Answered by the Noble Scholar and Muftee
Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez bin ‘Abdullaah bin Baaz
From Al-Istiqaamah Magazine, Issue No. 1, Dhul-Hijjah 1416H / May 1996CE.
Q1: Wearing clothes made from animal skin
[Q]: An argument arose between myself and some brothers concerning clothes that are made from animal skin. Some of the brothers were of the opinion that such clothing were normally made from the skin of pigs. If this is the case, then what is your opinion about such items of clothing? Are such items of clothing permitted for us to wear? In some books – such as Al-Halal wa’l-Haram of Al-Qardawi, and also Ad-Din ‘ala Madhahibu’l-Arba’ah – this particular issue has been discussed and the various differing opinions stated, but such books did not however clarify the issue. [Question and answer taken from Al-Fatawa (1/222) of Shaykh Ibn Baz]
[A]: It is established from the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that he said: “If the skin is tanned, then it is purified.” [Related by Muslim (1/191) from Ibn ‘Abbas radhiallahu ‘anhu].
And the Scholars have differed concerning this: Does this hadith cover all types of tanned skins, or is it particular to the tanned skin of those animals whose slaughtered meat is lawful? There is no doubt that the tanned skin of those animals whose slaughtered meat is lawful, such as the skin of camels, cows and sheep, are tahir (pure) and are ja’iz (permissible) to use for all types of clothing – according to the most correct saying from the People of Knowledge.
However, as for the skin of pigs, dogs and their like – whose slaughtered meat is not lawful – then the People of Knowledge have differed as to whether tanning purifies their skin or not. So cautiousness dictates avoiding their usage – acting upon the saying of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: “Whosoever avoids the doubtful matters safeguards his Religion and his honour.” [Related by Al-Bukhari (1/126) and Muslim (no. 1599) from An-Nu’man ibn Bashir radhiallahu ‘anhu.] And also his ‘alayhis-salatu was-salam‘s saying: “Leave that which makes you doubt, for that which does not make you doubt.” [Sahih: Related by Ahmad (1/200), An-Nasa’i (8/327-328) and At-Tirmidhi (no. 2637), who authenticated it, from the narration of Al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali radhiallahu ‘anhuma.]
Q2: Revealing the awrah during prayer
[Q]: Sometimes whilst praying – especially during ruku’ (bowing) and sujud (prostration) – part of the awrah (private parts) of a person becomes exposed due to his wearing trousers. So what is the ruling concerning the wearing of trousers whilst praying?
[A]: If the man’s trousers cover what is between his navel and his knees and are loose fitting, wide and baggy, then it fulfills the condition for the correctness of the Prayer. However, what is more preferable is to wear a qamis (long shirt) – which reaches half-way down to the shins, or just above the anklebone – over the trousers. This is a more complete form of covering the awrah. Likewise, Prayer in an izar (a loose lower garment) is more preferable than Prayer in a pair of trousers without a long shirt – since the izar far better covers the awrah than a pair of trousers.
Q3: Poor treatment of one’s spouse
[Q]: Even though my husband – may Allah forgive him – is a person of good character and fears Allah, yet he does not treat me with kindness. He is always moody, frowning and troubled at heart – and he often says that I am the cause of this. However, Allah knows – and all praise is for Allah – that I do fulfill his rights and try to bring to him tranquility and peace of mind and I try to stay clear of all that which displeases him, whilst patiently bearing his excesses against me. Every time I ask him about something, or speak about a particular matter, he becomes angry and says that my speech is stupidity – even though I know that he is perfectly happy in the company of his friends and associates. However, when it concerns me, then he does not treat me in the same manner, nor with the same feeling. This causes me great hurt and anger and I have often considered leaving the house. I have – and all praise is for Allah – been educated to a good level and fulfill that which Allah has obligated me with. O noble Shaykh! If I leave the house with my children, try to educate them and live my own life, will I be sinful in doing so? Or should I continue to live in my present circumstance, abstain from speaking and continue patiently bearing these difficulties? Please advise me as to what I should do – and may Allah reward you with goodness.
[A]: There is no doubt that it is obligatory for the husband and wife to live together in a kind and sociable manner. There should be good manners and treatment between them, along with affection and pleasant behaviour – as Allah the Mighty and Majestic – says: “And live with them in honour and in kindness.” [Al-Qur’an 4:19]. And His – the Most Perfect‘s – saying: “And the wives have rights over the husbands – similar to those of the husbands over them – in that which is reasonable. But men have a degree over them.” [Al-Qur’an 2:228].
The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Righteousness is good character.“ [Related by Muslim (4/1980) from An-Nawwas ibn Sam’an radhiallahu ‘anhu]
And he ‘alayhis-salatu wa’s-salam said: “Do not consider any good action as insignificant – even if it is meeting your brother with a cheerful face.” [Sahih: Related by Ahmad (5/63) and it was authenticated by Al-Albani in As-Sahihah (no. 1352)]
And he sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallamalso said: “The most perfect of Believers in ‘iman (faith) is the one with the best character. And the best of you are those that are best to their womenfolk, and I am the best amonqst you to my family.“[Related by At-Tirmidhi (1/217-218) who said: “The hadith is Hasan Sahih.”]
There are besides these many other ahadith which are a general proof for the encouragement of good character, cheerful meeting and good companionship between Muslims. If this is the general case between Muslims, then good treatment between husband and wife and relatives is even more important.
You have done well in patiently persevering and bearing the ill treatment and bad character from your husband. However, I advise you to have even greater patience and not to leave the house, and if Allah – the Most High – wills, there will be a great deal of good in this and a praiseworthy end for You. Allah – the Most Perfect – said: “Patiently persevere! Indeed Allah is with those who patiently persevere.” [Al-Qur’an 6:46]. And His – the Mighty and Majestic‘s – saying: “Indeed whosoever fears Allah, obeys Him, turns away from disobedience and patiently perseveres, then Allah does not cause the rewards of the doers of good to be lost.”[Al-Qur’an 12:90]. And His – the Mighty and Majestic‘s – saying: “Only those who patiently persevere shall receive their reward in full without reckoning.” [Al-Qur’an 39:10]. And His – the Most Perfect‘s – saying, “So patiently persevere! Indeed, the end will be good for those who are pious.” [Al-Qur’an 11:49].
However, this does not prevent you from speaking to your husband with such words, and behaving with him in such a manner, that will soften his heart – and lead to him being pleased with you and fulfilling your rights of companionship. And as long as he is fulfilling the main and important obligations towards you, then try not to ask him for any worldly need, until his heart is opened and his chest is expanded in accepting your request and fulfilling your needs; in this way – if Allah wills your ending will be a praiseworthy one. May Allah grant you increase in all that is good, and that the condition of your husband improves, and that he is guided to good character, kindness in companionship and to fulfilling the rights that are due upon him. Indeed Allah is the best of those who are asked, and only He guides to the path that is straight.
Q4: Using a newspaper as a dining spread
[Q]: Is it permissible to use a newspaper as a dining spread to eat upon it. If it is not permissible, then what should be done after reading it?
[A]: It is not permissible to use a newspaper which contains Qur’anic verses, or the remembrance of Allah, as a dining spread. Nor is it permissible to make envelopes out of such material, nor to utilize it in any other manner which is disrespectful and insulting to it. If the situation is as we have mentioned, then such papers containing Qur’anic material should either be stored away in an appropriate place, or burnt, or buried in clean ground.
Q5: Sincere repentance
[Q]: I am a young man, nineteen years of age, and have involved myself in a great deal of sin. Even to the extent that I do not pray most of my Prayers in the mosque, and I have never completely fasted the month of Ramadhan in my entire life. Besides these, I have committed other sins as well. I have vowed to repent many times before, however, after doing so I lapse back into these same sins. The youths of my area are just as bad, as are the friends that I associate with. And Allah knows that I have transgressed against myself and that whenever I repent, I return back to the same sins. I hope that you may direct me to a path that will bring me closer to my Lord and distance ms from these evil actions of mine.
[A]: Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – says: “Say O My Slaves who have transgressed against their own souls! Do not despair of Allah’s mercy. Indeed Allah forgives all sins. Truly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Al-Qur’an 39:53]. There is a consensus from the Scholars that this noble ayah (verse) was revealed for the ta’ibin (those who repent). So whoever sincerely repents from his sins, then Allah will forgive him all his sins, as occurs in the saying of Allah – the Most Perfect: “O you who Believe! Turn to Allah in sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord may remove from you your sins and admit you into Paradise beneath which rivers flow.” [Al-Qur’an 66:8]. So in this ayah (verse), Allah has made the removal of sins and entry into Paradise dependent upon sincere repentance.
And sincere repentance is conditional upon:
- [i] abandoning the sin and keeping away from it,
- [ii] having regret and remorse for committing the sin,
- [iii] truly intending not to commit the sin again,
- [iv] remembering the greatness of Allah and hoping for His reward, whilst fearing His punishment.
- Another condition for sincere repentance is that if due to transgression, the wealth or property of someone has been stolen or usurped, then it must be returned, or forgiveness must be sought from the one whose wealth, blood or honour has been taken. However, if the honour of a person has been violated and the situation is such that it is not possible to seek that person’s forgiveness, then plenty of du’a (supplication) should be made for his welfare and he should be spoken good of in those places where he had previously been backbitten, since good deeds wipe away bad ones.
Allah – the Most Perfect – said: “Turn you all in repentance to Allah, O Believers, in order that you may be successful.” [Al-Qur’an 24:31]. So in this ayah (verse) Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – linked success with tawbah (repentance) and points to the fact that the repentant person will reach success and happiness, and if such a person were to follow up this repentance with ‘iman (faith) and doing righteous actions, then Allah would efface his evil actions and change them to good actions, as Allah – the Most Perfect – says, after mentioning the sins of Shirk (directing worship that is due only for Allah, to other than Allah), taking a life without just cause and fornication and adultery: “And whoever does this, will receive the punishment. The punishment will be doubled for him on the Day of Judgement and he will live therein in disgrace. Except for those who repent, have ‘iman (faith) and do righteous actions. For them Allah will change their evil deeds into good ones, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Al-Qur’an 25:68-70]
And from the causes of tawbah (repentance) are humility and submissiveness to Allah – the Most Perfect – and imploring Him for guidance – realising that acceptance of one’s repentance is indeed another favour from Allah. Thus, Allah – the Most Perfect – said: “Call upon Me and I will respond to your supplication.” [Al-Qur’an 40:60]. And He – the Mighty and Majestic – said: “And when My servant asks you concerning Me, say to them that I am indeed near. And I respond to the supplication of the one who supplicates to Me.” [Al-Qur’an 2:186].
Also, from the causes of tawbah is choosing good companionship and friendship, and following them in righteous conduct, whilst staying clear of bad companionship. It is authentically related from Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that he said: “A person is upon the religion of his friend, so let one of you look to whom he keeps as a friend.” [Hasan: Related by Abu Dawud (no. 4812) and others, from Abu Hurayrah radhiallahu ‘anhu. Imam An-Nawawi authenticated it in Riyadh as-Salihin (no. 174).]
And the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also said: “The example of good companion and a bad companion is like that of a seller of musk and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows. As for the seller of musk, then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at the very least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows, then either he will burn your clothes, or you will get an offensive smell from him.” [Related by Al-Bukhari (4/323) and Muslim (no. 2628), from Abu Musa al-Ash’ari radhiallahu ‘anhu.
Q6: Splitting into groups within the Muslims
[Q]: What is the obligation upon the Muslim Scholars with regard to the large number of jam’iyyat (societies) and jama’at (groups) in many of the Islamic lands and elsewhere, and with regard to the differences that exist between them, to the point that each group declares the others to be misguided. Do you not hold that it is fitting to enter into explaining the like of this matter and to clarify the truth concerning their differences, for fear that these differences will increase and lead to evil consequences for the Muslims?.
[A]: Our Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made clear to us a single way which is obligatory upon the Muslims to follow and traverse, and that is Allah’s Straight Path and the methodology of His upright religion. Allah – the Most High – said: “And this is My Straight Path, so follow it and do not follow other paths that will separate you from His Path. This has He ordained for you, that you may become pious.“ [Al-Qur’an 6:153]. Just as the Lord of Might and Majesty warned the Ummah (nation) of Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam against splitting and disunity, since that is one of the greatest causes of failure and of the enemy taking control, as occurs ill the saying of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic‘s “And hold fast altogether to the rope of Allah and do not be divided.” [Al-Qur’an 3:101]. And His – the Most High‘s – saying: “He has ordained for you the same religion which He ordained for Nuh, and that which We revealed to you, and that which We ordained for Ibrahim, Musa and ‘Isa ‘alayhimus-salam, saying: that you should establish the religion by doing that which you are ordered with, and make no divisions in it. Intolerable for the Pagans is that to which you call them.” [Al-Qur’an 42:13]. So this is a Divine call to unity and for hearts to be harmonized. And in any Islamic land, if there are many groups for the purpose of good, aid, co-operating in righteousness and piety between the Muslims – without their being differences between the desires of the companions and followers – then this is good, is a blessing, and produces great benefit.
However, if each of them declare the others to be misguided and attack their actions, then this harm is very great and its evil consequences very serious. Then what is obligatory upon the Muslims is to clarify the true states of affairs and to discuss with each group and to sincerely advise all of them that they should proceed upon the way laid down by Allah for His servants, and upon that which our Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam called to. Then those who ignore this, or continue in their stubbornness, due to personal benefit or goal – known only to Allah – then what is obligatory upon those who know the reality is to make this known about them and to warn against them, so that the people may avoid their path, and that those who do not know the reality of their affair may not fall into it and be led astray, and that they are not turned away from the Straight Path which Allah ordered that we follow, as occurs in His – the Mighty and Majestic‘s – saving: “And this is My Straight Path, so follow it and do not follow other paths that will separate you from His Path. This has He ordained for you, that you may become pious.” [Al-Qur’an 6:153]. And from that which there is no doubt about is that the multitude of sects and groups in the Islamic society is, firstly something desired by Shaytan, and secondly something desired by the enemies of Islam from amongst mankind. Since agreement and unification of the Muslims, and their being aware of the dangers which threaten them and their ‘aqidah (beliefs), will make them active in refuting and rebutting it, and acting in a unified manner for the benefit of the Muslims – thus repelling the danger from their religion, their lands and their brothers. And this is something which the enemies – from amongst mankind and jinn – are not pleased with. Therefore they are very eager to split-up the Muslims, destroy their unity and to sow the seeds of enmity and discord between them. We ask Allah that He unites the Muslims upon the truth and that He removes from their society every type of misguidance and every cause of discord. Indeed He is the One Who is able to do that, and He is the One having full power over it.
[Majmu’ Fatawa ma Maqalat Mutanawwi’ah(5/202-204)]