Sunday, 14 November 2010

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Saturday, 13 November 2010

Qurbani, Qurbani, Qurbani...

Qurbani, Qurbani, Qurbani...

Now that this is the "Qurbani" season, I wanted to look into the Fiqh of Qurbani. Having always had my parents, notably Padre doing this for me, over the last few years I have done this for the family, though was rather following what my Padre did. Now my curiousty now to find out what the Fiqh ruling is on Qurbani, I have found this excellent thorough answer on Sunni Path.

The Fiqh of the Qurbani of Eid-ul-AdhaAnswered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool

Question:salams. I pray this finds u in the best of afiya and imaan.
Could you please explain the fiqh of the qurbani given at the end of Hajj, in terms of (a) Who is it wajib upon? (b) Does the husband have to pay for his wife's qurbani, or is she legally responsible to pay for herself? (c) How does one make-up missed qurbani's? (d) Is is wajib for parents to pay for their children, and is this payed individually or can it be included with the parent's niya?

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Kind.

The udhhiya is the sacrifice which is made during the Days of Sacrifice - from the the first day of Eid al-Adhha, i.e. 10th Day of Dhul Hijjah, until the last day - the end (i.e. sunset) of the 12th of Dhul Hijjah. The best is to do the sacrifice on the first day.

It is obligatory on every sane, mature (one who has reached puberty) Muslim who is not a traveler, who is rich (meaning who owns wealth which is beyond one's need equal to (or more than) nisab = 72 grams of gold or 100 grams of silver), and who has come upon the Day of Sacrifice of Eid.

Therefore, a wife who fulfills the latter conditions is obliged to pay for herself, though children who have not reached puberty are not. If one fulfills the above, it is obligatory on him to sacrifice one goat or sheep, or a seventh of a camel or cow. (In other words, one goat or sheep fulfills one person's obligation, and one camel or cow fulfills seven peoples' obligation.)

Conditions of the validity of the sacrifice

1-If the animal is a camel - it is at least 5 years old; if a cow, it is at least 2 years old, if a sheep or goat, it is at least 1 year old.
2-It does not have any defects e.g. blindness in one or both eyes, or a limp which prevents it from walking to the place of sacrificing, or that it is very skinny, or it has an ear (or most of the ear) cut off, or its tail is cut off, or other deficiencies, worst than those mentioned.
3-That the sacrifice be made after the 'Eid prayer, such that if it is done before, it is considered merely a slaughter, and the person stills owes a sacrifice.

From the sunnah acts of sacrifice:
-To eat from the meat of the animal he has sacrificed. It is also sunnah for him to give some of it as charity (to the poor), and to store some, and to give some as a gift to the wealthy.

-To not cut the animal's hair or nails when the month of Dhul Hijjah comes.
It is sunnah to do the slaughter by oneself, if capable, and to say and do what the Prophet, the greatest of peace and blessings of Allah upon him, did.
Abu Dawud narrated in his Sunan: "The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah upon him, sacrificed on the day of sacrifice...When he turned the faces (of the animals for sacrifice), he said: [Arabic text:]

إني وجهت وجهي للذي فطر السماوات والأرض على ملة إبراهيم حنيفا وما أنا من المشركين إن صلاتي ونسكي ومحياي ومماتي لله رب العالمين لا شريك له وبذلك أمرت وأنا من المسلمين اللهم منك ولك عن محمد وأمته باسم الله والله أكبر ثم ذبح
'I turn my face to the Creator of the of the heavens and the earth, on the religion of Ibrahim, worshipping only Allah, 'and he [Ibrahim] was not of the idolators'. Indeed my prayer, my rituals, my life and my death are for Allah, the Lord of Worlds, He has no partner, and with this I was commanded and I am from the Muslims. O Allah! [It is] from You and to You, on [behalf of] Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allah upon him] and his ummah. In the Name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest.'
Then he slaughtered."

-If one is incapable of slaughtering by oneself, he gives the animal to someone who is and he witnesses the slaughter.
-It is preferable (mustahab) for the one who is sacrificing to give the skin of the animal in charity. He may use it for himself, but he may not sell it or use it to pay the slaughterer with it.
-It is not valid to give the price of the sacrificial animal instead of actually slaughtering it. This is because here the sacrifice in itself is the objective, contrary to zakah - where money may be given instead of the actual food - because the aim is to aid the poor.
-It is okay to delay slaughtering the animal to the third day if there is an excuse such as rain, after this it is not allowed.
[References from Al-Hadiyyah al-'Alaiyyah of Imam 'Ala al-Din son of Ibn 'Abideen and from Arkan al-Islam of Dr.Wahbi Sulayman Ghawiji, a contemporary Hanafi scholar.]

If one did not make the sacrifice in previous years in which it was obligatory on him, he must give the price (rather than slaughtering an
animal) of a sacrificial animal in charity, as stated in the Hashiyah of Ibn Abdieen. See Mufti Muhammad Kawthari's response on this topic (under Giving Qurbani - for more detail.

Back Again for a Heart 2 Heart

Salaam Bloggers, InshaAllah you are all well. I have taken a little sbatical from the Blogg. Now that I am back I am rearing to go with some articles that have tickled by taste buds over the last few months.

First of these is, an article by Shaykh Muhammad Maulud on by Shaykh Muhammad Maulud.

Alchemy of the Heart: Shaykh Muhammad Maulud
Translated into English by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

We gratefully acknowledge and thank the Zaytuna Institute
for giving us the permission to reproduce this.

This is an edited transcription of excerpts from the audio tapes of the course Shaykh Hamza gave based on his translation of Shaykh Muhammad Maulud's Matharatul Qulub: The Alchemy of the Heart. This class took place in Hayward, California in 1999.
Part 1: Shaykh Hamza's Preview to the Course
The Heart
Allah subhanahu wa t'ala says, "On that day nothing will benefit the human being, neither wealth nor children, only the one who brings Allah a sound heart." A sound heart is one that is free of defects and spiritual blemishes. Though the spiritual heart is centred in the physical heart, the heart being referred to here is the spiritual heart, not the physical heart. In ancient Chinese medicine, the heart houses what is known as "chen" which is "a spirit." The Chinese character for "thinking," "thought," "love," "virtue," and "intending to listen" all contain the ideogram for the heart. In fact, in every culture in the world, people use metaphors that deal with the heart; in English, we call people who are cruel, "hard-hearted people." There is also the idea of having "a cold heart" and "a warm heart." People who do not hide their emotions well "wear their hearts on their sleeves." When deeply affected, we say, "he affected me in my heart" or "in my core." In fact, the English word "core" means "inner most," and in Arabic, the equivalent "lub" comes from the Latin word, meaning "heart." Thus, the core of the human being is indeed the heart. The word "courage" also comes from the same root word as for "heart" because courage is centred in the heart. The most ancient Indo-European word for heart means "that which leaps." The heart leaps or beats in the breast of man. For example, people say, "my heart skipped a beat" in reaction to seeing somebody. Many such metaphors are used for the heart.

Three Types of People

The ancients were aware of the spiritual diseases of the heart, and this is certainly at the essence of the Islamic teaching. One of the first things the Qur’an does is define three types of people: the mu'minun, thekafirun, and the munafiqun. The mu'minun are people whose hearts are alive while the kafirun are people whose hearts are dead. The munafiqun are people who have a disease or a sickness in their hearts; thus, Allah subhanahu wa t'ala says, "In their hearts is a disease, and they were increased in their disease." This is also in accordance with another verse: "When their hearts deviated, Allah made them deviate further." When somebody turns away from Allah subhanahu wa t'ala, Allah subhanahu wa t'ala causes them to deviate even further from the truth.

The Heart and the Brain

The actual physical heart in our breast beats about 100,000 times a day, pumping two gallons of blood per minute, 100 gallons per hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for an entire lifetime! The vascular system that sends this life-giving blood is over 60,000 miles long: it is more than two times the circumference of the earth. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that the heart starts beating before the brain is formed; the heart begins to beat without any central nervous system. The dominant theory was that the central nervous system is what is controlling the entire human being from the brain, yet we know now that in fact the nervous system does not initiate the heartbeat. It is actually self-initiated; we would say, it is initiated by Allah subhanahu wa t'ala.

The heart is the centre of the human being. Many people think the brain is the centre of consciousness, yet the Qur’an clearly states, "They have hearts that they are not able to understand with." According to the Muslims, the centre of human consciousness is the heart and not the brain itself, and it is only recently that human beings have learned there are over 40,000 neurons in the heart; in other words, there are cells in the heart that are communicating. Now, it is understood that there is two-way communication between the brain and the heart: the brain sends messages to the heart, but the heart also sends messages to the brain. The brain receives these messages from the heart, which reach the amygdala and the thalamus. The cortex receives input from the amygdala and thalamus that it processes to produce emotion; the new cortex relates to learning and reasoning. These processes are recent discoveries, and although we do not fully understand them, we do know that the heart is an extremely sophisticated organ.

According to the hadith, the heart is a source of knowledge. The Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said that wrong action is what irritates the heart. Thus, the heart actually knows wrong actions, and this is one of the reasons why people can do terrible things, but, ultimately, they are affected negatively. In Crime and Punishment, the brilliant Russian author Dostoevsky indicates that crime itself is the perpetrator's punishment because human beings have to live with the result of their actions: their souls are affected. When people do something against the heart, they act against the soul, and that actually affects human beings to the degree that they will go into a state of spiritual agitation, and people will use many ways to cover this up. This is what kufur is: "kufur" means "covering up." To hide their agitation, people use alcohol, drugs, and sexual experimentation; they also seek power, wealth, and fame, taking themselves into a state of heedlessness, submerging themselves into the ephemeral world which causes them to forget their essential nature and to forget their hearts. Thus, people become cut off from their hearts.

Wrong Actions Sicken the Heart

One of the things about being cut off from the heart is that the more cut off from the heart one becomes, the sicker the heart grows because the heart needs nourishment, and heedlessness starves the spiritual heart. When one goes into a state of unawareness of Allah and the akhira, one becomes unaware of the infinite world in relation to the finite world, unaware that we are in this world for a temporary period. When we look at the infinite world in relation to the finite world, suddenly our concerns become focused on the infinite world and not on the finite world. On the other hand, when people are completely immersed within the finite world, believing that they will be here forever, believing that they will not be taken to account for their actions, this action in and of itself ultimately leads to the spiritual death of the hearts. However, before it dies and becomes putrid and completely foul, the heart will show many symptoms. These are the spiritual diseases of the hearts.

Shubahat and Shahawat: Two Types of Diseases

There are two types of diseases of the heart. The first are called shubahat, and these are diseases that relate to understanding. For instance, if somebody is fearful of his provision from Allah, afraid he will not get his food for the day, then there is a disease in his heart because a sound heart has complete trust in Allahsubhanahu wa t'ala, and a sick heart has doubt. For this reason, a sound heart does not worry. It is the nafs(ego), shaytan, hawa (caprice), and dunya (the love of this ephemeral world) that lead to this state of fear or of anxiety. The heart in [and] of itself is an organ designed to be in a state of stillness, but the stillness will only come about by the remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa t'ala. The Qur’an states, "Isn't it by the dhikrof Allah that the heart is stilled?" This is what the heart wants: it wants to remember Allah subhanahu wa t'ala. When Allah is not remembered, the heart goes into a state of agitation: it goes in a state of turmoil, and it becomes diseased because it is not being fed. Just as we need to breathe because cells need life-giving oxygen and if we stop breathing, cells die, similarly, the heart also needs to breathe, and the breath of the heart is the remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa t'ala. Dhikr is what feeds and nourishes the heart. The company of good people is the food and exercise of the heart. All of these things are necessary for the heart to be sound and healthy, and this is basically the purpose of Revelation. The Qur’an has come to remind people that our hearts need nourishment. Thus, Allah subhanahu wa t'ala tells us that the human being who will be in a good state in the next world is the one who brings a sound heart.

When we are born, we enter the world in a state of fitra: the original inherent nature of the human being; then we learn to be anxious. We learn anxiety from our mothers, fathers, and society. Thus, the Qur’an says that the human being is created in a state of anxiety (hala'), and the one group of people who are removed from this state of anxiety are the musallin: the people of prayer. This "prayer" is not the five daily obligatory prayers; rather, it is the prayer of people who are always in a state of prayer (dhikr); they are always in a state of connection with Allah subhanahu wa t'ala, and this is the highest station. This is the station of people who are not diverted from the remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa t'ala by buying, commerce, or anything else. They are the ones who remember Allah subhanahu wa t'ala, as the Qur’an states, "standing, sitting, and reclining on their sides." These are the people who are not the people of heedlessness (ghafla).

The second type of the diseases of the heart is called shahawat, and these are the base desires of the self. For instance, food and sex are shahawat; they are appetites. These become diseases when they grow out of proportion from their natural states. In Islam, we have a method or a means by which our hearts can be remedied and return to their sound state again. The dhikr that the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam did more than any other dhikr was "Oh Turner-Overer of the hearts, make my heart firm on your deen," and it is important that Muslims be reminded of this.

The Text: Mat-hartul Qulub

In Arabic, "Mat-hara" is ism makaan (a noun of place), and it means "a tool of tahara (purification)," and that is what Mat-hartul Qulub is. This text is the alchemy of the heart: it explains how to transform the heart. Mat-hartul Qulub was written by a great scholar, Shaykh Muhammad Maulud al-Musawir al-Ya'qubi from Mauritania. He was a brilliant scholar of West Africa who mastered all of the Islamic sciences as well as the inward sciences of Islam. He wrote this didactic poem in order to teach people the means to purify their hearts because he looked around and realized that everybody he saw had a diseased heart. Though he recognized the benefit in learning the abstract sciences of Islam, such as grammar, rhetoric, and logic, he felt that people may not have a great deal of need for that knowledge given the fact that on the Day of Judgement, the heart is the only thing about which we will be asked. The state of our hearts is the only thing that may benefit us because "actions are by intentions" as the hadith states. Since all our actions are rooted in intentions, and the place of intention is the heart, every action we do is rooted in our hearts. Thus, in reality when we are asked about our actions, we are asked about the intentions behind the actions, and given the fact that intentions emanate from the heart, what we are actually being asked about is the human heart. When Shaykh Muhammad Maulud realized this, he said that suddenly Allah subhanahu wa t'ala inspired him to write this text, and he based it upon many of the previous texts that had gone before, such as the last book of the Ihya 'Ulumudin by Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali.

Rectification Begins with the Self

If we look at the world today, the tribulations, the trials, and every war that we have, we will see that every bit of human suffering is rooted in human hearts. The reason people are aggressive against other people is due to diseases of the heart: covetousness, the desire to conquer, the desire to exploit other people, and the desire to steal their natural resources are all from diseases of the heart. A sound heart cannot commit such acts. Every murderer, every rapist, every idolater, every foul person, every person showing an act of cruelty has a diseased heart because these actions emanate from diseased hearts. If the hearts were sound, none of these actions would be a reality. Therefore, if we wish to change our world, we cannot go about it by attempting to rectify the outward; rather, we change the world by rectifying the inward because it is the inward that precedes the outward.

In reality, everything that we see outside of us comes from the unseen world. The phenomenal world emerges from the unseen world, and all actions emerge from the unseen realm of our hearts. Thus, if we want to rectify our actions, we must first rectify our hearts. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the famous American preacher and civil rights activist, said that in order for people to condemn injustice, they have to follow four stages: the first stage is that they must ascertain that injustices are indeed being perpetrated. People must point out the injustices, and in his case, it was injustices against the African-American people in the United States. The second stage is to negotiate: people must go to the oppressors and demand justice. If the oppressors refuse, then Dr. King said that the third stage is self-purification. He said that we must ask ourselves, are we ourselves wrongdoers? Are we ourselves oppressors? The final stage is to take action once we have looked into ourselves.

One of the things the Muslims of the modern world fail to recognize is that when we look at all of the terrible things that are happening to us, we often refuse to look at ourselves and ask ourselves, why are these things happening to us? If we ask that in all sincerity, the answer will come back in no uncertain terms that this is all from our own selves. We have brought all of the suffering upon ourselves. This is the only empowering position that we can take, and this is the Quranic position. Allah subhanahu wa t'ala says quite clearly that He places some of the oppressors over other oppressors because of what their hands were earning. According to Fakharudin ar-Razi's explanation, radi Allahu 'anhu, this verse means that whenever there is oppression in the earth, it is a result of other people's oppression. Thus, those people who are being aggressed upon are being oppressed because of their own oppression. However, this is obviously with the exception of tribulation. There are definitely times when the mu'minun are tried, but if they respond accordingly with patience and perseverance, Allah subhanahu wa t'ala always gives them victory.

The Impure Oppress and the Pure Elevate

There is no doubt that the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam and the sahaba were being oppressed when they were in Makkah, but Allah subhanahu wa t'ala later gave them victory. Within 23 years, the Prophetsallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam was not only no longer oppressed, he had conquered the entire Arabian peninsula, and all of the people who had previously oppressed him were begging him for mercy. Even though they deserved to be recompensed with punishment, the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam forgave them, and this is the difference between somebody whose heart is pure and somebody whose heart is impure. The impure people oppress, and the pure people not only forgive their oppressors, they actually conquer them by the power of Allah subhanahu wa t'ala, and then they elevate them. This is what Muslims must recognize: the only solution to all of our problems is that we have to purify ourselves, and this is whatMat-hartul Qulub is about; it is a book of self-purification. If we take this book seriously, work on our hearts, and actually implement what we learn from it, we will begin to see changes in our lives, around us, and within our own family dynamics. It is a blessing that we have this book and that this teaching still exists in our community. All that is left is for us to take this teaching upon ourselves and to take it seriously.

Medicine for the Diseased Heart

If you use the techniques that are given by the imams, you will see results. However, it is just as the prescription that the doctor gives you: the doctor can only write the prescription; he can give you the medicine, but he cannot force you to take the medicine. It is left for us to take the medicine. The imams have given us the medicine: our teaching is there; it is clear; it does work; and we can change ourselves with it. If we do, Allah subhanahu wa t'ala has promised that we will be rewarded in this world and in the next. Thus, all that is left for us to do now is to go through these diseases and then set out to implement their cures in sha Allah.