Jurisprudence for Muslim Minorities

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  • Jurisprudence for Muslim Minorities



    Some Rulings for Worshipping

            THE FIRST ISSUE : Purity
            This issue comprises three questions:
            THE FIRST: Is an infidel materially pure or impure?
            The first branch is : Is the infidel impure?
            The point here is Allah's saying, “ Surely, the associators are only an impurity.” (At-Tawbah :28)
            So, what is the meaning of association and impurity here? The scholars have two opinions as to association :
            The first: The majority say that the associator in this Verse is everyone who worships idols. Imam Mâlik says, “All infidels of the People of the Book and others are associators by analogy.” 
            THE SECOND: The opinion of 'Imâm Ash-Shâfi'î is that the Verse means all infidels. Ibn-‘Umar, Jâbir ibn Abdullâh, and Ibn-Hazm Adh-Dhâhirî are of the same opinion.
            As to the meaning of impurity, the majority of scholars say that Allah's saying, “are only an impurity” refers to immaterial impurity, that is, impurity of creed and religion, or that they are evil and wicked, or, in rhetoric, it is one eloquent way of likening.
            'Imâm Mâlik, Ar-Râzî, al-‘Alûsî, and Dhâhirites say that infidels – every single infidel – are materially impure.
            I see that the opinion of the majority of scholars is the preponderant opinion for the following reasons:
            First: Allah allowed Muslims to marry the women of the People of the Book, and it is self-evident that husbands cannot avoid touching them, or being exposed to their sweat, and wives touch furniture, clothes, etc. However, Allah has not ordained for them any way of cleaning themselves other than that ordained for those who are married to Muslim women.
            Second: Allah allowed Muslims to eat the food of all infidels, except for slaughtered animals, which are lawful only if they are slaughtered by the People of the Book. It is also self-evident that they cannot avoid touching and handling the food. So, if they were materially impure, then anything they touch would get impure, and their food would become dirty and impure, and, hence, would be prohibited.
            Allah says, “Making lawful for them the good things, and prohibiting for them the wicked things.” (Al-A'râf:157)
          It has been authentically reported that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) ate their food, used their vessels, and accepted their presents. 'Imâm Ibnul-Hussayn narrated that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and his Companions used an infidel woman's vessel.
            This Hadîth proves that an infidel is materially pure, as the woman whose vessel has already been used. It has been also authentically reported that ‘Umar (m.A.b.s.w.h.) performed ablution in a Christian woman's house. Also, Hudhayfah asked for water to drink and a magian gave him water.
            Third: If they were actually deemed as materially impure, the Prophet's Companions would have conveyed it. However, I have not found any authentic report that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) or any of his Companions stated the impurity of infidels in the sense related by 'Imâm Mâlik and those who followed him.
            So, we conclude that the non-Muslim is materially pure (unless he is contaminated with an impure substance) but impure in creed and religion. The scholars are unanimous on this opinion.
            It follows from this:
            First: The purity of his su’r , i.e. the water that remains in the vessel after he drinks.
            Second: The purity of his clothes and what he wears.
            The Second Point: Should the disbeliever who becomes a Muslim do Ghusl (ritual bathing)?
            The principle in this matter is the command of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) to Thumamah ibn 'Athâl to do ritual bathing when he embraced Islam.
            The principle is also what Qays Ibn ‘Asim reported quoting his father that when he became a Muslim, the Prophet (p.b.u.h) commanded him to do ritual bathing with water and nabk (i.e. lotus jujube).
            The Third Point: Should a person who becomes a Muslim be circumcised?
            Circumcision is cutting off the foreskin, which covers the glands of a man.
            The wisdom behind this is that dirt may not gather there, and the person may purify himself from urine.
            Verdict concerning circumcision: The majority of scholars hold that circumcision is a practice of the Prophet but not compulsory. This is because lack of evidence of its being compulsory. This is well known and practiced because of the saying of the prophet (p.b.u.h); "The innate nature includes five things" among which he mentioned circumcision.
            `Ash-Shâfi’î holds that circumcision is incumbent on women as well as men.
            The Hanbali's hold that it is incumbent on men but not on women, to whom it is a graceful practice. They say that it is a sign of Muslim (men) and therefore it is obligatory.
            Their evidence for this is that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) was reported to have said to Wathilah Ibn Al-`Asqa´ when he embraced Islam, "Get rid of the hair of disbelief and get circumcised."
            'Ahmad was asked whether circumcision should purify a disbeliever who embraces Islam. He said, "It must do so." I (i.e. the person asking) said, "What if he is old?" He said, "He should do so all the more, because the prophet (p.b.u.h) told us that 'Ibrâhîm (p.b.u.h) was circumcised when he was over eighty years old."
            This is also the opinion of ‘Al-‘Awzâ’î, Rabî’ata-Rra’y, and the Permanent Committee for 'Iftâ’ in Saudi Arabia.
            The Second Issue: Are Intoxicants Pure Or Impure?
            The principle in this is the saying of Allah Almighty: "O you who have believed, surely wines and games of chance, and standards (for idols) and divining are only an abomination of Satan's doing, so avoid it, that possibly you would prosper." (Al-Mâ'idah: 90)
            The majority of scholars understood from Allah Almighty's saying 'abomination' that intoxicants are impure both materially and immaterially. They said that 'abomination' means impurity. Ibn 'Abbâs said that it means exasperation. Mujâhid said that it means that which there is no good in it. Ibn Jubayr said, 'sin, and At-Tabari said, 'sin and rot', while Ibn 'Aslam said, 'suffering and evil'.

            Al-`Alûsî said, "it is unreasonable that the Verse means abomination in the sense of impurity; gambling, for example, cannot reasonably be impure or pure."

            It is my opinion that the scholars unanimously agree that games of chance, idols and divination are pure, although the description as abomination pertains to all, and not intoxicants alone, as the context shows.
            As-San'ânî said, "The truth is that substances are originally pure, and that prohibition does not always go hand in hand with impurity. Hashish is prohibited but pure. As for impurity, it goes hand in hand with prohibition, i.e. every impure substance is prohibited, but the reverse is not true. This is because the ruling concerning impurity is that it is prevented in all cases. Holding something to be impure means holding it to be prohibited. This is unlike holding something to be prohibited. Wearing silk is prohibited [for men] and so is gold, but they are pure according to Islamic law and by consensus. If we realize this, then prohibiting intoxicants, which is ascertained by texts, does not follow from it that they are impure. There must be other evidence for it, or else we should abide by the agreed upon principle of purity. Whoever claims the contrary should provide evidence for it. There is no explicit evidence in Islamic law which states that they are impure, and therefore are considered originally pure.
            This was also the opinion of Rabî'atur-Rray, Al-Muznî, a Shâfi’ite, 'Ash-Shawkânî, and Muhammad Siddîq Khân.
            'Ash-Shaykh Muhammad Reda added, " It would have been possible to add to the things prohibited by Islamic Law those things that are materially impure, if there had been an explicit command to wash a thing that was exposed to an intoxicant, but there is no sound or fair Tradition to this effect."
            The Companions of the Prophet used to drink intoxicants and could not help exposing their hands and clothes with them. If they were impure, they would have been commanded to avoid them before they were prohibited. It should not be said that they became impure by means of prohibition, since impurity is not dependent on the ruling concerning it. So they are pure both materially and according to Islamic Law.
            As for Al-‘Imâm An-Nawawî, he did not approve of the evidence of the mainstream of scholars as regards their impurity. He said, " The most reasonable opinion is that of Al-Ghazâlî, who judges them to be impure as a means of making people shun away from them."
            The Prophet's command to spill them was not because of their impurity -- Allah knows best-- but as a means of blocking expediency. Their being in the possession of someone who previously got drunk and was used to them may encourage him to drink or sell them due to his close connection with them, although drinking and selling are both unanimously prohibited. 
            Regarding alcohol, " it is a colorless liquid, with a special smell. It results from the fermentation of sugar, starch [and the like]. It is the essence of intoxicants; the plural from is "alcohols". 
            Ruling regarding it: What was said about intoxicants applies to it, because it causes drunkenness, and every substance that causes drunkenness is prohibited. Al-'Azhar Committee issued a verdict of its purity, and considered that the things that are added to it do not become impure because of it. In the Verdicts of Ash-Shaykh Muhammad Rashîd Reda: "Alcohol is pure and purifying. There is no reason for prohibiting it and nothing is prohibited."
            It follows from this that it is lawful to wear perfumes to which alcohol is added [in a small quantity] because it is pure. 
            The same applies to some brands of soap, shampoo, shaving cream, and other products which have alcohol as an ingredient." 
            It is lawful to buy and sell perfumes since the amount of alcohol that causes drunkenness in the perfumes is dissolved in other substances, does not constitute the larger part, and turns into another form.


            THE THIRD ISSUE : The Purity of Dogs:

            Jurists have three opinions as regards the purity or impurity of dogs:

            First: They are impure, even their hair. This is the opinion of Ash-Shâfi´î, Mâlik, and 'Ahmad in one of two reports quoting him.

            Second: They are pure, even their saliva. This is the well-known opinion of Mâlik and Mâlikites.

            Third: They are pure, except for their saliva. This is the authentic opinion of the Hanîfites and the other report quoting 'Ahmad.

            It is my opinion that the closest opinion to what is right is that they are pure except their saliva, which is impure, unlike the rest of their bodies. This is so because things are originally pure, and hence we cannot hold anything to be impure or prohibited without evidence.

            There was nothing reported about the impurity of anything in dogs except 'Abu Hurayrah's quoting the Prophet (p.b.u.h) as saying, "If a dog drinks from the vessel of any one of you, he should wash it seven times.” to which Muslim added, "the first time of which should be with dust."

            The Tradition is evidence for the impurity of the saliva and mouth of the dog, since it is the place of using impure things, and the place of panting, which, alone, becomes impure by means of saliva. We also learn that the vessel should be washed seven times, which is the opinion of the majority of the scholars.

            'Abû Hanîfah holds that it is not incumbent to abide by the number in removing impurities. He said that the vessel should be washed until it is thought that it became pure. The Hanifites took as evidence the report that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said about a dog, which drinks from a vessel: "It should be washed three, five, or seven times." They said that the Tradition is evidence for option.

            It was also said that the Tradition is not authentically reported.

            Ibn Rushd (Averose) holds that the command of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) is for guidance lest the dog should be suffering from rabies. The person who drinks from the remaining water or uses the vessel before it is washed is harmed in his body. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) forbids that which inflicts harm on people in their religion and life, and not because of its impurity, since it is taken to be pure.

            If a dog, which is permissible to keep drinks from a vessel or eats from it, the water or food does not become impure, but we should avoid drinking or eating from it or using it before washing it for fear of harm.

            It was medically proven that a dog's saliva contains harmful germs, which need a strong antiseptic to remove them. This somewhat consolidates the opinion of Ibn Rushd. 


            It is well known to every Muslim that prayer is the second pillar of the five pillars of Islam, and that Allah Almighty has made five prayers a day obligatory to a sane, mature Muslim who knows about it, and that whoever denies it is no longer a Muslim.

            Because of its great status in Islam, Islamic Law has warned those who do not keep it. Allah Almighty says,

    "Then there succeeded ever after them a succession who wasted the prayer and closely followed lusts; so they shall eventually meet misguidance." (Maryam:59)
            The Prophet (p.b.u.h) also said, "The difference between a (Muslim) man and someone who associates partners to Allah and a disbeliever is not performing prayer." 
            In this major issue there are several issues, which a Muslim living in a non-Muslim lands needs to know. These are: 
       The First Issue: Timing of Prayers:
            This issue falls into several sections, which include: definition of timing, timing in 'moderate' lands, and 'immoderate' lands.
            First: On Defining it from the Perspectives of Language and Islamic Law:
            In the Arabic language it is said "Waqqata-Allah-As-Salâh" in the sense that he set a certain time for prayer. ''Al-mîqât' means the time set for an action, the plural form being "mawâqît". 
            In Islamic Law it means " the time which Allah has set for performing this worship [prayer], i.e. the specific span of time. 
       Second: The Timing of Prayer in Moderate Lands:
          By 'Moderate lands' I mean the lands in which day and night occur and are distinguished from each other every twenty-four hours. 
            The principle concerning the timing of these countries is what Muslim reported in his Sahîh about someone who asked the Prophet (p.b.u.h) about the timing of prayer, but the Prophet (p.b.u.h) did not answer him [in words]. In a report by Buraydah he said to him, "Pray with us these two [days]." The reporter of the Tradition [i.e. 'Abû Mûsa-[Al-`ash´ari] said, "He, i.e. the Prophet (p.b.u.h),] performed the dawn prayer at the break of dawn at a time when people could hardly recognize each other. Then the Prophet (p.b.u.h) commanded Bilâl to call to the noon prayer immediately after the sun moved from the middle of the sky. Someone said, " It is mid-day." He was more knowledgeable than all of them. Then the Prophet commanded calling for the afternoon prayer with the sun rising high, then commanded him to call for the sunset prayer when the sun set. He then commanded him to call to the night prayer when the twilight disappeared. He postponed the dawn prayer the following day and finished it when someone said, "The sun rose or it is about to rise." Then he postponed the noon prayer until a time near the time for the afternoon prayer the previous day. He also postponed the afternoon prayer and finished it while someone was saying, "The sun has turned red." He postponed the sunset prayer until the fall of twilight, and postponed the night prayer until the first third of the night [and in another report until midnight]. 
            When he rose in the morning, he called the person who asked him and said, "The time is between these two", meaning that the time for prayer is between the two times at which I prayed.
       Third: On Timing Prayer in 'Immoderate Lands such as the Two Poles and the Like:
            The definition of time for prayers in the authentic Tradition applies to the moderate lands in which the Prophet (p.b.u.h) lived and to similar lands. But how about the method of determining the time for prayer in lands where the months and days are not moderate such as the Polar and Scandinavian areas in which the day is long in summer and short in winter, or northern countries where the sun is always shining in summer and always disappears in winter, or countries where the times for night prayer and the dawn prayer overlap in some months of the year, i.e. the countries located north or south of latitude 84?
            I will here mention the statements of jurists about determining and regulating the time for prayer in those countries, as they are discussed in their books, then I will discuss and choose among them.
    1-The Saying of Hanifites; 
           Fath Al-Qadîr states that "those who have no time for the night prayer as in the case where the dawn breaks before the twilight disappears, Al-Baqali gave the verdict that it is not incumbent on them because of the non-occurrence of the time. This is the opinion opted for by the author of Al-kanz [i.e. Az-Zayla’î] exactly as the washing of hands in ablution is dropped for an amputee. No contemplating person would doubt the difference between the non-existence of the organ [i.e. the amputated hands] and the hypothetical non-existence [i.e. the non-existence of the sign for the night prayer], which is a sign for the implicit, ascertained, and the possibility of the existence of more than one sign for the thing in question. The non-existence of time is non-existence of the defining sign, whose lack does not necessarily mean the non-existence of the original thing, because of the possibility of existence of other evidence. 
            The meaning of what 'Ibn Al-Humâm said is that [if there is no sign for the time for the night prayer, namely the disappearance of twilight and the non-break of dawn simultaneously as an identifying sign of it, this does not mean that prayer is dropped because of this, because of the existence of other evidence that shows the time for it, even though the sign of time does not exist.] then he said it was found [ i.e. the other evidence for the time for the night prayer, in spite of the lack of its sign]. This is what came down to us about the night journey when Allah Almighty ordained five prayers, after people were ordered to pray fifty times, then the number settled down to five according to Islamic Law for all people with no difference between one country and another. 
            It is also proven that Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h) mentioned Al-Dajjâl, so we [the Prophet's Companions] asked about the time he will spend on earth. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, "Forty days, a day like a year, a day like a month, a day like a week, and his other days are like yours." It was said, " O Messenger of Allah, how about the day like a year, will prayer of a day be sufficient for us? He said, "No, give it its due length." So He made three hundred afternoon prayers necessary before the shadow of a stick, for example, becomes the same or double. 
            We learn that what is incumbent is five prayers in general, but they should be distributed over all the times when they exist. Their non-existence does not drop the prayer. So the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, "Five prayers have been ordained by Allah on bondmen." 
    2-The Sayings of Mâlikites: 
            In Mawâhib Al-Jalîl the following occurs: It occurred in Sahih Muslim that the time for Al-Dajjâl is forty days, which include a day like a year, a day like a month, a day like a week, and the rest of his days is like our days. The Prophet's Companions said, O Messenger of Allah, how about the day like a year, will prayer of a day be sufficient for us? He said, "No. Give it its due length."
            Al-Qâdî Iyâd said, "There is a special ruling about this day which was legislated to us by The Legislator." He added, "If we were left to our own understanding, we would have confined ourselves to the prayers well known on other days. The meaning of "give it its due length" is that if time equivalent to the time between daybreak and noon passes every day, then do the noon prayer, then when the time between it and the afternoon prayer passes, then do the afternoon prayer, and so on until this day comes to an end with the obligatory prayers of a whole year performed on time.

            As for the second day, which is like a month, and the third day, which is like a week, they should be dealt with on the analogy of the first day.

     3- The Sayings of Shâfi'ites:

            In Rawdat At-Tâlibîn the following occurs: Those who live in an area where their nights are short and twilight does not disappear, they should pray the night prayer after a period of time elapses that is equivalent to the time of the disappearance of twilight in the nearest country to them. This means that if the twilight in the nearest country disappears at the first quarter of the night for example, it should be considered as part of the night for them. They should not wait for the passing of their night because this may take all the night.

     4-The Sayings of Hanbalites:

            In Ghâyat Al-Muntahâ the following occurs: Time for prayers is estimated during the days of Al-Dajjâl according to the usual time of night and winter for example. The same applies to Pilgrimage, Almsgiving, and Fasting. The author of 'Al-'Iqnâ´ holds a similar opinion.

            I did not find anyone among the Hanbalites who dealt with the issue of someone who cannot determine the night for the night prayer.

            It becomes clear to us through these quotes that the majority of scholars hold that the night prayer is incumbent on people in lands where time for it is not determined, i.e. by the disappearance of twilight. They established their opinion on the generality of the texts commanding the obligatory performance of the five prayers, without any distinction between one country and another. It is also based on the Tradition about Al-Dajjâl, which commands estimating the timing for prayer, which is incumbent even though the signs for it are absent.

            Fourth: The Kinds of 'Immoderate' Lands and Method of Timing There:

            These lands fall into two groups:

        The First Group: This is where the sun does not set for about six months, then totally disappears the rest of the year.

            To these apply the Tradition about 'Al-Dajjâl. So people living there estimate the time for the five prayers so that they may perform them every twenty-four hours, depending in this on the nearest country to them where the times for the obligatory prayers are distinguishable. They have to distribute them along the time according to the time lapse between every two prayers.

            The rulings concerning days and months as regards women waiting periods, fasting, and almsgiving should be measured by analogy to the above.

          'Ash-Shaykh Muhammad Redâ says, "Do you think that Allah Almighty makes it incumbent on these who live near the Poles to pray in their day which a year or several months five times only? Among the great signs proving that this Qur’an is from Allah the Omniscient is addressing people generally without restriction to the time or place of that to whom it was revealed.

            " It made the command to pray general, and the Prophet (p.b.u.h) showed the times for prayer as proper for moderate lands, which are the great majority of lands so that when Islam reaches the people of the other lands which we have just referred to they may estimate the time for prayers by means of exercising their judgments and taking as criterion what the Prophet (p.b.u.h) clarified of the general command of Allah. They should estimate the matter properly. But on which land should the estimation be based? It was said: on moderate towns where the legislation took place such as Makkah and Al-Madînah. It was also said: on the nearest moderate country to them. Both are permissible since the matter is based on exercising judgment, not on a text."

            The Committee of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia, in its twelfth session, issued a verdict of estimation on the nearest country where the times for obligatory prayers are distinguishable.

            I say: There is goodness in both, provided that the Muslims in these countries agree on a certain country so that their prayer may not differ in the same town, with a group of people praying according to the time of Makkah, and another group prays according to the nearest country. This practice may lead to rifts and differences, which are prohibited.

            The Second Group: It is a group where all prayer times are distinguishable except that for night prayer, which is the same as that for the dawn prayer.

            The weighty opinion of the majority of scholars is the incumbency of the night prayer on the people of these countries and the prohibition of not performing it. But they differed about the time for praying it, should it be on time or deferred?

            I Say: The more weighty opinion and the one closer to the text (of the Tradition about Al-Dajjâl) is that Muslims in these countries should estimate the time for the night prayer based on the nearest country. The night prayer in this case is performed on time, but the sunset prayer is deferred since the time for it has elapsed based on the estimation. This is the ruling of the Jurisprudence Complex of the Muslim World League, which determined 45 as the criterion. This is an area in France where twilight disappears before the break of dawn. In this estimation there is alleviation of hardship and bringing about ease, and is proper for Britain and neighboring areas.

            The Second Issue: The Ruling Concerning Praying in the Disbelievers' Places of Worship:

            The majority of scholars are of the opinion that it is disliked to pray in churches and other places of worship of those who associate partners with Allah. They justify the disliking by the presence of pictures there, by their being cursed, by the fact that Allah should not be worshipped in the places of His enemies, and by their being an abode for devils exactly like bathrooms.

            Al-Bukhârî reported that ‘Umar (m.A.b.s.w.h) said, "We do not enter your churches because of the statues which contain pictures." There is no difference between frequented churches and deserted ones.

            Al-`Imâm Mâlik was of the opinion that they are absolutely forbidden, as reported by 'Ahmad.

            Some companions of 'Ahmad were of the opinion of absolute permission.

            Ibn-Taymiyah said, "The right thing is that if they had pictures in them no prayer may be held there because angel [of mercy not of preserving] do not enter a place which contains a picture. But if there are no pictures there, prayer can be performed in them as the Companions did in a church."

            If it is permissible to pray in a church that does not contain pictures, prayer is permissible in any other temple not containing a picture.

            It is evident from the saying of the majority of scholars that whoever prays in a place containing pictures, his prayer is sound but disliked. However, it is better for a Muslim to avoid such places in case there are other places available to him and he was not in need for them. But if he was forced to pray there lest he catch cold or because of the non-existence of a different place, the prayer is permissible but disliked, and he does not have to make it up. Every land is fit for Muslims to perform their prayer "except that which we are sure of its impurity". This is based on the sayings of the Prophet (p.b.u.h): "and the land was made a prostration place for me and was made pure. Wherever it is time for prayer for man he should pray."

            The Jurisprudence Complex of the Islamic Conference has endorsed renting churches to pray there, but recommended avoiding facing statues. If this was not possible, they should be covered if they were in the direction of Al-Ka'bah.

            Here I call upon Muslims to make available the mosques they need so that they may do without the temples of those who associate partners with Allah. They should exert every possible effort in this respect. I would like to call attention to the fact that it is unanimously unlawful to give the designation of 'House of Allah' to the temples of the disbelievers.

            As for praying in tombs, Ibn Al-munthir quoted the majority of scholars as saying that tombs are not proper places for praying. As regards praying on snow, it was ascertained that Ibn ‘Umar prayed on it.

         The Third Major Issue: Combining Prayers For Necessity:

            By this I do not mean combining prayers in travel, rain, or illness, but combining, that alleviate hardship in circumstances other than these.

            For example, there are countries where the twilight disappears after midnight on some days of the year. There are countries in which some months of the year are long, and the night is as short as four hours. There are employees and students who are not able to perform prayers on time because of continued work and the short time of rest. There are also old people and boys.

            All these find it difficult to perform prayers on the time for them determined for them by Islamic Law, especially that they are in non-Islamic countries, which do not care about the Muslim's feeling in this regard and do not attach any importance to his worship.

            Should a person whose night lasts four hours perform three prayers during these hours without sleeping, waiting for prayer time, while he has work to do, which requires a clear mind and sound body, which is dependent on how much rest and sleep a person gets? Or is there a license to which a Muslim resorts in case of difficulty and unease, bearing in mind that "difficulty justifies alleviation" and that hardship is alleviated in our religion because Allah Almighty says, "and in no way has he made for you any restriction in the religion." (Al-Hajj: 78) and that the more a matter gets hard, the more it gets alleviated.

            The consensus is that it is not permissible in urban areas to combine two prayers for excuse.

            Scholars, however, disagreed about these excuses. They agreed on advance combining of the noon and afternoon prayers at the time for the former in 'Arafah, and on deferred combining of the sunset and night prayers at the time for the latter in Muzdalifah. This is a Sunnah for pilgrims, to which the Hanîfites confined themselves.

            The Mâlikites permitted combining for a resident because of rain, mud, sickness, allowing him to combine the noon and afternoon prayers, and the sunset and night prayers.

            The Shâfi`ites permitted combining because of rain, that wets clothes. A group of them permitted combining because of sickness, mud, and fear.

            In one report the Hanbalites added to this : ice, snow, cold strong wind, a nursing woman, a continually bleeding woman and the like, the excused and the unable to do purification for each prayer, know the prayer, those who fear for themselves, their money, or honor, and those who fear harm inflicted on them in their living if they do not make use of combining. They said: He should do what is easier for him, i.e. deferring the first prayer to the time of the second, or advancing the second to the time of the first.

            To my knowledge, there is no explicit authentic evidence for the permissibility of combining prayers because of every excuse that was mentioned by Hanbalites.

            'Al-Imâm 'Ash-Shâfi`î said, "Combining in the case of rain is a license for an excuse. For any other excuse there should not be combining since the excuse in this case is personal such as sickness and fear and the like. There were diseases and fear but it did not come down to us that 'Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h) combined prayers in these cases. Excuse because of rain is general, and combining is permissible in travel because of what came down to us from 'Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h). There is no license of combining except in the cases licensed by the Prophet."

            However, we may find evidence for the Hanbalites [who are the most permissible in the four sects] in reports by Muslim and others quoting Ibn 'Abbâs as saying that Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h) combined the noon and afternoon prayers, and the sunset and night prayers in 'Al-Madînah without fear of rain.

            `Ibn ´Abbâs was asked: What did he mean by this? He answered: He wanted to alleviate hardship for his nation.

            The same is also uncertainly reported through 'Ibnu Mas'ud, as reported by Al-Haythamî, with whom Ash-Shawkânî disagreed and corrected that report.

            The Tradition is evidence for the permissibility of true combining, on condition that there is difficulty and hardship in case of not combining, because of his saying, "He wanted to alleviate hardship for his nation."

            From this Tradition the majority of scholars inferred that combining is permissible for illness and the like. They said, "The hardship because of illness is severer than that of rain."

            I say: If it is permissible to combine prayers for illness because it is hard to pray on time, combining is permissible for any excuse if it may lead to unbearable difficulty and hardship, on condition that the person does not do this habitually or expand it.

            Among those who said so are: Rabî'ah, Ibn Al-munthir, 'Ashhab, Ibn Sîrîn, 'Abdul-Malik, from among Mâlik's companions, and the Dhâhirites. The same was also the opinion of Ash-Shaykh 'Abu Zahrah, 'Ash-Shaykh Yûsuf 'Al-Qaradâwî, who is of the opinion that it is permissible "to combine two prayers in rare cases, and for a limited number of times in order to alleviate hardship."

            For those whose twilight is late or whose nights are short, they should perform as many prayers on time as they can. If they are overcome by sleep and they missed prayers they should perform them once they get up --there is no remisness in sleep-- and in their original order.

            For a person who finds considerable difficulty in waiting for prayer, and is afraid from his previous experience that if he sleeps he may not be able to get up for prayer, there is a report by Hanbalites alone that it is permissible to combine because of the likelihood of continuing to sleep.

            Here we should call attention to a serious matter, namely that misuse of this license, that alleviates hardship, and overusing it without a considerable excuse nullifies prayer.

            This is because scholars unanimously agree that praying after the appropriate time without a lawful excuse is nullified as if he had not performed it since praying on time is a condition for its validity.

             The Fourth Issue: The Friday Prayer:

            "Scholars unanimously agree that the Friday prayer is obligatory, and must be performed by every Muslim and if he does not perform it he is unanimously sinful." This derives from Allah Almighty's saying, "O you who have believed, when the call is made for prayer on Friday (the Day of Congregation), then endeavor (to hasten) to the Remembrance of Allah and leave out your trading. That is most charitable for you, in case you knew." (Al-Jumu;ah : 9)

            It also occurs in Sahih Muslim that Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h) said, "people should quit leaving the Friday prayers or else Allah will seal their hearts, then they will be among the unwary."

         Time For it:

            The majority of scholars are agreed that the time for the Friday prayer is after the sun leaves the middle of the sky.

            If it occurs before this time it is not valid, except in the opinion of Ahmad, Ibn Râhawayh, and ´Atâ`, the evidence for which is what Muslim reported: "We used to perform the Friday prayer with Allah's Messenger, then we went back and made our camels rest until the sun leaves the middle of the sky."

            I say: the totality of Traditions show that it is valid at the time the sun leaves the middle of the sky or before that time.

            In Al-Mughnî  and Ash-sharh the following occurs: "It is likeable to perform it after the sun leaves the middle of the sky; this is because of the evidence for it, and this is a way out of the difference in opinion.

            I say: If a group of people in non-Muslim lands have to pray it before noon because of hardship and unfavorable circumstances, they can act according to the saying of 'Ahmad and his companions, which is also the opinion of Ibn 'Abbâs and Ash-Shawkânî, provided that it is not performed a long time before noon, because the Tradition which 'Ahmad took as evidence shows that noon starts immediately after the sermon and the prayer.

            If there was hardship, it should be performed after noon, which was the practice of our predecessors.

            Al-‘Imâm Mâlik allowed for the sermon, but not the prayer itself before noon.

            As for the last time for the Friday prayer the majority of scholars are agreed that it is the last time for the `Dhuhr prayer.

        Third: Is the Oration Valid in a Language other than Arabic:

            Scholars are unanimously agreed that the oration is a condition of validity of the Friday prayer, but is the oration valid in a language other than Arabic?

            To start with, I say: If an 'Imâm who can lend the Friday prayer is properly available, it is a sufficiency duty, in the sense that if a group of people are short of performing it as it should, they are all sinful, in accordance with Allah's words: "In case ever you do not march out, He will torment you with a painful torment". (At-Tawbah: 39)

            As for the validity of the oration in a language other than Arabic, the majority of scholars are agreed that it must be in Arabic, because it is obligatory remembrance of Allah, and hence has to be done in Arabic as in the case of attash-shahhud (the invocation at the end of the prayer), and saying "’Allâhu 'akbar" at the beginning of prayer, and because it is the practice of the Prophet (p.b.u.h), who did not make the oration except in Arabic.

            Abu Hanîfah was of the opinion that it is permissible in a language other than Arabic, whether there is or there is no excuse for this. But his two companions permitted it only with an excuse, and so did the Hanbalites, who have a report compatible with the opinion of 'Abu Hanîfah, but they hold it as less preferable in their sect.

            If it is asked: Of what use will the oration in Arabic be if the listeners cannot understand it?

            This can be answered: "Its use is admonition in general." This was said by the Shâfi`ite 'Al-qâdî Husayn.

            I say: And of what use is knowledge of admonition in general as long as the listener does not comprehend what is being said? And is the oration in Arabic is meant for itself so that it may be said that it is not valid except in Arabic, even though people do not understand anything from it? Or is it intended as a means of education and enlightenment?

            As a way out of disagreement and so that every Muslim should be assured that his prayer is valid, one of these two ways may be followed:

            The First: The orator should give the pillars of the oration, which some scholars said that they must be given in Arabic, in the Arabic language, then he makes the admonition in the language of the listeners because of necessity.

            The oration is started with praising Allah, reading one or more verses of the Qur'ân, prayer on Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h), advising people of fearing Allah, and praying for Muslims.

            The Second: The oration is given in Arabic, then it is translated during it or after finishing the Friday prayer. The translation may be done by the orator himself or by someone who acts for him.

            We can say that it is permissible to deliver the oration in a language other than Arabic only if there was an excuse and a necessity; otherwise this should not be done. However the verses of the Qur’ân should be read as they were revealed, then they are translated.

            It is likeable for the oration to be short in accordance with the saying of the Prophet (p.b.u.h), " A man's long prayer and short prayer are signs for his jurisprudence." This is also compatible with what Jabir-Ibn Samrah reported "that the prayer of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) was short and so was his oration."

            It is incumbent to listen to it according to the majority of scholars, based on the saying of the Prophet (p.b.u.h), "Whoever speaks on Friday while the 'Imâm is giving the oration, is like a donkey carrying books; and whoever says to another: 'listen!' has no Friday prayer " i.e. compared with a person who keeps silent, but the prayer of someone who speaks is valid by consensus. It is not a condition for the Friday prayer to be performed in a mosque; if it was performed in a public area or a plaza it would be valid, and so is the case if it was performed, for necessity, in the temples of the disbelievers.

            It is likeable for the Friday orator to be a specialist in Islamic Jurisprudence and Thought, to be knowledgeable of the culture of people and their various problems, moral, social, economic, educational, etc. so that he may be better able to suggest solutions and deal with them from an Islamic perspective.

            He should deal with the issues, that concern those who have become Muslims recently such as faith and worship, and should concentration on the universality of Islam, its eternity, and its propriety.

            He should familiarize them with the attitude of Islam towards the movements prevailing in non-Muslim lands so that Muslims are aware of them. He should make them feel that they have brothers who are concerned with their problems, and who think about their present and future. He should avoid controversial issues as much as he can, and should care about the time of the congregation.

        Fifth: Those who are Excused for not Performing it:

            Those who are excused for not performing it are women, boys, travelers, and sick people who experience hardship in attending it. People are also excused on muddy and rainy days which wet clothes, on days of strong wind, excessive heat and cold. Also excused are people with chronic diseases, a blind person who has no one to lead him, a person attending a patient who may die if he leaves him, since the right of a Muslim has more precedence over performing the Friday prayer. Also excused is a person who is in the presence of food which he needs, a naked person, a person who fears harm from an unjust person to himself or his money, a person who is so far away from where it is performed that if he attended it, he would suffer. Not included in the people excused are students seeking knowledge in these lands even if they had classes to attend since the Friday prayer is a worship that is performed once a week and so has to be attended. A student has to do his best in order to perform it on time.

            Scholars are unanimously agreed that a person who misses the Friday prayer has to perform the noon prayer. The majority of scholars are agreed that if people with excuse prayed before the 'Imâm performed his prayer, it would be permissible for them to do so, and would have performed the noon prayer in congregation.

         The Fifth Issue: The Funeral and Some of its Rulings:

             First: The ruling Concerning Washing the Deceased:

            Jurists unanimously agree that washing the deceased is generally incumbent on the people who survive them. In case there is no Muslim who can wash the deceased, may a non-Muslim wash a Muslim dead person?

            The majority of scholars hold that it is permissible for a non-Muslim wife to wash her Muslim husband, and that a Muslim husband may wash his non-Muslim wife. Muslims do not have to do the washing again. This was the opinion of Iraqis, since washing does not need the verbal intent of the person doing the washing.

            I say: There is no prohibition of this. Only if the non-Muslim may see a defect in the Muslim while he is washing him, there is no guarantee  that he may not defame him and inform people of it. In Case a Muslim is available no one should do the washing but him.

         Second: The Ruling Concerning Praying on him:

            Jurists unanimously agree that praying on a Muslim is a sufficiency duty.

            If the Muslim family of a deceased person are prevented from praying on him, it is incumbent on some of them to pray on his grave since it was authentically reported in Al-Bukhârî’s Sahihthat the Prophet (p.b.u.h) prayed on a dead person in his grave without taking the body out.

            If they all deliberately neglect praying on him, they are all sinful, in view of the above mentioned consensus.

        Third: Is Burial in a Coffin Valid?

            Scholars unanimously agree that burial in a coffin is disliked and should not be used except when there is no other choice. They based this ruling on the fact that no one at the time of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) or the Prophet himself was buried in a coffin, but were buried in the dust. It was not authentically reported that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) licensed it or prevented it.

            Jurists permitted burial in a coffin in case the soil was soft and incohesive or the corpse was tattered by burning, or cut into pieces in a way that cannot be placed properly except in a box.

            They said that the Sunnah was to spread dust in the coffin.

            It follows from this that whoever is forced by the authorities of his country to place his deceased relative in a wood or iron box, he is not a wrongdoer --if Allah wills-- because he has to do it; otherwise he should not do it.

         Fourth: Can a Muslim be Buried in the Graves of Non-Muslims?

            Jurists are agreed that a Muslim should not be buried in the graves of non-Muslims, or a non-Muslim in the graves of Muslims, and if any of them was buried in the grave of the other he has to be taken out unless the corpse had already decayed. This is because disbelievers are tortured in their graves, and a Muslim is harmed by being near them.

            If there are no special graves for Muslims living in some countries, the corpse of a dead Muslim has to be taken to a Muslim country if this was possible financially, was allowed by the authorities of Muslim lands, and there was no fear of the corpse decaying. Otherwise, he may be buried in the graves of non-Muslims provided that a part of them is set aside for Muslims unshared by others. If this was not possible, he may be buried there for necessity. This is the verdict of the Islamic Jurisprudence Complex of the Islamic Conference Organization. A member of the Complex suggested taking into consideration the degrees of disbelief when a Muslim is buried in the graves of non-Muslims, i.e. in case of necessity the graves of Christians are given precedence over those of the Jews, and the latter should be given precedence over the graves of the pagans and atheists, and so on.

             Fifth: Can a Non Muslim be Carried in a Muslim's Funeral?

            No forbiddance came down to us about that. However, it is preferable that this should not be allowed since it is a great grace, unless there was a need for this, building on 'Ash-Shâfi' îs opinion of the permissibility of ritual washing of a Muslim by a non-Muslim.

        Sixth: Praying on the Non-resident Deceased:

            If a close relative or a friend of a Muslim residing in a non-Muslim country dies elsewhere, is it right for him to perform the prayer for the absent accompanied by other Muslims?

            The majority of jurists hold that it is permissible, taking as evidence the prayer of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) and Muslims on 'Al-Nagâshî. They said there was no evidence that this was peculiar to the Prophet (p.b.u.h).

            However, the Hanîfites and the Mâlikites are of the opinion that it is not lawful.

            Al-Khattâbî said: Prayer for the absent should not be performed unless he dies in a land where there is no one to pray on him.

            'Al-´Aynî said, "If a Muslim dies in any country and was prayed on, no one else in another country should pray on him. If he knew that he was not prayed on for any reason, the Sunnah is that he should be prayed on; this should not be neglected because of the countries being away from each other. When Muslims pray on him they should direct themselves towards Al-Qiblah [i.e. the Ka'bah in Makkah], not towards the country of the deceased."

            It is my opinion that the saying of the majority of jurists is more preferable, because of the deed of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) which shows that it is lawful. If it were otherwise, the Prophet (p.b.u.h) would have explained it to people.

        Seventh: Some Rulings about the non-Muslim Deceased and How Far they Pertain to Muslims:

            The question of this point is: If a non-Muslim who is a neighbor or relative to a Muslim dies, should the Muslim do ritual bathing to him and shroud him, or is it permissible for him to do so? What is the ruling concerning attending his funeral and condoling his family?

            Jurists unanimously agree that it is unlawful to pray on a non-Muslim or to invoke Allah to forgive him since he is a disbeliever; no intercession is accepted for him, nor is invocation responded to in this case. We have been forbidden to ask forgiveness for him, according to the saying of Allah Almighty, "And do not pray at all over any of them (when) he is dead, nor rise up over his tomb; surely they disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger, and died  when they were immoral."

            What we accept is that if a non-Muslim who is not a relative has no one among his fellows to take care of, Muslims may ritually bathe him, shroud him, and bury him. As for a non-Muslim relative, a Muslim may bathe, shroud, and bury him, whether there is or there is not someone who may do so. This is for the sake for keeping good relations with relatives and caring about the feelings of relatives, since there is nothing which forbids this, especially if he is a non-militant, peaceful person, It came down to us that 'Ali made ritual bathing of his father and buried him with permission of the Prophet (p.b.u.h). As for a non-relative, it is preferable that a Muslim avoids that, unless there is a lawful good, or there is no one among the non-Muslims to do so, and out of respect to him as a human being. 

            It came down to us that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) shrouded 'Abdul-Lâh Ibn 'Ubayy Ibn Salûl, the chief of disbelievers and hypocrites, in response to a request by his son 'Abdul-Lâh.
            It was said that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) did this to comfort the heart of the son, and as a sign of honoring him, being a companion of the Prophet's. 
            As for following the funeral of a non-Muslim, if he is a relative and there is no one to do this, there is a consensus that a Muslim may do so. 
            The Hanbalites said: A Muslim is to ride his beast of burden and to go ahead of the procession.
            It is my opinion that if this is acceptable in Muslim countries ÜÜÜÜÜÜÜÜÜ assuming we take it for granted ÜÜÜÜÜÜÜ it should not be the case in non-Muslim countries where Muslims are few in number and do not have the upper hand, and harm may be inflicted on them. 
            Ibn-Taymiyah said, "If a Muslim is in a country in war with Muslims, or in a non-Muslim country not in war with Muslims, it is not incumbent on him to explicitly display being different from them since this may lead to harm inflicted on him. It may even be preferable or incumbent for a person to share with them in their practices if there is a religious benefit such as calling them to religion or other good purposes." In case there is no harm resulting from this, it is a must. [ i.e. to show difference].

            Ibn ‘Abbâs said: He is not to blame if he follows them. If there is a religious benefit in following their funerals there is no doubt about this being permissible, whether the deceased is a relative or an alien. A Muslim should then follow the funeral and walk in front of it or behind it, as he deems proper.

            If the deceased is not a relative, and there is no anticipated religious benefit, or avoiding harm inflicted on himself, money, or children, the Hanîfites and the Shâfi'ites hold that the lawfulness of a Muslim following the funeral of a non-Muslim, while the Mâlikites and the Hanbalites hold the reverse position.

            The family of the non-Muslim deceased may be condoled, according to the majority of the jurists. They recommend that a Muslim says in this case "May Allah greatly reward; you may He grant you comfort".

            For a non-Muslim condoling the family of a Muslim, he should say, "May Allah grant you comfort and pardon your deceased."

            And in the case of a non-Muslim condoling another non-Muslim, he should say, "May Allah make it up for you."

             Eighth: Rising for the Funeral of a Non Muslim:

            As for rising for the funeral of a non-Muslim, it came down to us that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) rose for the funeral of a Jew which passed by until it disappeared. The Prophet's Companions also rose.

            The Companions said: "O Messenger of Allah, it is a Jewish funeral." He said: "Death is panic, so if you see a funeral, rise up." In another report he said, "Is it not a soul.?"

            Some predecessors said that people should rise up when a funeral passes by.

            'Al-Qurtubî said, "The meaning of the saying of the Prophet, "Death is panic" is that man dreads it, in reference to its being a grave matter. The intent of the Tradition is that man should not remain careless after he sees the funeral of a dead person since this may lead to taking death with lack of seriousness. Hence, it is the same if the deceased person is a Muslim or non-Muslim.

            In this there is also calling attention to the fact that this situation may stir the beholder to be worried about it and be attentive towards it.

            A group of scholars hold that rising up is preferable but not incumbent.

            The Mâlikites hold that it is permissible, not incumbent.

            There is another point: If a person known to be a non-Muslim is testified by a fair witness that he became a Muslim before his death, but no one else testified the same, should his testimony be taken and thus allow Muslims, to the exclusion of non-Muslims, to inherit him? And should this testimony be accepted and hence pray on the deceased person?

            An-Nawawî said in Al-Mlâm “There is no difference of opinion that his testimony may not lead to allowing only his Muslim relatives to inherit and deprive his non-Muslim relatives.

            As for praying on him, there are two opinions.

            The Shâfi'ite judge Husayn holds that it is not accepted for praying on him.

            It is my opinion that it rightly came down to us that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) used to send his Companions so that they may convey his Message concerning creed and other matters.

            Therefore, it is not right to leave a person who was testified by a fair witness to be a Muslim for non-Muslims to perform on him the so-called "burial ceremony" according their religion.

        The Third Major Issue: Fasting

            This includes some questions:

        The First: About Sighting the Crescent and whether we may Rely on Astronomical Calculations:

            Our jurists have conveyed to us the consensus of our predecessors that we cannot rely on astronomical calculations, and the necessity of relying on sighting the crescent as evidence of the commencement of the new lunar month, in view of the saying of the Prophet (p.b.u.h): "Fast when you sight it [i.e. the crescent] and break the fast when you sight it", and his saying, "we are an illiterate nation that does not write or calculate."

            The jurists council of the Islamic Conference Organization issued the following verdict concerning this matter: "We Should rely on sighting the crescent, and make use of astronomical calculations and observatories, in observance of the Prophet's Tradition, "Fast when you sight it' and of scientific facts."

            Ibnu-sh-shakir, a follower, the Mâlikites Al-Qarâfî and Ibn-Ash-shatt, the Shafi'ite As-Subkî, and a group of contemporary scholars hold that astronomical calculations can be relied on in order to prove the appearance of the crescent. They said, "Calculations are decisive; and basing the verdict on the necessity of sighting the crescent on the fact that we are an illiterate nation that does not write and calculate no longer holds, since the verdict is linked with the justification for it in terms of existence or non-existence.

            What I am inclined to concerning relying on calculations is that they should not be endorsed if they are the only evidence, in view of the fact that texts and scientific facts tell us that there are differences in the appearance of the crescent in different places.

            Ash-shaykh Al-Qaradâwî holds that we should still endorse sighting the crescent, but if calculations negate the possibility of sighting, it is incumbent not to accept the testimony of witnesses at all."

            A question poses itself here: May calculations be relied on if they are made by non-Muslims? If non-Muslims came and testified before Muslims that they sighted the crescent, their testimony is not considered, because they are not among those who abide by the verdict, and hence their testimony about calculations cannot be accepted.

            A Necessary Call for Attention:

            When the people in charge for Muslims in a non-Muslim country determine the authority which verifies sighting the moon and announce that they are going to follow this authority, Muslims living in this country are not allowed to go different ways in the sense that some fast according to the sighting of the moon in this country, while others fast according to another country, and so on, while all are living in the same region where you may find in the same country someone who is fasting according to India, and another who has broken the fasting according to Saudi Arabia, for example.

            In this practice there is an implausible difference that is quite obvious, which is a matter that Allah Almighty hates since it is not lawful or logical that Muslims living in the same area should differ as regards the authority they rely on in fasting and breaking the fast as is practiced today, which is a prohibited practice.

            They have to fast according to their own sighting of the moon, or they should follow the sighting of the nearest Islamic country; otherwise, difference and evil would result.

        The Second Question: About the Fasting of People Living in the Polar Areas:

            While we were discussing the prayer of these people, we stated that the preferable practice for them is to follow the timing of the closest moderate country or follow that of Makkah or Al-Madînah. But how can they fast when the sun does not set there before six months, then disappears for six months, and so on?

            The ruling about their fasting is similar to the one about their praying, in the sense that the estimate their day and night following the nearest country where months are distinct and they know the time for commencing the fast and breaking it, and where different times are distinct, and its nights and days are long enough for the fasting and praying which Allah has ordained, in a way that fulfills the wisdom behind the ordinance without hardship or fatigue. Or they should follow Makkah after they endorse the sighting of the closest country, or of an Islamic country which they trust, and whose fasting is in time. No one ever said that fasting is not incumbent on them.

        The Third Question: The Fasting of Those whose Daylight is Very Long:

            It happens in some seasons that daylight is as long as twenty hours or more in some European countries, for example, Germany and Norway. It may happen that Ramadan comes at this time and Muslims often complain of hardship as a result.

            Are they given a license not to fast? Or should they follow the timing of moderate countries at that time?

            This issue was not a subject for discussion in the past, but has been dealt with by contemporary jurists, through whose legal formulations we can state that we have here two different groups:

            The First Group, represented by the Office of Legal Pronouncements (Dâr Al-Iftâ’) made it permissible for Muslims in Norway, and others under similar circumstances, to fast a number of hours equal to that observed in Makkah and Al-Madînah in view of the length of their daytime and the shortness of their nights. Or they may fast an equal number of hours to the nearest temperate countries. Their fast should begin from dawn, and they break fast at the same time as those neighboring countries as regards the number of hours, paying no attention to sunset.

            Shaykh Shaltût says, “Fasting twenty-three hours out of twenty-four hours is an overburden rejected by the rationale behind the ordinance of The Wisest of The Wise, as well as by the mercy of The Ever-Merciful.”

            The Second Group is represented by the Committee for Legal Pronouncements in Saudi Arabia, and also by Shaykh Hasanayn Makhlûf. Here the Permanent Committee for Legal Pronouncements stated that: “ when daytime and night become distinct anywhere, it is the duty of the legally capable inhabitants to fast in Ramadân, and refrain from anything that breaks the fast from dawn to sunset regardless of the length of day-time.”

            Shaykh Hasanayn Makhlûf said, “Fasting is incumbent on the inhabitants of the countries in which the sun rises and sets daily, even in case the daytime amounts to twenty hours, unless it would lead to harming the fasting person, or causing death or severe illness to him. In this case, he is allowed not to fast. Deciding to fast or not to fast should not be based on thinking or guessing, but should be based on concrete evidence such as symptoms, past experience, or warning by a skillful physician that fasting would lead to perishing, severe illness, aggravating illness, or slowing down recovery. However, this differs from person to person, since every person has his own abilities. Yet, any person who did not fast for these reasons must fast a similar number of days when those reasons are over.”

            The preponderant opinion, in my view, is the other group's opinion, since it conforms to the texts that make fasting indiscriminately incumbent once the month (of Ramadân) has started, and the night is distinguished from daytime, since Allah said, “So, whosoever of you is present at the month, then he should fast it.” (Al-Baqarah: 185)

            This denotes unequivocal incumbency of fasting on any person who witnesses the month while in sound health. Allah also said, “And eat and drink until the white thread becomes evident to you from the black thread at dawn; thereafter, complete the fast to the night.” (Al-Baqarah: 187)

            Night and daytime are distinguishable to those people, and the white thread becomes evident to them from the black one at dawn, that is, the light of the morning from the darkness of the night.

            It is noticeable that these verses are general in denotation, and address every Muslim without distinguishing one country from another, or a long daytime from a short one.

            The Prophet (p.b.u.h) also said, “When night falls from this side, and the day vanishes from this side, and the sun sets, then the fasting person should break his fast.” The daytime and night are distinguishable to those people every twenty-four hours, so, they must abide by this ruling. 

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