Is Kosher Meat Halal?

*Research paper written by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi. Originally posted on muslimmatters.org here. This article is quite detailed. For an easy summary of the conclusions go straight to the conclusion at the end.

 

The following is a paper presented to the AMJA Conference on The Halal and Haram in Food and Medicine (Los Angeles, California, March 2-4, 2012).  Note that this paper does not represent AMJA in any way, and only represents the opinions of the author.

Terminology Equivalents Chart

Hebrew

Arabic

kosher

ḥalāl

shechita

dhabīḥa

shochet

dhābiḥ

halakha

sharīʿa

treif

ḥarām

Introduction

Observant Muslims and Jews only eat ḥalāl and kosher products, and face many of the same problems in finding appropriate meat products in the modern, secularized world. Due to the dearth of kosher meat products available, and even higher scarcity of ḥalāl meat, many Muslims feel comfortable purchasingkosher meat, believing that all kosher meats (and by extension kosher products) are necessarily ḥalāl. Other Muslims, due to either political or theological reasons, believe that it is impermissible  to purchase or consume any kosher meat products.

This paper seeks to discuss the question of the Islamic legal ruling on consuming kosher meat products. Therefore, political questions and personal values, which do not dictate the general ruling (aṣl) with respect to such products, will not be discussed.

Generally speaking (and as per Q. 4:160 and 3:50), halakhic laws are stricter than Islamic ones. This is shown not only in the foods that are permissible or impermissible, but also in the laws pertaining to slaughtering, cooking and consuming foods. Since the normative applications of Jewish law are stricter than those for Islamic law, in most cases these laws will not affect Muslims who wish to consume kosher, but would affect Jews who might be interested in ḥalāl meat. The most pertinent examples will be discussed in this paper.

Prohibitions Regarding Types of Animals and Foods

Both Jewish and Islamic laws prohibit the consumption of carrion, swine, insects, rodents and blood. Additionally, any food that is poisonous or immediately harmful to the human body would be prohibited. All solid food items prohibited by the Sharīʿa are also prohibited in Jewish law.

There are a number of significant items prohibited in the halakha but allowed by the Sharīʿa.  The Qurʾān itself mentions the most common example, viz., certain types of animal fat (see Q. 6:146). Halakhic law specifies which types of fats and nerves are prohibited.[1] The majority of madhhabs allowed the Muslim to consume these parts that are typically not considered kosher after a Jewish slaughter. The only exception to this is the Mālikī school, which deems the consumption of these parts impermissible.

Other examples of items that are prohibited for Jews but allowed for Muslims include:

– Sharks, shellfish and crustaceans (lobster, crabs, etc.) [Note: for the Ḥanafīs these animals are also not permitted].

– Some types of birds (e.g., ostrich, emu).

– Camels (because it does not have a proper ‘split hoof’).[2]

Interestingly enough, the locust is an animal that is explicitly mentioned and allowed by both halakhic andSharʿī texts.

Also note that Jewish law forbids mixing meat and dairy products together. Different Jewish authorities have different interpretations and rules for implementation – some even require two sets of kitchen utensils and separate areas of refrigerators for these two products. There is, of course, no equivalent in Islamic law.

Jewish law also has stringent rules regarding the religious washing and usage of utensils. For example, if a ceramic or porcelain utensil is used to cook a non-kosher food, that utensil can never be purified and used  for kosher cooking. However, if a metallic utensil has been used, it must be cleaned with soap and water, then left for a period of time, then immersed in boiling water under the supervision of an expert, before it may be used to cook with.[3] Islamic law, on the other hand, would only require the regular washing of any such utensil and would permit its subsequent usage to cook or consume ḥalāl products in.

The permissibility of gelatin and rennet are ongoing discussions in both faiths. The exact same spectrum of opinions exists in both Muslim and Jewish circles. It appears that most mainstream Jewish and Muslim authorities would not permit regularly available gelatin, since it is derived from either pork or non-ritually slaughtered animals (with minority dissenting opinions on both sides). Proper kosher gelatin is therefore typically derived from kosher fish (and, in even rarer cases, from kosher slaughtered animals, or from certain cows that have died natural deaths,[4] or from vegetable products). However, it should be noted that a product that is marked as kosher does not necessarily mean that all Jewish authorities believe it to be so. In fact, most yoghurt and candy products that are marked with circle-K are not approved by most Conservative and Orthodox Rabbis. Hence, Muslims need to know the different types of symbols used by the Jewish food industry, and their corresponding opinions, before they make a choice on whether a product that is marked as kosher is in fact ḥalāl or not.

Cheese, on the other hand, appears to be an issue where the spectrum of opinions are the same, but the majorities of each are different. Most Jewish authorities would only allow cheese if produced from kosherrennet; most Muslim authorities would allow cheese from non-ḥalāl rennet because of the issue ofistihlāk.[5] In both groups, there are dissenting minority opinions, but the minorities are on opposite sides.

There are some halakhic restrictions on vegetables and plants (for example, the orlah­, or fruit that grows during first three years after planting), and Jewish law is also stricter than Islamic law regarding insects found in fruits and vegetables, but these laws are not relevant to this discussion. Additionally, there are specific halakhic commandments for preparing Passover breads and prohibiting other foods that would also not concern Muslims.

For Muslims, the most common product that is allowed in Jewish law but prohibited in Islamic law are alcoholic beverages. Jewish law permits the consumption of ‘kosher‘ beer and wine.

Similarities in Slaughtering an Animal

Once we understand the halakhic procedure for slaughtering animals, it will be possible to arrive at an Islamic verdict regarding its status.

First, the similarities. Jewish law and Islamic law both require that:

1) The animal must be alive when it is slaughtered (hence stunning or other procedures to render the animal unconscious should be avoided).

2) The animal must be killed with a sharp knife (hence, a blow to the head would render the animal treifand ḥarām).

3) The knife must cut the neck arteries of the animal: in particular, the trachea, esophagus, cartiod arteries and jugular veins should be cut, while leaving the spinal cord intact.

4) The blood must be drained out.

5) There must be minimal harm to the animal – a painless and quick slaughter is required.

All of these are points of agreement between Jewish and Islamic law.

Minor Differences

There are some minor differences between the requirements of the two faiths. These difference would generally be negligible and irrelevant to Muslims, but not to observant Jews.

1) Jewish law requires a specific type of person (called a shochet) to slaughter. Typically, the shochet is an observant male Jew trained in the practice of slaughter. Islamic law allows any male or female Christian, Muslim or Jew to sacrifice as long as that person follows the proper procedure of slaughtering. Therefore, it is primarily for this reason that a dhabīḥa animal can never be kosher for observant Jews because the slaughter would be performed by a Muslim.

2) The perfection of the knife blade – Jewish law requires visual and physical inspection; Islamic law only requires a sharp knife even if there are some imperfections (e.g., minor abrasions and nicks would be permissible in Islam).

3) Jewish law requires one continuous stroke for a slaughter (moving the knife back and forth would be allowed), whereas Islamic law would prefer one stroke, but the slaughter would not be invalidated if the slaughterer quickly followed a first improper stroke with another one.

4) In Jewish law, the knife must be at least two times the size of the animal’s neck, and perfectly straight, whereas there is no such requirement in Islam.

5) Jewish law completely forbids stunning, and a stunned animal would be treif; Islamic law is not unified on this point, as most authorities would consider stunning makrūh, but as long as the animal is alive and has a pulse, the slaughter would still be considered ḥalāl.

6) Depending on which Islamic madhab one followed, the number of passages in the neck of the animal cut might be less for some opinions of Islamic law (however, a perfect cut in both religions would require the esophagus, trachea, arteries and jugular).

7) While the disconnecting of the spine is prohibited in both laws, in Jewish law this would render the animal treif, whereas according to the majority opinion in Islamic law, this is makrūh but does not render the animal ḥarām (note that some authorities would view such an act as making the animal ḥarām).

8) Jewish law requires a visual inspection of the lungs and some other internal organs of the animal after slaughter. Specific defects associated with these organs makes the animal treif, whereas the total absence of any imperfection (i.e., adhesion-free lungs) renders the animal a higher level of kosher, calledglatt kosher. If such a level of perfection was not achieved, but the procedure was followed, the meat would merely be kosher. And some type of defects would in fact render the animal treif even after proper slaughter. There is no equivalent to such a post-slaughter examination in Islamic law.

9) The animal’s blood must be allowed to flow into the earth (or on the ground) in Jewish law (for example, it should not be gathered in a bowl), whereas there is no such prohibition in Islamic law. In practice, most Muslims slaughter and spill the blood on the ground as well.

10) Islamic law encourages, but does not require, that the animal faces the qiblah. Since this is not a requirement according to any madhhab, it is irrelevant to the question of whether kosher is ḥalāl.[6]

11) While the Jewish invocation (i.e., blessing) is not a necessary requirement for the meat to be considered kosher, it is in practice never left. This issue will be discussed in a separate section.

From all of these points, it is clear that these factors will not render kosher meat ḥarām; most are in fact rulings that make the halakhic laws stricter than their Sharʿī equivalents, and even the Islamic ones on this list are recommendations and not requirements. Hence, from the perspective of the Sharīʿa, these factors are not relevant.

Of course, because of some or most of these factors (especially the first one), ḥalāl meat cannot be considered kosher by Jewish authorities.

Major Difference – the Tasmiya Issue

There is one major differences between the two laws that cannot be overlooked and could potentially result in a verdict of taḥrīm,[7] and that is the issue of the tasmiya.

The Islamic opinions on mentioning Allāh’s name at the time of sacrifice are well-known. It is clear that the majority of scholars (and the explicit texts of the Qurʿān and Sunnah) require the utterance of tasmiyabefore an animal is slaughtered. It is with this opinion in mind that we proceed. (It goes without saying that, for the minority who do not require tasmiya, obviously if they do not require a Muslim to mention the name of Allāh then a priori they would not require a non-Muslim to do so).[8]

Halakhic law states that the shochet should verbally bless the act of slaughter with a specific blessing.[9]While this blessing is not considered an essential requirement, in practice it is always done, and it is realistically inconceivable that a shochet intentionally abandons this blessing.[10]

The formulation of this blessing translates as:

“Blessed are you , Adonai [G-d], our G-d, Lord of the World, Who Sanctified us through His Commandments and instructed us concerning proper animal slaughter”

The wording clearly praises God, and therefore would be acceptable to the vast majority of madhhabs,since it is not a necessary requirement that the blessing be said in Arabic. However, the issue comes with respect to a unique blessing for each animal.

Since the Jewish faith insists that the name of the Lord only be invoked with good cause, the shochet does not repeat this blessing for each and every animal. Instead, the shochet considers one blessing to suffice for a series of animals with the condition that each animal is slaughtered without any significant pause or break from the previous one. [11]

Therefore, in theory, a shochet could sacrifice a few cows, and maybe even up to a hundred chicken, with one blessing.

All of this, of course, has relevance to the Sharʿī ruling on an animal.

For the minority that does not require tasmiya (in particular, the Shāfʿī school), this issue would not be relevant, and therefore kosher would be ḥalāl.

For those who subscribe to the position that allows one tasmiya for multiple slaughters, kosher meat would also be ḥalāl.

For those who require a specific tasmiya for each individual animal (in particular, the Ḥanafī school),kosher meat would not be ḥalāl unless it was known for sure that a blessing was given for that animal.

As a side point, there are reference to some Christian groups who required a slaughterer to sacrifice in the name of God.[12]

Conclusion

In light of all that has preceded, and in this author’s opinion:

– While the Qurʿān explicitly allows us to offer (and therefore sell) ḥalāl meat to Jews, most observant Jews would not consider ḥalāl to be kosher because the animal would be slaughtered by a non-Jew (and there would be other factors as well).

– All kosher foods are permissible as long as 1) no significant amount of alcohol is present, and 2) any gelatin is from kosher slaughtered cattle or non-animal sources. If alcohol is used either for taste or in intoxicating amounts, the food prepared would be ḥarām; and any gelatin derived from animals not slaughtered with tasmiya is also ḥarām.

– Kosher meat being ḥalāl would depend on which madhhab one follows for the tasmiya: if one follows the opinion that one tasmiya suffices for multiple animals, kosher slaughtered animals would be ḥalāl. However, if one requires one tasmiya per animal, then in general such animals would be ḥarām unless one can verify that the blessing was said for that particular animal.

In this author’s opinion, since the halakhic blessing is done over a specific group of animals and the slaughter is continuous, this blessing can suffice to fulfill the requirements of the tasmiya for that group of animals, and Allāh knows best.

Lastly, it is important that stronger ties be developed between observant Muslims and Jews so that we benefit from each other’s experiences, unite against Islamophobic and anti-Semitic efforts to ban ritual animal slaughter, and perhaps also manage to influence some kosher plants to say a tasmiya for every animal.



[1] This is based on Leviticus 7:3. Generally, Jewish law does not allow fat surrounding the kidneys, the abdominal fats, the fats surrounding the stomach and intestines, and the tail fat. The nerve that is forbidden is one that is in the hind-quarters. Since it is labor-intensive to remove this nerve, generally the hind-quarters of an animal are sold to non-Jews.

[2] Many Qurʿānic exegetes consider this to be an example of Q. 3:93; others also add the ruling of animal fats, but this latter opinion clearly contradicts Q. 6:146.

[3] This discussion is necessarily simplistic and brief.

[4] These are so-called ‘Indian cows’; since Hindus are not allowed to kill cows, any cow that dies is left untouched. Jewish law allows the bones of such an animal, if left untouched for a long period of time, to be used for the manufacture of gelatin.

[5] I have written a paper about this, published online. See: http://muslimmatters.org/2007/07/09/of-mice-and-men-the-cheese-factor/.

[6] Since this law is irrelevant to the halakha, some modern Jewish authorities have allowed taking this condition into account when performing kosher slaughters.

[7] Of course, we are not talking about the issue of adding alcohol to the meat while it is being cooked. Jewish law permits the consumption of certain types of alcohol and the mixing of wine with meat products. Any such production of meat would obviously be ḥarām for Muslims.

[8] It is relevant to point out that Ibn Ḥanbal’s position regarding the tasmiya for Ahl Kitāb sacrifices is explicit – and as far as I know, everything narrated to the contrary is mujmal. Ḥanbal reports that Abū Abdillāh said, “There is no problem with the sacrifice of the Kitābī as long as he sacrifices for Allāh and in the name of Allāh (idhā ahallū lillāhi wa sammū ʿalayhī).” [Aḥkām Ahl al-Dhimmah, 1/189]. This was also the explicit position of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn al-Qayyim. It should also be noted that most authorities who allowed the sacrifice of the Kitābī without mentioned Allāh’s name also allowed it if they mentioned other than Allāh’s name [ibid., 1/191-3].

Also, the reader is encouraged to see Ibn Taymiyya’s risāla on this issue, in Jāmiʾ al-Masāʾil of Dr. Bakr Abu Zayd (Riyad: Dār al-ʿĀlim, 1429), vol. 6, p. 377-89. In it, he states that the obligation of saying thetasmiya before hunting or slaughtering an animal is even more clear than the obligation to recite Fātiḥa in the prayer.

It is the intention of the author to write a brief treatise on this issue as well, insha Allāh.

[9] It is important to note that the blessing is for the act of sacrifice, and not for an animal or for the instrument.

[10] Therefore, from an Islamic standpoint, the shochet who does not mention the blessings will be fī ḥukm al-nāsī (i.e., the one who accidentally forgets), and the majority of scholars would deem such a slaughter as permissible, in contrast to the one who intentionally does not mention Allāh’s name.

[11] Most modern Rabbis allow the shochet to utter the phrase ‘bismillāh Allahu akbar‘ in Arabic before each slaughter, since that does not interfere with the rules of halakha. This practice should be encouraged and Muslims should inform local Jewish slaughterhouses that they would become potential customers if the shochet could do this.

[12] In the Syriac-language Nomocanon of Barhebraeus (d. 1286), a Christian butcher is instructed to recite the phrase ba-shma d’elaha haya, “In the name of the living God.” Gregorius Barhebraeus,Nomocanon, ed. Paul Bedjan (Paris: Harrassowitz, 1898); taken from Freidenreich (cit.)

Saying “Merry Christmas”

Can I Say “Merry Christmas” to My non-Muslim Co-Workers, Friends, and Family?

By Jamaal Diwan based on the fatwās of Shaykhs Yusuf al-Qaraḍāwī and Muṣṭafā al-Zarqā1

 

Q:

Is it permissible for me to say “Merry Christmas” to my non-Muslim classmates, friends, family, neighbors, and others this holiday season? Please keep in mind that on the days of Eid they always wish me a “Happy Eid” and even buy me gifts.

 

A:

Allah says in the Quran addressing how Muslims should deal with non-Muslims:

 

“Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion – [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers.”2

 

There are also many places in the Quran and Sunna that encourage the Muslim to be of the best of manners. One example of this is the ḥadīth of the Prophet (pbuh) where he said, “The believers with the most complete faith are the ones with the best manners.”3 The Prophet also said, “Verily, I was sent to perfect good character.”4

 

That being said there are a couple of things to take into consideration here. The first is that there is no disagreement between the scholars regarding the impermissibility of celebrating Christmas. It is a religious holiday that is based on beliefs that are against Islam and it is not permissible for Muslims to celebrate it. This is because it goes against the concept of protecting one’s dīn and contradicts the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh) which limited Muslim religious holidays to the two Eids. That does not mean that they cannot spend time with their non-Muslim family on such a day if there is a family get together but that is a different issue.

 

As to whether or not one can greet their non-Muslim family and friends with “Merry Christmas” there are two major opinions. The first says that it is impermissible and was held by scholars such as Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn ʿUthaymīn, and others. The second opinion is that it is permissible as long as the intention is to interact with them in the best way possible  without supporting their belief.5 This opinion was held by scholars like Yusuf al-Qaraḍāwī and Muṣṭafā Zarqā. The latter opinion also allows the exchanging of greeting cards on holidays like Christmas as long as the card is free from any sort of religious symbolism.

 

Al-Qaradawi in his fatwā specifically mentions  being aware of the opinion of Ibn Taymiyya, but that he does not agree with it based on the influence of the different times  and  circumstances during  Ibn Taymiyya’s era. Al-Qaradawi speculated that had Ibn Taymiyya lived during the times in which we live and seen the  the importance of good relationships between Muslims and non-Muslims, that he would have changed his opinion. Regardless whether that would be the case or not,  it does show that al-Qaradawi was acutely aware of Ibn Taymiyya’s opinion when he gave his fatwā.

 

The argument against saying “Merry Christmas” to one’s family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers is based on the concept that in doing so you are approving of their beliefs in some way. This is simply not the case and saying “Merry Christmas” is nothing more than an act of good societal manners. However, it should be noted that this is not the same as actually celebrating Christmas or other non-Muslim religious holidays. Celebrating these holidays is not allowed but exchanging greetings and even gifts with non-Muslims on them out of companionship and manners is permissible, as long as the gifts themselves are permissible. This is especially the case when those same friends and family greet and exchange gifts with you on the Muslim holidays.

 

In conclusion, in America we need to try and seek a balance between maintaining our identity and the purity of our beliefs while at the same time dealing with our greater society in the best way possible. Therefore, I think the way Muslims in America should deal with this issue depends on their circumstances. An interesting way to understand this predicament is to look at how Jews in America deal with this same question.6 It seems that they have many of the same discussions that we have around this time of year. In general there are a couple of things that we want to try and be aware of at the same time: we want to maintain our identity and belief, we want people to understand Islam as much as possible, we want to respect and appreciate others, we want to treat others in the best way possible, we don’t want to be socially awkward or insular. Different situations will require different responses. Those of us who have non-Muslim families have different situations than those of us who do not. You could reply with a number of different answers, including: “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays”, “As a Muslim I don’t celebrate Christmas”, or “Thank you.  I don’t celebrate Christmas. But merry Christmas to you.” The appropriate answer will depend on the person, the situation, one’s internal intentions, and the perceived intentions of the one they are speaking to.

 

And Allah knows best.

 

*Note

Shaykh al-Ghiryani, a prominent Libyan Maliki scholar, also said that the majority of the Malikis consider it to be disliked. The point in sharing all of this is to show that it is NOT an area of agreement amongst all the scholars.

 

  1. al-Zarqā was one of the great scholars of the modern era and died in 1999. He was well trained in literature, secular law, and Islamic law. He was recognized by his peers as a great scholar and came from a family of prominent scholars which included his father and grandfather. For al-Qaradawi’s fatwā see his book Fī fiqh al-aqalliyyāt and for al-Zarqā’s see his Fatāwā. []
  2. Quran 60:8-9 []
  3. Narrated by Aḥmad, Abū Dāwūd, Ibn Ḥibbān, and al-Ḥākim. []
  4. Narrated by Ibn Sʿad and al-Bukhārī in al-Adab al-Mufrad. []
  5. What is meant by this is not that people are not allowed to believe what they want to believe. They are. What is meant by this is that the Muslim is not agreeing with their belief. []
  6. See: “Wishing Jews a Merry Christmas?”; “How Should a Jew Respond to a ‘Merry Christmas’ Greeting?” []
  7. This was narrated in his book, Akām ahl al-dhimma []

Do I Have to Pray Jumuah When Eid Comes on Friday?

* For a more detailed analysis see Imam Mustafa Umar’s article on his website, mustafaumar.com, here.

 

Q:

If Eid is on a Friday and one attends the Eid prayer are they still required to attend the jumuah prayer?

 

A:

Jumuah prayer is normally required upon men who do not have an excuse which allows them to miss it. However, when Eid falls on Friday there is some discussion between the scholars as to whether or not that counts as an excuse which would allow them to miss the Friday prayer.

Essentially there are two major opinions on this issue. The opinion of the the Hanafi and Maliki schools is that men are still required to pray the Friday prayer even if they attend the Eid prayer on a Friday. The opinion of the Hanbali school is that if men attend the Eid prayer then they are excused from attending the Friday prayer on the same day.

The general principle is that when such an acceptable scholarly difference exists it is permissible for the person to act upon either of the opinions. However, in this case there are a few things to keep in mind:

– It is important for us as a Muslim community in America to give importance to days like Eid and try to make them as festive and memorable as possible. If we do not do this we run the risk of our kids associating positive memories with other religious holidays (like Christmas) and not with the Eids. As such I highly recommend those who can take off work to do so. If one is able to take off work then they should try to attend both the Jumuah and the Eid prayer.

– If one is not able to take off work for the whole day then they should still try to take off for Eid prayer and then simply prayer zuhr instead of taking off again for Jumuah. It is permissible for them to do this as long as they pray the Eid prayer in congregation.

– As a general rule it is better to still pray Jumuah even if one attends the Eid prayer.

May Allah guide us to what is best and fill our hearts with the light of belief.

 

Jamaal Diwan

Fasting Six Days in Shawwal

Merit

The Prophet (pbuh) stated in an authentic hadith, “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days from Shawwāl then it will be as if they fasted the entire year.” There are many things that can be benefited from this hadith, a few of them are as follows:

–          It is the practice of the Prophet to fast at least six days in Shawwāl in order to acquire the benefit mentioned in the hadith.

–          Fasting is one of the greatest types of worship and the reward for it is with God, as mentioned in the hadith qudsi, “Fasting is for Me and I reward for it.” Therefore, Ramadan gives us a yearly chance to make fasting part of our regular routine of worship. It is well established that the Prophet (pbuh) used to regularly fast Mondays and Thursdays, as well as the three “white days,” (the middle days of the month when the moon is fullest) and that he would also encourage others to do so as well. If one fasts the month of Ramadan and then follows that with six days in the following month then they are well on their way to establishing fasting as part of their regular routine.

–          The reward of carrying out these fasts is equivalent to fasting the entire year. This is clarified in another tradition where the Prophet (pbuh) reminds us after stating the reward of fasting these days that the reward of good deeds is multiplied by ten. This is one of the secrets behind the reward of this action because in carrying out the fast of Ramadan and six days in Shawwāl the person would have fasted roughly 36 days, which, when multiplied by ten,  equates to 360 days.

 

Make up Missed Days of Ramadan First or Not?

There a couple of things to consider when thinking about this question.

The first is that it is not required to make up missed days of Ramadan immediately. It is necessary that one make them up before the next Ramadan but they may do that at any point throughout the year.

The second issue is that the hadith mentions that the person who fasts Ramadan and then follows it with six days of fasting in the month after, then it will be as if they fasted the whole year. This implies that one would have to finish the fasts of Ramadan before starting the six of Shawwāl. As such, a number of scholars required the completion of the missed days of Ramadan before the six of Shawwāl in order to receive the reward mentioned in the hadith. However, this is an area of disagreement amongst the scholars and if the person wants to fast the six days before making up their missed fasts of Ramadan in order to follow the sunnah then that is also okay.

The third issue is as to whether or not one can combine intentions between making up their fasts from Ramadan and fasting the six days of Shawwāl. Some scholars have held that it is permissible to subsume the intention of a voluntary deed under an obligatory one and as such this would be acceptable. However, they also noted that the one who did this for these days would receive the reward of following the sunnah of fasting six days in Shawwāl, but their overall reward would be less than the one who makes up their missed fasts and then fasts the six days.

 

Conclusion

Fasting the six days of Shawwāl is a meritorious sunnah which should be followed as much as possible. The best case scenario is to make up any missed days from Ramadan first and then fast the six days. However, if this is not possible or very difficult upon the person then they can either fast the six days first and then make up their missed days later or combine intentions between making those days up and completing the six days of Shawwāl.

One should also remember that in voluntary fasts the intention is not required from the night before and as long as the intention to fast is made before midday and the person has not done anything up to that point that would invalidate the fast then it is acceptable.

And God knows best.

Recitation for the Deceased

*Translated from al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuh by Dr. Wahbah Zuhayli

 

Herein there are several issues for the Legal Scholars.

 

A. There is a consensus amongst the scholars regarding the benefit of the deceased from: dua, and istighfar (seeking forgiveness for them), such as: “Oh Allah! Forgive him. Oh Allah! Have mercy on him.”, and charity, and the carrying out of physical and financial obligations which accept representation such as Hajj. This is according to what Allah says in the Quran, “And those that came before them say: Our Lord! Forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in belief.” [59:10]. And what Allah says, “And seek forgiveness for your sins and for the believing men and women” [47:19]. The Prophet PBUH made dua for Abu Salamah when he died, and for the deceased whom he prayed upon in the hadith of ‘Awf ibn Malik, and for all the deceased whom he prayed upon. The Prophet PBUH was asked, “Oh Messenger of Allah, my mother has passed away, will it benefit her if I give charity of her behalf?” Then the Prophet said, “Yes.” {narrated by Abu Dawud}. In another hadith a woman came to the Prophet and said, “Oh Messenger of Allah, the obligation of hajj has found my father in old age, incapable of travel (incapable of remaining of the animal that he would ride), should I make hajj on his behalf?” He said, “If your father had a debt would you pay it?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “The debt of Allah has more of a right to be paid.” {narrated by Ahmad and al-Nasaai}. He also said to someone who asked him, “My mother has passed away and she was required to fast one month, should I fast it on her behalf?” He said, “Yes.”

 

Ibn Qudamah said, “These are authentic hadiths, in them is evidence that the deceased benefits from the rest of actions of others whereby the closeness of Allah is sought. That is because fasting, and dua, and istighfar are physical worship and Allah delivers their benefit to the deceased, so similarly for other than them.”

 

B. The Ulama differed regarding the reception of the reward for purely physical worship such as prayer and reading the Quran to someone other than the doer of these actions into two opinions:

1. The opinion of the Hanafis, and the Hanbalis, and the later scholars of the Shafiis, and the Malikis that holds that the deceased receives the recitation if it occurs in his presence or if he is supplicated for afterwards, even if he is not present because mercy and blessings descend in the place of recitation, and making supplication at the end of it is more hopeful for acceptance.

2. The opinion of the early Maliki scholars and the most well-known opinion of the early Shafii scholars which holds that the reward of purely physical worship is not received by other than the doer.

 

The Hanafis said: the preferred opinion for us is that it is not disliked for a group of people to sit and read Quran at someone’s grave. They also said in the section on making Hajj on behalf of someone else: it is allowed for a person to make the reward of his actions for someone else whether it be prayer or fasting or charity or something else and that does not reduce anything from his reward.

 

The Hanbalis said: There is no problem in reading Quran at someone’s grave because of the hadith that was previously stated, “Whoever enters the graveyard and reads Chapter Ya-Sin, it will bring ease to them (those in the graves) on that day, and they will get the reward for whoever is buried there.” And the hadith, “Whoever visits the grave of his parents and reads Chapter Ya-Sin he will be forgiven of his sins.” {both are weak hadiths and the first is weaker than the second according to Imam al-Suyūṭī}.

 

The Malikis said: Reading the Quran on the deceased after his death and at his grave is disliked because the early generations did not do it. But the later scholars are of the opinion that there is no problem with reading the Quran and making dhikr and making intention for the reward to go to the deceased, and he will receive the reward by the will of Allah.

 

The early Shafi scholars said: the well known opinion is that the deceased does not benefit from someone else’s deeds such as made up  prayers, or other than them, or reading of the Quran.

The later Shafi scholars however have verified that the deceased receives the reward of Quran recitation such as the Fātiḥah and otherwise. If it is established that the Fatiha benefits the live person who was bitten by a poisonous animal, as is shown in the hadith, “And what made you know that it is a healing?”, then the benefit of the deceased by it is more befitting.

 

Therefore the opinion of the later Shafis is the same as the other three schools in that the reward of reciting Quran reached the deceased. Al-Subki said: “It is understood from the hadith, by deduction, that some of the Quran if it is intended by it the reward and comforting of the deceased, it will benefit the deceased. That is because if it is established that the Fatiha benefitted the live, bitten person (with intention) as stated in the hadith: “and what made you know that it was a healing?” then the benefit of the deceased by it is even more befitting.” Qāḍī Hasan even allowed renting recitation of the Quran for the deceased. Ibn Salah said: “One should say: ‘Oh Allah! Deliver the reward of what we recited to such-and-such person.’ Thereby making dua for them. There is no difference in this between the close and the distant. And they should have certainty of the benefit in their action, because if there is benefit in dua and it is allowed for other than the one who is supplicating, then for it to be allowed for what is for him is even more befitting, and this is not specific for recitation only but for all types of actions.”

Salat al-Istikhara — The Guidance Prayer

Many people have questions about al-istikhārah, in the following article we will cover some of the things that the scholars have said about it and how to know what to choose after making it.

 

It was narrated by al-Bukhārī and Muslim on the authority of Jābir ibn ʿAbdillah, may Allah be pleased with them both:

The Prophet used to teach us to make the prayer of al-istikhārah in all affairs, the same way that he would teach us chapters from the Quran. He would say, “If one of you feels inclined to do something then let them pray two units of optional prayer, then say: ‘O Allah! I seek Your guidance by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power; I have none. And You know; I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things. O Allah! If in Your knowledge, (this matter*) is good for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs, immediate and in the future, then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge, (this matter*) is bad for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs, immediate and in the future, then turn it away from me, and turn me away from it. And ordain for me the good wherever it may be, and make me content with it.’”

Click here for the Arabic.

 

It’s Ruling

As a result of this hadith there is a consensus between the scholars that al-istikhārah is recommended and part of the Sunnah. They said that the purpose of it is to depend entirely upon Allah in one’s affairs, as He is the One who sees and knows all. Therefore, the person who makes al-istikhārah should not go into it with their mind already made up, but rather have an open heart and mind and ask Allah to guide them to what is best.

 

What Kinds of Things to Make It For

They also noted that it is not to be prayed for things that are prohibited, disliked, or required, but rather only for things that are permissible or recommended (if a choice must be made between various recommended actions). This is because in the first group of rulings there is really no decision to be made, but rather action to be taken. In the second group there can be decisions that need to be made and al-istikhārah is prescribed for such decisions.

 

Consultation and al-Istikhārah

Imam al-Nawawi says about this: “It is recommended for the person to consult others before making al-istikhārah. He/she should consult those whom they trust to care and give sincere advice and are reliable in their piety and experience.”[1]Many times we consult others during or after praying al-istikhārah, but Imam al-Nawawi is specifically stating here that such consultations should actually take place before the supplication is made.

 

When to Do It

If one is making al-istikhārah without praying two units of prayer with it then they can make it at any time because duʿāʾ is not restricted by any times. However, if one is praying two units with it then, according to the four schools, they should not pray it during the times wherein prayer is disliked. The Shafiʿis stated an exception for this in the case of the person who is praying in the Sacred area of Mecca by making analogy on the two units which are performed after al-Ṭawāf, because they are not restricted by any times.

 

How to Do It

The scholars stated that there are three different ways to make al-istikhārah.

1)      The best way, which is agreed upon by the four schools[2], is to pray two units of optional prayer then make the supplication afterwards, as mentioned in the hadith.

2)      The three schools except the Hanbalis said that one can also make the supplication without performing two units of prayer before it if need be.

3)      The Malikis and Shafiʿis also allowed one to make the supplication after any prayer, even if it is an obligatory prayer.

 

Regardless of which of these the person chooses they should follow the manners of supplication such as beginning by praising Allah and praying for His Messenger and ending by praying again for the Prophet, peace be upon him.

 

The person should also not rush when awaiting a response to their prayers because the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “A person’s prayers will be answered as long as he or she does not become impatient and say, ‘I prayer and my prayer was not answered.’”[3]

 

The scholars differed as to how many times the prayer can be repeated, with many of them mentioning seven times. However, if one does experience the results of the supplication after seven times then they may continue in their al-istikhārah, or they make as few times as is needed.

 

Another issue that some of the scholars discussed regarding al-istikhārah is whether or not one can make it on behalf of someone else. The Shafiʿis and Malikis held that it is permissible to do so because the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Whosoever amongst you is able to benefit his brother, then he should do so.”[4] The Maliki scholar al-Ḥaṭṭāb said that he did not find any evidence indicating that this should or should not be done but that he did find some of the shuyūkh doing it. The Hanafis and Hanbalis did not discuss this issue.

 

The Results of al-Istikhārah

Contrary to popular opinion, one does not wait for a dream after al-istikhārah. Rather, one should look to what their heart opens up to or what is made easy for them. However, one should try as hard as possible to make sure that they are not mixing their istikhārah with their own desires and leanings and try to make sure that it is as pure and sincere as possible. A person can also look to the negative effects of al-istikhārah to know how it was answered. For example, if they were turned away from a particular decision and then did not find anything in their heart for it thereafter they can know that it was turned away from them, as mentioned in the supplication itself.

 

And God knows best.

 

 

*Extracted from al-Mawsūʿah al-Fiqhhiyyah al-Kuwaytiyyah


 


[1] Al-Adhkār

[2] The Malikis, Hanafis, Shafiʿis, and Hanbalis.

[3] Narrated by al-Bukhārī.

[4] Narrated by Muslim.

Lining Up Chairs in Prayer

Q:

Some of the elderly or injured congregants pray seated on chairs. Sometimes they do this by putting the back of the chair on the line and keep themselves in line with respect to their shoulders and not their feet. Other times they line up with the back of the chair extending into the line behind them, keeping their feet in line and not their shoulders. Which is preferred?

A:

Clearly it is not possible for them to keep their feet and their shoulders in line. In such a case the priority is to keep their shoulders in line and therefore not extend the chair back into the line behind them. The Prophet (pbuh) would straighten the lines with particular emphasis on the shoulders. It also has the added benefit of not disturbing the people who are praying in the row behind them.

 

For more info see the following article: http://en.islamtoday.net/quesshow-183-901.htm

Kissing and Hugging One’s Spouse While Fasting

Q:

What is permissible between a husband and wife while fasting? Can we kiss? Hug?

 

A:

Fasting requires abstention from food, drink, and sexual relations. The penalty for a person who breaks their fast by consciously engaging in sexual relations is very severe. However, that does not mean that all types of intimacy are prohibited between spouses while fasting. It is permissible for spouses to kiss one another while fasting and embrace one another. This is true as long as there is no fear that they will lose control of themselves and fall into that which is prohibited. However, in any case it is better that they do not do so out of desire. If they kiss or embrace out of love and care, without fear of it leading to that which is not allowed, and without any sexual desire then there is no problem with that.

It is also important to note that in such a case there should be no guilt associated with such an action. This is because it is authentically narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) used to kiss his wives while fasting.

For more info please see this article from onislam.net

And God knows best.

Contact Lens Solution and Fasting

Q: 

Is it permissible to use contact lens solution while fasting or does it break one’s fast.

 

A:

It is permissible to wear contacts and use contact lens solution while fasting. This is because even if the lens solution were to reach to one’s throat somehow it is not food or drink nor is it similar to food or drink, in that it does not nourish.

For more info see the this article. It is also pasted here for ease of reference.

And God knows best.

 

===============================

Question:

Can we wear lens while fasting? Note that we have to put lubricant every four hour?

Fatwa:

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

We have already issued a Fatwa clarifying that it is permissible to wear contact lenses while fasting and that wearing them does not invalidate the fast. If wearing them necessitates using a lubricant as you mentioned, then if you mean that this lubricant is put in the eyes, it takes the ruling of the eye drops. The scholars differed in opinion about eye drops, some are of the view that it invalidates the fast while others are not of this opinion.

The Fiqh Encyclopedia reads: “Putting eye drops, oiling the eyelids, and putting medicine with oil in the eye, none of this invalidates the fast even if one finds its taste in his throat. This is the correct opinion according to the Hanafi School of jurisprudence, and the opinion of the Shaafi’ee School appears to correspond with the Hanafi view. However, the Maaliki and Hanbali Schools of jurisprudence are of the view that putting eye drops invalidates fasting if these drops reach the throat, as the eye is an inlet to the throat even if it is not a usual one.”

In our view in Islamweb, we consider the first opinion – which is that putting eye drops does not invalidate the fast – to be the preponderant one, and this is the opinion chosen by Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah .

This is in case the drops or the solution which you mentioned in the question reaches the throat, otherwise if it does not reach the throat, it does not break the fast even according to the Schools which are of the view that fasting is invalidated if the eye drops reach the throat.

For instance, ‘Olaysh from the Maaliki School of jurisprudence, said: “One should not apply Kohl eyeliner (to his/her eye) and should not put oil in his/her ear unless he/she knows that it does not reach his/her throat, and if one applies the Kohl or any other substance, it is permissible if this does not reach the throat.”

To conclude, it is permissible to put the solution in the eye when wearing the contact lenses and this does not invalidate the fast according to the most preponderant opinion of the scholars .

Allaah Knows best.

Praying Tarawih Behind Live Streaming Internet

Q:

Is it permissible to pray tarawih prayers at home behind a live streaming internet prayer?

 

A:

No. It is not permissible to do pray behind an imam who is in another place while following them through the internet or TV. One of the conditions of praying in congregation is that the imam and the congregants are in the same space. This would not be the case when praying behind an imam by following through a live stream and as such the prayer would not be acceptable.

However, it should be mentioned that it is permissible to pray tarawih at home by oneself. This was even the practice of the Prophet (pbuh) because he did not want people to think that the tarawih prayer in the mosque is required. It is preferable that the person prays in the mosque with the imam, but acceptable for one to pray at home as well. The person may also benefit from holding the mushaf and reading out of it directly while praying by themselves at home.

And God knows best.