Sunday, December 27, 2015

Music To My Ears

mu·sic (noun) - a pattern of vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) which has or has not in it the element of singing (be it with or without lyrics).

If one takes music to mean the melodious sound of the call to prayer, the beautiful sound of the recitation of the Holy Quran or even the sound of the duff (tambourine) to celebrate eid or weddings (inshad and sama'), then music per say is not forbidden in Islam. What is indeed forbidden in Islam is the music from string and wind instruments. The evidence against such musical instruments is irrefutable.

Narrated By Abu 'Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash'ari: That he heard the Prophet saying, "From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful.
Sahih Bukhari Volume 007, Book 069, Hadith Number 494B.

Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an:

And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (, singing, etc.) to mislead from the Path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-fire). (31:6)

"And befool them gradually those whom you can among them with your voice (i.e. songs, music, and any other call for Allâh's disobedience)... (17:64)

Do you then wonder at this recitation (the Qur'an)? And you laugh at it and weep not, Wasting your (precious) lifetime in pastime and amusements (singing etc.). So fall you down in prostration to Allah, and worship Him (Alone). (53:59-62)

The Scholarly opinion:

There is total unanimity among all scholars that if the music encourages bad behavior, extra-marital affairs, lewd behavior, skimpy clothing, drinking, or making fun of religion or people who are upright, it is totally prohibited. The same can be said for lyrics that lead to shirk, promote fahisha (indecency), showcase falsehood, include nonsense such as sexual connotation or swearing and that which encourages kufr or disobedience.

Only an exceedingly small minority believe it to be permissible. However, understand the two different rulings: they differ from haram to mubah (permissible). In this case, the safer thing to do is avoid the difference of opinion and not fall into music.

Who-ever forsakes those doubtful things lest he may commit a sin, will definitely avoid what is clearly illegal; and who-ever indulges in these (suspicious) doubtful things bravely, is likely to commit what is clearly illegal. 
Sahih Bukhari Volume 003, Book 034, Hadith Number 267

Listening vs. Hearing

There is a difference between listening and hearing. Shaykh al-Islam (Ibn Taymiyah) said: Concerning (music) which a person does not intend to listen to, there is no prohibition or blame, according to scholarly consensus. Hence blame or praise is connected to listening, not to hearing. The one who listens to the Qur'an will be rewarded for it, whereas the one who hears it without intending or wanting to will not be rewarded for that, because actions are judged by intentions.

The early scholars such as Imam Ahmad, may Allah have mercy on him, stated that musical instruments such as the 'ood (lute), tanboor (a long-necked stringed instrument), reed flute, rabaab (stringed instrument resembling a fiddle) and cymbal, were haram; no doubt modern instruments such as the violin, qaanoon (stringed musical instrument resembling a zither), organ, piano, guitar, etc., are also included in the Prophet’s prohibition on musical instruments, because their effect and impact is greater than that of the ancient instruments mentioned in some ahaadeeth. 


Ibn Masood, the great companion, said: "Never will love of Qur'an and love of music coexist in the same heart."

The view that music (in it's most broadest sense) is permissible has no firm basis. The one who says that singing and musical instruments are permitted is simply supporting the whims and desires of people nowadays. For the ones who seek fatawas as a way to achieve their whims and desires, do not say, So-and-so said, for you cannot learn the truth only from men. Strive to learn your Islam from the Book of your Lord and the Sunnah of your Prophet.

Allah says in the Qu'ran:

And some among them are illiterate who have no knowledge of the Book, but have some false desires and do nothing but conjecture. (2:78)

The most important point to take away from this article, is that if you see someone listening to musical matter that is prohibited, do not place judgment on them nor force your opinion on others regarding this category. Instead make dua to Allah, to heal the hearts of the believers and dispel the whispers in the hearts of those who are stricken with insinuating whispers.

Ma’azif is the plural of mi’zafah, and refers to musical instruments (Fath al-Bari, 10/55)
Musical amusement [lahw]
Music referred to as malahi is abhorred and prohibited. This kind of music is simply for entertainment for dance, frivolous enjoyment and the like.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

How to develop Khushoo in Salah

Khushoo can be translated as humility and devotion in prayer.  It is also often translated as sincerity and concentration during Salah. It means wholeheartedly fighting off any distractions or insinuating thoughts (waswaas) that enters our minds when we should be entirely focused on worshiping Allah.

Uthman bin 'Affan reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (SAW) saying, “When the time for a prescribed Salat is due and a Muslim performs its Wudu' and its acts of bowing and prostration properly with khushoo, this Salat will be an expiation for his past sins, so long as he does not commit major sins, and this applies for ever.”  Reported by Muslim, Riyad as-Salihin, Book 9, Hadith 1046

When Iblis, the enemy of Allah, vowed to mislead and tempt the sons of Adam (peace be upon him) he said, “Then I will come upon them from their front side and from their behind, and from their right and from their left. You will not find most of them grateful.(7:17)

The Shaytan is our enemy, and one of the aspects of his enmity is his whispering insinuating thoughts (waswaas) to the worshiper at prayer so as to take away his khushoo, confuse him in his prayer, cause him to lose the reward for it and deprive him of the joy of worship.

Allah say’s in the Quran: “Success is really attained by the believers. Who concentrate their attention in humbleness when offering Salah (prayers)” (23:1-2)

The reward recorded is in proportion to the degree of khushoo. Narrated by Ammar b. Yasir said: I heard the apostle of Allah (SAW) say: “A man returns after saying his prayer while a tenth part of his prayer, or a ninth part, or an eight part, or a seventh part, or a sixth part, or a fifth part, or a third part, or half of it, is recorded for him.” Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 2, Hadith 789

Ibnul Quyyim (Allah have mercy upon him) who is known to be the ‘spiritual’ heart doctor said, explaining the difference between the Khushoo of true faith and the Khushoo of hypocrisy, “The Khushoo’ of true faith is when the heart feels aware and humble before the greatness and glory of Allah, and is filled with awe, fear and shyness, so that the heart is utterly humbled before Allah and broken, as it were, with fear, shyness, love and the recognition of the blessings of Allah and its own sins. So no doubt the Khushoo of the heart is followed by the Khushoo of the body. As for the Khushoo of hypocrisy, it is something that is put on with a great show, but there is no Khushoo in the heart.”

Allah says in the Quran, “And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashi'un” (2:45)

Here are a few tips to gain Khushoo:

Prepare Yourself
  • Repeat the words of the Muaddhin during the Adhan
  • Say the dua after the Adhan
  • Perform proper Wudu with care
  • Wear nice and clean clothes, you are presenting yourself in front of your Creator
  • Cover your awrah properly
  • Go early if you can
  • If you need to answer the call of nature, get that done
  • If you are hungry and food is ready, eat first and do not rush
  • If you are extremely tired, get some rest first
  • Move calmly to the place of prayer
  • Ensure that the place of prayer is clean and tidy
  • Use a simple prayer mat without prints or designs
  • Pray (if possible) with a sutrah in front of you
  • Avoid places where there is a lot of noise or distractions

During your Salah
  • Recite in proper order in a distinct and measured tone - And recite the Qur’an clearly with tartil (73:4). Narrated Al-Bara' ibn Azib: The Prophet said: Beautify the Qur'an with your voices. Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 8, Hadith 1463
  • Pause at the end of each ayah
  • Reflect upon the meanings of the words which are related to the prayer
  • Keep your gaze at the place of prostration
  • Do not steal from your Salah, move at a measured pace during prayer
  • Do not yawn
  • Remember death and what awaits us after death
  • Pray with Ihsaan, you are speaking to your Lord
  • Pray As If It's Your Last Prayer

Additional Tips
  • Learn to recite with proper tajweed
  • Try to learn and recite various surahs, adhkaar and duas recited in prayer
  • Do not being excessively occupied with the affairs of the world
  • Try not to be distracted, by sights, sounds or thoughts and minimize any likelihood of disturbance
  • Do not recite in a way that you disturb others in Salah
  • Be humble at the Masjid, you are there to pray Salah, not pick a fight
  • Be patient with other
  • If you are forgetful at anytime during your Salah, do Sajda al-sahw (two prostrations of forgetfulness)

The one who prays with khushoo will feel lighter at the end of his prayer, as if his burdens have been lifted and he is refreshed.

Narrated Jubair bin Nufair:  .. The first knowledge to be removed from the people will be Khushoo
Jami at-Tirmidhi, Vol. 5, Book 39, Hadith 2653

It was narrated from Anas that: The Prophet (SAW) used to say in his supplication: “Allahumma inni a'udhu bika min 'ilmin la yanfa'u, wa qalbin la yakhsha'u, wa du'a'in la yasma'u, wa nafsin la tashba'u. 

(O Allah, I seek refuge with You from knowledge that is of no benefit, a heart that has no khushoo, a supplication that is not heard and a soul that is not satisfied.)”

Then he would say: 'Allahumma inni a'udhu bika min ha'ula'il-arba' (O Allah, I seek refuge with You from these four.)'" Sunan an-Nasa'i, Vol. 6, Book 50, Hadith 5472

Saturday, September 19, 2015



Ibn Qudaamah said in al-Mughni (11/95): “Indeed The Prophet (SAW) performed the sacrifice as did the rightly guided Khulafa, after the Prophet (SAW). And if they knew that giving sadaqa is better they would have turned to it and enacted it. However giving the sadaqa instead of the Sacrifice leads to abandoning a sunnah which the Prophet (SAW) established.”

This article is specific to Udhiya in relation to Eid Al-Adha during the month of Dhu’l-Hijjah with some supported text. The topic of offering an animal sacrifice for voluntary sadaqah is not within the scope of this article.

Quick Checklist

  • It is Wajib (obligatory) according to Imam Abu Hanifa and sunnah mu'akkadah (compulsory Sunnah) according to the majority of jurists for one who can afford it
  • There is a prescribed time for it (10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah is preferred)
  • Certain animals have been prescribed for it
  • Slaughtering the animal with one's own hands is better
  • It is essential to recite: Bismillah, Allahu Akbar
  • Eating from one's sacrifice is Mustahabb (liked, preferable)
  • Dividing the meat into three is Mustahabb (liked, preferable)
  • It’s share can be given as charity to needy Muslims and Non-Muslims
  • Selling any part of the sacrificed animal is prohibited
  • Anyone who wants to make a sacrifice should not cut from his hair and his nails once the Hilaal (new moon) of Dhul-Hijjah is sighted


Udhiya is an Arabic term which means sacrificing an animal, and Qurbani is an Urdu and Persian word derived from the Arabic word Qurban which literally means an act performed to seek Allah’s pleasure. It is technically used for the sacrifice of an animal slaughtered for the sake of Allah.

It reminds us the exemplary obedience of our Prophet Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam), to His Lord and his great sacrifices to Him. Udhiya encompasses much goodness and blessings and thus acquires a great deal of importance in the lives of Muslims.

“And for every nation We have appointed religious ceremonies, that they may mention the Name of Allah over the beast of cattle that He has given them for food. And your God is One God, so you must submit to Him Alone (in Islam)…” (22:34)

Aisha, Mother of the Believers, reported the Prophet (SAW) as having said, “No deed is more beloved to Almighty Allah on the Day of Eid Al-Adha than offering sacrifices (for His sake). The animals sacrificed will come on the Day of Judgment with their horns, hair and hoofs [to testify to the sincerity of the people who have offered them]. The blood of these animals takes its place in Almighty Allah's sight before it is dropped on the ground. So, be pleased on offering them.” Jami at-Tirmidhi Vol. 3, Book 17, Hadith 1493

The Ruling: Wajib vs. Sunnah

Ibn `Abbas reported that the Prophet (SAW) said, “There are three things that are obligatory for me but voluntary for you. These are the witr prayer, sacrificing an animal and the prayer of late morning.”  Imam Ahmed’s Musnad, Vol 1, Hadith 231

It is Wajib (obligatory) according to Imam Abu Hanifa. Those who favor this opinion take the following as evidence: Allah says: “Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only).” (108:2). Also “Whoever can afford to offer a sacrifice but does not do so, let him not approach our place or prayer.” Musnad Ahmad and Ibn Majah

It is sunnah mu'akkadah (compulsory Sunnah) according to the majority of jurists for one who can afford it. It should be mentioned here that majority of the scholars uphold this view, and they state it Makrooh (disliked) to neglect this act of worship, if one has the capability to perform a sacrifice. This opinion is based on the following hadith narrated By Jabir ibn Abdullah: I witnessed sacrificing along with the Apostle of Allah (SAW) at the place of prayer. When he finished his sermon, he descended from his pulpit, and a ram was brought to him. The Apostle of Allah (SAW) slaughtered it with his hand, and said: In the name of Allah, Allah, is Most Great. This is from me and from those who did not sacrifice from my community”. Abu Dawud Book 009, Hadith Number 2804, and that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Whoever among you wants to offer a sacrifice, let him not take anything from his hair or nails.” Sahih Muslim Book 022, Hadith Number 4869-4873

Type of Animal

The animals eligible for Udhiya are ram, goats, sheep, cattle (cow, ox and buffalo) and camels, male or female. No other type of animal is allowed for Udhiya.

The animal to be sacrificed should have reached the required age, which is 6 months (or more) for sheep, 2 years (or more) for cattle, and 5 years for camels. It is desirable that the animals offered for sacrifice be fat (that is, have more meat), big, and free of the faults that may affect the quantity and quality of their meat. That is why it is not sufficient to offer an animal that is one-eyed or has lost a great part of its horn.

Narrated By Al-Bara' ibn Azib: Ubayd ibn Firuz said: I asked al-Bara' ibn Azib: What should be avoided in sacrificial animals? He said: The Apostle of Allah (pbuh) stood among us, and my fingers are smaller than his fingers, and my fingertips are smaller than his fingertips. He said (pointing with his fingers): Four (types of animals) should be avoided in sacrifice: A One-eyed animal which has obviously lost the sight of one eye, a sick animal which is obviously sick, a lame animal which obviously limps and an animal with a broken leg with no marrow. I also detest an animal which has defective teeth. He said: Leave what you detest, but do not make it illegal for anyone. Abu Dawud Book 009, Hadith Number 2796

It was narrated from Qatadah that he said that he heard Juray bin Kulaib narrate that he heard ‘Ali narrate that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) forbade sacrificing animals with broken horns and ears. Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 4, Book 26, Hadith 3145

When to perform Udhiya at Eid Al-Adha

Udhiya is only valid during the three days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, namely the 10th, 11th and 12th, and cannot be performed in any other day of the year. Although Udhiya is permissible on each of the above three days, the first day (i.e. the 10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah) is the most preferable and desired day.
Narrated By Al-Bara : The Prophet said (on the day of Eid-ul-Adha), “The first thing we will do on this day of ours, is to offer the ('Id) prayer and then return to slaughter the sacrifice. Whoever does so, he acted according to our Sunna (tradition), and whoever slaughtered (the sacrifice) before the prayer, what he offered was just meat he presented to his family, and that will not be considered as Nusak (sacrifice).” (On hearing that) Abu Burda bin Niyar got up, for he had slaughtered the sacrifice before the prayer, and said, “I have got a six month old ram.” The Prophet said, “Slaughter it (as a sacrifice) but it will not be sufficient for any-one else” (as a sacrifice after you). Al-Bara' added: The Prophet said, “Whoever slaughtered (the sacrifice) after the prayer, he slaughtered it at the right time and followed the tradition of the Muslims.” Sahih Bukhari Volume 007, Book 068, Hadith Number 453

How Many?

It is from the virtues of Udhiya that one animal is sufficient for one man and his family; he is not required to make separate sacrifices on behalf of every member (living or dead). If a man sacrifices a single sheep or goat on behalf of himself and his family, that will suffice for everyone he intended of his family, whether living or deceased. 

Narrated Abu Ayyub: “At the time of Allah's Messenger (SAW), a man would sacrifice a sheep on behalf of himself and the members of his household, and they would eat from it and give some to others.” Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 4, Book 26, Hadith 3147

Narrated 'Ata bin Yasar: “I asked Abu Abyub [Al-Ansari] how the slaughtering was done during the time of the Messenger of Allah. He said: 'A man would sacrifice a sheep for himself and the people in his household. They would eat from it and feed others, until the people (later) would boast about it and it became as you see now.” Jami at-Tirmidhi Vol. 1, Book 17, Hadith 1505

One may also offer a whole camel or cow as sacrifice on behalf of one, and seven people can share in offering one cow or camel, whether they belong to the same family or not.
With regards to sharing a sacrifice, then a camel or a cow can be shared by seven people, this is based on the narration of Jabir b. 'Abdullah reported: In the year of Hudaibiya (6H), we, along with Allah's Messenger (SAW), sacrificed a camel for seven persons and a cow for seven persons. Sahih Muslim Book 007, Hadith Number 3024

If a sheep, a goat or a ram is offered for Udhiya, then sharing is not allowed, since no evidence is found in the Sunnah for it.

The Principles of Udhiya

A person should slaughter his own animal if he is able to slaughter properly, otherwise he should entrust it to someone to slaughter on his behalf. However it is recommended that he at least be present at the time of slaughter should he be unable to do the actual slaughter.

It is reported that the Prophet (SAW) said to his daughter Fatimah, “Be present when your Eid sacrifice is slaughtered. Allah forgives you as the first drop of its blood comes out.” Narrated by al-Bayhaqi

The niyyah for Ushiya should be made. It is sufficient to make niyyah with the heart and to be aware of the fact that you are doing the worship of Allah. Intention for sacrifice may be made at the time of purchasing of the animal. However it is recommended to renew the intention at the time of sacrifice. The following intention should be made: O Allah, I intend to sacrifice this animal for your sake or “Allaahumma haatha 'annee wa 'an ahli baytee” meaning “O Allah! This is on my behalf and on behalf of my family members.”

The animal has to be placed down very gently on its left side, with the throat facing Qiblah. It is permissible to slaughter in any direction but it is a sunnah to slaughter facing the animal towards the Qiblah.

It is essential to recite: Bismillah, Allahu Akbar (In the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest). It is meritorious to sacrifice the animal with one's own hand and so is meritorious the recitation of Bismillah (in the name of Allah) and Takbir (Allah o-Akbar)

Aisha reported that Allah's Messenger (SAW) commanded that a ram with black legs, black belly and black (circles) round the eyes should be brought to him, so that he should sacrifice it. He said to Aisha: Give me the large knife, and then said: Sharpen it on a stone. She did that. He then took it (the knife) and then the ram; he placed it on the ground and then sacrificed it, saying: Bismillah, Allah-humma Taqabbal min Muhammadin wa Al-i-Muhammadin, wa min Ummati Muhammadin (In the name of Allah, “O Allah, accept [this sacrifice] on behalf of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad and the Umma of Muhammad”). Sahih Muslim Book 022, Hadith Number 4845

The throat of the animal should be cut in a manner to ensure that the gullet, the wind pipe and the two external jugular/ arterial veins are swiftly and clearly severed. If only two of the passages and veins are cut, the slaughter would be deemed incorrect. If any three of the four are severed, the slaughter will be valid. The spinal cord of the animal must NOT be severed at the time of slaughter.

Kindness to the animal is the essence of the slaughtering process and hence one should abstain from posing for pictures or recite lengthy incantations at the time of slaughter. The blood of the animal should be allowed to drain until down to a trickle. Skinning of the animal as well as severing of the spinal cord is only permitted once the animal is motionless.

The above laws are only applicable at the time of sacrifice for the period 10th Dhul Hijjah to 12th Dhul Hijjah and when sacrificing an animal for a new born child (aqeeqah). For purposes of meat consumption at any other time some of these laws will apply and not all.

What to do with the meat (Dividing, Consuming & Distributing)

It is recommended to keep one-third for oneself and the family, gift one-third to friends, relatives and neighbors and give one-third as charity to the poor and needy and who come to ask for meat. Exact distribution is not necessary. Meat as charity can be given to Muslims or non-Muslims. There is no condition as to what type of needy person one must give it to. Allah says, “So feed the one who asks out of need, and the one who needs but does not ask” (22:36).

Dividing the meat into three is Mustahabb (liked, preferable). A person offering a sacrifice may consume, without any restrictions, any amount of meat he may desire. He may likewise give away or offer in charity any amount he may wish. Some scholars said that one may eat half and give away the other half in charity, while others said that the meat be divided into three parts. Of these one may keep a part, distribute a part, and give in charity the third part. Fiqh-us-Sunnah Fiqh 5.115 Amount of Meat to be Eaten of the Sacrifice

Consumption of this meat is considered a great favour of Allah as previous nations of the past were not able to consume their sacrificial animals. Allah Almighty says, Eat thereof and feed the beggar and the suppliant.” (22:28).

Eating from one's sacrifice is Mustahabb (liked, preferable). It is also Mustahabb for him, who performs a Udhiya, not to eat before he offers his sacrifice; he should break his fast with the meat of his sacrifice the prayer. Narrated Sulaiman bin Buraidah: From his father that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “I used to prohibit you from (eating) the meat of Sacrifice beyond three days so that those who have the ability would give to those who do not have it. So (now) eat as you like, feed others, and save from it.” Jami at-Tirmidhi Vol. 1, Book 17, Hadith 1510

Udhiya for the deceased

In regards to performing Udhiya for a deceased person, there is no authentic Sunnah where the Prophet (SAW) performed Udhiya for a deceased person.

The one exception is offering the sacrifice on behalf of the dead in fulfillment of their last wishes (wasaaya). This is obligatory except in the case of one who is unable to do it. The basis for this is the verse in which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Then whoever changes the bequest after hearing it, the sin shall be on those who make the change. Truly, Allaah is All-Hearer, All-Knower”. (2:181)

The distribution for this meat has two major opinions and they are:

The Shaafi’i Fiqh says:

As regards the obligation of donating in charity the sacrifice offered on behalf of a dead person, then the jurists  stated that whoever offers a sacrifice on behalf of the dead from his money [dead’s money] or if you are sacrificing on your own (i.e without his/her money), then it is not permissible for him to eat from it. Rather, he should donate all of it because the sacrifice is done on behalf of the dead and it is only with his permission that one can eat from it, and getting his permission now is impossible because he has already died. Therefore, it is an obligation to donate all of it in charity on his behalf, whether the sacrifice is done with a cow, sheep or goat, or camel, and this is the view of the Shaafi’i School of jurisprudence.

The Hanbali Fiqh says:

The sacrifice offered on behalf of the dead may be treated like a sacrifice offered by a live person, one can donate from it in charity, eat from it and gift from it.

It is permissible to act according to any of the above two opinions, Allah willing, but the Shaafi’i opinion is better for it will benefit the deceased more.


It should be mentioned here that the scholars agree that sacrificing an animal and giving its meat in charity is better than giving its value in charity. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) chose to perform sacrifice and he did not do anything but that which is best and most befitting. This is the opinion of Abu Hanifa, al-Shaafi'i and Ahmad. This refutes the saying of those who say that today people need money more than they need food, therefore it is better to give the money rather than sacrifice an animal.

If you live in a place where the law does not allow the practice of Udhiya or you are very far from resources so much that it creates hardship on you then it is recommended you read this article for information only and consult a scholar with your specific situation to understand the options available to you.  May Allah accept from us all. Ameen.