Questions and Answers
Question: A person used to
make mistakes in the way he performed his wudhu (minor ablution) or ghusl
(major ablution). After many years, he comes to realize his mistakes. When he
inquires as how to solve his problem, he is told: "Repeat all your prayers and
perform the pilgrimage again." Since saying all the prayers and doing the
pilgrimage again is difficult, is there a solution which would salvage his
prayers and pilgrimage performed with wudhu and ghusl that he thought was
correct? Is there such a solution as a concession to this person so that he
does not become disheartened and rebellions against religious obligations in a
society which encourages such kind of rebellion?
Answer: If he was ignorant out of innocence, and
therefore made mistakes without causing harm (e.g., did not follow the proper
sequence in washing the head and the other parts of the body in ghusl; or did
the wiping of the head or feet [mash] with a new water), then his wudhu and
ghusl will be considered correct; and, consequently, his past prayers and
pilgrimage will also be considered correct.
But if he was ignorant out of negligence in learning the Islamic laws or did mistakes which do invalidate the act in general (e.g., leaving out some parts of the body which must be washed in wudhu or ghusl), there is no way to validate his past prayers and pilgrimage.
However, if there is the fear that he would totally rebel when asked to make up all the past prayers and pilgrimage, then it is not appropriate to ask him to do so. Maybe Allah will improve his situation in future.
Question:Some people pray for years
and even perform pilgrimage, yet they do not pay khums. (1) Is it
obligatory on them to repeat their prayers and pilgrimage?
Based on precaution, it is obligatory on them to repeat prayers and
pilgrimage, if the particular dress that they used in prayers, in tawaf and in
salat of tawaf was from items on which khums had become due.
However, if only the dress they used in salat of tawaf was from items on which khums had become due, and they were ignorant (even out of negligence) of the law or the status of the dress, their pilgrimage is valid, but they have to repeat salat of tawaf if they had no excuse for their ignorance. [In this case,] they have, as a matter of precaution to return to Mecca [to perform the salat of tawaf again], if it does not entail great difficulty; otherwise they can perform that salat wherever they are.
Similarly, they will have to do the pilgrimage again if the animal offered as a sacrifice was bought with money on which khums had become due. However, if they had bought it with money whose unspecific portion was liable for khums -as is the case normally - there is no problem in their pilgrimage, even if they used it from the money on which khums had become liable; of course, they will be responsible for that amount [for payment of khums].
All this is applicable, if they knew about the obligation of khums and the law forbidding them to utilize items on which khums has become wajib or if they were ignorant out of negligence. But, if they were ignorant out of innocence, their prayers and pilgrimage are valid.
Question: If a traveller leaves his
home town immediately after the adhan of noon prayer, i.e. without saying that
prayer, and reaches his destination after sunset, has he committed a sin? And
is it obligatory on him to make up for noon prayer?
Answer: Yes, he has committed a sin by neglecting
the obligatory prayer in its appropriate time, and he has to make it
Question: Is the ink that had dried [on
our hands, for example] a barrier to perform wudhu or ghusl?
Answer: If it does not form a mass that would
prevent water from reaching the skin, the wudhu and ghusl is valid. However,
if one has doubt whether it forms a mass or not, it must be
Question: Is it permissible for a Muslim
to involve in pleasure by continuing to watch an entertaining movie even,
though salat time is due, and then he goes to say his prayers just before it
becomes overdue (qadha)?
is not appropriate for a Muslim to delay the saying of salat from its
preferred time (i.e., at the beginning of its time span) except for an excuse;
what has been mentioned in the question is not an acceptable
Question: Is cream a barrier to water
reaching the skin, and if so should it be removed prior to wudhu and
Answer: Apparently the effect
left on the skin after it is applied is nothing but just moisture, and so it
does not constitute a barrier to water reaching the skin.
Question:Some women let their nails
grow longer than necessary for beauty. Sometimes a nail breaks up, requiring a
cover that must be placed over the broken nail. Knowing that such a cover
prevents water from reaching the nail in wudhu and ghusl, is it permissible to
use it? How should wudhu and ghusl be performed with that cover?
Answer: Wudhu and ghusl with such a cover over the
nail is not valid; therefore, it is necessary to remove it for ablutions. And
the purpose mentioned above for the cover is not justifiable.
Question: When should one say his salat
full (tamam) and when should one say it qasr (two rakat instead of four)? Is
the general perception about a person being resident of a city sufficient for
him to say his salat fully [in that city]?
Answer: The conditions for qasr in travelling have
been mentioned in the Manual of Islamic Laws. When a person considers residing
in a city for a long time, and in the general perception it is considered as
such, he is not considered as a traveller (e.g., if he intends to reside in
that city for year and a half, it will be considered as his home-town after
one month). But if he intends to stay in that city for a short while only and
is considered, in the general sense, as a visitor, he should pray
Question:How can we know the time of
mid-night? Do 00.00 hours the point of mid-night as it is commonly held by
Answer: Midnight is
halfway between sunset and true dawn. So if the sun sets at 7 p.m. and the
true dawn begins at 4 a.m., then midnight will be at 11:30 p.m. The criteria
for determining midnight are the timings of sunset and true dawn, which differ
according to place and season.
Question:A person who believes that he
will not be able to wake up for dawn prayer if he goes to sleep, is it
obligatory on him to stay awake till the time of prayer? Is he committing a
sin if he sleeps and does not wake up for dawn prayer?
It is possible for him to ask someone to wake him up for dawn prayer or use an
alarm clock, etc, for this purpose. If these means of waking up are not
possible, then he is not committing a sin by going to sleep unless it is
considered, as is widely believed, an insult to, and neglect of, the
Question:How can we say our obligatory
prayers in an aircraft, especially if we do not know the direction of the
qiblah taking into consideration the instability of the floor [because the
plane is in motion]?
Answer: As for
the qiblah, it is possible to identify its direction by asking the captain or
the airhostesses because their answers usually carry validity and are a source
of assurance. One should therefore act accordingly.
As for the stability of the floor where salat is to be performed, that condition will be waived when it is not possible to achieve it. However, other conditions of prayers should, wherever possible, be observed. Under no circumstance should the prayer be delayed beyond its appropriate time span.
Question: How should we say our salat
in trains and cars? Is it necessary to do prostration (sajda) on something or
is it not necessary, in that would bending of the neck be
Answer: It is obligatory
to say salat in the usual way where possible. So, one should face the qiblah
in all stages of the salat; if not, at least while saying the opening takbir.
Otherwise the condition of facing the qiblah will be dropped. Similarly, if it
is possible to do the bowing (ruku') and prostration (sajdah) normally (e.g.,
in the aisle of the bus or the train), those parts of salat should be done
normally. But if it is not possible, then one should try to bow normally for
ruku' and sajdah [for example, from a sitting position on the seat or the
berth of the train].
For sajdah, one has to put the forehead on an item on which sajdah is valid, even if by lifting that item to the forehead. If bowing normally is not possible, one should just indicate by bending the neck [halfway for ruku and fully for sajdah].
Question: If the time for salat has
come while the student is still on his way to the university. When he reaches
the university, he realizes that the time of salat has ended. In this case, is
it permissible for him to say salat in the car although there are places in
which he could pray, yet by going to those places he may risk becoming late
[for his university]?
delay in getting to the work place [or university] is not a good enough reason
for praying in the car. This is because it involves non fulfillment of some of
its conditions while it is possible to get down and pray normally on the earth
with all the conditions fulfilled. However, if the delay is going to cause him
considerable harm or put him in an untenable situation, it is permissible for
him to pray in the car, (without being able to fulfill some of prayer's
Question: It happens that the time of
salat sets in while the Muslim worker is at his work-place, - noting that
finding work is not easy - thus, he finds it difficult to leave the work for
salat. Sometimes he ends up losing his job because of his insistence on saying
salat. Is he allowed to say his prayers as qadha? Or must he say them [on
time], even if it leads to him losing his job?
Answer: If the need to work at that place reaches
the level of necessity, then he should pray in time in whatever way possible:
even just by indicating [by lowering the neck halfway for ruku' and fully for
sajda]. However, such a situation would arise only exceptionally. So he should
fear Almighty Allah and not accept a job which leads to neglecting the pillar
of faith; thus, he should remember the words of the Almighty: "And whosoever
fears Allah, He will make a way out for him [from difficulties] and provide
for him from where he does not expect." (65:2)
Question: Many big companies and business in the West employ large numbers of employees who work in offices about whose ownership they have no idea. So what is the ruling on:
Praying in those offices and using the water for
If praying there is problematic, what would become of past
prayers said in those places?
Answer: There is no problem in praying in those places nor in using the water for wudhu as long as it is not known to have been usurped.
If it becomes clear after saying the salat that the property
was usurped, the past prayers are valid.
Question: If I pray with a leather belt
or a wallet made from leather of a mayta and realize it during the salat or
after finishing it but before the end of its time span or after the ending of
its time span-what would become of that prayer?
Answer: The prayer with a wallet made from leather of
a mayta is valid just as it is acceptable to pray with a belt made from such a
leather, provided that the probability of it being from zabiha is not a very
low probability that would be ignored by sensible people.
In the second case [of very low probability], if he was ignorant [of this rule] and realized during salat, he should take it off immediately and his salat would be valid. The same rule would apply if he forgot [that he had the wallet or the belt on him] and remembered during salat, provided that his forgetfulness was not a result of carelessness and indifference. In other cases, he will have to repeat salat in time or qadha as a matter of obligatory precaution.
Question: One of the famous trousers
these days is the one known as jeans. It is made in non-Muslim countries. It
has a piece of leather used as a label. It is not known whether the leather is
that of an animal slaughtered Islamically or non-Islamically-is it permissible
to say salat with these trousers?
Yes, it is permissible.
Question: Is salat valid if the person
uses cologne? Is cologne ritually pure?
Answer: Yes, it is pure.
Question: Is it alright to do sajdah on
concrete or on mosaic?
Answer: Yes, it is alright.
Question: Some prayer-mats are made of
synthetic material; is it permissible to do sajdah on them?
Answer: Sajdah on such items is not good enough.
Question: Is it permissible to do
sajdah on writing paper and on paper tissues, especially, if is not known
whether or not the raw material they are made of was from items on which
sajdah is valid?
Answer: It is not
permissible to do sajdah on paper tissues, only after ascertaining that they
have been made from items on which sajdah is allowed; it is permissible to do
sajdah on paper if it is made from material on which sajdah is allowed or from
cotton or flax.
Question:A reciter of the Holy Qur'an
recites a verse of wajib sajdah, on hearing it from a cassette player, is it
obligatory on us to do sajdah in this case?
Answer: It is not obligatory.
1. Translator's Note: Khums is an annual Islamic tax applied, among other things, on the savings. See the Manual of Islamic Laws or the present translator's, Khums: An Islamic Tax for details.