Saturday, 13 December 2014

Raising Children

By Sheikh Muhammad Tawfeeq Ramadan al-Bouti

This is actually a class on menstruation but the first 36 minutes deal with raising children, i.e. how children grow up and what parents should do to help them become adults. Menstruation is the major sign that a girl has become a woman.

This class is the seventh in a series on Shafi'i fiqh that Sheikh Tawfeeq taught a few years ago in Damascus and is now being uploaded with English subtitles. The previous lessons can be accessed here, and more should be forthcoming, insha'Allah.

The Arabic text can be downloaded from here.

And with Allah alone is every success.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A Woman's Right to End her Marriage

سورة البقرة 2:229

A translation of this fatwa from Naseem al-Sham

The Requisites of Separation by Khulʿ


If a wife wants to separate, what are her rights in the Revealed Law?

Answer (Sheikh Rushdī Salīm al-Qalam):

Praise be to Allah and He suffices, and peace be upon His Chosen Messenger,

To proceed,

Just as Allah has given men the right of divorce, He has given women the right of mukhālaʿah[1], and thus there is no blame upon either of them regarding what she pays him. The foundation of the matter is that she owns her bridal gift[2] entirely and if she wants mukhālaʿah she offers something to her husband. It is recommended that the amount not exceed what she took from him.[3] As for asking for khulʿ without a legal[4] or health reason, this is not something that is desired in Allah’s Revealed Law, Mighty and Majestic is He.

A translation of this fatwa from Naseem al-Sham

Wife Asks For Divorce And Differences Over The Amount Paid For Khulʿ


Assalām ʿalaykum wa Raḥmatullahi wa Barkātuh. My question is that I want a fatwā regarding a situation in in which the wife has asked for a divorce and they have been married for a year and a half. They don’t have any children. The husband wants to take the gold even though he knows that she wore the gold when they got engaged and not when they got married. When they got married, she wore a necklace. He said that if we don’t give him the gold he won’t divorce her. Please clarify this for us. Thank you and may Allah reward you a thousand times over.

Answer (Dr Muḥammad Tawfīq Ramaḍān):

It’s unlawful for a wife to ask for a divorce[5] without a legal reason.[6] If she wants, she can ask for mukhālaʿah, and mukhālaʿah is a contract or agreement to separate in exchange for an agreed-upon amount, and this amount is for the husband and wife to discuss. If the husband divorces her of his own initiative then she keeps her entire bridal gift[7] and whatever else he gave her, before or after the contract, because what she owns cannot be taken away from her.

[1] (tn): Also known as khulʿ, which is a release from the marriage in exchange for a payment from the wife. For English readers, further information can be found in Reliance of the Traveller, section n.5, while Arabic readers can look at al-Fiqh al-Manhājī (Damascus, Dār al-Qalam, 1433/2012), v.2, p. 121-123.
[2] Ar. ṣadāq
[3] (tn): i.e. her bridal gift
[4] (tn): i.e. a legal reason in the Revealed Law
[5] Ar. ṭalāq
[6] (tn): i.e. in the Revealed Law
[7] Ar. mahr, which is the same as ṣadāq

Saturday, 15 November 2014

A Woman’s Right to Dispose of Her Own Wealth

الذهب و الفضة

              A woman has wealth. Does her husband have the right to dispose of her wealth without her consent and permission?

            The sublime religion of Islam has granted adult, sane, mature women absolute freedom to dispose of their wealth however they like, with their will alone and without any objection from anyone else, be it their husband or someone else. Whatever she owns she is free to sell, to give as a gift, to lend and to transfer from one place to another, regardless of whether her husband objects and with no need for his permission, because what has been affirmed in the Revealed Law of Islam and what is acted upon in all Islamic countries is that each individual, male or female, has sovereignty over his wealth as long as he is an adult and sane. It is not permissible for a husband to dispose of his wife’s wealth without her permission because he has absolutely no sovereignty over her wealth as long as she is an adult and sane.

[Translated from Fatāwā ash-Sheikh Kishk: Humūm al-Muslim al-Yawmiyyah (Cairo: al-Mukhtār al-Islāmī, n.d) p.57]

Monday, 13 October 2014

Female Circumcision

Also known as 'female genital mutilation' and 'female genital cutting'

A translation of this fatwa from Naseem al-Sham

FGM Prevalence


What is the ruling in the Revealed Law of Islam regarding female circumcision?

Answer (from the great scholar and martyr, Imam Muammad Saʿīd Ramaān al-Būī):

The established rulings of the Revealed Law are taken either from the Book of Allah, that which has been authentically established from the Sunnah[1] of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, or from the consensus of the First Three Generations. With regards to female circumcision, we have not found any proof that it is obligatory or sunnah[2] in the Qurʾān, the Sunnah or in the consensus of the First Three Generations. The adīth “Five things are from one’s fitrah[3]…”[4] mentions circumcision and it applies to the circumcision of males. The proof for this is that the Messenger of Allah did not command that any of his daughters be circumcised and this practice did not become prevalent and widespread amongst the Companions or the Followers. If it were obligatory, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, would have been the first to do it and he would have commanded that his daughters be circumcised.  Therefore, female circumcision was merely a custom on the Arabian Peninsula. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was sent while the practice existed and the Messenger of Allah was silent on the matter. Therefore, the ruling in this situation follows what has been established in terms of benefit or harm, and specialist physicians are in absolute agreement that female circumcision carries no benefit, i.e. in the way that male circumcision has benefit. Rather, it is dangerously harmful for females and it hurts them considerably with regards to their natural right to enjoy marital life.

[1] (tn): In this case, the word is referring to the statements, actions or affirmations of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him grant him peace. In other words, the Sunnah (transliterated as such) is a source of legislation. Please see ʿAlī Filālī (and other teachers at the Qarawiyyīn High School, Fes, Morocco), Durūs fī Uṣūl Al-Fiqh li Al-Sanat Al-Thānīyya min Al-Taʿlīm Al-Aṣīl (Casablanca: Dār al-Thaqāfa, 1419/1998),  p.28
[2] (tn): i.e. When transliterated in this matter, it is a ruling in the Revealed Law, meaning recommended, i.e. something that one is rewarded for doing but not liable to punishment for leaving off. Synonyms would include words like mandūb and mustaabb. Please see Jalāl Al-Dīn Muḥammad Ibn Aḥmad Al-Maḥallī, Sharḥ Al-Waraqāt fī ʿIlm Uṣūl Al-Fiqh(Casablanca: Dār al-Rashād al-Ḥadītha, 1427/2006), p.5
[3] (tn): i.e. one’s natural disposition
[4] (tn): This ḥadīth can be found in the collections of Imams al-Bukhārī, Muslim and several others.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Emigrating to Europe

A translation of this fatwa from Naseem al-Sham



Assalām ʿalaykum: what is the ruling in the Revealed Law regarding emigrating from Arab countries that are experiencing unrest and security problems, such as Syria, Iraq and Libya, to European countries in order to live, work and have ongoing stability? May Allah reward you.

Answer (from Sheikh Muammad Tawfīq Ramaān):

Emigration is not permissible, and especially because they do not agree to this.[1] Furthermore, sticking to the lands of Islam is obligatory while being far away from tribulation is merely something sought, and it is within a person’s capacity to go to a Muslim country until circumstances have improved.

[This translation is now available from the English Naseem al-Sham site.]

[1] (tn): For example, have a look at this article and this article.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Women Driving and Using Taxis

Answers provided by Imam Muammad Saʿīd Ramaḍān al-Būī, may Allah have mercy on him


What is the ruling for a woman using a public car (i.e. a taxi) by herself and does the ruling differ if there are people on the road or not – such as the outskirts of a city for example? Also, is the ruling attached to necessity (ḍarūrah) or not – for example if she only wanted to visit her friend?


It is unlawful for a woman to be alone (khalwah) with a foreign[1] man, and what I’m about to say is personal reasoning (ijtihād) based on that fact. As long as the car is moving within the streets of a city and its windows are transparent then her being with the driver is not considered khalwah, but if the car goes outside of built up areas and into the countryside and the like then that would be khalwah and therefore unlawful.


What is the ruling in the Revealed Law regarding women driving cars?


The ruling that it is permissible for women to drive cars follows from the ruling that it is permissible for women to mount and ride camels, and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, has established the second ruling by consensus.

[Translated from Mashūrāt Ijtimāʿiyyah (Damascus: Dār al-Fikr, 2003), p.152-153]

[1] Ar. ajnabī, i.e. a man who is not her maḥram and thus someone she could lawfully marry

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A Look at Forced Marriages and Honour Killings

A selection of documentaries on the topic:

1. Britain's Crimes of Honour:

Part 1:

Part 2:

2. Why are UK Authorities Ignoring Honour Killings?

These documentaries are being posted to provoke discussion on the topic, obviously, but also to get to the heart of the matter. If a mentality of fiercely protecting "honour" is causing so many deaths and other forms of abuse, then it is not surprising that the same mentality attempts to cover up or at least trivialise what is going on. Therefore, while watching these documentaries, one should not only ponder on the facts of these events but also the reactions of members of the Asian community as they attempt to label these crimes as isolated incidents or request that the police not associate community leaders or local masjid committee members with them. This is very similar to what psychologists call enabling in the negative sense.

As for Nosheen, may Allah rectify her affair and cure her, it's hard to feel sorry for her father. What does he mean when he says she is "wasted"?

However, the most fascinating piece of information from both documentaries is the admission of Det. Const. Palbinder Singh regarding the notion that family honour can be regained through violence (about ten minutes into the second documentary):

'That concept exists in every Asiatic mind, whether they be in Great Britain, whether they be in Switzerland, whether they be in Pakistan, India wherever. It's a concept that doesn't stop just because you cross a border.'

In closing, it should be noted that this is only one aspect of the abuse and violation that Asian women, in particular, suffer, but forced marriage is at the root of it, from which honour killings, acid throwing, false imprisonment, kidnapping, sexual assault and so forth arise, and then affect the wider community, e.g. grooming.

And with Allah is every success and may Allah release or give a speedy rescue to all women who are in this horrific and grotesque situation, ameen!

The Glorious Legislation of Endowments

Alhamdulilah, Imam Muhammad Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti's, may Allah have mercy on him, article on how to revive endowments, or awqaaf, is now available from the Naseem al-Sham English site. The Arabic text can be located here and it was originally published in the Imam's book k Qaḍāyā Fiqhiyyah Muʿāṣirah (Damascus: Dār al-Fārābī, 2009). The translation will also be published in a forthcoming book on endowments, insha'Allah.

And with Allah alone is every success.



Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Fidyah, Qaḍāʾ and Breaking One's Fast

An olive tree outside Fes, Morocco


Is it permissible for elderly people as well as those who are pregnant and breastfeeding not to fast in Ramaḍān and what are they obliged to do in terms of qaḍāʾ[1] and fidyah?[2]

Answer (from Imam Wahbah az-Zuaylī):

It is permissible for elderly people not to fast in Ramaḍān, due to the Exalted’s statement: “…For those who are able (yuīquna)[3] to fast, their fidyah is to feed the poor.” [Sūrat al-Baqarah 2:184]

Ibn ʿAbbās said about this āyah, in what has been related by al-Bukhārī: ‘It is not abrogated. It is referring to elderly men and women who are not able to fast, and thus in place of each day they feed a poor person.’[4]

Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding can also be excused from fasting in Ramaḍān based on what has been related by the five (i.e. Imam Aḥmad and the authors of the four Sunan collections)[5] on the authority of Anas ibn Mālik al-Kaʿbī, that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “Indeed Allah, Mighty and Majestic, has removed the burden of fasting from the traveller and allowed him to shorten his prayer, and He has removed the burden of fasting from those who are pregnant and breastfeeding.”

As for what is obligatory upon those who are pregnant and breastfeeding, they have to make up the days they missed and they can choose short days in the winter to do so, but do they have to pay a fidyah? They don’t have to, except that the Shāfiʿī’s have declared fidyah to be obligatory along with qaāʾ if the one pregnant or breastfeeding fears for the child. If she fears for herself in terms of exhaustion or falling into difficulty, then fidyah is not obligatory upon her.[6]

[Translated from Fatāwā Muʿāirah (Damascus: Dār al-Fikr, 2003), p.30-31]

[1] (tn): i.e. making up the fast
[2] (tn): i.e. redemption, which is not the same as a kaffārah, which means expiation; a person in this situation has not sinned and is thus merely looking to compensate for missing out on worship as opposed to expiating a sin they have committed
[3] (tn): The meaning is those who are able to fast but with great difficulty, as the word ṭāqah means the ability to do something but with difficulty and hardship. Please see Ṣafwat al-Tafāsīr by Sheikh ʿAlī as-Ṣābūnī (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1421/2001) v.1, p.108-109
[4] (tn): which should be approximately half a kilogramme of rice for every missed day; please see this fatwā for further details
[5] (tn): These are Imams Abū Dāwūd, an-Nasāʾī, at-Tirmidhī and Ibn Mājah. Please see the introduction to Bulūgh al-Marām by Imam Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī (Al-Manṣūrah: Dar al-Ghad al-Gadeed,  1426/2005), p.11
[6] (tn): There is a slight difference of opinion here, as demonstrated by Sheikh Muṣṭafā al-Bughā in his commentary on ʿUmdat as-Sālik wa ʿUddat an-Nāsik , entitled Tanwīr al-Masālik (Damascus: Dār al-Muṣṭafā, 1431/2010). He states that a pregnant or breastfeeding woman must pay a fidyah and make it up if she fears for her child, regardless of whether she fears for the child alone or the child as well as herself (v.1, p.509).  The dominant position is that a distinction is made between not fasting out of fear for the child alone and not fasting out of fear for the child and oneself, and thus if one fears for only the child then fidyah is obligatory along with qaḍāʾ, but if one fears for the child and oneself then only qaḍāʾ is obligatory. Please see at-Taqrīrāt as-Saḍīdah fī Masāʾil Mufīdah: Qism al-ʿIbādāt by Sheikh Ḥasan al-Kāf (Tarīm: Dār al-Mīrāth an-Nabawī, n.d.) p.455-456. 

More Fatawa on Ramadan and Fasting

Friday, 30 May 2014

Early Islam and the Birth of Capitalism

An interesting and eye-opening lecture by Benedikt Koehler

"As part of a new three-year 'History of Capitalism' course, historian and former banker Benedikt Koehler delivered an inaugural address based on his forthcoming book Early Islam and the Origins of Capitalism. In his lecture, Koehler proposed a strikingly original thesis; that capitalism first emerged in Arabia, not in late medieval Italian states as is commonly assumed."

And this is an article that further discusses the topic:

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Building Over Graves and the Ruling for Demolishing Them

A translation of this fatwa from Naseem al-Sham

قبة الامام الشافعي

Building Over Graves and the Ruling for Demolishing Them


My question is for Sheikh Muammad Saʿīd Ramaḍān al-Būī. Praise be to Allah, Lord of all creation, and blessings and peace be upon the one whom was sent as a mercy to all of creation as well as all of his family and his Companions, āmīn. To proceed: Indeed there are youths who have been secretly propagating their ideas under the shade of darkness, and they have been declaring those who visit the graves of the righteous[1] to be heretics.[2] It has reached me (and I am asking this question from Libya) that they may even call these people disbelievers.[3] Today, after the collapse of the regime, the country has witnessed what it has witnessed, and they have come out against us showing a different face, which is to purify the country of the idolatry[4] that is embodied in mausoleums and domes. They began by removing them, demolishing them and flattening them to ground level using heavy equipment, and maybe explosives and bombs. Likewise, they dig up graves based on the pretext that it is obligatory to be buried in a Muslim graveyard. The problem has spread extensively. For example, in the city of Misrata, which is where I live, they have demolished thirteen domes, each containing a righteous friend of Allah,[5] virtuous scholar[6] or sheikh from the household of the Messenger of Allah. Indeed, it has reached me that they have even demolished the dome of the revered Companion Abū Sajīf[7] and dug up his grave. My question is: what is the ruling for building mausoleums and domes over graves and what is the ruling for demolishing them after they have been built? And what are we obliged to do in the face of this campaign? Please, ya Sayyidī, provide the relevant evidences. I ask Allah to grant you well-being, to increase you from the abundance of His favour and to reward you with the best of rewards on behalf of this Ummah. We also ask you for your supplications.

Answer ( from the Great Scholar and Martyr, Muammad Saʿīd Ramaḍān al-Būī):

What is agreed upon is that the best graves are the smoothed down ones, and it is disliked (makrūh) to raise a grave. Rather, it is preferred to flatten it and there is no harm in it being a hand span or so above the ground. There is also no harm in it being raised above the ground with a stone or something similar. As for placing a building over the grave, if the grave is in open country or a place that is exposed to damage, i.e. outside the boundaries of a graveyard, then there is no harm in placing a building or an iron fence in order to protect it. As for a grave within a graveyard that has been dedicated as an endowment (waqf) for the deceased to be buried in, it would be unlawful to place a building over it because that would necessitate restricting the space around the grave from being used for the purpose that it was dedicated for. However, if a building would not necessitate such then there is no harm, such as placing a building around a number of graves belonging to the same family, as all the land within the building will be occupied by graves.
Furthermore, as for digging up a grave, it is not permissible unless it is to wash the deceased if they were buried without being washed. As for any other reason, it is not permissible by consensus, even if the deceased were buried without being prayed over, in which case the situation is rectified by praying over the person while they are buried in their grave. As for buildings and domes, it is not permissible to demolish any part of them, with the exception of a building that takes up land from a graveyard dedicated as an endowment and thus restricts its use by other people, for such a building is unlawful and must be demolished.

[This translation is also available from the English Naseem al-Sham site.]

[1] Ar. al-ṣāliḥīn
[2] Ar. tabdīʿ, i.e. they accuse such people of reprehensible innovation
[3] Ar. takfīr
[4] Ar. shirk
[5] Ar. walīālīḥ
[6] Ar. ʿālim fāḍil
[7] (tn): i.e. Abū Sajīf ibn Qays ibn al-Ḥārith ibn ʿAbbas, may Allah be pleased with him, who witnessed the Battle of Yarmouk during the khilāfah of Abū Bakr al-Ṣiḍdīq, may Allah be pleased with him and, and died in Tripoli in what is now modern-day Libya. Please see Imam Ibn ajr al-ʿAsqalānī’s Iṣābah fi Tamyīz al-Ṣaḥābah (Beirut: Dār al-Jayl, 1412/1992), v.7, p.198 for further details.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

The First Wisdom

 من علامة الاعتماد على العمل نقصان الرجاء عند وجود الزلل

A sign that one is relying on one's deeds is the decrease in hope when one makes a mistake

"When you have reached a firm decision, put your trust in Allah." [3:159]

Alhamdulilah, a  translation of Sheikh Ramadan Al-Bouti's, may Allah have mercy on him, commentary on the first hikmah of Imam Ibn Attaillah is now available from the English Naseem Al-Sham site. It can also be downloaded as a PDF file by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page.

And with Allah is every success.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Adab of the Mufti

Dar Al-Hadith, Damascus, where Imam Al-Nawawi used to teach

Alhamdulilah, Chapter 5 of the soon-to-be-published book The Etiquettes of the Scholar and the Learner, which is a translation of the introduction to Imam Al-Nawawi's Al-Majmu', may Allah have mercy on him, has been published by the Journal for Islamic Sciences and is also available for download from the English Naseem Al-Sham site. This chapter deals specifically with the etiquettes of the mufti and the mustafti, i.e. the one seeking a fatwa.

Insha'Allah, the book itself will be published within the coming months, and with Allah is every success.

UPDATE (15/08/2019): Chapter 5 is now available here.