Memorial Day; A Day for Remembering the World’s Victims, by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

Memorial Day is a time that people reflect upon the sacrifices made in the name of freedom, equality, or human dignity. Many people will pay homage to those who have passed on, those who gave their lives while trying to hold on to their self-respect and that of others.  Memorial Day is a day when people get an extra day off from work, when we pull out our gas grills, assortment of meats and summer foods, and our horseshoes and volley balls, for a day of fun and enjoyment.  It’s a day when many of us will be laughing, playing and enjoying time with our friends and our families

Before people head outside and to the nations parks and playgrounds, it is only prudent that we take the time to remember the suffering people in all parts of the world. We should remember the thousands of Syrians who are massacred in the streets and in their homes while clamoring for dignity and the hope of a better life. We should remember the Somali men, women and children, already starving, who suffer the tyranny of ruthless street gangs who shoot them down in the name of religious purity. We should remember the millions of unsuspecting men, women and children of who have been caught in the cross fires of sectarian violence in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria and Mali. We should remember the thousands upon thousands of unnamed Muslim souls who were at the receiving end of suicide bombs detonated in the marketplace as they innocently wandered through the local souqs of the world looking for groceries, a new dress or a shiny toy for their kids.

We should remember the millions of Palestinian women and children who live under occupation and try to get by, living in an almost concentration camp like existence. Remember the wounded, the blind, and the sick, and those who are missing limbs simply because they got in the way of someone else’s hatred, and disregard for others. Remember the people whose lives were ruined at the hands of an unscrupulous and usurious banking system, and the millions of faceless, nameless homeless people who live on the world’s streets, alleys and roadways.

Remember dear brothers and sisters, the hundreds of thousands of women who are brutally raped and beaten in far-away places like Darfur, the Congo, and India, and ones who are in hatrms way in places as close as the local park, or parking lot of the mall.  While we are at it, we should remember the thousands upon thousands of Muslim children who as I write this, are wondering where their next meal will come from, or are trying to make sense why their parents were unceremoniously beheaded before their eyes, or why their brother were gunned down on their way home from the local convenience store. Remember beloveds, the toddlers who find themselves in bewildered, wondering why their fathers didn’t come home, or why their mothers toil in slavery to pay off a debt that keeps getting bigger and bigger.

We should never allow ourselves to become so caught up in our daily lives that we do not remember the fallen victims of greed, inequity and tyranny, or those who sacrificed everything so that maybe someday their children will have a voice. A believing person should never forget the plight of those who are suffering, those who are left behind and those who have no advocate. And we should reflect upon our Lord, not just today, but every day, and remember his blessings towards us, and keep forefront in our minds that there is still a lot of work to be done in this world, This is something that we should remember every day, and we should never, ever forget that..

Imam Luqman Ahmad

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Audio Khutba: The Role of the Muslim Man According to the Quran and the Sunna by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

Dear brothers, as Muslim men, there are specific standards of obligation, morality, character and commitment that we are obligated to adhere to, based upon the sacred laws of the Quran, and the Sunna. These standards take precedence over all other descriptions of what it means to be a man, and every Muslim male should be aware of these principles and implement them in his life to the best of his ability. This is the topic of this khutbatul Jum’ah at Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center @ 3449 Rio Linda Blvd, Sacramento, Ca.Click on the link below to listen.

001_A_007_abulaith_The Role of the Muslim Man According to Quran and Sunna_2012_05_25

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The Virtues of the Islamic Month of Rajab [Fadaa’il Rajab] by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

“BEHOLD, the number of months, in the sight of Allah, is twelve months, [laid down] in Allah’s decree on the day when He created the heavens and the earth; [and] out of these, four are sacred: this is the ever-true law [of Allah]. Do not, then, sin against yourselves with regard to these [months].”[1] According to the shariah[2] of Islam, years are properly reckoned by the cycles of the moon and not the sun; “They ask you concerning the crescent moons; say: they are time determinants for people and for the Hajj.[3]

The names of the Muslim lunar months:


1. Muharram 7. Rajab
2. Safar 8. Sha’ban
3. Rabi’ al-awwal (Rabi’ I) 9. Ramadan
4. Rabi’ al-thani (Rabi’ II) 10. Shawwal
5. Jumada al-awwal (Jumada I) 11. Dhu al-Qi’dah
6. Jumada al-thani (Jumada II) 12. Dhu al-Hijjah

The Muslim Hijri calendar was first introduced by the Caliph and companion of the Prophet (SAWS) Umar ibn al-Khattaab in the year 628 C.E[4]. It consists of 12 lunar months. The beginning of each month is determined by the sighting of the crescent moon. Each lunar month lasts approximately 29 or 30 days. The month of Rajab is one of the sacred months of the Islamic calendar. The other three sacred months are the consecutive months of Dhul Qi`da, Dhul Hijja, and Muharram. Thus we have just entered into the sacred month of Rajab, the seventh month of the Hijri calendar as of May 11th 2013. It is a good idea to keep track of the Islamic months because during each month, there are recommended and sometimes compulsory actions which are recorded in the Sunna of the Prophet (SAWS).

There are many areas of ah’kaam (jurisprudence) related to the month of Rajab. Some of the reported traditions of Rajab trace back to the days of jaahiliyyah[5] (pre-Islamic period) and continued after the dawn of Islam.  Others were prohibited by the Prophet (SAWS). Scholars differ as to which of these traditions continued after Islam. So in response to a question by one of the sisters about the month of Rajab and what are the recommended actions of the month, I have prepared the following.

  1. Animal Sacrifices: During the days of jaahiliyyah, people used to make animal sacrifices of sheep and called it al-ateerah[6]; scholars differ whether the practice is still permissible.  It was reported the hadith of Abu Hurraira that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “There is no far’a[7] and no ateerah[8].  Other scholars say that the practice of ateerah is permissible, among them is ibn Seereen and it was related about Imam Ahmad that the people of Basra used to do it. It was related that the Prophet (SAWS) said while standing of the mountain of Arafat:  “each year, every household should slaughter a sacrifice and that is what they call al-ateerah[9]. In another tradition it was reported about Abu Razeen[10]; he said: “I said:  O Messenger of Allah, we used to perform animal sacrifices during the days of jaahiliyyah (during Rajab), we would eat it and feed whoever came to us” the Prophet (SAWS) replied: “there is nothing wrong with that.”[11] In another tradition reported by ibn Abbaas, he said: “The Quraish sought permission from the Prophet (SAWS) continue the ateerah and he said: “You may do the sheep slaughter of jaahiliyyah; however, if you sacrifice for the sake of Allah and want to eat it and give some away as charity then you may do so.[12]” scholars of Islam reconcile the prohibition in the hadith of Abu Hurraira and the permissibility of the practice reported in the other hadith by saying that the prohibition relates to the pre-Islamic practice of offering sacrifices to gods other than Allah. Sufyaan ibn Uyyaina says that what’s meant by the prohibition here is the removal of wujoob (obligation). Other scholars say that the hadith of Abu Hurraira is the most authentic narration available on the topic and should provide the standard on how the action is mitigated[13].  It was related about Hasan al-Basri that he said: “There is no ateerah in Islam. Ateerah is something that existed in jaahiliyyah. Some of them used to fast the whole month of Rajab and perform an ateerah during it and the sacrifice would resemble a religious rite or holiday.[14]” it was related about ibn Abbaas that he used to dislike that people take Rajab for a holiday. [15] The conclusion is that if a person wants to slaughter a sheep during the month of Rajab for the sake of Allah and eat some and distribute or feed some to others; that is permissible. However, they shouldn’t take a specific day or make into a holiday occasion for that would not be consistent with the Sunna.  And Allah knows best.
  2. Prayer on particular days of RajabThere are no authentic narrations about the Prophet (SAWS) regarding a specific prayer designated for the month of Rajab. There are several narrations regarding ‘salaatul raghaa’ib’ during the first Jum’ah night of Rajab but they are weak narrations with no validity.  Such a prayer is considered an innovation by the majority of scholars but not all of them. Ibn Jawzee[16] and Abu Bakr as-Sam’aani are amongst the latter-day scholars who mention this. The rulings on salaatul raghaa’ib were not mentioned by earlier scholars because the practice did not appear until about the fifth century of the Hijra.
  3. Fasting during Rajab: There is nothing authentic reported directly from or about the Prophet (SAWS) or any of the companions regarding fasting during specific days of the month of Rajab. However, there is a report about Abu Qalaaba that he said: “There is a castle in paradise for those who fast during the month of Rajab.” According to al-Baihaqi, Abu Qalaaba being one of the luminaries of the taabi’een would not have said such a thing unless he received it from one of the companions.[17] It was reported in a narration Mujeeba al-Baahiliyyah about her father that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “fast some days of the sacred months and leave some days.[18]” Some of the Salaf[19] used to fast the entirety of the sacred months; among them Abdullah ibn Umar, and al-Hasan al-Basri, and Abu Is’haaq as-Sabee’i. Ibn Abbaas and Anas ibn Malik used to dislike that people fast the entire month of Rajab and in another narration about ibn Umar and ibn Abbaas; they used to prefer that if people fasted Rajab, they break their fast at least some of the days. It was also reported about imam Ahmad, Sa’eed ibn Jubair and Imam Shaafi’ee that they used to dislike that people would fast the entire month of Rajab. Imam Shaafi’ee was reported to have said in a former opinion; “I dislike that people complete the fast of Rajab like they would the fast of Ramadan.” His argument for this was the hadith of Aisha; “I never saw the Prophet (SAWS) complete a month (of fasting) ever, except for Ramadan.[20]” Some of the Hanbali scholars view that fasting the complete month of Rajab is not disliked if they also fast another month before or after it in its entirety as well.  I already mentioned that Ibn Umar and others used to fast the entirety of all the sacred months. There is no harm for a person to fast the entirety of the month of Rajab if it is incorporated as part of a perpetual fast (siyaamul dahr[21]) Some fasts are customary in the sunna of the Prophet (SAWS) and can and should be incorporated into Rajab: Such as fasting three consecutive days of the month, as reported in the hadith of Aisha, she reported: “the Prophet (SAWS) used to fast three consecutive days out of each month.” Or fasting Mondays and Thursdays as recorded in the Sunna.  According to Imam Nawawi; “Neither prohibition nor praiseworthiness has been established for the month of Rajab in itself, however, the principle concerning fasting is that it is praiseworthy in itself, and in the Sunan of Abu Dawud, the Prophet has made the fasting of the sacred months praiseworthy, and Rajab is one of them. And Allah knows best”.[22] I also like the statement of my late Sheikh, Sayyid Saabiq; “Fasting during Rajab contains no more virtue than during any other month. There is no sound report from the Sunna that states that it has a special reward. All that has been related concerning it is not strong enough to be used as a proof. Ibn Hajar says: “There is no authentic hadith related to its virtues, nor fasting during it or on certain days of it, nor concerning exclusively making night prayers during that month.” Thus fasting during Rajab particularly has no special bearing in Islam but fasting during the sacred months is acceptable and was practiced by some of the companions. Fasting three days of the month and on Mondays and Thursdays is a Sunna of the Prophet (SAWS) and a praiseworthy act.
  4. Zakaat during the Month of Rajab:  Some Muslim countries and communities have become accustomed to collecting and paying zakaat during the month of Rajab. Such a practice is permissible as the zakaat is due annually and needs to be paid. However, here is no basis for singling out Rajab for zakaat in the Sunna of the Prophet (SAWS). This alone does not make it prohibited to do so because zakaat is due annually and its payment is based upon reaching the nisaab of a year and not a particular date.    However it was reported about Uthmaan ibn Afaan that during his term as Caliph that he ascended the pulpit and said: “Oh people, this is the month of your zakaat, so whoever amongst you has a debt, then he should pay his debt.[23]” Other scholars say that zakaat should be paid in the month of Muharram because it marks the beginning of the year and some of the jurists say the Muharram is the time when the imam should dispatch the people to collect the zakaat. Others say that zakaat should be paid during the month of Ramadan because of the sheer virtue of Ramadan and the virtue of charity during the month of Ramadan. The fact of the matter is that zakaat is due after the nisaab has reached a year. According to Abu Saud, the basic definition of nisaab is that amount which is sufficient to sustain the minimum average family for one year. In some modern Muslim countries, nisaab is often interpreted to equate a governmentally determined poverty threshold. Once a person’s holdings have reached the level of nisaab, the zakaat is due on that wealth, regardless of the month. The issue of zakaat is a lengthy subject and not the central topic of our discussion. Please refer to the books of fiqh for more detail.
  5. Umrah[24] during Rajab: Once ibn Umar narrated that the Prophet (SAWS) performed umrah during Rajab, Aisha was present and repudiated what Ibn Umar said, he heard her repudiate it and didn’t object[25]. Umar ibn al-Khattaab and other companions used to like to perform umrah during Rajab. Aisha used to do it as well as Abdullah ibn Umar. Ibn Seereen reports that the Salaf used to do it. Thus there is no harm performing Umrah during the month of Rajab or any other month.

Conclusion: Rajab is indeed a sacred month and on should increase acts of goodness during the sacred months as in other months. It was reported in the hadith of Anas that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “Oh Allah, bless us in our Rajab and Sha’baan for they deliver us into Ramadan.” The hadith although it has weakness in its chain, shows that it is permissible to ask Allah to prolong your life to a more blessed time so that you can perform good deeds during that time. It’s like saying; oh Allah keep me going until Ramadan. The Salaf used to like that when they died, it would happen at the end of a good deed; right after Ramadan, or on the way back from hajj and they used to think that if someone died in that manner their sins would be forgiven. It was also reported that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “verily deeds are reckoned according to one’s final acts”. And Allah knows best. Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Imam, Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center

Sacramento, California, imamabulaith@yahoo.com


[1]Quran, 9:36

[2] Sacred law.

[3] Quran, 2:189

[4] Christian era.

[5] Jaahiliyyah refers to the period that existed before Islam. It also refers to practices which contradict Islam and the principles of Islam.

[6] Ateerah: a sheep sacrifice.

[7] Far’a: the first born of a she camel which during the days of jaahiliyyah they used to slaughter n the name of the pagan gods.

[8] A sound hadith (sahih) collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.

[9] A good hadith, collected by Abu Dawud

[10] His name was Laqeet ibn Sabira, a well known companion of the Prophet (SAWS)

[11] A sound hadith collected by Al-Nissa’i

[12] Collected by Tabaraani with his own chain except that the chain of this particular hadith contains Ibrahim ibn Ismaa’eel ibn Abi Habeeba, who was considered trustworthy by Ibn Ma’een but a weak transmitter by most others.

[13] Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, page 207

[14] Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif, page 206

[15] Collected by Abdul-Razaaq with a broken chain

[16] Abu Faraj Ibn Jawzi; his name was Abdul-Rahmaan ibn Ali Ibn Muhammad, one of the great Hanbali scholars of Baghdad; he died in the Hijri year of 597.

[17] This alone does not validate the hadith as authentic, but it does according to some scholars lend marginal credence to the narration.

[18] A weak hadith collected by Abu Dawud and others.

[19] Righteous people and scholars of the frst three generations of Islam.

[20] Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.

[21] Perpetual fast; this is when you fast every single day perpetually.

[22] Imam Nawawi, Explanation of  Sahih Muslim, Kitab 13 Bab 34

[23] Collected by Imam Malik in the Muwatta.

[24] The lessor Hajj.

[25] This story is related in sahih al-Bukhaari.

The Lotus Tree Blog

rajab1
The Virtues of Rajab: Fadaa’il Rajab by Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

“BEHOLD, the number of months, in the sight of Allah, is twelve months, [laid down] in Allah’s decree on the day when He created the heavens and the earth; [and] out of these, four are sacred: this is the ever-true law [of Allah]. Do not, then, sin against yourselves with regard to these [months].”[1] According to the shariah[2] of Islam, years are properly reckoned by the cycles of the moon and not the sun; “They ask you concerning the crescent moons; say: they are time determinants for people and for the Hajj.[3]

The names of the Muslim lunar months:


1. Muharram 7. Rajab
2. Safar 8. Sha’ban
3. Rabi’ al-awwal (Rabi’ I) 9. Ramadan
4. Rabi’ al-thani (Rabi’ II) 10. Shawwal
5. Jumada al-awwal (Jumada I) 11. Dhu al-Qi’dah
6. Jumada al-thani…

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The Islamic Ruling Regarding salaatul Kusoof (Solar, or Lunar Eclipse prayer) by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad


Solar eclipses occur when the moon comes directly between the sun and the earth. The name for the eclipse prayer in Islam is ‘salaatul Kusoof’. The applicable word for eclipse varies in the Arabic language to about six variations, all of which are found in the hadith texts of Bukhaari and Muslim; the most popular terminology according to Muslim jurists is to use the word, كسوف kusoof with respect to a solar eclipse, and the word خسوف khusoof, for a lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse one one in which the moon appears darkened as it passes into the earth’s shadow. The most correct employment of the two terms is to use them interchangeably for both solar and lunar eclipses. There are no other weather related phenomena, or celestial events for which the Prophet (SAWS) has sanctioned a particularly styled prayer in congregation, besides an eclipse. There is no specific congregational prayer for earthquakes, tornadoes, sandstorms, rain storms, hailstorms, comets, shooting stars, solar flares, blizzards, or for any other such events besides an eclipse, hence, its significance, and the importance of making the salaatul Kusoof (eclipse prayer) in congregation. Making du’aa during rainfall is sunna, and there is a salat for rain (salaatul is’tisqaa) in cases of drought. However, these prayers are general in nature and do not follow particular performance protocols, or time requirements like salaatul Kusoof. Solar eclipses are a sign from Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala, intended to strike awe into the hearts. They are rare, usually occurring 2 to 3 times annually, worldwide.

The Salaat During the Eclipse

Performing the salaat during a solar or lunar eclipse is considered sunna mu’akkadah (constant, uninterrupted sunna) by agreement of the scholars; based on the hadith; “Neither the sun, nor the moon, eclipse due to the death, or life of anyone, but they are signs from amongst the signs of Allah ta’ala, so if you see any one of them, stand up and pray[1]. The Prophet (SAWS) prayed this salaat, and a miraculous occurrence took place; in the hadith of ibn Abbaas, he said: Once a solar eclipse occurred during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (SAWS). He offered the eclipse prayer. His companions asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! We saw you trying to take something while standing at your place and then we saw you retreating.” The Prophet said, “I was shown Paradise and wanted to have a bunch of fruit from it. Had I taken it, you would have eaten from it as long as the world remains.”

How it is performed

Salaatul Kusoof has no athaan, no iqaamah, and is preceded by the words, assalaatul jaami’ah (the prayer is gathering) as reported in the hadith of Aisha; an eclipse of the sun occurred during the time of the Prophet (SAWS) and he ordered a man to call out: ‘assalaatu jaami’ah’.[2] Salaatul Kusoof consists of two rak’aat, and each rak’at has two rukoo, two qiyaams, and two recitations instead of one respectively for other prayers.  It is sunna to perform salaatul Kusoof in congregation, inside the Masjid, behind an Imam where salaatul Jum’ah is held as was the practice of the Prophet (SAWS). However it is permissible to pray in other areas as well

When is it performed?

Salaatul Kusoof can only be done during a solar or lunar eclipse. The time for performing salaatul Kusoof begins at the beginning of the eclipse and concludes when the eclipse is completely ended. The prayer can begin as soon as the eclipse starts or at anytime thereafter, and it is sunna to continue praying until the eclipse has ended.

Who should attend?

Salaatul Kusoof is legislated for the stationary (non-travelling) person as well as the traveler. It is permissible for men, women and children in the same manner as salaatul Jum’ah.

Issues related to Salaatul Kusoof

  • It is recommended (mustahabb) to perform a ghusl (ritual bath) for salaatul Kusoof, by its resemblance to salaatul Jum’ah.
  • If a person waits until after the eclipse is over, then they should not pray salaatul Kusoof, based upon the hadith: “If  you see it, pray until it has cleared”.[3]
  • If people are praying Kusoof and it clears during their salaat, then they should continue praying until they are  finished the salaat.
  • The sunna is to lengthen the recitation during salaatul Kusoof based upon the hadith of Ibn Abbaas; “The sun eclipsed and the Prophet (SAWS) prayed while the people prayed with him, and he      stood a long time for an extent that was something like sura al-Baqara”.[4]
  • It is permissible to pray a shorter length. According to Imam an-Nawawi, the minimum recitation for salaatul Kusoof is to recite sura al-Faatiha during each recitation.[5]
  • After the salaat, it is sunna for the imam to deliver a khutba, in the same manner as the khutbatul Jum’ah as was done by the Prophet (SAWS). This is based upon the hadith of Aisha; “Although the Prophet finished the salat (Kusoof), he delivered a khutba wherein he thanked Allah and praised Him’.[6]
  • It is recommened to give sadaqa after salaatul Kusoof, based upon the hadith; “and if you see that (The Eclipse), pray and give sadaqa[7].
  • It is permissible to pray salaatul Kusoof individually. However, if possible, it is better to do it with an Imam in the Masjid as was practiced by the Prophet (SAWS).

Conclusion

Salaatul Kusoof is an important sunna of the Prophet (SAWS). It should be prayed in congregation in a Masjid whenever possible and people should come out to observe the prayer if they are able. And Allah knows best.

Shaykh Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, a Philadelphia native, is a writer, a researcher and Imam of the Islamic Society of Folsom, in Northern California. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation (NAIF), and the CEO of ‘Mosque Without Borders’, an organization that address Muslim sectarianism in the United States. He is also and the author of the new book, “Double Edged Slavery “, a critical and authoritative look at the condition of African American and convert Muslims in the United States, and the book: “The Devil’s Deception of the Modern Day Salafi Sect “, a look at the ideological underpinning of modern Salafist extremism. He blogs at imamluqman.wordpress.com, and can be reached at imamabulaith@yahoo.com.


[1] Collected by Bukhaari, and Muslim, with multiple narrations from several companions of the Prophet (SAWS), including Ibn Abbaas, Abu Musa, Jaabir ibn Abdullah, Mugheera ibn Shu’bah, and others.
[2] Collected by Bukhaari
[3] Collected by Muslim in the narration of Jaabir.
[4] Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.
[5] Kitaab al-Maj’moo,  vol. 5, p. 53.
[6] Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.
[7] Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.

The Islamic Ruling Regarding salaatul Kusoof (Eclipse prayer) by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

Solar eclipses occur when the moon comes directly between the sun and the earth. The name for the eclipse prayer in Islam is ‘salaatul Kusoof’. The applicable word for eclipse varies in the Arabic language to about six variations, all of which are found in the hadith texts of Bukhaari and Muslim; the most popular terminology according to Muslim jurists is to use the word, كسوف kusoof with respect to a solar eclipse, and the word خسوف khusoof, for a lunar eclipse. The most correct employment of the two terms is to use them interchangeably for both solar and lunar eclipses. There are no other weather related phenomena, or celestial events for which the Prophet (SAWS) has sanctioned a particularly styled prayer in congregation, besides an eclipse. There is no specific congregational prayer for earthquakes, tornadoes, sandstorms, rain storms, hailstorms, comets, shooting stars, solar flares, blizzards, or for any other such events besides an eclipse, hence, its significance, and the importance of making the salaatul Kusoof (eclipse prayer) in congregation. Making du’aa during rainfall is sunna, and there is a salat for rain (salaatul is’tisqaa) in cases of drought. However, these prayers are general in nature and do not follow particular performance protocols, or time requirements like salaatul Kusoof. Solar eclipses are a sign from Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala, intended to strike awe into the hearts. They are rare, usually occurring 2 to 3 times annually, worldwide.

The Salaat During the Eclipse

Performing the salaat during a solar or lunar eclipse is considered sunna mu’akkadah (constant, uninterrupted sunna) by agreement of the scholars; based on the hadith; “Neither the sun, nor the moon, eclipse due to the death, or life of anyone, but they are signs from amongst the signs of Allah ta’ala, so if you see any one of them, stand up and pray[1]. The Prophet (SAWS) prayed this salaat, and a miraculous occurrence took place; in the hadith of ibn Abbaas, he said: Once a solar eclipse occurred during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah’s (SAWS). He offered the eclipse prayer. His companions asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! We saw you trying to take something while standing at your place and then we saw you retreating.” The Prophet said, “I was shown Paradise and wanted to have a bunch of fruit from it. Had I taken it, you would have eaten from it as long as the world remains.”

How it is performed

Salaatul Kusoof has no athaan, no iqaamah, and is preceded by the words, assalaatul jaami’ah (the prayer is gathering) as reported in the hadith of Aisha; an eclipse of the sun occurred during the time of the Prophet (SAWS) and he ordered a man to call out: ‘assalaatu jaami’ah’.[2] Salaatul Kusoof consists of two rak’aat, and each rak’at has two rukoo, two qiyaams, and two recitations instead of one respectively for other prayers.  It is sunna to perform salaatul Kusoof in congregation, inside the Masjid, behind an Imam where salaatul Jum’ah is held as was the practice of the Prophet (SAWS). However it is permissible to pray in other areas as well

When is it performed?

Salaatul Kusoof can only be done during a solar or lunar eclipse. The time for performing salaatul Kusoof begins at the beginning of the eclipse and concludes when the eclipse is completely ended. The prayer can begin as soon as the eclipse starts or at anytime thereafter, and it is sunna to continue praying until the eclipse has ended.

Who should attend?

Salaatul Kusoof is legislated for the stationary (non-travelling) person as well as the traveler. It is permissible for men, women and children in the same manner as salaatul Jum’ah.

Issues related to Salaatul Kusoof

  • It is recommended (mustahabb) to perform a ghusl (ritual bath) for salaatul Kusoof, by its resemblance to salaatul Jum’ah.
  • If a person waits until after the eclipse is over, then they should not pray salaatul Kusoof, based upon the hadith: “If you see it, pray until it has cleared”.[3]
  • If people are praying Kusoof and it clears during their salaat, then they should continue praying until they are finished the salaat.
  • The sunna is to lengthen the recitation during salaatul Kusoof based upon the hadith of Ibn Abbaas; “The sun eclipsed  and the Prophet (SAWS) prayed while the people prayed with him, and he      stood a long time for an extent that was something like sura al-Baqara”.[4]
  • It is permissible to pray a shorter length. According to Imam an-Nawawi, the minimum recitation for salaatul Kusoof is to recite sura al-Faatiha during each recitation.[5]
  • After the salaat, it is sunna for the imam to deliver a khutba, in the same manner as the khutbatul Jum’ah as was done by the Prophet (SAWS). This is based upon the hadith of Aisha; “Although the Prophet finished the salat (Kusoof), he delivered a khutba wherein he thanked Allah and praised Him’.[6]
  • It is recommened to give sadaqa after salaatul Kusoof, based upon the hadith; “and if you see that (The Eclipse), pray and give sadaqa[7].
  • It is permissible to pray salaatul Kusoof individually. However, if possible, it is better to do it with an Imam in the Masjid as was practiced by the Prophet (SAWS).

Conclusion

Salaatul Kusoof is an important sunna of the Prophet (SAWS). It should be prayed in congregation in a Masjid whenever possible and people should come out to observe the prayer if they are able. And Allah knows best.

Shaykh Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, a Philadelphia native, is a writer, a researcher and Imam of the Islamic Society of Folsom, in Northern California. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation (NAIF), and the CEO of ‘Mosque Without Borders’, an organization that address Muslim sectarianism in the United States. He is also and the author of the new book, “Double Edged Slavery “, a critical and authoritative look at the condition of African American and convert Muslims in the United States, and the book: “The Devil’s Deception of the Modern Day Salafi Sect “, a look at the ideological underpinning of modern Salafist extremism. He blogs at imamluqman.wordpress.com, and can be reached at imamabulaith@yahoo.com.


[1] Collected by Bukhaari, and Muslim, with multiple narrations from several companions of the Prophet (SAWS), including Ibn Abbaas, Abu Musa, Jaabir ibn Abdullah, Mugheera ibn Shu’bah, and others.

[2] Collected by Bukhaari

[3] Collected by Muslim in the narration of Jaabir.

[4] Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.

[5] Kitaab al-Maj’moo,  vol. 5, p. 53.

[6] Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.

[7] Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.

Audio khutba: How To Harvest Your Faith Into Action, By Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

Faith has three stages; to profess it with the tongue, to believe it in the heart, and to confirm it by deeds. In order for faith to be of true benefit, it has to be put into action. If you believe something then it goes without saying that you act upon it. Faith in Islam is validated by action. This is the topic of this khutbatul Jum’ah. Click on the link to listen

The Islamic Ruling Regarding Morals and Ethics While Using Social Networks, by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

Social networking can be an effective tool for maintaining contact with relatives, giving sincere advice, inviting to Islam, spreading the word of Allah, and disseminating the words of His Prophet (SAWS), as the Prophet has said: “inform about me, even if it’s only one verse.[1]” All of these actions mentioned are praiseworthy manifestations of faith if done with the right intention and in the right manner. Millions of Muslims across the world use facebook and other social networking outlets to do these things on a daily basis. Internet networking is the new international meeting place, and it can be a sometimes, spiritually uplifting, engaging, and profitable venue for global interconnection, spreading good, and familiarization of peoples from different backgrounds, cultures, and faiths. Human beings by our nature, are social beings, and social interconnectivity by itself is not prohibited in Islam, as Allah has indeed sanctioned it; يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ    “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)”.[2] What is not sanctioned however is that people connect with one another in ways that are prohibited by the Quran, by the Sunna of the Prophet, or by agreement of the Muslim scholars. Islamic laws of ethics and morality are applicable at all times, and do not cease to apply once you turn on your computer and go online. Sometimes people are misled into thinking that since we are sitting comfortably ensconced in our homes out of view from the public; our public words and actions online have no spiritual consequence. This could not be farther from the truth; فَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَرَهُ وَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ “And whoever does an atoms weight of good shall see it, and whoever does an atoms weight of bad shall see it”[3]. Being on or offline does not matter when it comes to maintaining Islamic standards of ethics and morality.

An alarming amount of marriages have ended, weakened or have been threatened by the involvement of one or both spouses in risky facebook activity where they are interacting with members of the opposite sex in an inappropriate manner. It is not permissible for a Muslim to use social networking as a means to cheat on one’s spouse, cultivate unlawful relationships, post revealing photographs, spread bedroom secrets, or to uncover the faults of others without just cause. All of the above are prohibited in Islam by agreement of the scholars, and have toxic consequences upon the soul.  Likewise, we shouldn’t use the internet to make fun of people, exhibit bad character, or to backbite and slander one another. Those of you who are looking for spouses should keep in mind that it will only take a few clicks for your potential husband or wife to see the extent of your bad character, in fact the world can see it and all who see it or read it will bear witness to it.

Some people have taken it upon themselves to use social media like facebook, twitter, and Pinterest, to show the worst behavioral qualities that they have to the public. Remember, whatever any one of us puts out on the internet, multiplies and can spread way beyond our control. When it comes to good words or good deeds, they are automatically multiplied by at least tenfold;

[مَن جَاء بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا وَمَن جَاء بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَلاَ يُجْزَى إِلاَّ مِثْلَهَا وَهُمْ لاَ يُظْلَمُونَ] “He that doeth good shall have ten times as much to his credit: He that doeth evil shall only be recompensed according to his evil: no wrong shall be done unto (any of) them.[4]”  However, bad words and statements, on the other hand, require more caution; a bad word, bad action or deed under normal circumstances, by itself constitutes only one infraction or sinful act. However, when you take into account the duplicitous nature of internet posting in that information is often re-tweeted, re-posted and forwarded to and read by others, who in turn, repeat the information, a single bad word, false statement, accusation or slander is multiplied exponentially, so one personal attack is not just one personal attack, it can easily become 1,000,000 personal attacks, and one heretical statement becomes 1,000,000 heretical statements. Then it’s all written down and goes on a scale that we will see on the Day of Judgment.

This is the true danger of using bad words, bad adab and bad judgment when posting, liking or commenting on things using the internet. As in the hadith of Jarir ibn Abdullah, who reported the Prophet (SAWS) as saying; “Whoever sets a good precedent in Islam will have the reward for that and the reward of those who do it after him, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest. And whoever sets a bad precedent in Islam will bear the burden of sin for that, and the burden of those who do it after him, without that detracting from their burden in the slightest.[5]” It is important for Muslims to be aware of the potential consequences for what they are posting. In the hadith of Abu Hurraira, he said: the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said: “Whoever calls others to guidance will have a reward like that of those who follow it, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest. And whoever calls others to misguidance will have a burden of sin like that of those who follow it, without it detracting from their burden in the slightest.[6] With respect to the two previously mentioned hadith, Imam Nawawi says; “These two ahaadeeth clearly encourage us to set good precedents and forbid setting bad precedents. The one who sets a good precedent will have a reward like that of everyone who follows it until the Day of Resurrection, and the one who sets a bad precedent will have a burden of sin like that of everyone who follows it until the Day of Resurrection. The one who calls others to right guidance will have a reward like that of those who follow it, and the one who calls others to misguidance will have a burden of sin like that of those who follow it, whether this guidance or misguidance is something that he initiated or it was started before him, and whether that is by teaching knowledge, acts of worship, etiquette or anything else”.[7]

This is important to consider, because long after you have logged off of your computer, deleted your social network account, changed your profile, or in some way shielded your identity, your actions are still spreading and having consequences. This can continue long after your soul has left your body and you are in your grave. It is common that people post and say things that they give no second thought to, and it will turn out that those statements and posts will result in their being thrown into the hell-fire. In the hadith of Abu Hurraira, the Prophet (SAWS) said: “A slave of Allah might say something which pleases Allah Almighty without realizing it on account of which Allah raises him some degrees. A slave of Allah might say something which angers Allah Almighty without realizing it on account of which he falls into Jahannam.[8]

A general rule to keep in mind is that lawful and prohibited words, and statements; continue to come under legislation of the shariah whether online or offline. The angels that record deeds are not intimidated by the internet, and there is no way that a person can shield his or her actions from them or from Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala.

Beloveds, let’s be mindful of what we post or comment on the internet because bad words, bad adab, profanity, personal attacks, false accusations, lewdness, and misinformation about the deen, has its consequences. Hiding behind online anonymity may work for some people to conceal their real identities from the public, but it doesn’t work with Allah; “And every human being’s destiny have We tied to his neck; and on the Day of Resurrection We shall bring forth for him a record which he will find wide open, and he will be told:] “Read this thy record,! Sufficient is thine own self today to make out thine account!” 17:13-14 Quran. Remember to think before you post or comment. And Allah knows best.

Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

Shaykh Luqman is the Imam and Executive Director of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in Sacramento, California, he can be reached at imamabulaith@yahoo.com


[1] Collected by Bukhaari.

[2] Quran, 49:13.

[3] Quran, 99”7-8.

[4] Quran, 6:160.

[5] Collected by Muslim.

[6] Collected by Muslim.

[7] Sharh Muslim, 16/226-227

[8] Collected by Bukhaari.

Fatwas and the Responsibility of Muslim Scholars in America, by Shaykh Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Islamic scholars occupy an important place in Muslim society. They are the guardians of sacred law and are often considered to be amongst the elite of our faith. In one tradition, the Prophet (SAWS) stated; “The Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets[1]. The preservation and transmission of sound Islamic knowledge and guidance is compromised without the works and efforts of our scholars. Without them, people are destined to being misinformed about their religion, and to be misled by Iblis in handling their affairs. In another tradition, the Prophet (SAWS) said: “One Scholar is harder against the devil than a thousand worshippers[2]. The Quran states that people are elevated by their religious knowledge “Allah will rise up, to (suitable) ranks (and degrees), those of you who believe and who have been granted (mystic) Knowledge. And Allah is well- acquainted with all ye do.” Quran 58:11. As teachers, guardians and interpreters of sacred law, Islamic scholars deserve our respect, support, and our gratitude.

Scholars of Islam are responsible for upholding the sacred trust that accompanies the acquisition of religious knowledge; which is to explain the religion clearly and concisely and not cover up any part of it; “Those who conceal the clear (Signs) We have sent down, and the Guidance, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book,-on them shall be Allah’s curse, and the curse of those entitled to curse” 2:159. In today’s turbulent times, the role of Muslim religious scholars and qualified[3] teachers takes on a special significance for  at least three reasons;

  1. The first being; the scarcity of people who possess sound and accurate islamic knowledge; It was related in the hadith of Anas ibn Malik that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “From among the portents of the Hour are (the following): 1. Religious knowledge will be taken away (by the death of Religious learned men). 2. (Religious) ignorance will prevail. 3. Drinking of Alcoholic drinks (will be very common). 4. There will be prevalence of open illegal sexual intercourse[4]. We      are living during times of pervasive ignorance of religion, and in the United States, we are the only major religious group where our political and advocacy groups eclipse religious groups as the de-facto leaders of the Muslim community.  Additionally, we routinely take upon ourselves religious edicts (fataawa) from scholars in faraway lands who have limited knowledge of our domestic customs, our history and our condition.
  2. The second reason is that religious scholars have the responsibility to stand as barriers between ignorant Islamic leadership and the Muslim people themselves; “Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people but He takes away knowledge by taking away the scholars, so that when He leaves no learned person, people, turn to ignorant as their leaders; then they are asked to deliver religious verdicts and they deliver them without knowledge, they go astray, and lead others astray[5]. Scholars of today need to not only address the condition of the general public; they must also be willing to address those who are in authority,   and those who make decisions for and on behalf of Muslims.
  3. The third reason is that the world has changed, and in today’s globalized environment, Muslim people are mixing cultures, ideas, ethnic tendencies, and beliefs into one big melting pot in America.  Muslim scholars are tasked not only with helping to help break down the obvious and sometimes intractable barriers between the diverse Muslim peoples living here in the United States, they are also (the ones who make our business, their business), charged in helping to maintain the religious and spiritual nature of the American Muslim trajectory, and making sure that our politics do not trump our morality. That means that they have to understand Islam in a morally applicative sense, understand what’s going on in the land in which we live and work, and understand the people upon whom they deliver critical rulings of law. Scholars of Islam have to take the added step whenever and wherever  possible, to familiarize themselves with the common people, and the intricacies of American life and culture, about which they render judgments and opinions. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “The Muslim who mixes with the people and is patient with their ills is better than the Muslim who does not mix with the people and is not patient with their ills.[6]

Some Islamic scholars residing in the Muslim world, find themselves either woefully unfamiliar, or subtlety indifferent to America in general, and towards American people specifically, and in the process, issue unfair and unrealistic rulings towards Muslims Americans who are socially integrated into our country’s fabric. For example, the fatwa ruling that it is not permissible for any Muslim to even reside in the United States. Some, scholars, due to their ignorance, and or bias towards American culture and her people, and often operating from abroad, have managed to demonize virtually every aspect of American culture and way of life. Sports, birthdays, Thanksgiving, family photos, decorating homes, designer clothing, thikr beads, wearing jeans, baby showers, attending graduation ceremonies, saying ‘what’s up brother’ to a stranger on the street, being in a good mood during Christmas season, wedding rings, visiting graves of relatives, bereavement practices, women entering Masaajid, loving one’s country, and a host of other things have ended up on the prohibition list of one scholar or another. Other scholars have done great disservice to Muslims and to Islam by issuing verdicts that allow the sale of intoxicants in our cities, despite the Quranic ruling against it.

Some Muslim Americans find themselves apologizing for being born in this country of ours as if it were a curse. Other Muslims argue back and forth with each other over rulings rendered by scholars regarding what’s permissible and what is not. Because of irresponsible law rendering, the average Muslim, especially the convert, who simply wants to worship his or her Lord, and live an Islamic lifestyle, is often left in an almost perpetual state of confusion. Because of the multitude of conflicting and sometimes nonsensical religious rulings, such as the fatwa that American Muslims wage military jihad upon our own neighbors, or the fatwa that selling intoxicants in American is permissible as long as the buyers are not Muslim, many Muslims are resigned to a state of moral dysfunction. Scholars, as they learn more about American society alternately prohibit things in one instance and then make them permissible according to their own evolutionary knowledge of our country, our culture and our way of life.

Anti American oratory has surreptitiously made its way into the modern canonical dialogue of Islam. Many American Muslims have been morally blackmailed into having to repudiate American culture in order to find acceptance as Muslims by immigrant scholars. Even today, rhetoric from a minority of Muslim scholars and some imams are replete with anti-American invectives or rallying cries against so called ‘western culture’ or values. It is ironic however, that from an Islamic theological perspective, morality has no hemispheric basis; “to Allah belongs the east and the west, wherever thou turnest, you shall find His (God’s) Face”.

Thus, Islam for many Muslim Americans has become too complicated to be user friendly. The dozen or so, often conflicting spheres of scholarly influence has created a virtual merry-go-round of Islamic thought in America, and we need to do something about it. Understanding how to apply Islamic law and morality, in the United States, require a thorough understanding of the shariah, the culture norms of the people, as well as the inclusion and consultation of bother indigenous American Muslim imams, laymen and intelligentsia and their immigrant counterparts. This is why it’s so important to address sectarianism as well.

The famous 14th century jurist, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya[7] alluded to this issue very succinctly; when commenting of the necessity of understanding people’s cultural practices, he said: “This is a major foundation that every mufti (legist) or ruler needs; he must be both well-versed (in peoples traditions) as well as matters of command and prohibition and then apply them both simultaneously. Otherwise he will do more harm than good. If he is not intimately aware of an issue in which people have particular understanding, a transgressor will appear to him as the transgressed and the truth will appear to him as falsehood and vice versa.

Ibn Qayyim went on to say: “Because of his ignorance of the people, their traditions, their conditions and their habits, he will not be able to distinguish (between truth and falsehood), Thus, it is imperative that (the scholar) understands the machinations of the people, their deceptions, their cultural traditions and their habits because fatwa (religious rulings) change with the changing of time, place culture and condition, and all of this is part of the religion of Allah.”[8]– Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (D. 751 A.H.) quoted from: “Ii’laan al-Muwaqqi’een an Rabbil aalameen” vol. 4, p. 157

There’s nothing inherently wrong with traditional scholarly interpretations of our religious texts and there is no pressing need to reinterpret the Quran or hadith of the Prophet (SAWS) to fit modern times.  Our scholars (and there have been tens of thousands of them) have done a pretty exquisite job at maintaining the integrity of our texts, and explaining them to both lay people and other scholars. Its less a matter of reinterpreting texts than it is having contemporary scholars using the our sacred texts contextually to fit the reality in which we live.

There is a false assumption by some, including some scholars, that people who were born and raised in the West, or more specifically, the United States do not have the ability to understand Islam, our religious texts or the associated sciences to any degree that someone coming from the Muslim world can. This misconception alone has a tremendous impact upon or national conversation about the challenges facing Muslim America. Then there is the issue of racism, marginalization of Blacks, and the influence of geo-political realities that taints and sometimes tends to prostitute modern day scholarship. Marginalization of ant part of the American Muslim demographic is a big deal.  You can’t ignore and marginalize an entire people and then expect to apply scholarly rulings and analysis to them when the very basis of fiqh application is to know the subject,  and their condition. The fluidity and hence, value of Muslim scholarship is connected to situational relevance. This is something that I have written about elsewhere.

Nevertheless, American Muslims need to realize that this is our country, and our homeland. If we want to make it better then we have to be better. So we need to be certain that Islamic rulings for and about American Muslims  are not tainted by anyone’s political prejudices, cultural sensitivities, racial or ethnic biases, or ignorance about America and our way of life. Granted, this is a difficult topic. Nevertheless, it is one that must be addressed if we have any hope from curbing the undercurrent of sectarianism and religious extremism that still germinates in Muslim America. As Muslims, our first duty is to our Lord, and our number one priority is our own salvation. As American Muslims, we have the god given right to look out after our own spiritual self-interests, and it starts at home.

Imam Luqman Ahmad

Shaykh Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, a Philadelphia native, is a writer, a researcher and Imam of the Islamic Society of Folsom, in Northern California. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation (NAIF), and the CEO of ‘Mosque Without Borders’, an organization that address Muslim sectarianism in the United States. He is also and the author of the new book, “Double Edged Slavery “, a critical and authoritative look at the condition of African American and convert Muslims in the United States, and the book: “The Devil’s Deception of the Modern Day Salafi Sect “, a look at the ideological underpinning of modern Salafist extremism. He blogs at imamluqman.wordpress.com, and can be reached at imamabulaith@yahoo.com.

 


[1] Collected by at-Tirmithi, Ahmad, Abu Dawood and others.

[2] Collected by at-Tirmithi and Ibn Majah.

[3] We mention qualified teachers because unqualified teachers should refrain from teaching religion.

[4] Collected by Bukhaari.

[5] Collected by Muslim.

[6] Mish’kaat al-Masaa’bih.

[7] Died 751 A.H.

[8] I’laan al-Muwaqqi’even an Rabbil Aaalameen, vol. 1. P. 157.

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