forth, however, it contains mistakes and errors the likes of which make the edition defective and not fit for a student of knowledge to acquire and reference and use for researching information.

Therefore, the second etiquette is that a student of knowledge should strive to acquire the accurate and precise editions regardless of whether they are printed in older form or they are recent publications. What is important is that the edition is accurate. So one should get to know and become acquainted with which publishing companies are meticulous and precise and which publishing companies are not. This is so that he will be able to know and distinguish which editors are just interested in business from which ones show great concern and care for their verifications. By doing this, he will also be able to tell the advantages that certain editions have over others, as well as how many times one book has been published.

We will diverge from the topic a little here and say that a student of knowledge should also be careful when looking into verifications and what people do nowadays such as placing footnotes and comments in their books. He should be aware of the different editions that exist for a book because it may be for example that an editor makes a reference to a volume and page number of a particular book and the reader believes that the book was only printed once. So when he goes to reference the volume and page number of the edition that he has, he cannot find it and says: “This person has erred or made a mistake.” It is possible that this same book was published over a hundred times or twenty times of thirty times or five times or four times and so on and so forth. So if a student of knowledge is aware of the different editions of the book and the number of times it was printed and the advantages and merits that some editions have over others, this is from the supplementary forms of knowledge that is from the general etiquettes that a student of knowledge should abide by.

Taken from : The Student of Knowledge and Books : Shaikh Saalih bin ‘Abdil-’Azeez Aali Shaikh

Etiquette Three: Keeping One’s Books Clean and Tidy : Shaikh Saalih bin ‘Abdil-’Azeez Aali Shaikh

The third etiquette with regard to books is that one must strive to keep his books clean and preserved. This means that his books should be clean and have no dust attached to them. They should not be dirty nor should they have any bad markings on them. They should also not be put in an improper place, meaning the book should be put in an appropriate place that is befitting for it.

From that which is not befitting for books – especially the books of the people of knowledge in which can be found a clarification of the meanings of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah – is that they have dirt, dust and filth on them. Keeping books clean is a sign of one’s respect for what is contained in them and a proof that one magnifies the symbols of Allaah. Allaah says:

ِبﻮُﻠُﻘْﻟا ىَﻮْﻘَﺗ ﻦِﻣ ﺎَﻬﱠﻧِﺈَﻓ ِﻪﱠﻠﻟا َﺮِﺋﺎَﻌَﺷ ْﻢﱢﻈَﻌُﻳ ﻦَﻣَو
“And whoever magnifies the symbols of Allaah, then that is truly from the piety of the hearts.” [Surah Al-Hajj: 32]

So if the book is on Tafseer or on the Sunnah or on Fiqh – the lawful and unlawful – or on Creed, then a person should strive to preserve them. Maintaining books clean falls under honoring Allaah and honoring the religious knowledge that is taken from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.

When dealing with books, from the perspective of preserving and safeguarding them, a student of knowledge should also be careful of not turning his book into a parcel for his documents, special essays or receipts, i.e. such as the sales receipts for the books he bought and so on. If you were to pick up one of his books and look at it you would find that there is a receipt and a treatise inside it or that there is a pen and an eraser inside it and so on an so forth. Some of the scholars have said: “Do not turn your book into a bouquet or a parcel.”

This is one of the important etiquettes with regard to books – that you not turn them into storage bins such as by placing pens inside them or treating them like repositories for money and currency. So if you were to open up a book you would find all of these things inside them and notice that the book’s binding has become worn and that the book has changed and so on due to the book not being preserved properly.

A book should also not be turned into a bouquet, i.e. it should not be folded in an inappropriate manner, since a book contains the words of Allaah and the words of the Messenger of Allaah (Peace be upon him). So it is not proper to treat a book in this manner.

It is also not proper to put a glass of water or a cup of tea or their likes on top of books. The books of the people of knowledge, which contain texts from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah should be put in the highest places and not in the lowest places with pieces of paper and such on top of them. Abiding by this etiquette instills respect in the heart for the words of Allaah and the words of the Messenger of Allaah, not to mention the knowledge that is derived from these two sources.

What is also related to preserving books is when a student of knowledge is careful in the manner that he records text from books. Sometimes, we see books with written comments in them that are annotated in such a way that their benefit is squandered. In what has preceded, we have seen that the scholars forbade from writing small letters in books, such as when you write notes using tiny lettering or when you make notes on points of benefit found in your book using such small letters that if a student of knowledge wanted to, he would not be able to benefit from them. In what has been reported, Imaam Ahmad one time regretted having recorded ahaadeeth with small handwriting. This is since when he needed to refer to them in his old age, he was not able to extract these points of benefit because they were written in very tiny letters and the ink from the letters were so close to each other that it was hard to read and thus the benefit was lost.

Some scholars or students of knowledge may not have good handwriting. This is not a flaw. However, one should arrange his letters in such a way that they are written clearly. This is since some of the scholars who didn’t possess good handwriting would not be able to read even their own handwriting, as was the case with Shaikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah whose writings would have to be extracted by one of his students. This is mentioned in the books on Biographies.

Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer indicated this in the 14th volume of his collection al- Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah while discussing the year in which this student of Ibn Taimiyyah passed away. He said: “And he was the one who would be able to extract the second sermon of Ibn Taimiyyah. And whenever Ibn Taimiyyah would want to take a portion (from his writings), no one would be able to extract it except for him since Shaikh-ul-Islaam (Ibn Taimiyyah) would write in a hurry and his writings would be unclear, so at times it would appear obscure to him.”

This was due to the letters being written very small. This could work, however it is not possible all the time, which is why a student of knowledge needs to know how to write in his books.

The scholars of Hadeeth have advised in their etiquettes on writing that when a student of knowledge wants to write, he should start from the line that he is in or in which can be found the note, then continue by going up towards the top and not the bottom. This means that when you study a book with a teacher or you make notes in a book and you come upon an area where you begin writing (a comment), you should transfer from that line to a line above it. The reason for this is because you may encounter a point of benefit in the line that follows that one, which requires you to write a note for it, and so then you will be confused on how to write it. Start ascending to the line above it. If you write from the bottom to the top, this will ensure that your writing will be clear.

You should also try to make your lines straight but designed in a sloping manner such that if you want to correct anything later, you can insert that correction in the empty spaces that are between the slants. Perhaps some of you have seen some of the old books with notes in them and noticed that these (notes) were written in blocks of text that appear to be in the shape of triangles. This was not done in vain and without purpose. Rather, these books were written this way – in the manner of the ancestors – because they needed to be verified afterward. The corrections would be placed in the empty spaces (on the sides of the triangle) or the book would be compared to another manuscript and notes from that manuscript would be annotated in these empty spaces.

So therefore, you must give great importance to having handwriting that is clear and organized in terms of knowing the place where the writing starts. So if I were to look at what you wrote and the notes you made, I would know where the note you made for this sentence begins and in which direction it will go.

Also, if you reference the books on terminology, their authors have explained how to write and make notes in books using guidelines and details that they have established on either preserving the text, explaining a word, making a correction, writing a footnote, clarifying which manuscript it is or how to write valid phrases and so on. So we should refer to these books on terminology because their authors wrote about this and talked about it in detail.

Taken from : The Student of Knowledge and Books : Shaikh Saalih bin ‘Abdil-’Azeez Aali Shaikh

Etiquette Four: Recording the Points of Benefit found in Books : Shaikh Saalih bin ‘Abdil-’Azeez Aali Shaikh

Another etiquette regarding books which deserves attention is: A student of knowledge should maintain (a list of) selected points of benefit for each of his books. This means that if someone reads a book and he doesn’t feel that he will remember or be able to recall what he read later – even if he is young – he should select points of benefit from this book and write them down in a special notebook. Or he can make references to them in the preface of the book, such as in a page at the beginning of the book. So he makes something that resembles a table of contents, however, it is specifically catered to him since these points of benefit that apply to him may not apply to others.

So they are specifically for you when you need to reference something you learned from this book at a later time. Two nights ago, I took the book al-Fadl-ul- Mubeen fee Sharh al-Arba’een of Jamaal-ud-Deen Al-Qaasimee from its place in my library. It had been almost ten years since I last read the book, but when I opened it up to its first page, lo and behold, I found the points of benefit in the book that I had written down a long time ago. And there were many, many points of benefit of which I had forgotten almost ninety percent of them. So instead of reading the book over again, all I had to do was look at this point of benefit and that point of benefit and so on.

One of the points of benefit found in the book, for example, was the author’s discussion on the difference between the ‘Aalim and the ‘Aarif and the reason why the Sufis renounced the word ‘Aalim in favor of using the word ‘Aarif and why they say the ‘Aarif so and so and not the “‘Aalim” (i.e. scholar) so and so. This is one of the points of benefit found in this book.

Another point of benefit in the book was an excellent and firm quote from Ibn Hazm found in his book al-Fisal on the meanings of the (verbs) qadaa (to divinely ordain) and qaddara (to divinely pre-decree). At the end of the quote, Jamaal-ud-Deen Al-Qaasimee says: “And this is the most brilliant of what was said concerning the meaning of qadaa and qaddara and what has the most right to be accepted.” And it is just as he said. Perhaps I will relate that to you at a later time.

These points of benefit that you record at the beginning of the book are very important. If you refer to the book some time after reading it, you will find these points before you. This means that when you read a book or a group of books, you should select points from them, which you feel are beneficial and useful to you and annotate them at the beginning of the book in the first page. So it will take the form of an index with brief phrases describing the point of benefit (and the page number where it can be found).

There is no doubt that this is extremely important for a student of knowledge. If you are able to make a special notebook in which you can place selected points that you may need, then this is important and you will definitely refer to it later on in time. It is not proper for you to read a book just like this and say that this (one-time) reading is sufficient because after one or two months or maybe after a year, you will forget what you read.

But if you write down (the most important points of) what you read, you can refer back to it years later and find that the points of benefit are available for display before you, as the saying goes: “Understanding is contingent – it comes and goes, whereas writing is recorded.” Write down what you have understood or record what you have learned from the book.

Taken from : The Student of Knowledge and Books : Shaikh Saalih bin ‘Abdil-’Azeez Aali Shaikh

Etiquette Five: Lending Books Out to Others : Shaikh Saalih bin ‘Abdil-’Azeez Aali Shaikh

From the etiquettes related to books, also, is: The manners of lending out books. Giving out books for people to borrow is not allowed unless you are giving them to someone that you trust will care for the books. The reason for this is because you have the most right to your book, unless you find someone else that is in need of it and who, when finished using it, will return it back to you.

It is mentioned in the biography of Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdaadee that a man once asked him if he could borrow one of his books, so he replied saying: “You have three days to use it.” The man said: “That is not enough time.” So Al-Khateeb said: “I have counted its pages, so if you want to make a copy of it, then three days is sufficient for you. And if you want to read it, then three days is sufficient for you. And if you want to do more than that with it, then I have the most right to my book.”

This is correct, since in the past I had lent the first volume of a large book consisting of eight volumes to a brother – I don’t want to mention the title of the book, since perhaps he may hear this and think that I’m insinuating him – and now nearly twelve years have passed on, and he still has not returned it to me! And he tells me he doesn’t know where he put it. Similarly, the eighth volume of another set – even though I’m not worried so much over it – however, more than twenty years have passed and until now, he has not given it back. This is why a poet once said:

“Do not lend your books
And make your answer some excuse
Whoever does in fact lend a book,
I swear he has not done something good.”

Another person said: “The perdition of books is in lending them.”

It was once said to a man from India who had opened up a huge library: “How did you create this library?” He replied: “By borrowing books from people.” He was asked: “How is that?” So he said: “I borrow a book and don’t return it. This is how I was able to create this library.” The man asked: “Isn’t this a crime against those you borrow from?” He replied: “Whoever lends his books to people is insane. And whoever gives back what he borrows is even more insane than him.”

This is since souls are attached to books. In his book al-Qawaa’id, while speaking about a principle, Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab mentioned that there is no capital punishment of cutting off the hand for stealing them – i.e. if a person steals a book, then according to some scholars, he does not have to have his hand cut off. This is since there is a doubt in this – i.e. that the truth contained in books is (free) for everyone.

So for example, one of your fellow students or colleagues may get a book and then believe that he has a right to it, especially if the book is a charitable copy or it was given to you as a gift or so on. So this would cause him to take the issue of returning it lightly. He will be lax in giving the book back. And you will be the one who loses out on the book.

Therefore, if you are not sure if the one who is asking to borrow a book from you is serious and will benefit from it in a short amount of days and nights, then do not lend him the book. This is since when you lend your books out to people, you are depriving yourself from their benefit. And not every one that borrows a book can be trusted with it, for how many people have borrowed books and not returned them!

Taken from : The Student of Knowledge and Books : Shaikh Saalih bin ‘Abdil-’Azeez Aali Shaikh

Do not sell what you don’t have : Forbidden Business Transactions – Shaikh Saalih al-Fawzaan

And from the forbidden types of business transactions is: When a man sells something that he doesn’t own.

For example, a man goes to a businessman looking for a specific product, but this businessman doesn’t have this specific product. Yet they both agree to a contract (for the sale of the product) and agree on the extent of the price (on the item) presently or in the future. And all the while, the product is not found in the possession of the businessman or the buyer. Then the businessman goes and buys this product and hands it over to the buyer after they already agreed to a price and they made a contract and determined the value as it relates to present terms or in the future.

So this kind of business transaction is haraam. Why? Because he sold something he didn’t own and he sold something before gaining possession of it, if the product was specified. As for if the product was not specified and its price was delayed, he actually sold a debt on credit. The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade us from doing that, as was the case when Hakeem bin Hazaam (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) came to him, saying: “O Messenger of Allaah, what if a man comes to me wanting to buy something from me, but I don’t have it. Then I go to the marketplace and buy it for him?” The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Do not sell what you don’t have.” This is a clear cut forbiddance, therefore it is not permissible for a person to sell some specified commodity unless he is in possession of it before making a contract on it, whether he will sell it right there or in the future.

It is not permissible to take this matter lightly. So whoever wants to sell something to the people, then he should store the products in his store or in his shop or in a warehouse or in the trunk of his car or in his office, so that he can have the products ready with him. Then if some people who want to buy the products come to him, he can sell it to them directly or at a later time.

Posted from: Forbidden Business Transactions– by Shaikh Saalih al-Fawzaan

How are we Obligated to Interpret the Qur’aan? Shaykh al-Albanee

Imaam Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albaanee
“Kayfa yajibu ‘alaynaa an Nufassir al-Qur’aan” (pg. 35-40)

[ Here is complete book]

[9] Question: How are we obligated to interpret the noble Qur’aan?

[9] Answer: Allaah, Blessed and Exalted, sent the Qur’aan down to the heart of His Messenger Muhammad in order to bring mankind from out of the darkness of disbelief and ignorance to the light of Islaam. Allaah says: “Alif-Laam-Raa. This is a Book which We have revealed unto you (O Muhammad) in order that you may lead mankind from out of the darkness (of disbelief) into the light (of Islaam), by the permission of their Lord, to the path of the All-Mighty, the Most Praiseworthy.” [Surah Ibraaheem: 1]

And He placed His Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to clarify, interpret and explain what is in the Qur’aan. Allaah says: “And We revealed to you (O Muhammad), the Reminder (i.e. the Sunnah), in order for you to explain to mankind what was (already) revealed to them, and so that they may reflect.” [Surah An-Nahl: 44]

So the Sunnah came in order to explain and clarify what is found in the noble Qur’aan, and it is (also) a revelation sent by Allaah, as He says: “And he (i.e. Muhammad) does not speak from his own desire. Rather, it is just revelation that is revealed to him.” [Surah An-Najm: 3-4]

Furthermore, the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “I was indeed given the Qur’aan and something similar to it along with it. It is imminent that there will come a time where a man who has eaten to his full will recline on his couch and say: ‘Stick to the Qur’aan. Whatever you find in it that is Halaal (lawful), then declare it lawful. And whatever you find in it that is Haraam (unlawful), then declare it unlawful!’ Whereas, whatever Allaah’s Messenger made unlawful is just like what Allaah made unlawful.”

So the first source that must be used to interpret the noble Qur’aan is the Qur’an (itself) along with the Sunnah, which consists of the Prophet’s statements, actions and silent approvals. Then after that, it must be interpreted using the interpretations (tafseer) of the people of knowledge, at the head of whom are the Companions of the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). And the foremost amongst the Companions with regard to this subject (tafseer) is ‘Abdullaah bin Mas’ood (radyAllaahu ‘anhu). This is due to several factors, one being that he was one of the first to accompany the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) (i.e. accept Islaam), and another being that he (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) would give strong emphasis to asking about, understanding, and interpreting the Qur’aan. Then after him comes ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Abbaas (radyAllaahu ‘anhu), about whom ‘Abdullaah bin Mas’ood (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) said: “He is the interpreter (turjumaan) of the Qur’aan.”

Then after them, any Companion whose interpretation (tafseer) of an ayah can be authentically confirmed – and there exists no difference of opinion amongst the Companions regarding it, we accept this interpretation (tafseer) from him with full contentment, submission and reliance. And if no such tafseer can be found (from the Companions) regarding a particular ayah, then we take its tafseer from the Taabi’een, particularly those who specialized in studying tafseer under the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), such as Sa’eed bin Jubair, Taawoos and others who are well known for their studying of tafseer under some of the Companions, particularly Ibn ‘Abbaas (radyAllaahu ‘anhu), as we mentioned previously.

Unfortunately, there are some ayaat that are interpreted according to a certain opinion or madh-hab (school of Jurisprudence), and for which no direct explanation from the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) can be found. So because of this, some latter-day individuals relied solely on applying such ayahs according to their madh-hab in order to interpret them. And this is an extremely dangerous matter – where ayaat are interpreted in order to support one’s madh-hab and (personal) views – whereas the scholars of tafseer have interpreted these verses in a different way than the adherents of these madhaahib have interpreted them.

Perhaps, we should mention an example of this, which is Allaah’s statement: “So recite what is easy from the Qur’aan.” [Surah Al-Muzammil: 20] Some of the adherents of certain madhaahib have interpreted this ayah to refer to just the recitation itself, meaning: What is obligatory to recite from the Qur’aan in all of the prayers is just one long ayah or three short ayaat. They said this in spite of there being reported the authentic hadeeth from the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): “There is no prayer for the one who doesn’t recite the opening chapter (Faatihah) of the Book (Qur’aan).” And in another hadeeth, the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever performs a prayer in which he doesn’t recite the opening chapter of the Book, then it is deficient, deficient, deficient, and not complete.”

The basis of proof indicated in these two hadeeths is rejected by the afore-mentioned interpretation of the above ayah, which is that the ayah refers to the recitation of the Qur’aan in general. And according to them, it is not permissible to interpret the Qur’aan except with the Sunnah that came in mutawaatir[1] form – meaning it is not permitted to interpret the mutawaatir except with the mutawaatir. So because of this, they rejected the two previously mentioned hadeeth due to their relying on their opinion or madh-hab for the interpretation of this ayah.

In spite of this, all of the scholars of tafseer, past and present, have explained that the meaning of the noble ayah “So recite what is easy from the Qur’aan” is: “So pray what is easy for you from the Night Prayer (Tahajjud).” This is since Allaah mentioned this part of the ayah in connection to His saying (i.e. the complete ayah): “Verily, your Lord knows that you stand (to pray at night) a little less than two thirds of the night, or half the night, or a third of the night, and also a party of those with you. And Allaah measures the night and the day. He knows that you are unable to pray the entire night, so He has turned to you (in mercy). So recite what is easy from the Qur’aan.” [Surah Al-Muzammil: 20]

The last part means: “So pray what is easy for you from the Night Prayer (Tahajjud).” Therefore, the ayah is not in reference to what a person is obligated to recite specifically during the night prayer. Rather, (in this ayah), Allaah facilitates for the Muslims to pray what they are able to perform from the Night Prayer. This means that they are not obligated to pray what the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to pray, which was eleven rak’aat, as you are aware of.

So this is the meaning of the ayah. It is phrased in an Arabic style of “applying a portion, by which the whole is intended.” Thus, Allaah’s statement: “So recite” means “So pray.” The prayer is the whole, while the recitation (in prayer) is the portion. The purpose of this phrasing is to clarify the importance of this portion with respect to that whole. Another example of this is Allaah’s statement: “Perform the prayer from midday until the darkness of the night (Dhuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib, ‘Ishaa), and (also) the (recitation of the) Qur’aan of Fajr (dawn).” [Surah Al-Israa: 78]

The meaning of “the Qur’aan of Fajr” is “the Fajr Prayer.” So in this situation also, the portion is applied but the whole is intended. This is a style in the Arabic Language that is well known.

So therefore, after showing the interpretation of this ayah from the scholars of tafseer, without there being any difference of opinion amongst the past and present from them, it is not permissible to reject the first and second hadeeths (mentioned previously), claiming that they are ahead, and that it is not permissible to interpret the Qur’aan with ahaad hadeeth! This is since the afore-mentioned ayah was interpreted by the statements of the scholars who are knowledgeable of the language of the Qur’aan. This is first, and secondly, it is because the hadeeth of the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)(sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) does not contradict the Qur’aan, but rather, it explains and clarifies it, as we explained in the beginning of this discussion. How can this be when this ayah has no relation to the subject of what a Muslim is obligated to recite during prayer, regardless of whether it is an obligatory or recommended prayer.

But as for the two afore-mentioned hadeeths, then it is clear that they both are on the subject of a person’s prayer not being valid unless he recites Surah Al-Faatihah in it: “There is no prayer for the one who doesn’t recite the opening chapter (Faatihah) of the Book (Qur’aan)” and “Whoever performs a prayer in which he doesn’t recite the opening chapter of the Book, then it is deficient, deficient, deficient, and not complete.”

This means that the prayer is defective. So whoever finishes his prayer while it is deficient, then he in fact didn’t pray at all. And his prayer at this point becomes invalid, as is apparent in the first hadeeth.

So if this reality becomes clear to us, we must therefore feel secure with the ahaadeeth that come to us from the Prophet, which are reported in the books of Sunnah, firstly, and with their authentic chains of narration, secondly. And we must have no doubts or uncertainties about them due to some philosophical approach to the ahaadeeth, which we hear about in current times, such as:

“We only accept the ahaad ahaadeeth on issues regarding rulings, and not for issues regarding creed. This is since matters of creed cannot be established based on ahaad ahaadeeth.” [2]

This is what they claim! Yet we know for a fact that the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sent Mu’aadh (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) to call the People of the Scripture to believe in Tawheed, and he was just one individual.

This brief discussion is sufficient with regard to this topic that I wanted to clarify, which is related to: How are we obligated to interpret the Noble Qur’aan?

May Allaah send His Peace and Blessings on our Prophet, Muhammad, his family, Companions and those who follow them in goodness until the Day of Recompense, and all praise is for Allaah, Lord of all that exists.


[1] A Mutawaatir hadeeth is a narration that has been reported by a group of people that is so large that it is impossible to conceive that they conspired to lie regarding it.

[2] An Ahaad hadeeth is a narration reported by just one narrator. It is the opposite of Mutawaatir. A Mutawaatir hadeeth is a narration that has been reported by a group of people that is so large that it is impossible to conceive that they conspired to lie regarding it.

The Supplication and Al-Qadar : Imaam Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah

Imaam Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah
Source:His monumental book Ad-Daa wad-Dawaa [The Sickness and the Cure] (pg.22 -23)

al-ibaanah Publications

Here there occurs a very popular question and it is:

If the thing that is being supplicated for is already decreed for the servant, then there is no doubt that it is going to come to pass for him, regardless of whether he supplicates for it or not. And if it has not been decreed for him, then it will not come to pass, regardless of whether he asks Allaah for it or not.

There is one group that perceives this question to be valid and so they have abandoned the supplication and are of the view that there is no benefit in doing it. These people, along with their excessive ignorance and misguidance are in clear contradiction, for if we were to follow their opinion, it would require us to reject all the different means for attaining something (desired).

So it can be said to one of them:

If satisfying your appetite and quenching your thirst were already decreed for you, then there is no doubt that they are going to come to pass, whether you eat and drink or you don’t. And if they were not decreed for you, they will not come to pass, whether you eat and drink or you don’t.

And likewise, if a child were decreed for you, then you will definitely receive it, whether you have sexual intercourse with your wife or you don’t. And if that was not decreed for you, then it will not come to pass. Thus there is no need for marrying, having sexual relations and so on and so forth.

Who says such a statement? Is it one possessing common sense or a beast? Rather, even the animal has a natural inclination (fitrah) towards seeking the means of attaining something (desired), which (for example) will give it sustenance and livelihood. So the animals have more common sense and possess more understanding than these types of people who are like cattle – nay, far worse!

Some of them try to be clever and say:

Preoccupying oneself with supplication falls into the realm of worship solely – Allaah will reward the one supplicating, without that having an effect on what he is asking for in any way. According to this type of person, there is no difference between supplicating and refraining from supplicating by heart and tongue, with regard to that having an effect on attaining what is being asked for. And according to them, the relation of the supplication to it (what is being asked for) is like its relation with silence. There is no difference between them.

Another group, more slick than this one says:

Rather, the supplication is a sign, which Allaah displays as a symbol that a matter has been carried out. So when Allaah grants his servant the ability to supplicate, it is a sign and a symbol that the matter he was requesting has been carried out. This is just as if one were to see a frigid black cloud during the winter season. It is a sign and an implication that it will rain.

They say: Similarly is enacting good deeds with respect to reward, and committing disbelief and sins with respect to punishment – they are pure signs for the occurrence of (either) reward or punishment – not means (by which the result will be attained).

Likewise, according to them, with the matters of breaking, kindling and destroying – none of these things serves as a means for the occurrence (result) of a wreck, fire and death, respectively. Nor is there any connection between those things and what results from them, other than the fact that they are normally paired together – not that one is caused due to the means of the other!

They have contradicted perceptual observation and common sense with this opinion, as well as revelation and fitrah (natural inclination), not to mention all of the other intellectual groups. Rather, those with intellects laugh at them!

The correct view:

There is a third category, apart from those mentioned by the questioner. And it is that the decreed result is preordained along with its proper means, which lead to its occurrence. One of these means is the supplication. It is not preordained just like that, without any means (leading to its occurrence), rather it is preordained along with its proper means (which will ensure its occurrence). So when a person comes across the means, the decreed matter will come to pass. And if he does not come across those means, the decreed matter is denied.

So satisfying one’s appetite and quenching one’s thirst are preordained with (the means of) eating and drinking. Children are preordained with (the means of) sexual intercourse. Harvesting crops is preordained with (the means of) planting and, the withdrawal of the soul from an animal is decreed with slaughter. Likewise, entrance into Paradise is preordained with (good) deeds, while entrance into the Hellfire is preordained with (bad) deeds.

This category is the true one. And it is the one that the questioner has been deprived of and not granted.

Tags: dua can change destiny hadith, dua can change taqdeer hadith, can dua change destiny of marriage, nothing can change the divine decree except dua, can dua change qadr islamqa, nothing can change qadr except dua


Rulings for Fasting that are Specific for Women : Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan

Author: Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan
Source: His book Tanbeehaat ‘alaa Ahkaam takhtassu bil-Mu’minaat (pg. 62-67)
Translator: Isma’eel Alarcon 

Fasting the month of Ramadaan is an obligation on every male and female Muslim, and it is one of the pillars and great foundations of Islaam. Allaah says:

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you in order that you may attain Taqwaa.” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 183]

The word “kutiba” (prescribed) here means “furida” obligated.

So when the young girl reaches the age in which she will be held accountable for her actions, by having one of the signs of puberty become apparent in her, among which is menstruation, then the obligation of fasting begins for her. She could begin menstruating as early as when she is nine years old. However, some young girls are not aware that they are required to begin fasting at that point, so she doesn’t fast thinking that she is too young, nor do her parents order her to fast. This is a great negligence, for one of the pillars of Islaam is being abandoned. If this occurs to any woman, she is obligated to make up for the days of fasting that she abandoned since the point when she began menstruating, even if a long time has passed since that time, for it remains in her obligations.

Who is obligated to fast Ramadaan?

When the month of Ramadaan comes, every male and female Muslim that (1) has reached the age of puberty, is (2) healthy and (3) a resident (i.e. not traveling) is obligated to fast. And whoever is sick or traveling during the month, may break the fast and make up the number of days missed on other days.

Allaah says: “So whoever sights the (moon indicating the beginning of the) month, then he must fast. And whoever is sick or on a journey, then (he may break the fast and instead fast) the number of days missed on other days.” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 185]

Likewise, whoever enters into Ramadaan and he is very old and not able to fast or has a chronic illness, which does not expect to be cured any specific time – whether male or female – may break the fast and instead feed a needy person half a saa’ (four handfuls) of the food from that people’s land for every day missed. Allaah says: “And as for those who can fast (but) with difficulty, they (may break their fast and) feed a needy person.” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 184] Ibn ‘Abbaas (radhi Allaahu anhuma) said: “This ayah is for the old man of whom it is not anticipated that he will be cured.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree] And the sick person of whom it is not hoped that he will be cured from his sickness falls under the ruling of the old person. And he does not have to make up the missed days because of his inability to fast.

A woman is specified with certain excuses that permit her to break the fast in Ramadaan, on the condition that she makes up the days she missed fasting due to these excuses on other days. These excuses are:

1. Menstrual and Postpartum Bleeding: A woman is forbidden from fasting while she is in these two conditions. And she is obligated to make up these missed days of fasting on other days. This is based on what is reported in the two Saheeh collections from ‘Aa’isha (radhi Allaahu anha) who said: We were ordered to make up the (missed) days of fasting but we were not ordered to make up the (missed) prayers.” She gave this answer when a woman asked her: “Why does a menstruating woman have to make up the (missed days of) fasting and not have to make up the (missed) prayers?” So she (radhi Allaahu anha) clarified that this is from the matters dependent on revelation, which must comply with the reported texts.

As for the wisdom behind that, then Shaikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah said in “Majmoo’-ul-Fataawaa” (15/251):

“The blood that comes out of the woman because of menstruation has a discharge of blood in it. A menstruating woman can fast in times other than when the blood that comes out of her due to menstruation contains her blood. So her fasting in this situation is a moderate and balanced fast – no blood, which strengthens the body and which is its main substance – comes out of her during these times. But her fasting when she is menstruating necessitates that her blood come out during this time – the blood, which is the main component of her body and which will lead to a weakness and deficiency in her body. And this will necessitate that her fast not be that of a moderate and balanced nature. So that is why she is commanded to fast in times when she is not menstruating.”

2. Pregnancy and Breast-Feeding: If because of fasting there is harm caused to the woman or the baby or to both of them, then she may break the fast while she is pregnant or breastfeeding. But if the harm for which reason she is breaking her fast only applies to her baby and not her, then she must make up for the days she missed of fasting and feed a needy person for each day missed. And if the harm only applies to herself, then it is sufficient for her to only make up the missed days. This is based on the pregnant woman and breastfeeding woman falling under the generality of Allaah’s saying: “And for those who can fast (but) with difficulty, they (may break their fast) and instead feed a needy person.” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 184]

Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer (rahimahullaah) said in his Tafseer (1/379):

“Amongst those who fall into the meaning of this ayah are the pregnant and breastfeeding women if they fear for themselves or for their children.”

And Shaikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah said:

“If a pregnant woman fears for her fetus, then she may not fast and instead make up each day of fasting that was missed on other days and feed a needy person around 2 kilograms of bread.” [Majmoo’-ul-Fatawaa: 25/318]

Important Notes:

1. Istihaadah (Irregular Bleeding): This is the condition in which a woman has blood come out of her, which is not her menstrual blood. She must observe the fast and it is not permissible for her to break her fast because of this type of bleeding. When mentioning the allowance of the menstruating woman of breaking her fast, Shaikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullaah) said:

“This is contrary to the woman in the state of Istihaadah, for this state comprises an unfixed period of time, and there is not a time in it in which she can be commanded to begin fasting (again). So because of this, it is not possible to caution against it, the same as for throwing up unexpectedly, emitting blood due to a wound, getting a boil, Ihtilaam (when sexual fluid comes out of the private parts not due to intercourse or foreplay), as well as all the other things that do not have a fixed time in which they could be cautioned against. So this (Istihaadah) was not made as something that nullifies the fast, such as the blood of menstruation.”

[Majmoo’-ul-Fataawaa: 25/251]

2. The Menstruating woman as well as the pregnant and breastfeeding women, if they break their fast in Ramadaan, must make up for the missed days of fasting in the time that occurs between the Ramadaan in which they broke their fast and the forthcoming Ramadaan. But to complete them early is better. And if there only remain a few days before the next Ramadaan begins, then they are obligated to make up the missed days of fasting (from the previous Ramadaan) such that the new Ramadaan will not come upon them while they still have to fast days from the previous Ramadaan. But if they don’t do this and Ramadaan comes upon them while they still owe days of fasting from the previous Ramadaan, and they have no (valid) excuse for delaying it, they are obligated to make up the missed days and to feed a needy person for each day. But if they have a valid excuse, then they must only make up the missed days of fasting. This goes the same for those who must make up the missed days of fasting due to sickness or traveling. Their ruling is like the ruling of the woman who broke the fast due to menses, with the previously mentioned details.

3. It is not permissible for a woman to observe a recommended fast if her husband is present unless she has his permission. This is based on what Al-Bukhaaree, Muslim and others have reported from Abu Hurairah (radhi Allaahu anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) said: “It is not permissible for a woman to fast while her husband is present except with his permission.” In some narrations of the hadeeth in Ahmad and Abu Dawood, there occurs the wording “…except Ramadaan.” But if the husband permits her to observe a recommended fast or he is not present around her or if she doesn’t have a husband, then it is encouraged for her to observe this recommended day of fasting. This is especially for the days in which it is recommended to fast such as Mondays and Thursdays, three days in every month, six days in Shawaal, the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah, the Day of ‘Arafah and the Day of ‘Aashooraa along with the day before or after it. However, she should not observe a recommended fast while she owes days to make up for (the previous) Ramadaan, until she first makes up these missed days and Allaah knows best.

4. If a menstruating woman stops bleeding during the day in Ramadaan, she must begin her fasting for the remainder of the day but still make it up with the days that she didn’t fast because of menses. Her fasting for the remainder of the day in which she stops bleeding is an obligation on her out of respect for the time (i.e. Ramadaan).

The Complete Guidance on the Rulings of Wiping : Shaykh al-Albanee

Imaam Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albaanee
Tamaam-un-Nas’h fee Ahkaam-il-Mas’h ( which is an appendix to his checking of the book Al-Mas’h ‘alaal-Jawrabayn of Imaam Jamaal-ud-Deen Al-Qaasimee)
Translated by isma’eel alarcon

1. Wiping over the shoes: As for wiping over the shoes (na’alayn) [1] when performing ablution, then it has become popular amongst the contemporaries to say that it is not permissible to wipe over them. And we do not know of any evidence to support that claim, other than what has been stated by Al- Bayhaqee (rahimahullaah) in his Sunan (1/288):

“The asl is the obligation for washing the feet, unless there is an established aspect of the Sunnah that makes it more specific, or there is a consensus (ijmaa’) in which there is no differing. And wiping over the shoes or the socks is not included in any of the two, and Allaah knows best.”

This is what he has stated. And it is well known, unfortunately, that it indicates an unawareness of the previously mentioned ahaadeeth in this treatise [2] regarding the establishment of wiping over the socks and the shoes. And the chains of narration regarding some of them are authentic, as has been clarified previously. This is why At- Turkmanee Al-Hanafee (rahimahullaah) commented on these words, saying:

“This is incorrect, for it has preceded that At- Tirmidhee has authenticated the (hadeeth of) wiping over the socks and the shoes and declared it hasan from the hadeeth of Muzayl on Al- Mugheerah (radhiAllaahu anhu).

He also declared the hadeeth of Ad- Dahhaak on Abu Moosaa (radhiAllaahu anhu) to be hasan. Also, Ibn Hibbaan has verified wiping over the shoes by authenticating the hadeeth of Aws (radhiAllaahu anhu).

Similarly, Ibn Khuzaimah [2] has authenticated the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) on wiping over the shoes. And what Al-Bayhaqee mentioned from the hadeeth of Zayd Ibn Al-Hibaab on Ath-Thawree (meaning with the chain of narration going to Ibn ‘Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) and it was stated previously) regarding wiping over the shoes, is a good hadeeth. Ibn Al- Qataan has also authenticated it on Ibn ‘Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu).”

[Al-Jawhar-un-Naqee (1/288)]

I say that once you have come to know this, it is not permissible to even hesitate in accepting this allowance – especially after the hadeeth concerning it have been established.

This is since, as the author (Al- Qaasimee) has stated in what has been mentioned previously: “The hadeeth concerning it are authentic, thus there is no recourse other than to hear and obey.”

This is especially the case after knowing that the Sahaabah acted in accordance with it. And foremost amongst them, was the rightly guided Khaleefah, ‘Alee Ibn Abee Taalib (raa). Furthermore, it is the view that was held by some of the Imaams from the pious predecessors (Salaf As-Saalih), may Allaah be pleased with all of them.

Thus, Ibn Hazm (rahimahullaah) said in Al-Muhallaa (2/103):

“Issue: So if the footwear (khuff) are cut so that they fall beneath the ankles, then wiping over them is permissible. This is the opinion of Al- Awzaa’ee and it has been reported on him that he said: ‘The muhrim may wipe over his shoes that come beneath the ankles…’ Others have stated: ‘He may not wipe over them unless they go over the ankles.'”

2. Wiping over khuffs or socks that have holes in them:

As for wiping over khuffs (leather socks) or socks that are torn with holes, then the scholars have differed in this issue with many opinions. The majority of them forbid it based on a long differing amongst them, which you can see in the detailed discussions found in the books of Fiqh and Al-Muhallaa. Other scholars held the opinion that it was permissible, and this is the opinion that we favor. Our argument for this is that: the source principle is the (absolute) allowance for wiping. So whoever forbids it, or places a condition on it – such as that they must be void of any holes – or he places limits to it, then he is refuted by the statement of the Prophet:

“Every condition that is not found in the Book of Allaah, then it is false.” [Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]

It has also been authentically reported that Sufyaan Ath-Thawree (rahimahullaah) said: “Wipe over them (the socks) so long as they are attached to your feet. Were the socks of the Muhaajireen and the Ansaar anything but torn (with holes), ripped and tattered?” [Reported by ‘Abd-ur-Razzaaq in Al-Musannaf (no.753 ) and from that path of narration, by Al-Bayhaqee (1/283)]

Ibn Hazm (rahimahullaah) said:

“So if there is found in the khuffs, or whatever is worn on the feet, any holes that are small or large, long or wide, such that some part of the foot is visible, whether a little or a lot, or both, then all of that is the same. And wiping over them is permissible, so long as any part of it continues to attach itself to the feet. This is the opinion of Sufyaan Ath-Thawree, Dawood, Abu Thawr, Ishaaq Ibn Raahawaih and Yazeed Ibn Haaroon.” [Al-Muhallaa (2/100)]

Then he (rahimahullaah) goes on to relate the statements of the scholars that forbid it, according to what they contain from differing and contradiction. And then he goes on to refute them and explain that it is an opinion that has no evidence to support it except opinion. Then he closed that with his statement:

“However the truth in this matter is what is reported in the Sunnah, which explains the Qur’aan, in that the ruling for the two feet, which do not have any garment over them to wipe over, is that they must be washed. And the ruling for the two, if there is a garment over them, is that they can be wiped over. This is what is reported in the Sunnah ‘and your Lord is not forgetful.’ [Surah Maryan:64 ]

The Messenger (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) knew, when he commanded for the wiping over the khuffs or whatever is worn on the feet – and he wiped over the socks – that there was large and small holes, as well as no holes, in the shoes, socks and whatever else is worn on the feet.

And he (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) also knew that there existed the footwear that was red, black or white as well as the new and the old. But he (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) did not specify some of it over another. And if the ruling for that in the Religion varied, then Allaah would not have forgotten to send down revelation concerning it, nor would the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) have neglected explaining it, far is he removed from that. Thus, it is correct that the ruling for this wiping applies to all conditions.” [Al-Muhallaa (2/100)]

Also, Shaikh- ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullaah) said in his Ikhtiyaaraat (pg.13 ):

“It is permissible to wipe over the (foot) garments on one of its two sides – Ibn Tameem and others related this. It is also permissible to wipe over the khuff that has holes in it, so long as it continues to hold that name (khuff) and one is able to walk in it. This is the older of the two opinions Ash- Shaafi’ee held on it, and it is that which Abul-Barakaat and other scholars have preferred.”

I say: Ar-Raafi’ee attributed this view in Sharh Al-Wajeez (2/370) to the majority of the scholars and uses as a support for it, his argument that the opinion that forbids wiping over them, narrows the door of this allowance, so one must wipe. And he was correct, may Allaah have mercy on him.

3. Does taking off the footwear that is wiped over, nullify the ablution?

The scholars have also differed concerning the one who takes off the khuff and its types after having performed ablution and wiped over them. Their differing can be divided into three opinions.

The First: His ablution is valid and he is not required to do anything.

The Second: He must wash his two feet only.

The Third: He must redo his ablution.

Each of these opinions were held by groups of scholars among the predecessors (Salaf). ‘ Abd-ur-Razzaaq (rahimahullaah) has transmitted their narrations regarding these opinions in his Al-Musannaf (1/210/809-813), as well as Ibn Abee Shaybah (1/187-188) and Al-Bayhaqee (1/289-290).

There is no doubt that the first opinion is what is most correct, for it is in correspondence with the essence of wiping, in that it is an allowance and a facilitation from Allaah. Thus any opinion, other than the first, would deny this facilitation, as has been stated by Ar-Raafi’ee in the previous Issue (#2). Furthermore, the other two opinions are outweighed by two arguments, based on the following two evidences:

First: It complies with the action of the rightly guided Khaleefah ‘Alee Ibn Abee Taalib (raa), for we have presented previously with an authentic chain of narration, that he (raa) once broke his ablution, then performed a new one and wiped over his shoes. Then he took them off and prayed (without them).

Second: It is in compliance with the correct analogy, for indeed if one were to wipe over his head and then shave his hair off, he would not be obligated to wipe over his head again, since he would already have ablution. This is the opinion that Shaikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullaah) favored, as he states in his Ikhtiyaaraat (page15 ):

“The ablution of the one who has wiped over his khuffs and turban is not canceled when he removes either of these two garments. Nor is it canceled by the cessation of its time limit (for wiping). And he is not obligated to wipe over his head nor is he required to wash his feet (because of removing the head or foot garment). This is the view of Al- Hasan Al-Basree. This (view) takes the similitude of the hair that is wiped, according to the correct opinion of the Hanbalee madh-hab and the opinion of the majority of the scholars.”

This was also the view of Ibn Hazm (rahimahullaah), so refer to his words in which he argues against those that oppose it, for indeed it is valuable. [See Al- Muhallaa (2/105-109)]

As for what has been reported by Ibn Abee Shayba (1/187) and Al-Bayhaqee (1/289) on the authority of a man among the Prophet’s companions, who when asked about a person that wiped over his khuffs, then took them off, said: “He should wash his feet.” Then in the chain of narration of this hadeeth is Yazeed Ibn ‘Abd-ir-Rahmaan ad-Daalaanee.

Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr (rahimahullaah) said of him: “He is truthful, however he made too many mistakes in his narration. And he used to commit tadlees. Al- Bayhaqee (rahimahullaah) reported a similar narration from Abu Bakrah (raa). The narrators of this hadeeth are all reliable except for ‘Alee Ibn Muhammad Al- Qurshee, for I do not know of him.”

Then he (rahimahullaah) reported from Al- Mugheerah Ibn Shu’aba that he (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) said: “Wiping over the footwear is three days for the traveler and one day for the resident, so long as he doesn’t remove them.”

Then he (rahimahullaah) said. “‘ Umar Ibn Rudaih is alone in reporting this and he is not a strong reporter.”

I say that this addition of “so long as he doesn’t remove them” is rejected due to the loneliness of this weak narrator in reporting it and due to the lack of there being any supporting evidence for it.


[1] Translator’s Note: The word used in this treatise for shoes is na’alayn, which can mean sandals or shoes that do not pass the ankle. At the time of Allaah’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم ) , the people used to wear these sandals, which were considered shoes. We have decided to translate the word as shoes for fear that if the word sandals were used, people would limit the ruling found in this treatise to just sandals, while the rulings apply to any type of shoe worn on the foot. And Allaah knows best.

[2] Translator’s Note: The treatise he is referring to is Al-Mas-h ‘Alaa Al-Jawrabain (Wiping over the Socks) by the great scholar of Shaam Jamaal-ud-Deen Al-Qaasimee (rahimahullaah). This treatise of Shaikh Al-Albaanee comes directly after his checking of Al-Qaasimee’s book. Al-Albaanee included this last section to the book in order to clarify common misunderstandings present today and to compliment the book. Thus, there will be some references made to this book, such as “as has been stated previously”. This means previously in the book Al-Mas-h ‘Alaa Al-Jawrabain.


[1] Translator’s Note: The word used in this treatise for shoes is na’alayn, which can mean sandals or shoes that do not pass the ankle. At the time of Allaah’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم  ) , the people used to wear these sandals, which were considered shoes. We have decided to translate the word as shoes for fear that if the word sandals were used, people would limit the ruling found in this treatise to just sandals, while the rulings apply to any type of shoe worn on the foot. And Allaah knows best.

[2] Translator’s Note: The treatise he is referring to is Al-Mas-h ‘Alaa Al-Jawrabain (Wiping over the Socks) by the great scholar of Shaam Jamaal-ud-Deen Al-Qaasimee (rahimahullaah). This treatise of Shaikh Al-Albaanee comes directly after his checking of Al-Qaasimee’s book. Al-Albaanee included this last section to the book in order to clarify common misunderstandings present today and to compliment the book. Thus, there will be some references made to this book, such as “as has been stated previously”. This means previously in the book Al-Mas-h ‘Alaa Al-Jawrabain.

Download the PDF documentThe Complete Guidance on the Rules of Wiping (over Footwear) – Shaykh Albanee

4. When does the time limit for wiping begin?

There are two well-known views of the scholars concerning this issue:

The First: It begins at the point when the ablution is broken (for the first time), after having put on the footwear.

The second: It begins at the point when the first wiping occurs after, having broken the ablution.

Abu Haneefah, Ash- Shaafi’ee, Ahmad and their companions held the first opinion. And we do not know of any evidence on their part, which deserves mentioning, other than that it was simply an opinion. It is for this reason that some of their companions (i.e. from the same madh-hab) have contradicted them, as we shall mention. Nor do we know any of the predecessors from the Sahaabah that opposed the second view, for their guide was the authentic ahaadeeth and the ruling of ‘Umar Ibn Al- Khattaab (raa).

As for the Sunnah, then there are the authentic ahaadeeth, which were reported on many of the companions, in Saheeh Muslim, the Four Sunan collections, the Musnads and others. In these narrations, the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) commanded wiping. In some narrations he allowed the wiping. And in one narration, he (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) prescribed wiping the length of one day and one night for the resident and three days and three nights for the traveler.

From the matters that are extremely evident, is that this hadeeth serves as a determining factor for the commencement of the time period for wiping, in that it begins immediately after the (first) wiping. It also serves as a refutation for the first opinion, since that (opinion) necessitates, as is determined in the subsidiary issues (furoo’), that the person that prays the Fajr prayer shortly before the rising of the sun, then breaks his ablution (for the first time) during the time of Fajr on the second day. Then performs a new ablution and wipes over his footwear for the first time for the Fajr prayer, that he is not permitted to wipe over them after that! So is it truthful to say that this person has performed the wiping for “a day and a night”?!

If we go according to the second opinion, the one that is most correct, then he is able to wipe over his footwear until shortly before the Fajr prayer of the third day. Rather, they hold even a more strange view than that of what we have mentioned. And it is that: “If one excretes and doesn’t wipe over his footwear, such that a day and a night, or three if he is a traveler, comes to pass, after the excretion. The time limit comes to an end and wiping is not permissible after that, until he takes off his footwear, renews his ablution and then puts his footwear back on.” [An-Nawawee mentioned this opinion in his Majmoo’ (1/476)]

Thus, they prevent an individual from making use of this allowance (rukh-sah), basing it upon this opinion, which is in opposition to the Sunnah! For this reason, Imaam An-Nawawee (rahimahullaah) was left with no choice but to go in contradiction to his madh-hab, due to the strength of the evidence, even though he was keen not to contradict it (the Shaafi’ee madh-hab) if he was able to. So after relating the first opinion and those that held it, he (rahimahullaah) said:

“Al-Awzaa’ee and Abu Thawr said: ‘The commencement of the time limit begins at the point of the (first) wiping (over the footwear) after the first breaking of the ablution.’ And it is a report from Ahmad and Dawood. This is the most favorable (opinion), the one that has the most established evidences in support of it. Ibn Al- Mundhir has favored this view. And something similar to this has been related on ‘ Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab (raa). Al- Maawardee and Ash-Shaashee have reported on Al- Hasan Al- Basree that it begins when the footwear is put on. Those that say that the time limit begins at the point of the (first) wiping use as evidence, the following hadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam): ‘The traveler may wipe (over his footwear) for three days.’ And these ahaadeeth are authentic as has been stated previously. This hadeeth is conclusive evidence that he (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) wiped (over his footwear) for three days. And this would not be possible, unless the time limit began from the first wiping. And this is also because Ash- Shaafi’ee said: ‘If one excretes while he is a resident, (then travels) and wipes (over his footwear) while traveling, he should completes the wiping (duration) of a traveler, for the ruling for wiping applies.’ Our (Shaafi’ee) companions use the hadeeth of Safwaan (raa), which has been reported by Al-Haafidh Al-Qaasim Ibn Zakariya Al-Matrazee: ‘…from the time of excretion to the time of excretion…’ to support their view. And this is a strange addition (to the hadeeth). It is not established. And they also use Qiyaas (judgment derived by analogy) for their claim…” [Al-Majmoo’ (1/487)]

I say: If the Qiyaas that is mentioned here, is by itself correct in its validity, then for it to be accepted and used as an evidence, it must meet the condition of not contradicting the Sunnah. But if it does contradict it, as I believe it does, then it is not permissible to incline (one’s view) towards it. For this reason it is said:

“When the narrations are mentioned, the deduction is nullified.
And when the influx of Allaah comes, the influx of intellect is nullified.”

How can this analogy be correct, when it also contradicts the opinion of the rightly guided Khaleefah ‘ Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab? I know the blind followers claim to accept the authentic Sunnah when it contradicts ‘Umar’s opinion, as they have done regarding the issue of the pronouncement of the third divorce. So why don’t they accept his opinion when it does conform with the Sunnah?! ‘Abd-ur-Razzaaq has reported in Al-Musannaf on Abu ‘Uthmaan An-Nahdee, who said:

“I came upon Sa’ad and Ibn ‘Umar when they were both arguing in front of ‘Umar (raa) concerning the issue of wiping over the khuffs. So ‘Umar (raa) said: ‘He can wipe over them until the same hour (of the first wiping), for that day and night.'” [Al-Musannaf (1/209/807)]

I say that its chain of narration is authentic according to the conditions of Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim. And it is a conclusive evidence for the fact that the (time limit for) wiping begins when it is first executed over the footwear, and lasts until that same hour the next day. This is what is predominantly apparent in all the narrations that have been reported on the Sahaabah concerning the time limit for the wiping, according to what we have knowledge of, from what has been reported by ‘Abd-ur-Razzaaq and Ibn Abee Shayba in Al-Musannaf. As an example, I will mention what Ibn Abee Shayba (1/180) reported on ‘Amr Ibn Al-Haarith, that he said:

“I traveled with ‘Abdullaah to the (various) cities and he wiped over his khuffs for three days, while not taking them off at all.”

Its chain of narration is saheeh according to the conditions of Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim. Thus, the narrations from the predecessors along with the Sunnah of Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) have agreed with what we have stated. So hold onto it and by the Will of Allaah, you will be guided.

5. Does the end of the time limit cancel the ablution?

Concerning this issue, the scholars are divided into several opinions, the most famous of which are two from the Shaafi’ee madh-hab. And they are:

The First: One is obligated to renew his ablution

The Second: It suffices him to just wash his feet

The Third: There is nothing required of him. Rather, his ablution is valid and he can pray while in its state, so long as he does not excrete or break it. This is what An-Nawawee (rahimahullaah) has stated.

I say: This third opinion is the most strongest of them. And it is that which An-Nawawee favored, also in contradiction to his madh-hab. Thus, he said: “This opinion has been related by Ibn Al- Mundhir on Al- Hasan Al-Basree, Qataadah and Sulaimaan Ibn Harb. Ibn Al- Mundhir favored it. And it is what is the most preferable and most convincing. Our (Shaafi’ee) companions have reported it from Dawood.” [Al-Majmoo’ (1/527)]

I say that Ash-Shi’araanee has related it to Imaam Maalik in Al-Meezaan (1/150) and An-Nawawee related it to others, so refer to it. Also, it is the opinion that Shaikh- ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah took, as you have seen in his afore-mentioned words under the Third Issue, in accordance with Ibn Hazm. And this last one (Ibn Hazm) mentions that the other scholars that held this opinion, included Ibraaheem An-Nakha’ee and Ibn Abee Lailaa.

Then he (rahimahullaah) said:
“This is the view of which it is not permissible to take anyone other than it. This is since there is no mention in the reports that the ablution is annulled due to the body parts that are washed over or some of them, by the termination of the time limit for wiping. Indeed, the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) only forbade that someone wipe over them for more than three days for the traveler and for more than one day for the resident. So whoever holds an opinion contrary to this, then he has crammed some (false) meaning into the reports that which is not present there, and into the statement of the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) that which he (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) did not say. So whoever does this mistakenly, then there is nothing upon him. And whoever does it intentionally after the argument has been established against him, then he has embarked on committing one of the major sins. And nothing cancels the ablution, except for the excretion (hadath). And this person that has correctly performed his ablution and then does not excrete, then he is in a state of purity. And anyone that is in a state of purity can pray so long as he does not excrete or so long as there does not occur a clear text stating that his purity has been canceled, even if he doesn’t excrete. So this person, whose time limit for wiping has finished, he has not broken his ablution and there is no text that states that his state of purity has been annulled, whether on some of his body parts or all of them. So he is in a state of purity and can pray. This is until he excretes, at which point, he must take off his khuffs and whatever else is worn on his feet, and perform ablution. Then the time limit for wiping is renewed again. And this is the way it will always be and with Allaah lies the success.” [Al-Muhallaa (2/94)]

Beirut1370 H Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albaanee

%d bloggers like this: