IMPORTANCE OF ATTENDING FRIDAY PRAYER
” O’ you who believe! When the call is proclaimed to Prayer on Friday hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off business. That is best for you if you but knew.” Surah Al-juma
Friday Prayer is very important in Islam. It has got its own moral, social and political benefits. It is obligatory for every Muslim except women, children, seriously ill people and travelers. They can pray Jumah but it is not obligatory on them.
“I wish to appoint someone to lead the prayer and myself go to the houses of those who missed the Friday Prayer and set fire to their houses with the occupants in them.” (Muslim, Ahmad).
Another hadith states, “A person who leaves 3 Friday prayers consecutively, Allah puts a seal on his heart.” (Ahmad, Tirmizi, abu Dawud).
EXELENCES OF FRIDAY ,INVOKING BLESSING BLESSINGS UPON THE PROPHET PBU,
Narrated Abu Huraira (ra): The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “The best day on which the sun has risen is Friday. On Friday, Adam was created, and on it he was made to enter Paradise, and on it he was expelled from therein.”
Narrated Aws ibn Aws: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Among the most excellent of your days is Friday; on it Adam was created, on it he died, on it the last trumpet will be blown, and on it the shout will be made, so invoke more blessings on me that day, for your blessings will be submitted to me. The people asked: Apostle of Allah, how can it be that our blessings will be submitted to you while your body is decayed? He replied: Allah, the Exalted, has prohibited the earth from consuming the bodies of Prophets.
Friday contains a time at which no Muslim prays and asks anything from Allah but He will give it to him
Narrated AbuHurayrah: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: The best day on which the sun has risen is Friday; on it Adam was created, on it he was expelled (from Paradise), on it his contrition was accepted, on it he died, and on it the Last Hour will take place. On Friday every beast is on the lookout from dawn to sunrise in fear of the Last Hour, but not jinn and men, and it contains a time at which no Muslim prays and asks anything from Allah but He will give it to him. Ka’b said: That is one day every year. So I said: It is on every Friday. Ka’b read the Torah and said: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) has spoken the truth. AbuHurayrah said: I met Abdullah ibn Salam and told him of my meeting with Ka’b. Abdullah ibn Salam said: I know what time it is. AbuHurayrah said: I asked him to tell me about it. Abdullah ibn Salam said: It is at the very end of Friday. I asked: How can it be when the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) has said: “No Muslim finds it while he is praying….” and this is the moment when no prayer is offered. Abdullah ibn Salam said: Has the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) not said: “If anyone is seated waiting for the prayer, he is engaged in the prayer until he observes it.” I said: Yes, it is so.
IMPORTANCE OF GOING EARLY TO FRIDAY PRAYER
Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “On Friday the Angels stand oust the door of the mosque and write down the names of the people in the order in which they enter the mosque for Friday prayer. The first group of people who enter the mosque get the reward equivalent to that of sacrificing a camel, the people who enter the mosque after them get the reward equivalent to that of sacrificing a cow. The people who enter the mosque after them get the reward equivalent to that of sacrificing a ram and the people who follow on likewise get this reward of a Chicken, egg and so on there is a gradation of rewards for the people as they enter. The angels keep writing the names of the people as they enter the mosque until the Imam sits down to give Khutbah. Then the angels collect their registers and sit and listen to the Khutbah.” (Bukhari, Muslim).
IMPORTANCE OF CLEANLINESS FOR FRIDAY PRAYER
Because in Friday Prayer a comparatively large number of Muslims gather in a big place, so , lslam emphasizes on the physical cleanliness as well. Prophet (saw) said,
“A person who has a bath on Friday, cleanses himself fully, uses oil and perfume; then goes to the mosque early in the afternoon and takes his place quietly without pushing or disturbing people; then he prays (optional prayer as much as he was able to pray); then sits quietly listening to the Khutbah, he will be forgiven his sins between this Jumah and the next Jumah.” (Bukhari).
LISTENING TO KHUTBAH (SERMON)
Once the Khutbah starts, the whole congregation should listen to it in silence. If a person arrives while the Imam is giving Khutbah then this person should pray 2 rakats nafl before sitting down to listen to Khutbah.
PRAYER BEFORE JUMAH
Jabir (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said while he was giving Khutbah:
“If anyone of you goes to attend the Friday Prayer while the Imam is delivering Khutbah he should pray 2 rakats and should not make them long.” (Muslim)
There is another hadith. Jabir (ra) says that once a man, came to Friday Prayer while the Messenger of Allah (saw) was delivering Khutbah, so Allah’s messenger (saw) asked him, “Did you pray?” “No”, he answered. Then Prophet (saw) said to him, “Stand up and pray .” (Bukhari, Muslim
Abl Qatadah (ra) says that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Whenever one of you enters the mosque he should not sit down without offering 2 rakats.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
PRAYER AFTER JUMAH
After the Jumah Prayer 2 rakats of sunnat prayer is an authentically proved practice of Prophet Muhammad (saw) but some companions used to pray 4 or 6 rakats sunnat after the Jumah Prayer.
Ibn Umar (ra) says that the Messenger of Allah (saw) did not pray after the Friday prayer until he went home and then he prayed 2 rakats. (Bukhari, Muslim).
Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Anyone of you who is going to pray after the Friday prayer, he should pray 4 rakats.” (Muslim)
Ata says: ‘Whenever Abdullah ibn Umar (ra) prayed Jumah in Makkah, he would move a little forward after the Jumah prayer and offer 2 rakats; then he would move a little forward again and offer 4 rakats. And whenever he prayed Jumah in Madinah he did not pray in the Mosque after the Jumah prayer until he went back home; then he prayed 2 rakats. When he was asked why he did not pray in the mosque after the Jumah prayer, He answered, “This was the practice of Prophet Muhammad (saw) ”
RECITING SURAH AL-KAHF ON FRIDAY
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said, ‘Whoever recited Surah al Kahf on a Friday, Allah will kindle for him abundant light to brightly illuminate the period between the two Fridays (the Friday on which the recitation was made and the next Friday)
Le wird (lâzim), la wazifa et le zikr (hadara) du vendredi
Les modalités du wird tidjane sont au nombre de 3 :
le wird (lâzim),
le zikr (hadara) du vendredi .
Le wird (lâzim)
Le wird (lâzim) est effectué dans la confrérie tidjane (tidjaniya) deux fois par jour :
le matin : avant la prière de l’aube jusqu’à environ trois heures après le lever du soleil ,
après la prière de asr jusqu’à environ quatre heures après le coucher du soleil.
Formules à réciter
Dire : “A’oûzou billahi minna chaytânir radjîmi”
أعُوذُ بالله من الشيطان الرّجيمْ
Réciter la sourate de l’ouverture: “Al Fatiha”
Répéter la formule “Astaghfiroullah”
Prier sur le Prophète Mouhamed (PSL) à l’aide d’une formule connue par exemple : “Allahoumma salli ‘alâ Sayyidinâ Mouhammadine wa sallim”
Il est recommandé de réciter la salatoul fâtihi (voir ci-dessous) pour ceux qui le peuvent en lieu et place de la prière sur le Prophète ci-dessus.
“Allahoumma salli ‘alâ Sayyidinâ Mouhammadine il fâtihi limâ oughliqa wal khâtimi limâ sabaqa nâçiril haqqi bil haqqi wal ‘eudî ilâ sirâtikal moustaqîmi wa ‘alâ âlihi haqqa qadrihi wa miqdari’il ‘azîmi”
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَ سَلِّمْ
de préférence la Salatoul Fatihi
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ الْفَتِحِ لِمَا اُغْلِقَ وَالْخَاتِمِ لِمَا سَبَقَ نَاصِرِ الْحَقِّ بِالْحَقِّ وَ الْهَادِي إلَى صِراطِكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمِ وَ عَلَى آلِهِ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ وَ مِقْدَارِهِ الْعَظِيمِ
Puis dire : “Soubhâna rabbika rabbil ‘izzati ‘ammâ yaçifoûna wa salamoune ‘alal moursalina wal hamdoulillahi rabbil ‘âlamine”
سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ وَ سَلامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ وَالْحَمْدُ لِللهِ رَبِّ الْعَلَمِينَ
Répéter la formule : “Lâ ilâha illal lâhou”
لا إله إلاّ اللّه
Après le wird, réciter une invocation (dou’a)
La wazifa est obligatoire une fois (le matin ou le soir) par jour dans la confrérie tidjane (tidjaniya). Elle peut cependant être réciter le matin et le soir :
le matin : après la prière de l’aube jusqu’à environ trois heures après le lever du soleil ,
après la prière de asr jusqu’à environ quatre heures après le coucher du soleil.
Formules à réciter
Dire : “A’oûzou billahi minna chaytânir radjîmi”
أعُوذُ بالله من الشيطان الرّجيمْ
Réciter la sourate de l’ouverture: “Al Fatiha”
Réciter la formule “Astaghfiroullah al ‘azîmal lazî lâ ilâha illa houwal hayyoul qayyoum”
أسْتَغْفِرُ اللّه العَظِمَ الّذِي لا إله إلاّ هُوَ الحَيُّ القيوم
Réciter la salatoul fâtihi en ces termes:
“Allahoumma salli ‘alâ Sayyidinâ Mouhammadine il fâtihi limâ oughliqa wal khâtimi limâ sabaqa nâçiril haqqi bil haqqi wal ‘eudî ilâ sirâtikal moustaqîmi wa ‘alâ âlihi haqqa qadrihi wa miqdari’il ‘azîmi”
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ الْفَتِحِ لِمَا اُغْلِقَ وَالْخَاتِمِ لِمَا سَبَقَ نَاصِرِ الْحَقِّ بِالْحَقِّ وَ الْهَادِي إلَى صِراطِكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمِ وَ عَلَى آلِهِ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ وَ مِقْدَارِهِ الْعَظِيمِ
Puis dire : “Soubhâna rabbika rabbil ‘izzati ‘ammâ yaçifoûna wa salamoune ‘alal moursalina wal hamdoulillahi rabbil ‘âlamine”
سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ وَ سَلامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ وَالْحَمْدُ لِللهِ رَبِّ الْعَلَمِينَ
Répéter la formule de l’Unicité de Dieu : “Lâ ilâha illal lâhou”
لا إله إلاّ اللّه
Réciter la djawharatoul kamal en ces termes :
“Allahoumma salli wa sallim ‘alâ ‘aïnir rahmatir rabbâniyyati wal yâqoutatil moutahaqqiqatil hâitati bimarkazil fouhoûmi wal ma’ânî wa noûril akwânil moutakawwinati ââdammiyyi sâhibil haqqir rabbâniyyil barqil asta’i bimouzoûnil arbâhil mâliati likoulli moutagharridine minal bouhoûri wal awâni wa nôurikal lâmighil lazî malata bihi kawnakal hâita biamkinatil makânî. Allahoumma salli wa sallim ‘alâ ‘aïnil haqqil latî tatadjallah min’â ‘ourouchoul haqâiqi ‘aïni ma’arifil aqwami sirâtika attâmil asqami. Allahoumma salli wa sallim ‘alâ tal’atil haqqi bil haqqil kanezil a’zami ifâdatika minka ilaïka ihâdatin-noûril moutalsami salla lâhou ‘alaïhi wa ‘alâ âlihi salatane tou’arrifounâ bi’â iyyâ’ou ”
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَ سلِّمْ عَلَى عَيْنِ الرَّحْمَةِ الرَّبَانِيَّةِ والْياقُوتَةِ الْمُتحَقِّقَةِ الْحَائِطَةِ بِمَرْكَزِالْفُهُومِ وَالْمَعَانِي وَنُورِالْاَكْوانِ المُتَكَوِّنَةِ الْآدَمِّي صَاحِبِ الْحَقِّ الرَّبَّانِّي اَلْبَرْقِ الْاَسْطَعِ بِمُزُونِ الْاَرْبَاحِ الْمَالِئَةِ لِكُلِّ مُتَعَرِّضٍ مِنَ الْبُحُورِ وَالْاَوانِي وَ نُورِكَ اللَّامِعِ اَلَّذِي مَلَاْتَ بِهِ كَوْنَكَ الْحَائِطَ بِاَمْكِنَةِ الْمَكَانِي اَللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَ سَلِّمْ عَلَى عَيْنِ الْحَقِّ اَلَّتِي تَتَجَلَّى مِنْهَا عُروشُ الْحَقَائِقِ عَينِ الْمَعَارِفِ الْاَقْوَمِ صِراطِكَ اَلتَّامِّ الْاَسْقَمِ اَللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَ سلِّمْ عَلَى طَلْعَةِ الْحَقِّ بِالْحَقِّ اَلْكَنْزِ الْاَعْظَمِ إِفاضَتِكَ مِنْكَ إِلَيْكَ إِحاَطَةِ النُّورِ الْمُطَلْسَمِ صَلَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ عَلَى آلِهِ صَلَاةً تُعَرِّفُنَا بِهَا إيَّاهُ
Puis dire : “Innallâha wa malâikatahou yousalloûna ‘ala nabï yâ ayyouhal lazîna âmanou sallou ‘alaïhi wa sallimou taslïmä. Sallallâhou ta’alâ ‘alaïhi wa ‘alâ âlihi wa sahbihi wa sallama taslîmâ. Soubhâna rabbika rabbil ‘izzati ‘ammâ yaçifoûna wa salamoune ‘alal moursalina wal hamdoulillahi rabbil ‘âlamine ”
إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا صَلّى اللّهُ تَعَالَى عَلَيْهِ وَ عَلَى آلِهِ وَ صَحْبِهِ وَ سَلَّمَ تَسْلِيمًا سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ وَ سَلامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ وَالْحَمْدُ لِللهِ رَبِّ الْعَلَمِينَ
Après la wazifa, réciter une invocation (dou’a)
Le zikr communément appelé hadaratoul djouma (hadara) doit être réciter le vendredi entre la prière de asr et le crépuscule (maghrib). Il est recommandé de le faire en groupe ou seul si on a un empêchement.
Formules à réciter
Dire : “A’oûzou billahi minna chaytânir radjîmi”
أعُوذُ بالله من الشيطان الرّجيمْ
Réciter la sourate de l’ouverture: “Al Fatiha”
Réciter la formule “Astaghfiroullah al ‘azîmal lazî lâ ilâha illa houwal hayyoul qayoum”
أسْتَغْفِرُ اللّه العَظِمَ الّذِي لا إله إلاّ هُوَ الحَيُّ القيوم
Réciter la salatoul fâtihi en ces termes: “Allahoumma salli ‘alâ Sayyidinâ Mouhammadine il fâtihi limâ oughliqa wal khâtimi limâ sabaqa nâçiril haqqi bil haqqi wal ‘eudî ilâ sirâtikal moustaqîmi wa ‘alâ âlihi haqqa qadrihi wa miqdari’il ‘azîmi”
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ الْفَتِحِ لِمَا اُغْلِقَ وَالْخَاتِمِ لِمَا سَبَقَ نَاصِرِ الْحَقِّ بِالْحَقِّ وَ الْهَادِي إلَى صِراطِكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمِ وَ عَلَى آلِهِ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ وَ مِقْدَارِهِ الْعَظِيمِ
Puis dire : “Soubhâna rabbika rabbil ‘izzati ‘ammâ yaçifoûna wa salamoune ‘alal moursalina wal hamdoulillahi rabbil ‘âlamine”
سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ وَ سَلامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ وَالْحَمْدُ لِللهِ رَبِّ الْعَلَمِينَ
Répéter la formule de l’Unicité de Dieu: “Lâ ilâha illal lâhou”
لا إله إلاّ اللّه
Un certain temps avant maghrib et après ‘asr (par exemple 1 heure)
Puis dire : “Innallâha wa malâikatahou yousalloûna ‘ala nabï yâ ayyouhal lazîna âmanou sallou ‘alaïhi wa sallimou taslïmä. Sallallâhou ta’alâ ‘alaïhi wa ‘alâ âlihi wa sahbihi wa sallama taslîmâ. Soubhâna rabbika rabbil ‘izzati ‘ammâ yaçifouna wa salamoune ‘alal moursaline wal hamdoulillahi rabbil ‘âlamine”
إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا صَلّى اللّهُ تَعَالَى عَلَيْهِ وَ عَلَى آلِهِ وَ صَحْبِهِ وَ سَلَّمَ تَسْلِيمًا سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ وَ سَلامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ وَالْحَمْدُ لِللهِ رَبِّ الْعَلَمِينَ
Après la hadara, réciter une invocation (dou’a)
قصة جميلة عن القران
Why do we read Quran, even if we can’t understand a single Arabic word???? This is a
لماذا نقرأ القران, حتى لو لم نكن نفهم مفرداته العربية جيدا
An old American Muslim lived on a farm in the mountains of eastern Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading his Quran. His grandson wanted to be just like him and tried to imitate him in every way he could.
عجوز امركي مسلم يعيش في مزرعة في جبال شرق كنتاكي مع حفيده الصغير
في كل صباح الجد يستيقظ باكرا ويجلس على طاولة المطبخ ويقرأ القران.
حفيده الصغير كان يريد ان يصبح مثل جده لهذا كان يحاول تقليدة بكل طريقة ممكنة
One day the grandson asked, “Grandpa! I try to read the Quran just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Qur’an do?”
في أحد الايام سأل الحفيد جده قائلا (جدي! انا احاول ان اقرأ القران مثلك لكني لم افهم كلماته,والذي افهمه انساه وسرعان ما اغلق الكتاب.ما هي الفائده المرجاة من قراءة القران.
The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and replied, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring me back a basket of water.
الجد بهدوء وضع الفحم في المدفئة واجاب (خذ سلة الفحم الى النهر وأملئها بالماء )
The boy did as he was told, but all the water leaked out before he got back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, “You’ll have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again. This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a bucket instead.
قام الولد بعمل ما طلبه منه جده,لكن كل الماء تسرب من السلة قبل ان يصل عائدا الى المنزل.ضحك الجد وقال(يجب عليك ان تكون اسرع في المرة القادمة)ثم بعثه مرة اخرى الى النهر مع السلة ليحاول مرة اخرى.في هذه المرة ركض الولد بشكل اسرع,ولكن مرة اخرى السلة فرغت قبل وصوله المنزل.كان يتنفس لاهثا.واخبر جده انه من المستحيل ان احمل الماء بهذه السلة,وذهب لحيضردلواً بدلا من السلة.
The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You’re just aganot trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy try in.
الرجل العجوز قال (انا لا اريد دلوا من الماء,بل اريد سلة من الماء.انت فقط لم تحاول بجهد كاف) ثم خرج ليشاهد الولد يحاول مرة اخرى
At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got back to the house. The boy again dipped the basket into river and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Grandpa, it’s useless!”
“So you think it is useless?” The old man said, “Look at the basket.”
في هذه الاثناء.ادرك الولد انها مهمة مستحيلة,لكنه اراد ان يثبت لجده انه حتى لو ركض بأسرع ما يستطيع ,الماء سوف يتسرب قبل ان يصل عائدا الى المنزل .فقام الولد رمى بالسلة في النهر وركض بسرعة وبجهد.ولكنه عندما وصل الى البيت وجد ان السلة فارغة مرة ثالثة.
فقال وهو يلهث, انظر جدي …انها غير مجدية
اذن انت تظن انها غير مجدية.؟ أجاب الجد
انظر الى السلة
The boy looked at the basket and for the first time realized that the basket was different. It had been transformed from a dirty old coal basket and was now clean, inside and out.
نظر الولد الى السلة وللمرة الاولى ادرك ان السلة مختلفة.كانت سلة متسخة تنقل الفحم القديم والان اصبحت نظيفة من الداخل والخارج.
Son, that’s what happens when you read the Qur’an . You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, you will be changed, inside and out when you read time by time . That is the work of Allah in our lives.”
بني أجابه الجد : هذا ما يحصل عندما تقرأ القران.من الممكن أن لا تفهم شيئا او تتذكر اي شيء ولكن عندما تقرأه مره بعد مره بعد مره .سوف تتغير داخليا وخارجيا.هذا عمل الله في حياتنا .
If you feel this message is worth reading, please forward to your contacts/friends. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh & his family) says: *”The one who guides to good will be rewarded equally”
اذا كنت ترى ان هذه الرسالة تستحق القراءة,ارسلها مرة اخرى لجميع اصدقائك.
قال الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم “من دعى الى هدى فله اجره واجرمن عمل به الى يوم القيامة لا تنقص من اجورهم شيئا”
Book of Menstruation
The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley
Chapter 6. Book of Menstruation
The words of Allah, “They will ask you about menstruation. Say, ‘It is an impurity, so keep apart from women during menstruation and do not approach them until they have purified themselves. But once they have purified themselves, then go to them in the way that Allah has enjoined on you.’ Allah loves those who turn back from wrongdoing and He loves those who purify themselves.” (2:222)
I: How menstruation started, and the words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “This is something which Allah has decreed for the daughters of Adam.”
Some people* have said that menstruation first came on the Banu Isra’il, but what the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said is more authentic.
[* ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud and ‘A’isha.]
II: Instructions to women when they start to menstruate
290. It is related from al-Qasim, “I heard ‘A’isha say, ‘We set out with no other intention than to perform hajj. When we reached Sarif*, I started to menstruate. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came upon me, while I was weeping, he said, ‘What is the matter? Have you started your period?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is something that Allah has decreed for the daughters of Adam so do everything that someone on hajj does but do not do tawaf of the House.’ She said, ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sacrificed a cow on behalf of his wives.'”
[* Sarif: a place close to Makka.]
III A menstruating woman washing her husband’s head and combing his hair
291. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “I used to comb the head of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while I was menstruating.” (Muwatta, Book 2, 104)
292. It is related from ‘Urwa that he was asked, “Can a menstruating woman serve me? Can a woman who is in janaba come near me?” ‘Urwa said, “None of that bothers me. All of those women could serve me and there is no harm for anyone in that. ‘A’isha told me that she used to comb the head of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while she was menstruating and while the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was in i’tikaf (retreat) in the mosque. He would move his head near to her, she being in her room, and she would comb his hair while she was menstruating.”
IV: A man reciting Qur’an in his wife’s lap while she is menstruating.
Abu Wa’il used to send his servant girl who was menstruating to bring the Qur’an from Abu Razin. She would hold it by its strap.
293. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to recline on my lap while I was menstruating and recite the Qur’an.”
V: Using the word “nifas” for menstruation*
[*The word nifas is used for the bleeding of women after childbirth, but sometimes it is used for menstruation as well. This is the point al-Bukhari wants to clarify.]
294. It is related that Umm Salama said, “Once while I was lying with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, under a black woollen cover I started my menstrual period and I slipped away to get my menstruation clothes. He said, ‘Have you started menstruating (tanfusti)?” I said. ‘Yes.’ He called to me and I lay down again with him under the cover.”
V: Fondling a menstruating woman
295. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and I used to wash from the same container when we were both in janaba. While I was menstruating, he told me to wrap my waist-wrapper around myself and then he cuddled me. He would hold his head out to me when he was in i’tikaf (retreat in the mosque) and I would wash it while I was menstruating.”
296. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “When one of us was menstruating and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, wanted to fondle her, he would tell her to put on a waist-wrapper when she started her menstrual period and he would fondle her.” She said, “Who among you would be able to control his desires as the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, controlled his?”
Khalid and Jarir corroborated with ‘Ali ibn Mishar in relating his from ash-Shaybani.
297. It is related that Maymuna was heard to say, “When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,wanted to fondle one of his wives, he told her, if she was menstruating, to put on a waist-wrapper.”
Sufyan related it from ash-Shaybani.
VI: Menstruating women refraining from fasting
298. It is related that Abu Sa’id al-Khudri said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, set out to the place of prayer on the Day of Adha or Fitr and passed by the women. He said, ‘O congregation of women! Give alms for I have seen that you will make up the majority of the inhabitants of the Fire!’ They said, ‘Why, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘You call down too many curses and show ingratitude to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intellect or deen. Yet the mind of even a resolute man might be swept away by one of you.’ They said, ‘In what way is our deen and intellect deficient, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘Is not the testimony of a woman worth only half that of a man?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘That is how your intellect is deficient. Is it not so that when a woman is menstruating, she neither prays nor fasts?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘That is how her deen is deficient.'”
VII: A woman who is menstruating should perform all the duties of the hajj except for tawaf of the House
Ibrahim said, “There is no harm in her reciting a verse of the Qur’an.”
Ibn ‘Abbas did not see any harm in the recitation of [the Qur’an] by someone who is in janaba.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, mentioned Allah at all times [which includes recitation of the Qur’an].
Umm ‘Atiyya said, “We were ordered to let menstruating women go out [for the prayer] and call out takbirs together with the men’s takbirs and make supplication.
Ibn ‘Abbas said that he was told by Abu Sufyan that Heraclius asked for the letter of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and read it. It said, “In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. O People of the Book! Come to a proposition which is the same for us and you.”
‘Ata’ stated that Jabir said, “‘A’isha started menstruating and performed all the rites of hajj except tawaf of the House and she did not pray.”
Al-Hakam said, “I slaughter even when I am in janaba [mentioning the name of Allah in this state].” Allah says, “Do not eat anything over which the name of Allah has not been mentioned.” (6:121)
299. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “”We set out with the Prophet , may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with no other intention than to perform hajj. When we reached Sarif, I started to menstruate. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came upon me while I was weeping. He said, ‘What has made you weep?’ I said, ‘I wish , by Allah, that I had not made hajj this year.’ He said, “‘Is it that you have started to menstruate?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is something which Allah has decreed for the daughters of Adam so do everything someone on hajj does but do not do tawaf of the House until you are pure.'”
VIII: False menstruation [bleeding between menstrual periods]
300. It is related that ‘A’isha said, ” Fatima bint Hubaysh told the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘Messenger of Allah, I never become clean. Should I abandon the prayer?’ The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘That is due to a vein, not menstruation. When menstruation comes, then stop praying. When your menstrual period ends, then wash off the blood and pray.'”
IX: Washing off menstrual blood
301. It is related that Asma’ bint Abi Bakr said, “A woman asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘Messenger of Allah, what do you think a woman should do if menstrual blood gets on her clothes?’ The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘If menstrual blood gets onto your clothes, she should gather up the place in her fingers, rub it, and wash it with water and then she can pray in it.'” (Muwatta, Book 2, 105)
302. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “When one of us had menstruated, she would, when she was clean again, gather up any place on her garment with blood on it, rub it, wash it and sprinkle water on the rest of it. Then she would pray in it.”
X: A woman with false menstruation doing retreat in the mosque for i’tikaf
303. It is related from ‘A’isha that one of the wives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did i’tikaf along with him when she had false menstruation. She would see blood and sometimes put a dish under her for the blood. ‘Ikrima claimed that ‘A’isha saw some safflower liquid and said, “This is like what so-and-so used to find.”
304. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “One of the wives of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did i’tikaf with him. She used to see blood and yellow discharge and would put a dish under her while she was praying.”
305. It is related from ‘A’isha that one of the Mothers of the Believers did i’tikaf while she had false menstruation.
XI: Can a woman pray in the clothes in which she has menstruated?
306. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “None of us had more than a single garment and we menstruated while wearing it. When a drop blood fell on it, we would spit on it and scratch it off with our nails.”
XII: A woman using perfume when she does ghusl after menstruation
307. It is related from Umm ‘Atiyya from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “We were forbidden to mourn for a dead person for more than three days except for a husband for whom the period was four months and ten days. We would not put on kohl or perfume or wear coloured clothes except ‘asb (coarse Yemeni coloured) garments. When we purified ourselves by doing ghusl after menstruation, we were allowed a small amount of light perfume. We were forbidden to join funeral processions.”
Hisham ibn Hassan related it from Umm ‘Atiyya via Hafsa.
XIII: A woman should rub herself thoroughly when she becomes clean after menstruation. How she should wash herself and use a perfumed piece of cloth [maybe of musk] to wipe off any traces of blood
308. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “A woman asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about ghusl after menstruation. He told her how to wash, saying, ‘Take a piece of cloth scented with musk and purify yourself with it.’
She repeated, ‘How shall I purify myself with it?’
He said, ‘Purify yourself with it.’
He said, ‘Glory be to Allah! Purify yourself with it!'”
[‘A’isha said,] “I pulled her towards me and said, ‘Wipe off any traces of blood with it.'”
XIV: Washing the place of menstruation
309. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “A woman of the Ansar said to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘How should I do ghusl after menstruation?’ He said, ‘Take a piece of perfumed cloth and clean yourself three times.’ Then the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, became embarrassed and turned his face away. (Or he said, ‘Clean yourself with it.’) I took her and pulled her to one side and explained to her what the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, meant.”
XV: A woman combing her hair when she does ghusl after menstruation
310. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “I assumed ihram with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, for the Hajj of Farewell and I was one of those intending to do tamattu’ (a way of performing hajj and ‘umra) but did not take any sacrificial animals with me.” She said that she started to menstruate and did not become clean until the night of ‘Arafa. She said, “Messenger of Allah, this is the night of ‘Arafa and I had meant to perform ‘umra.” The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to her, “Undo your hair and comb it and postpone your ‘umra.”
She said, “I did that and completed the hajj. On the night of al-Hasaba, the Prophet ordered ‘Abdu’r-Rahman to take me to at-Tan’im to do ‘umra in place of the ‘umra I had meant to perform.”
[al-Hasaba: Muhassab. ‘Abdu’r-Rahman was her brother. Tan’im is close to Makka, on the road to Madina, See 311.]
XVI: A woman should undo her hair when performing ghusl after menstruation
311. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “We set off at the approach of Dhu’l-Hijja [that is the month for hajj] for the hajj. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Whoever wants to assume ihram for ‘umra should do so. If I had not brought sacrifice, I would have assumed ihram for ‘umra. Some of us assumed ihram for ‘umra and some for hajj. I was one of those who assumed ihram for ‘umra. When the day of ‘Arafat came, I was still menstruating. I complained to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he said, ‘Postpone your ‘umra and undo your hair and comb it and put on ihram for hajj.’ I did that. On the night of al-Hasaba [ i.e. the night they stayed at al-Muhassab], he sent my brother, ‘Abdu’r-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr, with me and I went out to at-Tan’im. I assumed ihram for ‘umra to make up for my ‘umra.”
Hisham said, “For that, neither sacrifice nor fasting nor sadaqa was required.”
XVII: “Flesh formed yet unformed.” (22:5)
312. It is related from Anas ibn Malik that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah the Mighty and Majestic appoints an angel to every womb who says, ‘O Lord! A sperm drop! O Lord A clot! O Lord! A lump of flesh! ‘ Then if He desires to complete His creation, He does so and the angel asks, ‘Is it to be male or female? Wretched or happy? What is its provision? What is its life-span?’ This is all decreed in the mother’s womb.”
XVIII: How menstruating women assume ihram for hajj and ‘umra
313. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “We set off with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on the Hajj of Farewell. Some of us assumed ihram for ‘umra and some for hajj. We reached Makka and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Whoever assumed ihram for ‘umra and does not have a sacrifice should come out of ihram. Whoever assumed ihram for ‘umra and has a sacrifice should not come out of ihram until he has slaughtered his sacrifice. Whoever assumed ihram for hajj should complete his hajj.”
‘A’isha said, “I started to menstruate and continued until the Day of ‘Arafa and I had only assumed ihram for ‘umra. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, commanded me to undo my hair and comb it and to assume ihram for the hajj and abandon the ‘umra. I did that and finished my hajj. Then he sent ‘Abdu’r-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr with me and told me to do an ‘umra, to replace my (missed) ‘umra, from at-Tan’im.”
XIX: The beginning and end of menstruation
Some women used to send ‘A’isha little boxes containing pieces of cotton cloth which still showed some yellowness. ‘A’isha would say, “Do not rush [to do ghusl] until you see white cotton,” meaning by that purity from menstruation.
The daughter of Zayd ibn Thabit was told that the women were asking for lamps in the middle of the night to check their purity. She said, “Women never used to do this,” and criticised them.
314. It is related from ‘A’isha that Fatima bint Abi Hubaysh used to suffer from false menstruation and so she asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who said, “That is only a blood vessel, not menstruation, so when your menstrual period approaches, stop the prayer, and when it finishes, take a bath and pray.”
XX: A menstruating woman should not make up the prayer
Jabir and Abu Sa’id said that the Prophet , may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “She must abandon the prayer.”
315. It is related from Mu’adha that a woman asked ‘A’isha, “Should we make up the prayer when we become clean?” She said, “Are you from Harura’? [i.e. are you a Kharijite? ] When we were with the Prophet, we got our menstrual periods and he did not command us to do that.” (or she said, “We did not do that.”)
XXI: Sleeping with a menstruating woman who is wearing her (special menstruation) clothes
316. It is related from Zaynab bint Abi Salama, “Umm Salama said, “Once while I was with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, under a black woollen cover I started my menstrual period and I slipped away and came out of it and got my menstruation clothes. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to me, ‘Have you started menstruating?” I said. ‘Yes.’ He called to me and I lay down again with him under the cover.”
She related that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to kiss her while he was fasting and [she said], “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and I used to do a ghusl from the same vessel for janaba.”
XXII: Wearing a special garment for menstruation other than the clothes worn during the time of the clean period
317. It is related that Umm Salama said, “Once while I was lying with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, under a black woollen cover I started my menstrual period and I slipped away to get my menstruation clothes. He said, ‘Have you started menstruating?” I said. ‘Yes.’ He called to me and I lay down again with him under the cover.”
XXIII: Menstruating women being present at the two ‘Id festivals and other meetings of the Muslims but staying away from the place of prayer
318. It is related from Ayyub that Hafsa said, “We used to keep our young women from going out for the two ‘Ids. A woman came and stayed at the fortress of the Banu Khalaf and she related that her sister, whose husband had been on twelve expeditions with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and who had herself gone with him on six of them, said, ‘We used to treat the wounded and care for the sick.’ ‘My sister asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “Is there any harm in one of us not going out if she does not have an outer garment?” He said, “Her companion should let her share her outer covering garment and take part in the good actions and gatherings of the Muslims.” When Umm ‘Atiyya came, I asked her if she had heard that from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,and she said, “By my father, yes – whenever she mentioned the Prophet, she always said, “by my father” – I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘Young unmarried women, mature women – or young girls who are veiled – and menstruating women should go out and take part in the good actions and meetings of the believers, but menstruating women should stay away from the place of prayer.'”‘”
Hafsa said, “I said, ‘Menstruating women?’ She said, ‘Do they not attend ‘Arafa, and so on and so on.'”
XXIV: When a woman menstruates three times a month. What should be believed from women regarding menstruation and pregnancy and what is possible regarding menstruation according to the words of Allah, “It is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs.” (2:228)
‘Ali and Shurayh said, “If a woman brings testimony from members of her close family, who are known to be good Muslims, that she menstruates three times a month, she should be believed.”
‘Ata’ said [in case of ‘idda, i.e. waiting period], “Her past menstrual pattern should be taken into account.” Ibrahim also said the same thing.
‘Ata’ said, “Menstruation can last from one to fifteen days.” Mu’tamir said that when his father asked Ibn Sirin about a woman who sees blood five days after the end of her menstrual period, he said, “Women have more knowledge about those things.”
319. It is related from ‘A’isha that Fatima bint Abi Hubaysh said to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “I have persistent bleeding and never become clean. Should I stop praying?” He said, “No, that is due to a blood vessel, not menstruation so stop the prayer for the days when you are menstruating and then do ghusl and pray.”
XXV: Yellow discharge and discoloration outside the days of menstruation
320. It is related from Umm ‘Atiyya, “We did not consider yellow discharge and discoloration to be anything.”
XXVI: A blood vessel being the cause of false menstruation
321. It is related that ‘A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, said, “Umm Habiba suffered from false menstruation for seven years. She asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about that and he told her, ‘This is due to a blood vessel.’ She used to do ghusl for every prayer.”
XXVII: A woman who starts menstruating after the Tawaf al-Ifada
322. It is related that ‘A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, said to the Messenger of Allah,may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “Messenger of Allah, Safiyya bint Huyayy has started menstruating.” He said, “She may well delay us. Did she not do the Tawaf [al-Ifada] with you?” They said, “Yes.” He said (to her), “So you can leave.”
323. It is related that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “A menstruating woman is permitted to leave [before doing the Farewell Tawaf] if she starts menstruating [before doing the Farewell Tawaf]. Ibn ‘Umar used to say at first that she should not leave and then I heard him say, “She can leave since the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, allowed women to do that.”
XXVIII: When a woman who suffers from false menstruation notices that she has become clean
Ibn ‘Abbas said that she should do ghusl and pray, even if the prayer time only has one hour left, and her husband can have sexual intercourse with her when she has prayed, but the prayer is more important.
324. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘When menstruation comes, stop the prayer and when it ends, then wash the blood from yourself, [take a bath] and pray.
XXIX: Doing the funeral prayer over a woman who has died during her period of bleeding after childbirth and the manner of her funeral prayer
325. It is related from Samura ibn Jundub that a woman died during childbirth and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did the funeral prayer over her and stood opposite the middle of her body.
326. It is related from Maymuna, the wife of the Prophet, that when she was menstruating, she did not pray, but she would sit in front of where the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was prostrating while he was praying on his mat. She said, “When he prostrated, some of his clothing would touch me.”
Extract from the Book of “Tijani Women” (Nisa’ Tijaniyyat)
She is the solemn Sharifa, the wonder of her age in the working of miracles, the pulled by God (Majdouba), the confidant of Shaykh Abil Abbas Tijani, may Allah be pleased with him, Lalla Mannana al-Balghitiya named “Shanyoura”.
The Allama Skirej said about her in his book “Kashf al-Hijab ‘aman Talaqa ma’a Shaykh Tijani mina-‘ As’hab” (Raising the Veil on the Direct Companions of Shaykh Tijani):
“God rest her soul, she spouted goodness like a fountain that stirred up her strength in unveiling (mukashafa) and grew her flag in the sky of foulness in the Divine Presence (jadb). In addition to all this, she was seen to be the special friend of Sidi Ahmed ibn Mohammed Bannani that she often went to visit at his house. When the aforementioned jurist went to consult her about joining himself unto the wing of the Tijani Path, she welcomed him with rich blessings and urged him to accept the Path of our Master, may Allah be pleased with him. After all this, and over all the virtues put on the Shaykh, may Allah be pleased with him, which bind herself with him all together in perfect unity, she disclosed to him all day long events of great significance that she witnessed about the Shaykh.
His grandson, the jurist, Sidi Abdessalam, related to me that when his grandfather went to consult this lady on this matter she declared unto him before a sentence was pronounced on her:
“O Sidi Ahmed, you’ve come here to consult me on joining the Path of Sidi Ahmed Tijani, may Allah be pleased with him, and I am now telling you, if you are willing to listen to my advice, to hasten and take (the Path) from him, because he is the Sultan! I learned in my experiences with him what serves as an example for you. Thereupon, one time, and while I was at my house two people called upon me and announced, ‘The Sultan is calling for you!’ So I considered myself fortunate to stand before the sultan Mawlana Sulayman that day [who often sent for her and had immense love for her].
Leaving at once, we went and so we reached Bab al-Futuh [one of the gates of Fez] and came into a camp there. I proceeded to the presence of the Sultan, but, to my surprise, I could not find Mawlana Sulayman. There he was: Our Msater Ahmed Tijani, may Allah be pleased with him! And I did not know who he was before. Amazed, I became silent. So I said no more. The Sultan Sidi Ahmed Tijani looked at me and said: Give us your opinion of this: Is it right to strike the people of Fez who committed such and such and such and such –counting several deeds— with the plague, or not? I said to him: ‘If there is consensus from the contemporary saints and if they are not able to carry this scourge, I shall carry it through!’ He said to me: ‘Would you be able to do that and put up with it”.’ Yes,” answered I.
Wherefore, the Shaykh instructed her to return home. As she entered the gate of the city, she heard the explosion of a cannonball hitting her from the back. She fell upon her face on the ground awhile like a bear robbed of her cubs. Now she was being carried to her house inside a casket. People were able to hear gunpowder explosions inside her body and each time she screamed. She suffered in her body until the scourge lifted the town in peace.’”
This is the conclusion of her hagiography:
“Our lady Shanyoura was present at the funeral of our Master, may Allah be pleased with him. Three days before his death, she broke silence and proclaimed to Sidi Ahmed Bannani and other notables who came to present themselves before her: ‘The sultan shall die after two or three days.’ She was addressed one more during the funeral of our Master, may Allah be pleased with him: “Didn’t you say that the sultan was going die?” “Yes,” she answered, “And Sidi Ahmed Tijani is himself the sultan!” Our Master, may Allah be pleased with him, had often sent his companions to her making inquiry for unveiling sake, and she answered him back with what would appear in front of her. For further information on this noble lady, see the book of “Al-Ifada al-Ahmediya li-Murid Sa’ada al-Abadiya” (The Ahmedi Benefit to the Seeker of Eternal Contentment) of Sidi Tayyeb Sufyani (d. 1259/1844).”
للا منانة البلغيثية
المعروفة بشنيوره، الشريفة الجليلة، ذات الكرامات الشهيرة، كانت معروفة بالجذب، محبة في جناب الشيخ أبي العباس التجاني رضي الله عنه.
قال عنها العلامة سكيرج في كتابه كشف الحجاب عمن تلاقى مع الشيخ التجاني من الأصحاب : وكانت رحمها الله لها قدم راسخ في المكاشفة ، و كان الجذب غالبا عليها في بعض الأوقات، وكثيرا ما كانت تأتي إلى دار صاحب الترجمة [يعني الفقيه سيدي أحمد بن محمد بناني]
ولما ذهب صاحب الترجمة لمشاورتها، قابلته بكلام جميل، وأشارت عليه بالمسارعة لأخذ طريقة سيدنا رضي الله عنه، وصارت تذكر له فضائل سيدنا رضي الله عنه و ما وقع لها معه من الصباح إلى الظهر.
وحدثني حفيده الفقيه السيد عبد السلام، أن جده المذكور لما أتى إلى هذه السيدة ليشاورها في أمره، قالت له قبل أن يخاطبها و لو بكلمة : يا سيدي أحمد جئت تشاورني في الأخذ عن سيدي أحمد التجاني رضي الله عنه ، فإن قبلت نصيحتي فبادر بالأخذ عنه فإنه هو السلطان .
وقد وقعت لي معه قضايا، منها أني كنت يوما جالسة فأتاني مشاوريان فقالا لي : قومي تكلمي السلطان، فظننت السلطان مولانا سليمان، وكان كثيرا ما يرسل إليها و تذهب إليه، وكان يحبها محبة خاصة .
قالت : فذهبت معهما حتى خرجنا على باب الفتوح، أحد أبواب فاس، فوجدت هناك المحلة، فتقدمت إلى السلطان فلم أجده مولانا سليمان، وإنما وجدته سيدي أحمد التجاني رضي الله عنه، ولم أعرفه من قبل، قالت : فصرت أتعجب مما رأيت، ثم قال لي السلطان سيدي أحمد التجاني : ما تقولين أنت في دخول الطاعون إلى هذه المدينة، فإنه لا بد من دخوله لهؤلاء الناس الذين اتصفوا بكذا و كذا، و عدّ جملة فعال.
قال : فلما سمعت منه ذلك قالت له : إذا وقع الإجماع عليه من الأولياء الموجودين ولم يقدروا على حمل هذا البلاء ، فأنا ألقي الباس عن الناس، فقال لها : أوتقدري على ذلك و تتحملي به، فقالت : نعم، فأمرها أن ترجع لمحلها، فلما دخلت على باب المدينة، سمعت من ورائها عمارة بارود فأصابتها، فسقطت على وجهها،
وبقيت ساقطة حتى جاء الناس بالنعش، وحملوها عليه حتى أوصلوها إلى محلها، وكان الناس يسمعون البارود يتكلم فيها وهي تصيح في كل مرة إلى أن قضى الله برفع ذلك البلاء عن هذه البلدة.
إلى أن قال في آخر ترجمتها : و هذه السيدة رضي الله عنها قد حضرت جنازة سيدنا رضي الله عنه، وكانت قبل وفاته بثلاثة أيام أخبرت صاحب الترجمة مع بعض الأفاضل بقولها : إن السلطان بعد يومين أو ثلاثة أيام يموت، ولما حضرت جنازة سيدنا رضي الله عنه قيل لها : أليس قلت إن السلطان سيموت، فقالت : نعم، فهذا هو السلطان.
و كان سيدنا رضي الله عنه يبعث إليها بعض أصحابه، ويسألها عن أمور فتخبره بحقيقة الأمر، انظر الإفادة
She is the mother of Mawlana Shaykh Abil Abbas Tijani, may Allah be pleased with him. Her father is the righteous Friend of Allah Sidi Mohammed ibn Sanusi from the tribe of Sidi Abdellah. As for her mother, she is the female slave of Allah Khadija the daughter of Bu Dawud, from the tribe of Dahs. And both of the tribes are scattered among the people of Ayn Madhi.
The author of the book Jawahir al-Ma’ani said about her: “She is the precious free woman, Our Lady Aisha, the daughter of the master, the noble figure, the majestic Friend of Allah, the owner of abundant blessings and lights, Abu Abdellah Sidi Mohammed ibn Sanusi Tijani al-Madhawi, may Allah enter him into paradise in the shadow of the righteous (abrar) and bestow upon him His gifts and pleasure. She passed away from plague, may Allah be pleased with him, on the same day as her husband. And they were both buried together in Ayn Madhi in the year 1166/1752.”
I came upon a poem that the Allama Sidi Mohammed ibn Mishri (d. 1224/1828) devoted as an elegy to this virtuous lady when he visited her blessed shrine in the year 1196/1782- i.e. thirty years after her passing. And it is the following:
My eyes have shed abundant tears,
For the tear extinguishes a voracious grief.
Obligatory upon the brothers is addiction to crying,
Out of sorrow for the chieftain of pure women.
For her life is the intimacy of hearts and her death
Turned the livers of the lovers painful.
The mother of all virtues, there is not in our time,
At all, anyone who approaches her in precious adornment.
The woman of religion, chastity and bashfulness.
As well as forbearance, beautiful, radiant merits.
The one who fasted and stood at night and was particularized,
With abundant gnosis and knowledges.
She did not leave good works even during weakness,
For she is the one who, glorifies and invokes Allah.
Why does not she obtain pride proclamations? And she is
the one who was pregnant with the pole of the time, the support of the circle!
The spirit of existence and the mercy of the Lord unto
all creation, the one of apparent qualities.
The one of genuine, abundant gemstones in existence;
A scarce commodity in a rare realm.
Triumphant in this life and the next,
She acquired all kinds of happiness!
Oh Lord, rest her soul in peace, and flow upon
her tomb abundant mercy.
Make way for her and make it a garden,
And raise her station at the hereafter!
Make her enter the Firdaws paradise in a grace,
enjoying before the seeing faces.
Next to the people of proximity and satisfaction,
Where she can perceives Your Beauty.
The author of “Minyat al-Murid” has also addressed a poem in gratitude for this noble Lady:
There is no cheerful woman who bore a child
In times past,
Like the mother of our divine Master:
Aicha, the pure, the sheltered women.
Her pride brings her above all women
Because of her son: our Master, the Imam of scholars!
With exception of they who bore the Chosen,
As well as his great Companions.
She bore him in an outstanding appease:
Polite, glorious, and sovereign!
From her husband, the one of earthly nobility,
And of the knowledgeable, religious nobility.
Mohammed the son of al-Mokhtar: the man of chivalry.
The son of the gratified Ahmed: the owner of poise.
The son of the precious man, the Imam and Scholar:
Our Lord Mohammed the son of Salim.
للا عائشة السنوسي
والدة مولانا الشيخ أبي العباس التجاني رضي الله تعالى عنه، والدها هو الولي الصالح سيدي محمد بن السنوسي، من فرقة أولاد سيدي عبد الله، أما والدتها فهي أمة الله خديجة بنت بو داود من فرقة الدهص، وكلا الفرقتين من أهالي عين ماضي،
قال عنها صاحب كتاب جواهر المعاني : هِيَ الحُرَّةُ النَّفِيسَةُ، السَّيِّدَةُ عَائِشَةُ، بِنْتُ السَّيِّدِ الأَثِيلِ، الوَلِيِّ الجَلِيلِ، ذِي البَرَكَةِ الغَزِيرَةِ وَالأَنْوَارِ، أَسْكَنَهُ اللَّهُ مَعَ الأَبْرَارِ، وَوَالَى عَلَيْهِ المِنَّةَ وَالرِّضْوَانَ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ سَيِّدِي مُحَمَّدٍ بِالرَّفْعِ بْنِ السَّنُوسِي التِّجَانِي المَضَاوِي، تُوفِيَتْ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا فِي يَوْمٍ وَاحِدٍ مَعَ زَوْجِهَا بِالطَّاعُونِ، وَدُفِنَا مَعًا بِعَيْنِ مَاضِي بِالتَّارِيخِ المَذْكُورِ.إهـ..أي عام 1166هـ
وقد وقفت على قصيدة للعلامة سيدي محمد بن المشري قالها في رثاء هذه السيدة الفاضلة إبان زيارته لقبرها الشريف عام 1196هـ ــ1782م، أي بعد وفاتها رحمها الله بثلاثين سنة، ونصها :
عينايا صبا أدمعا متكاثرة
فالدمع يطفي مهجة متساعره
حق على الأخوان إدمان البكا
أسفا على ست النساء الطاهره
فحياتها أنس القلوب وموتها
أضحت لأكباد المحبين ظائره
أم الفضائل ما لها في عصرنا
أبدا مدان في خلال فاخره
ذات الديانة والصيانة والحيا
والحلم والشيم الحسان الزاهره
صوامة قوامة قد خصصت
بمعارف وعوارف متوافره
لم تترك الأعمال حتى ضعفها
فهي المسبحة الإله الذاكره
أكرم بها من برة عاشت مدا
لله حامدة طورا شاركه
لم لا تحوز مفاخرا وهي التي
حملت بقطب العصر غوث الدائره
روح الوجود ورحمة المولى على
كل البرية ذو المزايا الظاهره
صدق الجواهر في الوجود بكثرة
صدق اليتيمة في البلال الناذره
سعدت بدنياها وأخراها معا
فقدت بأصناف السعادة ظافره
يا رب روح روحها وأفض على
قبر حواها رحمة متواتره
وافسح لها واجعله رب روضة
وارفع إلهي مقامها في الآخره
وأحلها الفردوس دار كرامة
وتنعم حيث الوجوه الناضرة
بجوار أهل القرب منك والرضى
حتى تكون إلى جمالك ناظره
ولله در صاحب منية المريد إذ يقول في حق هذه السيدة الكريمة :
ما أنجبَت خَودٌ مِنَ الغَوانِي
في كلّ ما مَضى مِن الزَّمان
كمثل أمّ شَيخنا الرَّباني
عائشةَ الطَّاهرةِ الحَصانِ
فمَا لحَّوائِيَّةَ فخْرٌ كما
لَها بشَيخِنا إمامِ العُلما
سِوَى اللَّواتي جئن بالمختار
و حِزبه و صَحبِه الأخيارِ
إذْ أنجَبَت به رِضاً مُسدَّدا
مُهذَّبا ممجَّدا مسوَّدا
مِن بَعلِها ذي الشَّرف الطِّيني
و الشَّرفِ العِلميِّ و الدِّيني
مَحمدٍ نَجْلِ الفتى المختارِ
نجلِ الرضى أحمدَ ذي الفَخار
نجلِ المُفخَّمِ الإمامِ العالِم
سيِّدِنا محمدِ بنِ سالِم
“You should know that Sufism is compliance with the commandment and avoidance of the prohibition, both outwardly and inwardly, for the sake of Allah’s good pleasure, not for your own satisfaction.” – Sidna Shaykh Abil Abbas Tijani (may Allah be pleased with him)
Tasawwuf as it is known in the Muslim world, is Islamic mysticism. Shaykh al-Islam Sidi Ibrahim b. Mohammed Niasse (d. 1394/1975) said in his book, “Kashif al-Albas ‘an Faydat al-Khatm Abi al-‘Abbas” (Removal of the Cloak from the Spiritual Flow of the Seal of the Saints Abi al-Abbas [Tijani]” about the reality of Sufism (Tasawwuf), its ten basic principles, and the source of the method of teaching the remembrances (adhkar),
“Let me say first of all: “Success is achieved with the help of Allah (Exalted is He), for He is the Guide by His grace to the straight path. Where Sufism is concerned, there are ten basic principles to be considered: (1) its definition, (2) its subject matter, (3) its founder, (4) its proper name, (5) its corroboration, (6) its legal status, (7) its propositions, (8) its excellent merit, (9) its relationship with other sciences, and (10) its fruit. As-Sawi said: “It is necessary for every student of an art or science to know and understand its ten basic principles…”
As for its definition, Zarruq (may Allah be well pleased with him) has
said: “Sufism has been defined, described and explained in approximately two
thousand ways, all of them related to the significance of genuine dedication to Allah (Exalted is He). They are only points of view in that regard, for Allah knows best, of course!”
In Iqadh al-Himam, the author states: “Al-Junaid said: ‘It means that the Lord of Truth makes you die to yourself, and causes you to live because of Him.’ He also said: (It means) that you belong to Allah without any attachment. It has been said: ‘(It means) entering into every lofty trait of character, and exiling from every base trait of character.’ It has also been said: (it means) noble traits of character which appeared in a noble time along with noble people.’ It has also been said: (it means) that you do not possess anything, and nothing possesses you.’ It has also been said: ‘(It means) devoting oneself to Allah in accordance with whatever He wishes.’ One of the poets has said:
Sufism is not the wearing of wool (suf) and shabby clothes;
Sufism is rather the excellence of conduct and moral character.
And another has said:
Sufism is not the wearing of clothes that you patch,
nor your shedding tears if the singers sing,
nor crying out loud, nor dancing, nor making music,
nor swooning as if you had become a lunatic.
Sufism is rather your being serene without distress,
and following the Truth, the Quran and the religion.”
In Iqadh al-Himam, after a discussion previously mentioned in part, the author has quoted Sidi Zarruq s commentary on the saying of our Imam Malik (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him): “If someone practices Sufism without acquiring knowledge of jurisprudence (fiqh), he is guilty of atheism (zandaq). If someone acquires knowledge of jurisprudence but does not practice Sufism, he is guilty of moral depravity (fisq). If someone combines the two, he is acting correctly.”
Sidi Zarruq’s commentary reads as follows: ”
(i) The atheism of the first is due to the fact that he professes the doctrine of fatalism (jabr), which entails the negation of wisdom and the rules of law.
(ii) The immoral depravity of the second is due to the fact that his conduct is devoid of the genuine dedication that prevents disobedience to Allah, and of the sincere devotion that is stipulated for all actions,
(iii) The correctness of the third is due to his fulfillment in reality of his essential adherence to the Truth. You must understand that well—”
As for its subject matter, he said: “It is the sublime essence of reality,
because Sufism treats it with a view to revealing its true nature, either by logical proof or by experience and direct witnessing: the former in the case of the seekers, and the latter in the case of those who have arrived.” It has also been said: “Its subject matter comprises the selves, the hearts and the spirits, because Sufism deals with their purification and their education, and because someone who knows himself knows his Lord.”
As for its founder, he is the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him, to whom Allah made it known by means of revelation and inspiration. Gabriel (peace be upon him) came down him firstly with the Sacred Law (Shari’a), then, once it had been established, he came down secondly with the Reality (Haqiqa), so the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used it to motivate some of his Companions rather than others. Of those who spoke of Sufism and demonstrated it in practice, the first was our master Ali (may Allah ennoble his countenance), and from him all the Sufis have received it through their chain of transmission, which is celebrated in their books, with the exception of our master, our patron, our Shaykh and our means of access to our Lord, Abu al-Abbas Ahmed ibn Mohammed Tijani al-Hassani, whom Allah blessed with receiving from the Prophet by word of mouth (mushafahatan), without the mediation
of any of the Shaykhs. Our chain or authority stems from him, as you will discover in this book, with Allah’s permission.
As for its proper name, it is the Science of Sufism, but the experts have held different opinions regarding its derivation. According to the author of Iqadh al-Himam, Shaykh Zarruq said (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him): “Its origin may be attributed to five things: (i) It may be derived from sufa (a manager in charge of the Kaaba in Mecca), because the Sufi has no managerial power in relation to Allah, just like the sufa who has been dismissed, (ii) It may be derived from sufat al-qafa’ (the downy hair in the back of the neck), because of its delicate quality, for the Sufi is just as docile and delicate, (iii) It may be derived from safa’ (quality, virtue), since the term is generally applied to the possession of praiseworthy qualities and the abandonment of Blameworthy characteristics, (iv) It may be derived from safa’ (pure sincerity). This
opinion has been substantiated, so that Abu al-Fath al-Basil (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him) said in poetic verse:
People have disagreed concerning the term ‘Sufi,’
but they have differed due to ignorance,
for they have supposed it to be derived from suf (wool).
I would never give this name to anyone but a stalwart
who sofa (behaved with pure sincerity)
and sufiya (was requited with pure sincerity), so that he came to be called ‘the Sufi.
— This is the most plausible of all points of view, in my own opinion. Allah knows best, of course! — “(v) The fifth possibility is that it may be derived from the suffa (porch) of the freshet’s mosque, which was a shelter for the (homeless paupers called) Ahl as-Suffa, because the Sufi matches the description applied to them by Allah, when He said: And restrain yourself along with those who cry unto their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance— (18:28)—for that is the original source to which everything said about the subject can be traced.”
As for its corroboration (istimdad), it is obtained from the Book, the Sunna, the inspirations of the righteous, and the revelations of the gnostic sages. To meet the need for corroboration, they have incorporated elements of the science of jurisprudence in the science of Sufism, and al-Ghazali has expounded them in four books of I’hya’ Umum ad-Dhin: the Book of the Rites of Worship (Kitab al-‘Ibadat), the Book of Customary Practices (Kitab al-‘Ibadat), the Book of the Causes of Perdition (Kitab al-Muhlikat) and the Book of the Causes of Salvation (Kitab al-MunjiyyatJ.
As for its legal status, al-Ghazali said: “It is fard ‘ayn (a duty incumbent on every individual Muslim),” since no one is free from fault or sickness, except the Prophets (peace be upon them). Shadhili said: “If someone does not become immersed in this science of ours, he will die as one who persists in the major sins, without being aware of his condition.”
As for the conception of its propositions, it is the knowledge and understanding of its technical terms and the words that circulate among the experts, like al-ikhlas (sincerity, sincere devotion), as-sidq (truthfulness, veracity), at-tawakkul (absolute trust), az-zuhd (abstinence; asceticism) al-wara’ (piety, pious caution), ar-rida (contentment, satisfaction; acceptance, approval), at-taslim (submission, surrender), al-mahabba (love, affection), al-fana’ (extinction, annihilation; nonexistence) and al-baqa (survival; perpetual existence), and like ad-Dhat (the essence), as-sifat (the attributes), al-qudra (faculty, power, ability, capacity, capability; (Divine) omnipotence), al-hikma (wisdom), ar-ruhaniya (spirituality) and al-bashariya (humanity, human nature), as well as the knowledge and understanding of the reality of al-hal (the spiritual state), al-warid (mystical inspiration, gift), al-maqam (the spiritual station), and other matters.
As for its excellent merit, it has already been mentioned that its subject matter is the sublime essence of reality, and that is absolutely superb, so the science devoted to it is absolutely superb, since it serves as a guide in its first stage to reverential fear of Allah (Exalted Is He), in its middle stage to dealing with Him, and in its final stage to intimate knowledge of Him and total dedication to Him. That is why al-Junaid said: “If we knew that beneath the surface of the sky there was something more noble than this science, which we talk about with our companions, I would surely have raced toward it!”
Shaykh al-Miqla said (may Allah be well pleased with him) in his book entitled Anwar al-Qulub fi ‘ilm al-Mawahib: “Anyone who believes in this science is included among the elite. Anyone who understands it is included among the elite of the elite. Anyone who expounds it and speaks about it is the star that can never be reached, and the ocean that can never be drained.” Someone else said: “If you see someone who has been enabled to believe in this Spiritual Path, you must congratulate him. If you see someone who has been enabled to understand it, you must be jubilant about him. If you sec someone who has been enabled to speak about it, you must revere him. If you see someone finding fault with it, however, you must flee from him as you would flee from the lion, and stay away from him. There is no science that cannot be dispensed with occasionally, except the science of Sufism, for no one can dispense with it at any time whatsoever.”
As for its relationship with the other sciences, it is comprehensive of them all and a prerequisite for them all, since there is no true science and no good practice without genuine dedication to Allah (Exalted is He), for sincere devotion (ikhlas) is a prerequisite in every case. This is from the standpoint of legal validity, the penalty and the reward. From the standpoint of external existence, the sciences may exist in the superficial sense without Sufism, but they are then defective or of no account. That is why as-Suyuti said: “In relation to the sciences, Sufism is like the science of rhetoric in relation to grammar. That is to say, it provides them with perfection and embellishment.”
According to Shaykh Zarruq (may Allah he well pleased with him): “The relationship of Sufism with the religion is the relationship of the spirit with the body, because it represents beneficence (I’hsan), which Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) explained to Gabriel when he said: “(Beneficence means) that you must worship Allah as if you can see Him”—so it has no meaning apart from that, since it hinges on vigilant awareness after witnessing, or on witnessing after vigilant awareness.”
As for its benefit, it is the education of the hearts and intimate knowledge of the Knower of the Invisible Things (‘Allam al-Ghuyub) or we may say: “Its fruit (thamara) is the munificence of the souls, the well-being of the breasts, and a good-natured disposition toward every creature.”
You should know these facts about this science which we have discussed: It is not mere blabbering with the tongue. Its only contents are spiritual tastes (adwaq) and conscience (wijdan). It cannot be received from written documents. It can only be received from people endowed with spiritual tastes. It cannot be acquired by means of idle talk. It can only be received from the servants of the men of distinction and the companions of the masters of perfection. By Allah, no one who has succeeded has ever succeeded without the companionship of someone who has succeeded. Allah is the Source of enabling grace…!
Out master, our patron and our teacher, Sidi Abil Abbas Tijani (may Allah be well pleased with him) was asked about the reality of Sufism, so he responded (may Allah be well pleased with him) by saying: “You should know that Sufism is compliance with the commandment and avoidance of the prohibition, both outwardly and inwardly, for the sake of Allah’s good pleasure, not for your own satisfaction.”
There is no possibility of achieving this without the companionship of a Shaykh who is a perfect spiritual guide. Allah (Exalted is He) has said: ‘O you who truly believe, fulfill your duty to Allah, and seek the means of access to Him.’ (5:35) The means of access to Allah are many, and one of them is following the Prophet in his words and his deeds, for Allah (Exalted is He) told His Messenger (blessing and peace be upon him): ‘Say: “If you love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you.’ (3:31)—and according to the Sacred Tradition, He said (Exalted is He): And when I love him, I become him.
The means of access also include the companionship of the consummate gnostic sage (al-‘arif al-wasil), for Allah (Exalted is He) has said: ‘And follow the path of him who turns to Me.’ (31:15)—and included among them is the regular performance of the remembrances. Allah (Exalted is He) has said: ‘And restrain yourself along with those who cry unto their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance.’ (18:28)
Among the people of the Spiritual Path, it is well-known that the remembrance which truly benefits its practitioner is the one received from the perfect Shaykhs.
As for the source of the method of teaching the remembrances (adhkar) and the litanies (awrad), it has been reported by Imam Ahmed in his Musnad, with an excellent chain of transmission, and by at-Tabarani and others, that Ya’la ibn Shaddad said: “My father Shaddad ibn Aws told me, in the presence of ‘Ubada ibn as-Samit, who said he was telling the truth: ‘We were together with the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and he asked: “Is there a stranger amongst you?”—meaning one of the People of the Scripture. We said: “No, O Messenger of Allah,” so he ordered the door to be locked, then he said: “Raise your hands and say: ‘There is no god but Allah (la ilaha illa Allah)!’—so we held our hands up for a while, then he said: ‘Praise be to Allah! O Allah, You have sent me with this declaration, You have entrusted me with it, and You have promised me the Garden of Paradise on account of it, and You will not fail to keep the promise!—then he said: Be of good cheer, for Allah has granted you forgiveness!'”
Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani said: “It has been reported by Ahmed with an excellent chain of transmission, and by at-Tabarani.” He also cited this version, which contains sonic additional words “Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) then raised his hands and we raised (ours). Then he said: Lower your hands and be of good cheer, for you have been granted forgiveness!”
Shaykh Yusuf al-Kuzani, well-known as al-‘Ajami, has reported in his Risala that Ali ibn Abi Talib once implored the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), saying:
“O Messenger of Allah, guide me to the nearest of the paths toward Allah (Exalted is He), the easiest of them for His servants, and the best of them in the sight of Allah (Exalted is He)!” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied:
‘O Ali, you must make a constant practice of remembering Allah (Exalted is He) in the places of private retreat!
Ali then asked: “Does this excellent merit of the remembrance depend on its being practiced by all human beings? The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied: ‘O Ali, the Final Hour will not arrive, so long as someone on the face of the earth is saying: “There is no god but Allah!'”
Ali then asked: “So how should I perform the remembrance, O Messenger?” To this he replied (Allah bless him and give him peace):
You must close your eyes and hear it from me three times, then you must say it three times, while I am listening. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) then said: “There is no god but Allah,” three times, closing his eyes and raising his voice, while Ali was listening.
Then Ai (may Allah be well pleased with him) said: “There is no god but Allah” three times, closing his eyes and raising his voice, while the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was listening.”
These two Prophetic traditions have been cited by the author of the Rimah, who states that Ali taught them to al-Hassan al-Basri, then al-Hassan to Habib al- Ajami, then Habib to Dawud at-Ta’i, then Dawud to Ma’ruf al-Karkhi, then Ma’ruf to as-Sari, then as-Sari to al-Junaid. They have been transmitted since then to the masters of spiritual training, (and the process will continue) until whenever Allah wills. They are the source of the method of teaching the litanies (awrad) and the remembrances (adhkar).
As for the necessity of seeking the Shaykh who is a spiritual guide. In the poetic words of the erudite scholar Sidi Ahmed ibn Achir, the distinguished spiritual guide:
(The seeker) must keep company with a Shaykh well-versed in the procedures (al-masalik),
who will protect him from the dangers on his Spiritual Path.
That is because, if you wish to acquire the knowledge and the practice (required on the Spiritual Path), you simply cannot do without him. As for acquiring the benefit of lofty aspiration and the spiritual state, we are told in al-Shamil that Anass said: “On the day when Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) entered Medina, every part of it became radiant, and on the day when he died there, every part of it fell into darkness. Before we had shaken the dust of his burial (Allah bless him and give him peace) from our hands, we had already disowned our hearts.” He clearly meant that the presence of his noble person (Allah bless him and give him peace) was of benefit to them in their hearts, and that is what is referred to as the benefit of lofty aspiration and the spiritual Mate. It is well-known that the religious scholars are the heirs of the Prophets, so the quest for nearness to them is absolutely essential, since they have said: “If someone is affected with a condition that he cannot cure, they will coax him out of it.”
According the author ar-Risala al-Qushayriya: “It is necessary for the seeker to be educated by a Shaykh, for if he has no teacher he will never succeed.” Abu Yazid says: “If someone does not have a teacher, his teacher is Satan.” The following question was put to our master and our teacher, Abul Abbas Ahmed ibn Mohammed Tijani al-Sharif (may Allah be well pleased with him, and may He cause us to benefit by him in this world and the Hereafter): “Is it strictly incumbent on every single individual, or on some but not others, and what is the reason in any case?” His answer (may Allah be well pleased with him) will be presented in full in the relevant chapter (Chapter 3, Section 21).
According to the Shaykh of Shaykhs, the erudite scholar and lordly gnostic sage, Sidi Mokhtar al-Kanti: “As for the reality of the litanies, they are contracts and covenants, which Allah has imposed upon His servants by means of the Shaykhs. If someone reveres the Shaykhs, complies with the contracts and fulfills the covenants, he will therefore be entitled to the benefit of the two abodes (this world and the Hereafter). On the other hand, if someone belittles the Shaykhs and neglects the contracts and the covenants, that will be a cause of his going astray and sinking the ship of his religion. Allah (Exalted is He) has said: 0 you who truly believe, fulfill your contracts! (5:1)— and He has said (Glory be to Him): The most hateful in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do. (61:3) “Among the believers there are men who are true to what they covenanted with Allah. Some of them have paid their vow by death, and some of them are still waiting; and they have not altered in the least; so that Allah may reward the truthful men for their truth, and punish the hypocrites if He will, or relent toward them. Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate. (33:23-4)
This explains why the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) would not engage in any good work without tackling it decisively and persisting in his commitment to it, for that is one of the signs of determination and the perfection of resolve. These Quranic verses have been the sources of the litanies from die time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) until this day of ours. The Prophet said (Allah bless him and give him peace):
If someone would normally perform a litany in connection with n ritual prayer, n fast, or some other religious observance, but he is prevented by a sickness, or a journey, or a bout of senility, he is fully entitled to the reward.
He also said (blessing and peace be upon him): You must venerate the Shaykhs, for the veneration paid to them is part of the reverence due to Allah.”
Sharia, Tariqa, Haqiqa
Sufism stands for the mystical Islamic science and practice in which the faithful seeks to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God. The Concealed Pole Sidna Shaykh Abil Abbas Ahmed Tijani (may Allah sanctify his precious secret) says,
“Oh Seeker on the Path to Allah, Oh the One who yearns for Divine Love and Divine Presence, know that this Path has three stations; Islam (submission), Iman (faith) and Ihsan (perfect adoration). Islam is the worship of Allah, Iman is turning towards Allah and Ihsan is the contemplation of Allah. These three stations represent the various degrees of our pursuit on the Path to Allah, and which correspond to Sharia (the Sacred Laws), Tariqa (the Path) and Haqiqa (the Truth). Knowledge is the result of these three stations because whoever achieves Haqiqa surely arrives at Allah, and he is called Gnostic (‘Arif billah). The word Sharia encloses all stations since it represents every knowledge revealed to us by the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). On this Path, the 1st category of people are those who remains satisfied with the first station and think that it is the only one that exists, thus they are called the adepts of the exoteric dimension (Ahl Dhahir). The second category are those who reached the 2nd station, and thus combine the practice of the Sacred laws (Sharia) and that of the Path (Tariqa). They are called Sufis. The third category includes those who reach the 3rd station, after completing the first two, they are called Gnostics (al-‘Arifin).
When asked on the differences between the Truth (‘haqiqa), the Path (tariqa) and the Sacred Law (Sharia), Sidna Shaykh (may Allah sanctify his precious secret) answered the following,
“The station of truth corresponds to the disappearance of the veils to enable the seeker to contemplate the Divine Presence, which is called contemplation (Mushahada). His knowledge emanates following the contemplation of Allah; the Divine Presence grants the seeker knowledge, secrets, spiritual overflowings, wisdoms, states of certainty and so on. Sometimes, one can notice the knowledge descending upon the servant that he must have during contemplation, concerning good conduct, science of discussion and what he must avoid, what he must bear during these moments, this is the truth of reality (Haqiqat al-Haqiqa). The essence of the Sacred Laws (Sharia) is the set of all obligations, permissible things, and prohibited ones that Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) and His Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) made incumbent upon us in His Book.
Concerning the Path (Tariqa), it is the intermediary station between the sacred Laws (Sharia) and the Truth (Haqiqa). It is essential for those who desire to arrive at the Truth (Haqiqa) and it is different from the Sharia known to the commoners. The following words summarize this station: “The good deeds of righteous (abrar) are the ill deeds of those who are near (muqarrabin)”. The knowledge of the Path (Tariqa) concerns all that strips the servant from His passions, it incites him to abandon self-centeredness, it distends the seeker’s animal soul from seduction, and makes he/she repels whatever is annoying for oneself in order to shelter him under the Will of Allah (Glorified et Exalted is He). The Path teaches us all that bring the servant to live in Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) and to remain in complete/profound Unicity. It also helps us to overcome the ego and leave all competition between our ego and the Divine Essence by taking the seeker to the station of contentment and surrender (ridha wa taslim). The Path incites the seeker to merge himself into the ocean of submission to God; and this defined well the Path and its knowledge”.
Then Sidna Shaykh added: “The Pole through the Haqiqa makes the practice of his Sharia infallible/perfect while he hides his Haqiqa with the Sharia.” Sidna Shaykh had this to add on the subject,
“Know that spiritual opening (fath) and arrival to Allah (al-wusul ila Allah) are reached merely at the hands of the holders of “special authority” (as’hab al-idhn al-khass), similar to the matter of Messengership (risala).There is no opening or unity without such authority, and as such one’s efforts are going in vain (without them). As for he who is attached to Sufi textbooks and took it as a source to reach the Divine Presence, he shall certainly end empty-handed and get in return but exhaustion and failure in reaching the Presence of divine gnosis and eliteness (‘Hadrat al-ma’arif wa al-ikhtisas). As far as reward (thawab) is concerned, he will attain it based on his sincerity (ikhlas). For the signal of receiving openings, however, is to be found only in rectitude (al-istiqama) through continuous obedience (taa’ah); and obedience and worshipful devotion (‘ibadah) are not accessible save through gnosis (ma’arifah). And whoever missed gnosis missed (along with it) all kinds of goodness and benefits.
Then know that worshipful devotion (‘ibadah) is not valid unless it is based on seven elements: i.e. intention (niyya), knowledge (’ilm), gnosis (ma’arifah), law (shari’a), reality (’haqiqa), tradition (sunna) and the Master (shaykh). And the one who worships Allah with niyya and ’ilm but without ma’arifah, surely he is an ignorant of the nature of ma’arifah. And the one who worships Allah with niyya,’ilm and ma’arifah but without shari’a, surely he is an ignorant of the nature of shari’a. And the one who worships Allah with niyya,’ilm, ma’arifah and shari’a but without ’haqiqa, surely he is an ignorant of the nature of ’haqiqa. And the one who worships Allah with niyya,’ilm, ma’arifah, shari’a and ’haqiqa but without sunna, surely he is an ignorant of the nature of sunna. And the one who worships Allah with niyya,’ilm, ma’arifah, shari’a, ’haqiqa and sunna but without the Master, surely he is an ignorant of the nature of Master. And one who worships Allah with niyya,’ilm, ma’arifah, shari’a, ’haqiqa, sunna, and the Master is truly on the right evidence of his Lord. Verily it is the correct method and the straight path and the way of gnostics and method of the righteous and the spring of the drinking of the loving.
It is about that very precise matter that Sidna Shaykh (may Allah sanctify his secret) said:
“Allah is not worshipped for a precise need but for the fact that HE is a deserving God, because of HIS Divine Essence, HIS Character, HIS lofty and praiseworthy Qualities, HIS glorious Names, and it is in those that our noble adoration is based. In the same manner, one should not be with the Shaykh to get earthly goods but thanks to his alliance with him, the disciple can be drawn towards Allah’s alliance”.
اعلم أن الولي لا يأتي قط بشرع جديد و إنما يأتي بالفهم الجديد في الكتاب و السنة الذي لم يكن يعرف لأحد قبله. و اعلم أن العارفين من بحر واحد يغترفون و علومهم نتائج يقين و إيمان لا نتائج دليل و برهان ثم اعلم أن من لم يلق صاحب بصيرة لم تفتح له بصيرة و ليس شيخك من تجعل بينك و بينه عهدا بلسانك و تعتقد مشيخته بجنانك، إنما شيخك من جذبك بقلبك و أخذ بمجامع لبك ونفعتك نظرته وحاطتك همته. وصفة أولياء الله الصالحين العارفين بالله تعالى محبتهم لله تعالى و الجمع عليه و الاستناد في كل شيء و الاستسلام للأقدار و ترك التدبير و الاختيار، عليهم خلعة الحلم و العفو و الستر، رضوا عن الله تعالى في جميع ما يصدر عن عباده في حقهم (تحمل أذى الخلق). قال تعالى” و جعلناهم أئمة يهدون بأمرنا لما صبروا”، إذ لا بد لمن اقتفى آثار الأنبياء من الأولياء و العلماء أن يؤذوا كما أوذوا و يقال فيهم البهتان و الزور كما قيل فيهم ليصبروا كما صبروا و يتخلقوا بالرحمة على الخلق رضي الله عنهم أجمعين وجعلنا في حماهم و رزقنا محبتهم و رضاهم آمين و الحمدلله رب العالمين… النفائس السكيرجية التجانية
Sufism: a History
Sufism consists of a variety of mystical paths that are designed to ascertain the nature of man and God and to facilitate the experience of the presence of divine love and wisdom in the world. Islamic mysticism is called tasawwuf (literally, “to dress in wool”) in Arabic, but it has been called Sufism in Western languages since the early 19th century. An abstract word, Sufism derives from the Arabic term for a mystic, Sufi, which is in turn derived from suf, “wool,” plausibly a reference to the woollen garment of early Islamic ascetics. The Sufis are also generally known as “the poor,” fuqara’, plural of the Arabic faqir, in Persian darvish, whence the English words fakir and dervish.
By educating the masses and deepening the spiritual concerns of the Muslims, Sufism has played an important role in the formation of Muslim society. Opposed to the dry casuistry of the lawyer-divines, the mystics nevertheless scrupulously observed the commands of the divine law (Shari’a). The Sufis have been further responsible for a large-scale proliferation activity (nashr) all over the world, which still continues. Sufis have elaborated the image of the prophet Sidna Mohammed (peace and blessing be upon him) and have thus largely influenced Muslim piety by their Mohammedian mysticism. Without the Sufi vocabulary, Arabic, Persian and other literatures related to it, such as Turkish would lack their special charms. Through the poetry of these literatures mystical ideas spread widely among the Muslims. In some countries like Morocco Sufi Shaykhs were also active politically.
Sufism had several stages of growth, including (1) the appearance of early asceticism (zuhd), (2) the development of a classical mysticism of divine love (mahabba laduniya), and (3) the rise and proliferation of fraternal orders of mystics (turuq). Despite these general stages, however, the history of Sufism is largely a history of individual mystic experience. The first stage of Sufism appeared in pious circles as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad period (76-661/164-749). From their practice of constantly meditating on the Quranic words about Doomsday, the ascetics became known as “those who always weep” and those who considered this world “a hut of sorrows.” They were distinguished by their scrupulous fulfilment of the injunctions of the Quran and tradition, by many acts of piety, and especially by a predilection for night prayers.
The introduction of the element of love, which changed asceticism into mysticism, is ascribed to Sayyida Rabi’a al-‘Adawiya (d. 216/801), a woman from Basra who first formulated the Sufi ideal of a love of God that was disinterested, without hope for paradise and without fear of hell. In the decades after Sayyida Rabi’a, mystical trends grew everywhere in the Islamic world. A number of mystics in the early generations had concentrated their efforts upon tawakkul, absolute trust in God, which became a central concept of Sufism. An Iraqi school of mysticism became noted for its strict self-control and esoteric insight. The Iraqi school was initiated by Sidi al-Harith ibn Asad al-Muhasibi’s (d. 243/828), who believed that purging the soul in preparation for companionship with God was the only value of asceticism. His teachings of classical sobriety and wisdom were perfected by Sidi Abul Qacem al-Junaid of Baghdad (d. 297/882), to whom all later chains of the transmission of doctrine and legitimacy go back.
In an Egyptian school of Sufism, the mystic Sidi Dhu an-Nun (d. 274/859) reputedly introduced the technical term ma’rifa (gnosis), as contrasted to learnedness; in his hymnical prayers he joined all nature in the praise of God. In the Iranian school, Sidi Abu Yazid Bastami (d. 261/846) is usually considered to have been representative of the important doctrine of annihilation of the self, fana’ (extinction); the symbolism of his sayings prefigures part of the terminology of later mystical poets. At the same time the concept of divine love became more central, especially among the Iraqi Sufis. Its main representative is Sidi Abul Hassan an-Nuri (d. 295/880), who offered his life for his brothers.
The first of the theosophical speculations based on mystical insights about the nature of man and the essence of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) were produced by Sidi Sahl Tustari (d. 311/896) and Sidi al-Hakim at-Tirmidhi (d. 313 898). Sidi Sahl Tustari was the master of Sidi Hussein ibn Mansur al-Hallaj (d. 309/894), who has become famous for his phrase ana al-haqq, “I am the Creative Truth” (often rendered “I am God”), which was later interpreted in a pantheistic sense but is, in fact, only a condensation of his theory of huwa huwa (“He He”): God loved himself in his essence, and created Adam “in his image.” Sidi Hallaj was executed in 407/922 in Baghdad as a result of his teachings; he is, for later mystics and poets, the “martyr of Love” par excellence, the enthusiast killed by the theologians. His few poems are of exquisite beauty; his prose, which contains an outspoken Mohammedian mysticism is as beautiful.
Sufi doctrine was in these early centuries transmitted in small circles. Some of the Shaykhs, Sufi mystical leaders or guides of such circles, were also artisans. In the fourth/tenth century, it was deemed necessary to write handbooks about the tenets of Sufism in order to ease the growing suspicions of the orthodox; the compendiums composed in Arabic by Sidi Abu Talib al-Makki (d. 386/971), Sidi Sarraj, and Sidi Kalabadhi in the late fourth/tenth century, and by Sidi Abul Qacem al-Qushayri (d. 467/1052) and, in Persian, by Sidi Hujviri in the fifth/eleventh century reveal how these authors tried to defend Sufism and to prove its orthodox character. It should be noted that the mystics belonged to all schools of Islamic law and theology of the times.
The last great figure in the line of classical Sufism is Sidi Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d. 526/1111), who wrote, among numerous other works, the Ihya’ ‘ulum ad-din (“The Revival of the Religious Sciences”), a comprehensive work that established moderate mysticism against the growing theosophical trends and thus shaped the thought of millions of Muslims. His younger brother, Ahmad al-Ghazali, wrote one of the subtlest treatises (Sawanih; “Occurrences” [i.e. stray thoughts]) on mystical love, a subject that then became the main subject of Persian poetry.
Slightly later, turuq, mystical orders (fraternal groups centring around the teachings of a shaykh-founder) began to crystallize. The seventh/thirteenth century, though politically overshadowed by the invasion of the Mongols into the Eastern lands of Islam and the end of the ‘Abbasid caliphate, was also the golden age of Sufism: the Andalusian Sidi Muhyiddin ibn Arabi (“Shaykh al-Akbar,” d. 636/1221) created a comprehensive theosophical system (concerning the relation of God and the world) that was to become the cornerstone for a doctrine of “Unity of Being.” According to this doctrine all existence is one, a manifestation of the underlying divine reality. His Egyptian contemporary Sidi Ibn al-Farid (d. 650/1235) wrote the finest mystical poems in Arabic. Two other important mystics, who died 635/1220, were a Persian poet, Sidi Farid ad-Din ‘Attar, one of the most fertile writers on mystical topics, and a Central Asian master, Sidi Najmuddin Kubra, who presented elaborate discussions of the psychological experiences through which the mystic adept has to pass.
The greatest mystical poet in the Persian language, Sidi Jalaluddin ar-Rumi (d. 688/1273), was moved by mystical love to compose his lyrical poetry that he attributed to his mystical beloved, Shamsuddin of Tabriz, as a symbol of their union. Sidi Jalaluddin ar-Rumi’s didactic poem Mathnawi in about 26,000 couplets—a work that is for the Persian-reading mystics second in importance only to the Quran—is an encyclopaedia of mystical thought in which everyone can find his own spiritual meaning. Sidi Jalaluddin ar-Rumi inspired the organization of the whirling dervishes—who sought ecstasy through an elaborate dancing ritual, accompanied by superb music. His younger contemporary Sidi Yunus Emre inaugurated Turkish mystical poetry with his charming verses that were transmitted by the Bektashiya order of dervishes and are still admired in modern Turkey.
At that time, the basic ideals of Sufism permeated the whole world of Islam; and at its borders as, for example, in India, Sufis largely contributed to shaping Islamic society. Later some of the Sufis in India were brought closer to other models of mysticism by an overemphasis on the idea of divine unity which became almost monism—a religio-philosophic perspective according to which there is only one basic reality, and the distinction between God and the world (and man) tends to disappear. The syncretistic attempts of the Mughal emperor Akbar (d. 1020/1605) to combine different forms of belief and practice, and the religious discussions of the crown prince Dara Shukoh (executed for heresy, 1074/1659) were objectionable to the orthodox (Ahl Sunna).
Typically, the countermovement was again undertaken by a mystical order, the Naqshbandiya, a Central Asian fraternity founded in the eight/fourteenth century. Contrary to the creed of the school of wahdat al-wujud (“existential unity of being”), the later Naqshbandiya defended the wahdat ash-shuhud (“unity of vision”), a subjective experience of unity, occurring only in the mind of the believer, and not as an objective experience. Sidi Ahmed Sirhindi (d. 1039/1624) was the major character of this order in India. His stands of sanctity were surprisingly daring: he considered himself the divinely invested master of the universe. His refusal to concede the possibility of union between man and God (characterized as “servant” and “Lord”) and his sober law-bound attitude gained him and his followers many disciples, even at the Mughal court and as far away as Turkey. In the eleventh/eighteenth century, Shah Sidi Wali’Allah of Delhi was connected with an attempt to reach a compromise between the two inimical schools of mysticism; he was also politically active and translated the Quran into Persian, the official language of Mughal India. Other Indian mystics of the same century, such as Sidi Mir Dard, played a decisive role in forming the newly developing Urdu poetry.
In the Maghreb, among the most successful groups is the Shadhiliya Sufi order founded by the Moroccan Qutb, Sidi Abul Hassan Shadhili (d. 656/1241); its main literary representatives, Sidi Ahmed Ibn Ata’Allah Sakandari (d. 709/1294), wrote sober aphorisms (Hikam); the legendary Sidi Ahmed al-Busairi Sanhaji (d. 694/1279), famous for his two great poems in praise of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), the Mantle (al-Burda) and the Hamziya, both of which are recited every year on the Prophet birthday; in addition to Sidi Abdennour Amrani al-Fasi (b. 685/1270), Sidi Ahmed Ibn Abbad ar-Rundi al-Fasi (d. 792/1377), Sidi Mohammed Wafa (d. 765/1350), and Sidi Abdelwahhab Sha’arani (d. 980/1565).
Simultaneously, many interesting mystical authors are found in the Sharifian State of Morocco. Known for its al-Qarawiyyine University and concentration on Maliki jurisprudence, Morocco has produced some of the marvellous Sufi mystical treaties in prose and poetry. They include Kitab Shifa bita’rif huquq al-Mustapha (The Antidote in knowing the Rights of Chosen Prophet) of Sidi Abul Fadl Qadi Iyyad Sabti (d. 544/1129), a tradition-based treatise that promotes the veneration of Sidna Mohammed (peace and blessing be upon him) as the universal archetype of humanity; Kitab Dalail al-Khayrat (The Proofs of Goodness) of Sidi Mohammed ibn Slimane Jazouli (d. 869/1454), a manuscript of strong formulas on showering prayers upon the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him); Kitab Qawa’id at-Tasawwuf (Principles of Sufism) of Sidi Ahmed Zarruq al-Fasi (d. 899/1484); and Kitab Ad-Dahab al-ibriz min kalam sayyidi Abdellaziz (The Pure Gold from the Sayings of Sidi Abdellaziz Debbarh; d. 1132/1717) by Sidi Ahmed ibn Mubarak al-Lamti Sijilmasi (d. 1156/1741), remains an important text for the Sufis being placed third on their list of all-time Sufi classics after only Ibn Ata’Allah’s Hikam and al-Ghazali’s Ihya ulum ad-din.
The influence of the mystical orders in the thirteenth/nineteenth century did not recede; rather new orders like Tijaniya (after Mawlana Abul Abbas Ahmed Tijani; d. 1230/1815 in Fez), the Darqawiya (after Moulay al-Arbi Darqawi; d. 1239/1824 in Bu Brih, Morocco), the Idrissiya (after Sidi Ahmed ibn Idriss al-Fasi; d. 1252/1837 in Sabya, Yemen), and the ‘Ayniya (after Sidi Mohammed Maa’ al-Aynayn; d. 1325/1910 in Tiznit, Morocco) came into existence, and most literature was still tinged with new mystical manifestations and expressions; e.g. Kitab Jawahir al-ma’ani wa-bulugh al-amani fi fayd Sidi Abil al-Abbas at-Tijani (Gems of Indications and Attainment of Aspirations in the Overflowings of Sidi Abil Abbas Tijani), the source for teachings of the Known Mohammedian Seal, Sidi Ahmed Tijani; and Kitab Bughtayt al-murid (The Goal of the Disciple) of Sidi Mohammed ibn al-Arbi Sayeh (d. 1309/1894).
This influence continued to thrive in the fourteenth/twentieth century through the wonderful literature of the Qadirite Sidi Mohammed Maa’ al-Aynayn and his son Sidi Ahmed al-Hiba ibn Ma’ al-Aynayn (d. 1336/1921); the Shadhilite Sidi Mohammed ibn Jaafar Kattani (d. 1345/1930), Sidi Ahmed ibn Aliwa (d. 1349/1934 in Mostaghanam, Algeria) and Sidi Mohammed al-Mokhtar Susi (d. 1378/1963); and the Tijanite figures Sidi Mohammed ibn Moussa Hamdawi Slawi (d. 1328/1908), Sidi Mhammed ibn Mohammed Genoun (d. 1326/1911), Sidi al-Hassan al-Ba’aqili (d. ), and the wonder of the age, Sidi Ahmed Skirej al-Fasi (d. 1366/1940 in Marrakech). This latter is credited alone with composing about 140 books, which dealt with varying matters (Sufism, theology, astronomy, astrology, philosophy).
Political and social reformers in some Islamic countries have often objected to Sufism because they have generally considered it as backward, hampering the free development of society. Yet, the political influence of the orders is still palpable. Such modern Islamic thinkers as the living Moroccan thinker, legist, and Sufi, the Idrissid Sharif, Sidi Mohammed Radi Genoun, has attacked these social reformers and have gone back to the classical ideals as regenerated by his Shaykh Mawlana Ahmed ibn Mohammed Tijani. The activities of modern Muslim mystics in the cities are mostly restricted to spiritual education.
Though a prophetic saying (Hadith) states that “he who knows God becomes silent,” the Sufis have produced a literature of impressive extent and could defend their writing activities with another Hadith: “He who knows God talks much.” The first systematic books explaining the tenets of Sufism date from the firth/tenth century; but earlier, Sidi al-Harith al-Muhasibi (d. 243/828) had already written about spiritual education, Sidi Hussein ibn Mansur al-Hallaj (d. 309/894), had composed meditations in highly concentrated language, and many Sufis had used poetry for conveying their experiences of the ineffable mystery or had instructed their disciples in letters of cryptographic density. The accounts of Sufism by Sidi Abul Abbas Sarraj and his followers, as well as the tabaqat (hagiographical works) by Sidi Abu Abderrahman as-Sulami (d. 412/1021), Sidi Abu Naim al-Isfahani (d. 430/10315), and others, together with some biographies of individual masters, are the sources for knowledge of early Sufism.
Early mystical commentaries on the Quran are only partly extant, often preserved in fragmentary quotations in later sources. With the formation of mystical orders, books about the behaviour of the Sufi in various situations became important, although this topic had already been touched on in such classical works as Adab al-muridin (“The Disciples’ Etiquette”) by Sidi Abu Najib as-Sahrawardi (d. 563/1148), the founder of the Sahrawardiya order and uncle of Sidi Shihabudin Omar as-Sahrawardi (d. 632/1217), the author of ‘Awarif al-ma’arif (“The Well-known Sorts of Knowledge”). The theosophists had to condense their systems in readable form; Sidi Muhyiddin ibn Arabi’s (d. 636/1221) al-Futuhat al-Makkiya (“The Meccan Revelations”) is the textbook of wahdat al-wujud (God and creation as two aspects of one reality); his smaller work on the peculiar character of the prophets—Fusus al-hikam (“The Bezels—or cutting edges—of Wisdom”)—became even more popular.
Later mystics commented extensively upon the classical sources and, sometimes, translated them into their mother tongues. A literary type that has flourished especially in India since the seventh/thirteenth century is the malfudhat, a collection of sayings of the mystical leader, which are psychologically interesting and allow glimpses into the political and social situation of the Muslim community. Collections of letters of the shaykhs are similarly revealing. Sufi literature abounds in hagiography, either biographies of all known saints from the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) to the day of the author, or of saints of a specific order, or of those who lived in a certain town or province, so that much information on the development of Sufi thought and practice is available if sources are critically sifted.
The greatest contribution of Sufism to Islamic literature, however, is poetry—beginning with charming, short Arabic love poems (sung for a mystical concert, sama’) that express the yearning of the soul for union with the beloved. The love-relation prevailing in most Persian poetry is that between a man and a beautiful youth; less often, as in the writings of Ibn Arabi and Ibn al-Farid (d. 650/1235), eternal beauty is symbolized through female beauty (layla). Long mystic–didactic poems were written to introduce the reader to the problems of unity and love by means of allegories and parables. After Sana’i’s (died 546/1131) Hadiqat al-haqiqa wa shari’at at-tariqa (“The Garden of Truth and the Law of Practice”), came al-‘Attar’s Manteq at-tayr (“The Birds’ Conversation”) and Rumi’s Masnavi-ye ma’navi (“Spiritual Couplets”). These three works are the sources that have furnished poets for centuries with mystical ideas and images. Typical of Sufi poetry is the hymn in praise of God, expressed in chains of repetitions.
The mystics also contributed largely to the development of national and regional literatures, for they had to convey their message to the masses in their own languages. In the Maghreb the first true religious poetry was written by Sufis such as Sidi Abul Fadl ibn Nahwi (d. 513/1098), Sidi Abu Madyan al-Ghawt (d. 594/1179, Sidi Abul Hassan Shushtari (d. 668/1253), who blended classical Islamic motifs with inherited popular legends and used Arabic and popular (i.e. jazal) metres. Sufi poetry expressing divine love and mystical union through the metaphors of profane love and union often resembled ordinary worldly love poetry; and nonmystical poetry made use of the Sufi vocabulary, thus producing an ambiguity that is felt to be one of the most attractive and characteristic features of Arabic literatures. Sufi expressions; exemplified in the work of Sidi Mohammed al-Harraq (d. 1261/1846), Sidi Mohammed b. Ahmed Akansous (d. 1294/1879), Sidi al-Hussein al-Ifrani al-Hassani (d. 1328/1913), Sidi Mohammed b. Yahya Blamino (d. 1333/1918), and al-Qadi Sidi Ahmed b. al-‘Iyyashi Skirej (d. 1366/1940) permeated the hearts of all those who hearkened to poetry. The latter figure is best remembered for his work, Onset of Limpidness adjacent to the Antidote (Mawrid Safa bi-Muhadat Shifa) that converts al-Qadi Iyyad’s Kitab Shifa into poetry.
Sufi doctrine and practice
The mystics drew their vocabulary largely from the Quran, which contains all divine wisdom and has to be interpreted with ever-increasing insight. In the Quran, mystics found the threat of the Last Judgment, but they also found the statement that God “loves them and they love him,” (yuhibbuhum wa yuhibbunahu) which became the basis for mahabba mysticism. Strict obedience to the religious law (Shari’a) and the Sunna of the Prophet Sidna Mohammed (peace and blessing be upon him) were basic for the mystics. By rigid introspection and mental struggle the Sufis tried to purify his baser self from even the smallest signs of selfishness, thus attaining ikhlas, absolute purity of intention and act. Tawakkul (trust in God) was sometimes practiced to such an extent that every thought of tomorrow was considered irreligious. “Little sleep, little talk, little food” were fundamental; fasting became one of the most important preparations for the spiritual life.
The central concern of the Sufis, as of every Muslim, was tawhid, the witness that “There is no god but Allah.” This truth had to be realized in the existence of each individual, and so the expressions differ: early Sufism postulated the approach to God through love and voluntary asceticism until a unity of will was reached; Imam Abul Qacem Junaid (d. 297/882) spoke of “recognizing God as He was before creation”; God is seen as the One and only actor; He alone “has the right to say ‘I’.” Later, tawhid came to mean the knowledge that there is nothing existent but God, or the ability to see God and creation as two aspects of one reality, reflecting each other and depending upon each other (wahdat al-wujud).
The mystics realized that beyond the knowledge of outward sciences (‘ilm dhahir) intuitive knowledge was required in order to receive that illumination to which reason has no access. Dhawq, direct “tasting” of experience, was essential for them. But the inspirations (ilhamat) and “unveilings” (kushufat) that God grants such mystics by special grace (fadl) must never contradict the Quran and Sunna and are valid only for the person concerned. Even the Malammatis (people of blame), who attracted public contempt upon themselves by outwardly acting against the Shari’a, in private life strictly followed the divine commands. Mystics who expressed in their poetry their disinterest in, and even contempt of, the traditional formal religions never forgot that Islam is the highest manifestation of divine wisdom.
The idea of the manifestation of divine wisdom was also connected with the person of the prophet Sidna Mohammed (peace and blessing be upon him). Though early Sufism had concentrated upon the relation between God and the soul, from the third/ninth century onward a strong Mohammedian mysticism developed. In the very early years, the alleged divine address to the Prophet—“If thou had not been I had not created the worlds”—was common among Sufis. Sidna Mohammed (peace and blessing be upon him) was said to be “Prophet when Adam was still between water and clay.” Sidna Mohammed (peace and blessing be upon him) is also described as light from light, and from his light all the prophets are created, constituting the different aspects of this light. In its fullness such light radiated from Sidna Mohammed (peace and blessing be upon him) and is partaken of by his posterity and by the saints.
A mystic is also known as wali. By derivation the word wali (“saint”) means “one in close relation; friend.” The awliya (plural of wali) are “friends of God who have no fear nor are they sad.” Later the term wali came to denote the mystics who had reached a certain stage of proximity to God (qurb), or those who had reached the highest mystical stages (maqamat). Woman saints are found all over the Islamic world. The mystics have their “seal” (i.e., the last and most perfect personality in the historical process; with this person, the evolution has found its end—as in Sidna Mohammed’s case), just as the prophets have. Sidi Abul Hassan Ali Harazem Berrada (d. 1212/1797) reports in Kitab Jawahir al-Ma’ani that his Shaykh Sidi Abul Abbas Ahmed ibn Mohammed Tijani (d. 1230/1815) announced himself as the “Seal of the Sufi Masters” (khatm al-Awliya) in the historical cycle, that the spiritual overflowings (fuyud) which descended from the Presence (al-‘Hadra) of Sidna Mohammed (peace and blessing be upon him) were distributed through him over the whole span of the history of the world. Thus his disciples were ordered not to visit living saints or the tombs of dead ones. Sufis were also commanded to leave other orders they were members of, as the Tijaniya in itself summed up all the other orders.
The invisible hierarchy of awliya consists of the 40 abdal (substitutes; for when any of them dies another is elected by God from the rank and file of the saints), seven awtad (stakes, or props, of faith), three nuqaba’ (leader; one who introduces people to his master), headed by the qutb (axis, pole), or ghawt (succour)—titles claimed by many Sufi leaders. The advanced mystic was often granted the capacity of working miracles called karamat (charismata or graces); not mu’jizat (that which men are unable to imitate), like the miracles of the prophets. Among them are “cardiognosia” (knowledge of the heart), providing food from the unseen, presence in two places at the same time, and help for the disciples, be they near or far. In short, a saint is one “whose prayers are heard” and who has tasarruf, the power of materializing in this world possibilities that still rest in the spiritual world. Many great awliya, however, considered miracle working as a dangerous trap on the path that might distract the Sufi from his real goal.
The path (tariqa) begins with repentance (tawba). A mystical guide (shaykh) accepts the seeker as disciple (murid), orders him to follow strict ascetic agenda, and suggests certain formulas for meditation. It is said that the disciple should be in the hands of the master “like a corpse in the hand of the washer.” The master teaches him the jihad al-akbar (the real “Holy War”) against the lower soul (nafs). The mystic dwells in a number of spiritual stations (maqam), which are described in varying sequence, and, after the initial repentance, comprise abstinence (zuhd), detachment (tajrid), and poverty (faqr)—according to the Prophetic saying, “Poverty is my pride”; poverty was sometimes interpreted as having no interest in anything apart from God, the Rich One (Al Ghani), but the concrete meaning of poverty prevailed, which is why the Sufis are often denoted as “poor,” fuqara. Patience (sabr) and gratitude (shukr) belong to higher stations of the path, and consent is the loving acceptance of every affliction.
On his way to illumination (tanwir) the wali will undergo such changing spiritual states (hal) as constriction (qabd), expansion (bast), fear (khawf) and rapture (sa’ada), joy (nashwa) and longing (shawq), which are granted by God and last for longer or shorter periods of time, changing in intensity according to the station in which the mystic is abiding at the moment. The way culminates in ma’rifa (gnosis) or in mahabba (love), the central subject of Sufism since the third/ninth century, which implies the station of union (wusul), and was therefore violently rejected by the orthodox, for whom “love of God” meant simply obedience. The pre-final goal is fana’ (annihilation), primarily an ethical concept of annihilating one’s own qualities, according to the prophetic saying “Take over the qualities of God,” but slowly developing into a complete extinction of the personality. Many awliya taught that behind fana’ where the self is completely effaced, the baqa’, (“subsistence or life in God”) is found: the ecstatic experience, called intoxication, is followed by the second sobriety” (sa’hw). The wali has reached haqiqa (realty), after finishing the tariqa, which is built upon the Shari’a. Later, the disciple—of Shadhili, Khalwati, Naqshabadis, Qadiri order—is led through to fana’ fi Shaykh (annihilation in the master), or — in the case of the Tijanis and saints of Tariqa Mohammediya—fana’ fi-r-Rasul (“annihilation in the Prophet”) before reaching, if at all, fana’ fi-Allah (“annihilation in God”), out of which arises a new kind of existence (baqa’, literally “remaining”) in full consciousness.
At several points throughout Kitab Ad-Dahab al-Ibriz (The Pure Gold), Moulay Abdellaziz Debbarh (d. 1132/1717) emphasises the importance of fana’ in Sidna Mohammed (peace and blessing be upon him) until the daylight vision (mushahadat an-Nabi yaqadatan) of his Noble Dat for any disciple who wishes to attain true knowledge of God,
If he attains the witness (mushahada) of the Prophet while awake (yaqadatan), he is secure from Satan’s deceit, because he is united with (li-jtima’ihi m’a) the mercy of God, who is our Lord and Prophet and Master, Sidna Mohammed (peace and blessing be upon him). Thus his meeting with the Noble Body (ad-Dat Sharifa) is the cause of his knowledge of the Real (al-Haqq) and his witness of His Eternal Essence (ad-Dat al-Muqaddasa), because he finds that the Noble Body is absent (ghaiba) in the Real, enraptured (faniya) in witnessing Him. The saint, by the blessing of the Noble Body, remains attached to the Real and increases in his knowledge of Him Almighty little by little until he attains witness (mushahada) and the secrets (asrar) of mystical knowledge and the light of love.
One of the means used on the Sufi path is the ritual prayer, or dhikr (invocation; remembrance), derived from the Quranic injunction “And remember God often” (62:10). It consists in a repetition of either one or all of the most beautiful names of God (al-Asma’ al-‘Husna), of the Name “Allah” (al-Ism al-A’adham or al-Ism al-Mufrad) or of a certain religious formula, such as the profession of faith (shahada or al-haylala): “There is no God but Allah” (La ilaha illa Allah). The rosary (sub’ha) with 100 beads was in use as early as the eight/fourteenth century for counting the thousands of repetitions. Man’s whole being should eventually be transformed into remembrance of God. In the mid-third/ninth century some mystics introduced sessions with music and poetry recitals (sama’) in Baghdad in order to reach the ecstatic experience—and since then debates about the permissibility of sama’, filling many books, have been written.
Besides the wayfarers (salik) on the path, there are also the so-called majdhub (fools of God) who are often persons generally agreed to be more or less mentally deranged. There are also Sufis who have no master but are attracted solely by divine grace; they are called Uwaysi, after Sidi Uways al-Qarani, the Yemenite contemporary of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) who never saw him but firmly believed in him. Khadirian Sufism was the Moroccan equivalent of the Uwaysi in the East. The Moroccan founder of this school is the Idrissite sharif Moulay Abdellaziz ibn Masoud Debbarh (d. 1132/1717). His doctrinal transmission (silsila) went directly to the Prophet through the mysterious Sidna al-Khadir, bypassing the authentic Sufi masters.
The divine truth was at times revealed to the mystic in visions, auditions, and dreams, in colours and sounds, but to convey these nonrational and ineffable experiences to others the mystic had to rely upon such terminology of worldly experience as that of love and intoxication—often objectionable from the orthodox viewpoint. The symbolism of wine (khamra), cup (al-kas), and cupbearer (as-saqi), first expressed by Sidi Abu Yazid al-Bastami in the third/ninth century, became popular everywhere, whether in the verses of the Andalusian Shushtari, or the Egyptian Ibn al-Farid, or the Persian Iraqi, or the Turk Yunus Emre, and their followers. The hope for the union of the soul with the divine had to be expressed through images of human yearning and love. The love for lovely boys in which the divine beauty manifests itself—according to the alleged Hadith “I saw my Lord in the shape of a youth with a cap awry”—was commonplace in Persian poetry. Union was described as the submersion of the drop in the ocean, the state of the iron in the fire, the vision of penetrating light, or the burning of the moth in the candle (first used by Hallaj).
Worldly phenomena were seen as black tresses veiling the radiant beauty of the divine countenance. The mystery of unity and diversity was symbolized, for example, under the image of mirrors that reflect the different aspects of the divine, or as prisms colouring the pure light. Every aspect of nature was seen in relation to God. The symbol of the soulbird—in which the human soul is likened to a flying bird—known everywhere, was the centre of ‘Attar’s Mantiq at-tayr (“The Birds’ Conversation”). The predilection of the mystical poets for the symbolism of the nightingale and rose (the red rose = God’s perfect beauty; nightingale = soul; first used by Baqli; d. 621/1206, stems from the soul-bird symbolism). For spiritual education, symbols taken from medicine (healing of the sick soul) and alchemy (changing of base matter into gold) were also used. Many descriptions that were originally applied to God as the goal of love were, in later times, used also for the Prophet, who is said to be like the “dawn between the darkness of the material world and the sun of Reality.”
Allusions to the Quran were frequent, especially so to verses that seem to imply divine immanence (God’s presence in the world), such as “Whithersoever you turn, there is the Face of God” (2:109), or that God is “Closer than your neck-vein” (50:8). The verse 7:172—i.e., God’s address to the uncreated children of Adam (“Am I not your Lord” [alastu birabbikum])—came to denote the pre-eternal love relation between God and man. As for the prophets before Sidna Mohammed (peace and blessing be upon him), the vision of Sidna Moussa (“Moses”, peace upon him) was considered still imperfect, for the mystic wants the actual vision of God, not His manifestation through a burning bush. Sidna Ibrahim (“Abraham”, peace upon him), for whom fire turned into a rose garden, resembles the mystic in his afflictions; Sidna Yusuf (“Joseph “, peace upon him), in his perfect beauty, the mystical beloved after whom the mystic searches. The apocryphal traditions used by the mystics are numerous; such as “Heaven and earth do not contain me, but the heart of my faithful servant contains Me”; and the possibility of a relation between man and God is also explained by the traditional idea: “He (God) created Adam in His image.”
La grande ablution
La grande ablution (ghusl) consiste à laver tout le corps avec de l’eau pure, en versant cette eau sur l’ensemble du corps et les cheveux. Qu’est-ce qui invalide les grandes ablutions ? Les grandes ablutions sont obligatoires dans les cas suivants: 1. L’éjaculation due au désir (même suscité par l’imagination). 2. En cas de contact entre les parties génitales de l’homme et de la femme, même sans éjaculation, la grande ablution est obligatoire. 3. En cas de rêve érotique chez l’homme comme chez la femme, la grande ablution est obligatoire si les vêtements ou les draps ont été mouillés. Par contre, si aucune trace n’est trouvée à son réveil sur ses vêtements ou ses draps, il n’y a pas lieu d’effectuer la grande ablution. En effet, « l’eau nécessite l’eau », comme le dit le ahadith. Par contre, si une telle trace est trouvée à son réveil alors que la personne n’a pas rêvé, la grande ablution doit tout de même être effectuée. 4. Lorsqu’une femme a eu ses règles puis est de nouveau pure, elle doit effectuer la grande ablution. 5. Une femme qui a accouché doit effectuer la grande ablution quarante jours après son accouchement. Si elle cesse d’avoir des pertes sanguines avant la fin de ces quarante jours, elle effectuera la grande ablution et se purifiera sans attendre la fin des quarante jours. 6. Lorsqu’une personne se convertit à l’islam, il lui est demandé d’effectuer la grande ablution après avoir déclaré sa conversion. Comment effectuer la grande ablution ? Après avoir préparé l’eau ou être entré dans la salle de bains avec l’intention de se purifier de la souillure majeure, la sunna est de se laver d’abord trois fois les mains, puis de se laver les parties génitales avec de l’eau. Puis on effectue les ablutions comme pour la prière, en omettant seulement de se laver les pieds qui seront lavés après avec le reste du corps. On verse ensuite trois fois le contenu du creux de la main d’eau sur sa tête en faisant pénétrer cette eau avec les doigts jusqu’à la racine des cheveux. Puis on se verse de l’eau sur le reste du corps en prenant soin que l’eau mouille bien tous les endroits du corps. Il est recommandé de se passer les mains sur le corps en faisant cela, à l’exception des parties naturelles. On peut également effectuer la grande ablution en se plongeant totalement dans une rivière ou dans l’eau, dès lors qu’on formule l’intention préalable et qu’on effectue les ablutions avec rinçage de la bouche et du nez. Il en est de même pour la douche prise dans une salle de bains. Après s’être passé de l’eau sur tout le corps, on se lave les pieds pour terminer, puis on se sèche en remerciant Dieu pour ce bienfait. Remarque Il convient de se cacher des regards lorsqu’on effectue la grande ablution, sauf si on est seul dans une pièce ou si on est plongé dans l’eau, de sorte que les parties intimes ne soient pas visibles. Lorsqu’on effectue la grande ablution ou les ablutions ordinaires, il n’est pas permis de gaspiller l’eau même si l’on se trouve au bord d’un fleuve. L’islam l’interdit afin que les gens ne s’habituent pas au gaspillage : celui qui gaspille obéit au Démon et désobéit au Miséricordieux qui nous enjoint d’être économes et respectueux envers la nature.
All praises are due to Allah. We praise Him, seek His Help, and ask for His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil in our souls and from our sinful deeds. Whoever Allah guides, no one can mislead. Whoever Allah leads astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah. I also bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.
Without a doubt, one issue that is often on the minds of Muslims in the West is that of insurance. Indeed, one could argue that it is easy for a Muslim living in a non-Islamic society, like that of the United States where the Islamic community is not very strong and the social welfare system is virtually absent, to feel that he is driven by necessity to accept the concept of commercial insurance. However, such a feeling is no excuse for not seeking the Shareeah ruling concerning insurance and abiding by what the Shareeah decrees.
The space limitations of this paper are quite restrictive. Thus, many important issues will have to be dealt with briefly or not at all.However, the core points regarding insurance are discussed. Beyond that, this paper attempts to deal with the question of insurance within the specific social environment of the United States. The author hopes to shed some light on issues that he has not found discussed in detail in any of the relevant literature concerning insurance.
Insurance is a relatively modern phenomenon. For this reason, it is not directly dealt with in the texts of the Quran or Sunnah. In fact, many authors note that ibn Abideen, the famous Hanafi scholar of greater Syria who died in 1252 A.H./1836 C.E., was the first to discuss a version of the modern form of insurance, concluding that it is not permissible.Since his time, the question of insurance has been taken up by a number of scholars. Since there are no direct texts concerning it, insurance is a matter of ijtihaad (juristic reasoning). Hence, it is expected that there may be some differences of opinion on this issue. However, that does not mean that a clear conclusion and ruling cannot be made, concerning which the Muslim will feel truly at rest with what he has found.
In this researcher’s view, the beginning point in the fiqhi analysis of insurance is to clearly conceptualize the nature of insurance and to identify what type of contract an insurance contract is. Indeed, it has been the lack of clarity on this point that has led to much confusion concerning the legality of insurance. In fact, Abu al-Basl noted that the entire difference of opinion concerning insurance revolves around the question concerning the nature of the insurance contract and industry. Explicitly he stated, “The jurists differ concerning the description and make-up of the insurance contract. The difference in description and make-up leads, obviously, to the difference in the ruling.”
In the books of fiqh, one can find rules for up to thirty specific types of contracts. These include the following basic and essential nominate contracts: sale, rent, commissioned manufacture, gift, loan, endowment, guarantee, partnership and so on. Note that these contracts may be also be divided into mutually onerous contracts, contracts of charity or gratuitous benefits, contracts of investment and so on. The default and most important type of contract is that of “the sale” or al-bai, in whose light many of the rules of other types of contracts are judged. This bai or “sale transaction” is defined in the Mejelle as “to exchange property for property.”
Concerning the definition of insurance, for the purpose of analysis here, Miller and Jentz’s definition should suffice. They define insurance as, “A contract in which, for a stipulated consideration, one party agrees to compensate the other for loss on a specific subject by a specified peril.”
From this definition, one can seek to answer the question: The insurance contract should be considered what type of contract? This question is of extreme importance because different types of contracts have different rulings for them. For example, if a Muslim wanted to exchange money with the intention of a business transaction or profit, that exchange must be done on the spot, with the exchange of monies taking place immediately. This immediate exchange is a condition for this type of transaction (money exchange, whether the money be of the same or different type). However, if a Muslim wants to give another Muslim some money as a loan, with the intention of helping him out, the condition of a spot exchanged is now dropped (as the debtor is allowed to pay the money back later). This condition is dropped because this is considered a “contract” of a charitable nature. Hence, the rules it is subjected to differs from the rules for money exchange, sales and so forth.
Therefore, it is of extreme importance to determine the nature of the insurance contract in order to determine its ruling. For example, can it be considered simply a modern and new type of transaction subject to its own rules? Can it be considered a contract of charity from a “mutual institution”? Or is it simply another type of “sale transaction,” wherein one commodity is exchanged for another, which is the default case concerning mutually onerous financial transactions?
Is Commercial Insurance to be Considered Mutual Support and a Contract of a Charitable Nature?
Among those scholars who argue for the legality of commercial insurance in Islam, there are some who argue that commercial insurance is a new type of contract, being a blend between a charitable contract and a business contract and some who argue that it is purely a charitable type of contract. This is a common conceptualization among Muslim writers. Ma’sum Billah wrote, for example, “The primary objective of insurance is to create mutual co-operation between two parties.” Since this argument is widespread among some people and may even be convincing to some, it is important to discuss it in detail. Furthermore, this view may greatly affect the contract category in which one will place the insurance contract.
First, it must be realized and clear that a contract being “beneficial” to both parties does not imply that it is a charitable contract or one of mutual support. In fact, it is expected that virtually every business transaction will bring about some benefit to both parties. That is why they both enter into that contract freely. Hence, that is not the standard by which a transaction is to be judged. If that were the case, even deposits with interests in commercial banks would be considered permissible, as the deposit helps the bank and the interest the bank pays helps the depositor. But if the contract violates the principles of the Shareeah, it would be considered forbidden even if the two parties to it may believe or think that it is beneficial.
Second, it is not true that insurance companies or buying insurance policies implies any kind of mutual work, assistance or support. In reality, as al-Shaadhili noted, the real motive behind such policies is simply to avoid the possibility of future harm and to reduce one’s risk. These, in themselves, may be acceptable goals but they must be met within the limits of what is permissible.It is well-known that the insured person puts forth wealth (money) in the form of premiums. It is inconceivable that any insurance company would ever give anyone any form of payment without receiving a signed contract and payment from them first. Therefore, the Board of Leading Scholars of Saudi Arabia stated that the insurance contract is “a mutually onerous contract in which each party receives something in exchange for what it has given… Hence, the attributes of being a charitable contract are negated in the insurance contract.” Indeed, Blanchard mentioned in his classic work on insurance, “The insurer is not operating a charitable institution.”
In fact, most insurance companies do not make small profits off of their individual and small clients. Instead, they make large profits, to the point that some textbooks recommend not taking insurance unless one truly fears he cannot bear the cost of a loss. Beatty and Samuelson wrote, “If you can afford the loss yourself, it is better not to purchase insurance. About half of every dollar that consumers spend on insurance is paid back in claims; the other half goes to the company’s profits and overhead.” (This can explain how is it that some insurance companies are very large and very profitable.)
Thus, in reality, the insurance industry is a commercial industry whose goal is to make profits. Instead of considering them a charitable or mutual institution, as some Muslim authors have stated, they should be seen as a company that is taking advantage of humans’ greatest weaknesses and fears. (These types of fears and weaknesses are even greater for those people who do not have a strong belief in God and the Hereafter.) Insurance companies realize this fact and exploit this fundamental weakness of their fellow humans. Mishkin and Eakins explain this process well,
Insurance companies make a profit by charging premiums that are sufficient to pay the expected claims on the company plus a profit. Why do people pay for insurance when they know that over the lifetime of their policy, they will probably pay more in premiums than the expected amount of any loss they will suffer? Because most people are risk averse: They would rather pay a certainty equivalent (the insurance premium) than accept the gamble that they will lose their house or their car.Furthermore, insurance companies use their large advertising budgets to convince humans that they are greatly in need of such insurance and that peace of mind will truly come to them if they are properly and completely insured. In reality, they are taking advantage of people’s fears to further their own agendas and gain profits. This is actually a blameworthy practice much more than it could ever be considered a praiseworthy practice.
Finally, while doing research for his Ph.D. dissertation on insurance, Thunayaan interviewed a number of Western authorities in the U.S.A., England and Germany. He found that none of them shared the concept that insurance companies are some kind of charitable institutions or mutual societies. He concluded that this view of insurance companies is not much more than the imagination of some Muslim scholars who have been convinced that insurance is good. Al-Dhareer further states that most people who deal with insurance companies today feel that they are exploitative companies whose goal is only profit by taking advantage of the needs of the people.
There is yet another point that this author has not seen anyone note. This is the issue of the insured. In general, it can be argued that the insured himself is also not entering the insurance contract on a mutual or charitable basis. Instead his goal, unless he feels he is forced to have the insurance, is simply to shift the burden of future expenses from himself to someone else. He does not necessarily care how the insurance company is doing, as long as they are able to pay his claim. He also does not care how the other policyholders of his insurance company are faring. His hope may also be to make money off of the insurance company or at least save money by dealing with them instead of financing his own burdens. (One can even question why a Muslim would not want to face his own burdens himself rather than thrusting them on the shoulders of others.)
In conclusion, not only is the insurance contract not a type of charitable contract but, in reality, it has nothing in common with a charitable contract. Hence, it is neither a charitable contract nor a new type of contract that has some aspects of charity in it. One can still argue that it is a new type of contract unprecedented in the history of Islam. However, as the Board of the Leading Scholars of Saudi Arabia pointed out, it still can be fitted under the general principles of contracts and the overall goals of the Shareeah with respect to business transactions. Thus, the insurance contract has little in common with any form of contract in Islam except the mutual onerous contracts and the principles of sales and, hence, it has to meet the general criteria of such contracts.
Conditions for the Validity of Mutually Onerous Contracts
Al-Zarqa, one of the leading proponents of the legality of insurance, stated, “The fact that insurance is a new contract outside of the realm of the old contracts does not prevent it from being permissible if it does not contain anything that contradicts the general shareeah conditions of the system of contracts.”
According to many scholars, the basic ruling concerning any new type of contract is that of permissibility. However, this only means that if there is no sign that the contract should be considered void, then it should be considered permissible. Hence, in Islamic contract theory, there is a detailed discussion of what the contract must consist of as well as what the contract must be avoid. The matters that should be avoided include jahaalah, gharar, riba and qimaar. If any one of these factors is found in a contract, the contract, depending on the extent to which they are present, may be rendered null, void and impermissible.
It is these four concepts of jahaalah, gharar, riba and qimaar in particular that have led the majority of Muslim scholars to declare modern commercial insurance impermissible. Due to space limitations, only gharar and riba, perhaps the two most important concepts, will be discussed here. Before preceding, however, it is important to note that the goal of the Shareeah concerning such monetary contracts seems to be clear: a proper balance between the two contracting parties and a elimination of uncertainties that can give lead to illicit gains by either party. This is the true justice in business dealings according to the divinely inspired Shareeah.
The Aspect of Gharar (غرر)
Imam Muslim records in his Sahih:
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ نَهَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَنْ بَيْعِ الْغَرَرِ
“On the authority of Abu Hurairah who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade ‘sales of speculative nature’ (bai al-gharar).” Al-Bukhari and Muslim record,
عَنْ ابْنِ عُمَرَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَهَى عَنْ بَيْعِ الثَّمَرِ حَتَّى يَبْدُوَ صَلاحُهَا نَهَى الْبَائِعَ وَالْمُبْتَاعَ
“On the authority of ibn Umar who said that ‘the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prohibited the sale of fruits until their ripeness and freedom from disease were apparent. He prohibited both the seller and the buyer.’” Commenting on a hadith with similar meaning, al-Nawawi explained why the prohibition was for both the seller and the buyer. He wrote, “As for the seller, it is because he is wanting to devour wealth wrongfully. As for the buyer, it is because he is in accord with him on this forbidden act and because he is [possibly] wasting his wealth while wasting wealth has been prohibited.”
From these hadith and others, there is a consensus among jurists that an overwhelming presence of gharar or uncertainty renders a business contract null and void. Such transactions are ones in which the probability of one or both of the parties being wronged is great. Concerning the meaning of this concept of gharar, Rayner states,
The Shari’a determined that in the interests of fair, ethical dealing in commutative contracts, unjustified enrichment should be prohibited. This policy precludes any element of uncertainty or risk (Gharar). In a general context, the unanimous proposition of the jurists held that in any transaction, by failing or neglecting to define any of the essential pillars of contract relating to the consideration or the object, the parties undertake a risk which is not indispensable for them. This kind of risk was deemed unacceptable and tantamount to speculation due to its inherent uncertainty. Speculative transactions with these characteristics are therefore prohibited…
Although such contracts are prohibited by the Shareeah, due to their speculative or risky nature and hence the possibility of making gains from such transactions, they can be very alluring to individuals. Thus, ibn al-Atheer, going back to the lexical meaning of the term, says, “Al-Gharar is that concerning which its apparent component is preferable but its non-apparent component is disliked to the person. Hence, its apparent component entices the buyer while its non-apparent component is unknown.”
According to ibn Juzay, examples of gharar transactions include:
(1) “Ignorance of the price and uncertainty about the existence of the object.”
(2) “Uncertainty about the price of the object and about its characteristics, as in the example of the sale of cloth in a shop without any specification about its quality or price.”(3) “Uncertainty related to difficulties of delivery.”
(4) “Uncertainty about the existence of the object, as in the case of a sickly animal.”
Concerning the issue of insurance, there does not seem to be too much difference of opinion concerning the presence of gharar (“risk, uncertainty”) in insurance contracts. Indeed, by definition, it is a contract concerning risk and how to remove the harms of future risks. The buyer (policyholder) pays premiums, yet he is completely in the dark as to whether he will have to resort to this premium in the future and receive any money or reimbursement from his insurance company. In the case of a safe driver, for example, he may premiums for years and years and never once file a claim. And if his car does get damaged one day, he does not know how the insurance company will value his car or its damages and what amount they will pay him.
Even the insurance company itself has no certainty with respect to any individual contract it enters into. It is true that they apply statistics and the law of large numbers to “ensure” that the premiums they receive will almost certainly cover any future claims made against them. Hence, they greatly reduce their own risk on a large scale. However, that does not deny the fact that the individual contract also contains risk for the insurance company. There is no principle in Islamic law that this author is aware of that states that gharar is overlooked in a single contract if numerous such contracts greatly reduce the presence of such risk. (If such a principle existed, then even the gambling industry would have to be allowed. The gambling industry—much better than the insurance industry—can “guarantee” that the house will get a certain percentage of the stakes and even makes sure that the players get a certain percentage of winnings to make sure they are enticed to come and play).
In fact, insurance companies are well aware of the possibility of them not being able to pay out all of the claims against them. That is why insurance companies obtain reinsurance, as the risk that they face is still great due to possibility of unforeseen circumstances (such as the breakout of certain diseases, extremely harsh weather leading to a very large number of car accidents and so forth). Furthermore, the “law of large numbers” does not protect against great losses if each individual statistic is a large investment, say in the millions. (This is the fact that the reinsurance companies have to deal with.)
Thus, the presence of gharar in the insurance contract cannot be rationally denied. However, the debate could be over the extent of its presence. The jurists have divided gharar into three categories: (1) that risk which is minimal, impossible to avoid in almost any type of contract and not affecting the validity of a contract; (2) that risk which is great and therefore unacceptable, voiding the contract; (3) that risk which is of an intermediate nature—leading some scholars to categorize it under (1) above and others to categorize it under (2) above. The Jurists state that gharar is to be overlooked when it is a small amount, it is not intended and there is no necessity to engage in it.
The Board of the Leading Scholars of Saudi Arabia stated,
The gharar of insurance is definitely not minimal. It is either of a great or intermediate nature. The weightier view is that it is great. This is because one of the essential components of the insurance contract, without which it cannot exist, is risk. Risk is the possible event that does not depend on the wills of either party. Insurance is not permissible except on a future possibility that is not definite to occur. Hence, gharar is a necessary component of the insurance component and one of its specific characteristics by which it is distinguished. This places it among the gharar that is prohibited.
Commenting on the hadith quoted above prohibiting gharar sales, Al-Baaji stated, “The meaning of ‘sale of a speculative nature’ –and Allah knows best—is what has a lot of gharar in it and predominates it, to the point that the sale becomes described as a sale of a speculative nature. This is the type concerning which there is no difference that it is prohibited.” Al-Baaji’s statement applies to insurance contract because, by definition, such predominant gharar must be present. “An insurance contract must have an element of contingency—that is, the event insured against must be possible but not certain to occur in a given period of time and must be substantially beyond the control of either insured or insurer.” Indeed, contract law considers insurance an aleatory promise. Calamari and Perillo describe this in the following words,
An aleatory promise is conditional on the happening of a fortuitous event, or an event supposed by the parties to be fortuitous. Thus an insurance company’s promise to pay a sum of money in the event of fire or other casualty supplies consideration for the insured’s payment of a premium even if no casualty occurs… [T]he promise is aleatory; it constitutes consideration because it is conditional on a fortuitous event not within the total control of the promisor.
As can be seen in Comair-Obeid’s discussion, gharar (speculation, risk, uncertainty) is one of the most prominent aspects in many aleatory contracts.
This point alone may be sufficient to consider insurance forbidden under Islamic law.
The Aspect of Riba (ربا)
One of the well-known great sins is the taking or paying of riba (interest).Indeed, any Muslim familiar with the numerous texts censuring riba would undoubtedly do his best to avoid any trace of riba. For example, Allah has said in the Quran,
)الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ الرِّبَا لَا يَقُومُونَ إِلَّا كَمَا يَقُومُ الَّذِي يَتَخَبَّطُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ مِنَ الْمَسِّ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا الْبَيْعُ مِثْلُ الرِّبَا وَأَحَلَّ اللَّهُ الْبَيْعَ وَحَرَّمَ الرِّبَا فَمَنْ جَاءَهُ مَوْعِظَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّهِ فَانْتَهَى فَلَهُ مَا سَلَفَ وَأَمْرُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَمَنْ عَادَ فَأُولَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ (275) يَمْحَقُ اللَّهُ الرِّبَا وَيُرْبِي الصَّدَقَاتِ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ كَفَّارٍ أَثِيمٍ (276) إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآَتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ لَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ (277) يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَذَرُوا مَا بَقِيَ مِنَ الرِّبَا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ (278) فَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا فَأْذَنُوا بِحَرْبٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَإِنْ تُبْتُمْ فَلَكُمْ رُءُوسُ أَمْوَالِكُمْ لَا تَظْلِمُونَ وَلَا تُظْلَمُونَ (البقرة 275-279)(
“Those who devour interest will not stand [on the Day of Judgment] save as he arises whom the devil has deranged by (his) touch. That is because they say, ‘Trade is just like interest,’ whereas Allah has permitted trading and has forbidden interest. He unto whom an admonition from his Lord comes, and (he) refrains (in obedience thereto), shall keep [the money of] that which is past, and his affair (henceforth) is with Allah. As for him who returns (to interest), such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein forever. Allah destroys interest and gives an increase for charity. Allah loves not every disbelieving, sinner. Truly, [as for] those who believe, perform righteous deeds, establish the prayer and pay the zakat, their reward is with their Lord. No fear shall come upon them neither shall they grieve. O you who believe! Observe your duty to Allah, and give up what remains (due to you) in interest, if you are (in truth) believers. And if you do not, then be informed of a war from Allah and His messenger. But if you repent, then you have your principal [without interest]. Do not wrong [others] and you shall not be wronged” (al-Baqarah 275-279).
Among the other numerous Quranic and hadith texts concerning interest is the following:
عَنْ جَابِرٍ قَالَ لَعَنَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ آكِلَ الرِّبَا وَمُؤْكِلَهُ وَكَاتِبَهُ وَشَاهِدَيْهِ وَقَالَ هُمْ سَوَاءٌ (رواه مسلم)
Jaabir stated, “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) cursed the taker of interest, its giver, its recorder and its two witnesses. They are all alike.” (Recorded by Muslim.) In this important hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) one sees that the giver and the receiver as well as those who assisted in this forbidden contract are all equally sinful and have all been cursed by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
Numerous scholars have argued that the insurance contract contains a clear element of riba. To understand this argument fully, one must consider what is the “object” of the insurance contract (محل عقد التأمين أو المعقود عليه). In a mutually onerous transaction, one person gives up some form of wealth in exchange for something that is also of value. The policyholder pays premiums, that is the form of wealth that he is giving up. What, though, is the object of the contract that he is getting in exchange for his payment of money? Many who consider insurance legal argue that he is paying money in exchange for “security and peace of mind.” Two questions then arise: Is that a valid “object of contract” in Islamic law? And, if that is not valid, what then must be seen as the “object of contract” in insurance?
There are certain conditions that a possible “object” must meet in order for the transaction to be considered a valid and binding transaction. These conditions include the following: (1) legality, (2) existence, (3) the property of being deliverable and (4) precise determination.
Can “security and peace of mind” possibly meet these criteria for a valid object of a financial contract? Undoubtedly, this very subjective object does not meet the criteria for the object of a financial contract. Al-Dhareer wrote,
[Al-Zarqa argues that] what is exchanged for the premiums is security. That is, the object of the contract in insurance is security. This argument is supported by neither fiqh nor law. As is obvious, security is the motivating factor behind the insurance contract. But the object of the contract is what each of the insured and the insurer pays or it is what one of them pays. If we were to say that security is the object of the contract, then the insurance contract would be void from both a legal and a fiqh perspective. It is from the accepted premises in both [secular] law and fiqh that the object of the contract must be something possibly deliverable. If the object is not so possible, the contract is void. It is self-evident that security in an insurance contract is not something possibly bound to.Indeed, “security” is not something that passes from one of the contracting parties to the other nor is it a usufruct or effort that one is exerting and deserving a wage for.
From a contract and business perspective, what one truly gets in return for premium payments is simply money and nothing else. Fabozzi, et al., probably said it best when they began their discussion of insurance companies by saying, “Insurance companies are financial intermediaries that, for a price, will make a payment if a certain event occurs.”
This is problematic, to say the least. This means that the insurance contract is nothing more than an exchange of money for money, which an element of chance and risk being present. Islamic law strictly regulates the exchange of money for money. Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
الذَّهَبُ بِالذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةُ بِالْفِضَّةِ وَالْبُرُّ بِالْبُرِّ وَالشَّعِيرُ بِالشَّعِيرِ وَالتَّمْرُ بِالتَّمْرِ وَالْمِلْحُ بِالْمِلْحِ مِثْلاً بِمِثْلٍ سَوَاءً بِسَوَاءٍ يَدًا بِيَدٍ فَإِذَا اخْتَلَفَتْ هَذِهِ الأَصْنَافُ فَبِيعُوا كَيْفَ شِئْتُمْ إِذَا كَانَ يَدًا بِيَدٍ (رواه مسلم)
“Gold for gold, silver for silver, wheat for wheat, barley for barley, dates for dates and salt for salt [must be] the same amount for the same amount, equal for equal, hand to hand. If these genus differ, you may trade them as you wish if they are hand to hand.” This hadith makes it clear that money exchanges must be done hand to hand and, if the money is of the same genus, the amounts must be equal. If this condition is not met, one has fallen into riba. In fact, in insurance contracts, it is possible for someone to fall into both riba al-fadhl (interest via an increase payment) and riba al-nasee`a (interest via a delay in a payment that is required to be hand-to-hand). The amount that one receives (directly or indirectly) from the insurance company, if one ever does receive something from them, will be equal to, less than or greater than the premium payments that the policyholder has paid over time to the insurance company. If the policyholder receives more money than he has paid the insurance company, this is riba al-fadhl. In the very unlikely scenario of the two amounts being equal, the exchange of money was not hand to hand and hence the two parties have been involved in riba al-nasee`a.
Again, in the case of insurance, with respect to the commodity that is actually exchanged, one is truly only exchanging money for money at a later date depending on some unpredictable event. This author cannot see how such an exchange cannot be envisioned as anything other than one involving interest.
Al-Qari takes a different approach. He argues that those who have written about insurance have failed to recognize its true object. After agreeing that insurance is a mutually onerous contract, he argues that the object of the insurance contract is “liability to compensate” and not the compensation payments that are received. The insured, therefore, pays a fixed payment in exchange for this liability or obligation to be compensated in the case of specific types of harm. Thus, the object of the contract exists whether or not the insurance company ever has to compensate the insured. And since the insurance company is relying on “the law of large numbers,” there is virtually no speculation on its part either. He later states that in this way it is therefore similar to al-kifaalah or al-dhamaan (contract of guaranty or surety). In fact, what he has described is nothing but a contract of guaranty.
However, the scholars have noted that insurance cannot be considered analogous to the contract of guaranty for a number of reasons.One of the reasons is that the guarantor cannot take any form of payment for the guaranty. If such payment is stipulated, the contract is voided. Secondly, the guarantor is considered secondary to the one who receives such a guaranty. In other words, in case of a debt, the creditor seeks his money first from the debtor and only when the debtor cannot pay will the creditor turn to the guarantor for payment.
In fact, logically speaking, when one takes into consideration what is al-dhamaan (financial surety), it has to be a charitable type of contract. Otherwise, one is paying money for money, which is interest. Secondly, one is paying for a surety concerning something that may or may not happen. This is nothing but gharar and jahaalah again. Hence, the only way such a contract could be within the limits prescribed by the Shareeah—given that the Shareeah would not allow a mutually onerous contract that clearly violates the principles of mutually onersous contracts—is if it were moved to the category of charitable contracts, wherein it is not paid for and the aspects of gharar and jahaalah can be overlooked. Thus, the “liability to compensate” is not an acceptable object of a mutually onerous contract—and al-Qari agrees that the insurance contract is a mutually onerous contract.
There is another important issue that is related to the practices of the contemporary commercial insurance companies. This concerns how they invest their money and where they get part of their funds to pay off any claims. It is true, as al-Zarqa and many others have argued, that this point has nothing in essence to do with the insurance contract per se. In other words, an insurance company that is void of this criticism can easily be envisioned. However, at times, when discussing a particular contemporary topic, one has to move from a theoretical level to the practical reality, so that the reader knows what actually applies to the situation that he is facing. This is especially true if one is discussing the ruling of insurance in a non-Islamic country such as the United States or other countries of the West.
Madura has discussed the assets of insurance companies and where they invest their money, using data from the 1999 Life Insurance Fact Book. Analyzing the data with respect to life insurance companies, one can see that 74% of their funds are invested in clearly forbidden ways, all involving interest (corporate bonds, government securities, mortgages and policy loans). Another 21% are invested in stocks, which must be considered doubtful since one cannot determine whether such stocks are Islamically acceptable or not. Only 5% are invested in real estate or are made up of assets, such as
policy payments. The graphical representation of this data, as shown in Figure 1, renders the data more clearly. The use of funds by property and casualty insurance companies is even more dramatic from an Islamic perspective. 77% of their funds are invested in clearly forbidden means, all involving interest (different types of bonds). 20% is invested in common stock, which again, must be considered questionable. And only 2% form “other.” Figure 2 is a graphical presentation of these investments.
As this author admits above, this criticism has nothing to do with the insurance contract per se and hypothetically this problem could be avoided. However, the truth of the situation is that a Muslim who buys insurance from Western commercial insurance companies is, in reality, giving his money to a company and asking that company to return that money (and, most likely, more) if certain events occur. The Muslim should realize that that company is going to invest that money in ways that are Islamically unacceptable. It is partially through those unacceptable means that the policyholder will be receiving his money back. In other words, instead of the Muslim investing the money himself in forbidden ways, he simply gives it to another person (“a financial intermediary,” the insurance company) and allows him to do those forbidden acts with his own money, with the intention that he will benefit from it when the necessary time comes. It does not seem that a Muslim should be pleased with this arrangement. If, as the above hadith states, the witness and the recorder of the interest transaction are accursed, what must be the case of the person who knowingly gives money to another to invest in interest bearing accounts virtually on his behalf? It is almost akin to the case of selling grapes to an individual when the seller knows that the buyer is going to make alcohol out of those grapes. Regardless of the legal ruling concerning that case as stated by many of the scholars, no individual Muslim should feel innocent in front of Allah when he has contributed to the performance of a forbidden act. Allah says,
(وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ)
“Help one another in righteousness and piety—and do not help one another in sin and transgression” (al-Maaidah 2).
Other Problematic Matters
Gharar and riba are two aspects that are unavoidable in contemporary commercial insurance. By themselves, they should be enough to render the judgment that such contracts are impermissible in Islamic law. However, there are yet other matters that are problematic with the insurance contract which would render it void in an Islamic contract. These include gambling, wagering, unknown quantity, taking on responsibility that is not sanctioned by the Shareeah and so on. Space limitations here do not allow this author to discuss those aspects in detail but they provide further support for the opinion that commercial insurance is forbidden.
Do the Need and the Benefits Override the Prohibited Aspects?
Even given all of the unacceptable aspects of the commercial business contract, one could argue that the general need and overriding benefits of such a contract make it permissible. Although he did not discuss insurance in particular, Abu Sulaimaan argues that the true fiqh of business contracts are based on need and necessity. Abu Sulaimaan writes, “Most of the financial contracts in the Hanafi school are based on necessity. They are permitted in contradiction to analogy.” (Although it is not possible to discuss this topic here in detail, it is important to note that such a view about these business transactions cannot be considered the strongest view. Ibn Taimiyyah, in particular, has refuted this view in detail. He stated, for example, “It is not a condition for a sound, balanced analogy that its soundness be known to all. If someone sees something of the Shareeah that differs from analogy, it actually only differs from the analogy that he has structured in his own mind. At the same time, though, it is not contradicting confirmed, sound analogy.”)
In any case, though, sometimes relying on the views of early Hanafi scholars, many contemporary scholars, such as al-Sanhoori and al-Zarqa, have argued that even though insurance involves gharar, the overriding need for insurance makes such a contract permissible. They argue that insurance developed and continues to be resorted to because it fulfills a general need and is part of the public interest. Due to this overriding benefit, insurance must be considered permissible even if it is argued that it violates some of the principles of a business contract. They argue that without resorting to this type of business contract, Muslims will be forced into a situation of hardship and difficulty. This need makes it similarly to a necessity that is considered permissible according to Islamic law. Al-Zarqa argues that the early respected scholars, taking into consideration the broader, magnanimous principles of the Shareeah, stated that the droppings of livestock was not to be treated as impure for the people of the village and bedouins, since there was no way for them to avoid such droppings without undue hardship. Al-Zarqa rhetorically asks about what those scholars would say if they would today see the great need for insurance and the hardships found in avoiding it.
Al-Misri argues that those who consider insurance permissible are those that consider the economic benefits of insurance while those who consider it forbidden fail to consider those important benefits.Although there are such possible benefits to insurance, one has to weigh the costs too. Simply finding something beneficial does not render an action permissible. Hence, Allah has stated about wine and gambling,
(يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ قُلْ فِيهِمَا إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثْمُهُمَا أَكْبَرُ مِنْ نَفْعِهِمَا)
“They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, ‘In both is great sin, and (some) benefits for mankind; but the sin of them is greater than their benefits’” (al-Baqarah 219). The verse clearly states that there is some benefit to both wine and gambling. However, the mere presence of some beneficial aspect is not the overriding issue. The question is whether its harm or sin is greater than its benefit or vice-versa. Thus, the important point is that the overriding benefit (as seen in the light of Islamic goals and directives) outweighs the harm involved.
Furthermore, the ends cannot justify the means. In other words, even if the overall benefits or goals of investment are aspects respected or consistent with the Shareeah, the steps that one takes to fulfill those otherwise permissible goals must be first determined to be legal—unless one is in a constrained case of necessity, which shall be discussed later.
Some of the benefits from insurance can include:
(1) The preponderance and popularity of insurance companies has led to a great concentration of wealth in the hands of the insurance companies. These insurance companies are profit driven. Thus, they in turn invest that wealth in the economy. In other words, it is a way of tapping savings and making sure that those savings do not sit idle but are indeed invested for the betterment of society.
(2) Since people are risk averse, it is difficult to get many of them to invest in large projects, risking a great deal of their money. If they are protected against any loss, it will be easier to encourage them to invest in larger projects. Without such a protection, those large projects may not be undertaken. Especially in contemporary times and in particular in developing countries, the need for larger and massive investments is great. Without contemporary forms of insurance, many of these types of investments would not be undertaken. Hence some writers even claim that modern civilization as it is known today cannot come about save through modern forms of insurance. Siddiqi wrote, “The present system of wealth-creation and the present level of civilization is simply inconceivable without recourse to insurance. The absence of insurance is bound to lead to a lowering of the level of wealth-creation and to the decline of civilization.”(3) The willingness for individuals to invest together will also be increased if they feel that their investments are somehow guaranteed against loss. This is where investment can once again increase the propensity to invest.
(4) “Because insurance is available and affordable, banks can make loans with the assurance that the loan’s collateral (property that can be taken as payment if a loan goes unpaid) is covered against damage. This increased availability of credit helps people buy homes and cars. Insurance also provides the capital that communities need to quickly rebuild and recover economically from natural disasters, such as tornadoes or hurricanes.”At the same time, there are definitely some harmful aspects to the insurance industry. These include:
(1) The insurance industry leads to a greater concentration of income in the hands of the rich. This, in itself, strikes at one of the overall goals of the Islamic society and economic system, as is derived from Allah’s words:
(مَا أَفَاءَ اللَّهُ عَلَى رَسُولِهِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْقُرَى فَلِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ وَلِذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ كَيْ لَا يَكُونَ دُولَةً بَيْنَ الْأَغْنِيَاءِ مِنْكُمْ )
“What Allah has bestowed on His Messenger (and taken away) from the people of the townships, belongs to Allah, to His Messenger and to kindred and orphans, the needy and the wayfarer; in order that it may not (merely) make a circuit between the wealthy among you” (Al-Hashr 7).
Insurance leads to a greater maldistribution of wealth in a number of ways. First, insurance, in general, is a very profitable industry and those who own the industry companies benefit from that profit. Second, the richer a person is, the less need he has for insurance but the more insurance he can afford to cover virtually any possible loss to his wealth. Hence, the rich are able to hedge against any loss. The poor, who many times cannot afford such insurance, face unrecoverable losses and can become even poorer. (Perhaps the current crisis in health insurance in the United States is an excellent demonstration of this phenomenon. Millions of the middle class, especially self-employed, have no health insurance because they simply cannot afford it, as rates have skyrocketed for health insurance. These people are often forced to pay for their own health care, which is also expensive and keeps them in a cycle of semi-poverty. Those in the upper class do not face this difficulty.) Third, as corporations become larger and larger, it becomes more and more difficult for smaller companies to compete. Some of the heavy costs facing any company are the various insurance costs, some of them required by law. Over time, the smaller companies simply cannot compete and are driven out of business due to the great costs, especially insurance costs, of doing business.
(2) Most of the Muslim countries in the world form part of the lesser developed world. With respect to these countries, the insurance industry has led to a financial drain from those economies. The larger insurance companies and reinsurance companies are mostly from the more advanced countries. They take the payments that they receive from the lesser developed countries and invest them in the more advanced countries. Hence, there is a transplant of needed capital from the poorer countries to the richer countries.
Finally, in preparing his Ph.D. dissertation on insurance, Thunayaan interviewed a number of insurance experts and researchers in Egypt, Germany, United States and England. He found that about 55% of those interviewed were of the opinion that the evils of insurance outweigh their good. Another 25% stated that insurance is evil, not containing any good. 15% said that insurance’s good is equal to its evil. Amazingly, only 5% stated that insurance’s good outweigh its evil.
In sum, the more objectionable aspects that a contract has to it, the stronger will the evidence have to be to show that it is needed and that its objectionable aspects are to be overlooked. Ibn Taimiyyah once noted that the harm of riba is greater than that of gharar and that is why gharar is sometimes overlooked if there is a strong need for its related transaction. However, in the case of insurance, there is the problem of riba, gharar, jahaalah and other aspects (some of them not discussed in detail here). Obviously, the issue of riba, for example, is not a light matter. Hence, to override it—if such a concept is possibly acceptable—one would have to present a very strong, definitive case. It is admitted that there are definitely some benefits to the commercial insurance industry as it currently exists. However, in this author’s view, there does not seem to be enough evidence to prove that its benefits so outweigh its harms that although its contradicts many of the aspects of a sound contract, it must still be considered acceptable due to overriding need. And Allah alone knows best.
Conclusion on the Legality of Commercial Insurance
The conclusion here is that commercial insurance as it presently exists is definitely forbidden. From this author’s reading on this topic, this is also the conclusion of the vast majority of the scholars who have discussed this issue in some detail. For example, it is the conclusion of the Islamic Fiqh Council of the OIC,the Board of the Leading Scholars of Saudi Arabia,the Fiqh Council of Makkah under the auspices of the Muslim World League, al-Sideeq al-Dhareer, Wahba al-Zuhaili, Muhammad Mustafa al-Shanqeeti,Salaah al-Saawi with Abdullah al-Muslih, Sulaimaan Thunayaan, Ali Abu al-Basl, Abdul-Raoof al-Shaadhili. Faisal Maulawi, Mohammad Muslehuddin, Afzalur Rahman, and numerous other respected scholars and jurists.
[It is beyond the scope of this brief paper to review and critique the views of those who consider insurance permissible. The strongest supporters of commercial insurance, void of its forbidden aspects such as investing monies in received in forbidden means (a condition that virtually makes the discussion a moot point practically speaking), include Mustafa al-Zarqa, Ali al-Khafeef, Muhammad al-Bahi and Rafeeq al-Misri. Al-Zarqa’s views were first presented in 1961 and his earlier writings and some later writings were published as recently as 1994. In one of the few books that deals with this topic in English, Vogel summarized a couple of al-Zarqa’s arguments and then wrote, “Despite its persuasiveness, this line of argument did not vanquish opposition to insurance.” In this author’s view, al-Zarqa’s arguments were not persuasive and have been refuted by many scholars since their first appearance—to the point that one would have expected al-Zarqa over time to drop some of his weaker arguments in support of insurance, something he never did in his published works. Rafeeq al-Misri’s book, al-Khatar wa al-Tameen: Hal al-Tameen al-Tijaari Jaaiz Sharan, is, in this author’s view, a much stronger argument for the acceptance of commercial insurance. In that work, al-Misri, referring to some of al-Zarqa’s and others’ arguments, stated “I have no doubt that many of those who consider commercial insurance permissible use weak evidence to support it. I also have no doubt that some of them want to make it permissible by forced arguments at any price, built on a preconceived conclusion.”]
However, the conclusion that commercial insurance is forbidden definitely does not end the necessary discussion. The next logical point is whether the law of necessity may be invoked concerning insurance, especially for those living in non-Muslim lands.
The Law of Necessity
Once it has been determined that commercial insurance as it currently exists in the United States, in particular, is forbidden, the next question that could arise is whether it is permissible for Muslims living in the West to resort to insurance as a case of necessity. In order to answer this question properly, some of the basic issues related to the law of necessity must first at least be stated.
In his study on the law of necessity, Mubaarak defined necessity (الضرورة) as, “Fear of destruction or great harm to one of the necessities of life for either oneself or another, with definitive or probable expectation, unless one does what can repel that destruction or great harm.” It is very important to note that necessity is very different from “meeting one’s needs.” For example, being very hungry does not usually lead to starvation but one is in need to eat. In such a case, one is not permitted to eat something usually forbidden simply because he is very hungry. However, if that state should continue to the point that the person fears some harm to himself or possibly death due to his state of hunger, that need then becomes a necessity. Unfortunately, as Mubaarak discusses at length, too many scholars are very quick to invoke the law of necessity even when the conditions for it do not apply.
There are many important principles related to the law of necessity. Some of the more relevant for this article are the following:
(1) The invoking of the law of necessity must be in accord with the principles of the Shareeah: In other words, the goal or purpose for which the law is invoked must be sanctioned or supported by the Shareeah. This is an important principle with respect to insurance. There is no question, for example, that the preservation of wealth is one of the goals of the Shareeah. However, is there any sanction in the Shareeah to engage in forbidden financial transactions in order to supposedly “preserve” the value of one’s wealth or “guarantee” against the loss of wealth? Note that there is a big difference between taking steps to protect one’s property (such as locking one’s car and closing one’s garage) and protecting the value of one’s property. In the latter case, if the property is destroyed, the property is actually lost and there is only a transfer of funds from one group or individual to another. Whenever necessity is considered, there are usually two contradicting factors at work and one has to determine which is the more important. In this case, one has a transaction which is forbidden by the Shareeah, which implies that it must be something harmful for society as a whole, versus the risk of the possibility of a future loss. Obviously, there is a difference between a true necessity or need and simply trying to preserve what one possesses. Not every loss to one’s possession can be considered a case of necessity or great need. Unfortunately, to date, this author has not found any scholar commenting on this point.
(2) The expected and feared harm must be either definite to occur or most probable: In other words, the threat to one’s well-being cannot be simply imaginary or not very probable. One must have a real reason to expect some harm or one must actually be enduring such harm. If the probability of such a harm is only minimal or not likely, one is then not allowed to invoke the law of necessity. Of course, insurance companies are masters at the use of probability but one does not find the question discussed from this angle by the scholars. For example, if there is a 1% probability of a house burning down in a particular neighborhood, given past experiences, would that 1% probability render the invoking of the law of necessity by a homeowner permissible?
(3) The law of necessity may only be invoked if one cannot find a permissible alternative that would alleviate one’s situation. If a “legal alternative” is available, one must take advantage of that legal alternative and avoid any forbidden means.
(4) Only the minimum necessary of what is normally forbidden may be resorted to. Furthermore, once the situation is change and the harm alleviated, the law of necessity cannot no longer be resorted to. Not only that, a Muslim should try to remove oneself from the case of necessity, based on the Islamic maxim, “Harm is to be removed.”
(5) Lesser of two harms or not resorting to a greater evil. The Muslim must weigh the different aspects of engaging in a forbidden transaction with a possible harm that may come to him. Obviously, not all, possible future harms would be considered strong enough to resort to the law of necessity. For example, an individual may own a boat that he uses for reasons of pleasure. That boat may be very expensive and he may not be pleased at losing such a valuable item. But such an event is simply from the vicissitudes of life that a Muslim should learn to live with and be patient with. More importantly, the loss of said boat cannot truly put an individual into a state of necessity. The boat is more of a luxury. In such a case, the lesser of the two harms would be to risk losing the boat in order to avoid a forbidden type of transaction.
(6) The necessity has to be direct and constraining.
Insurance, the Law of Necessity and the Opinions of Contemporary Scholars
Unfortunately, this author could not many find who explicitly discussed the relevant situation in the West, or the United States in particular. However, it would be appropriate to present some of the opinions expressed that can be considered relevant to the situation in non-Muslim lands. In particular, this author noted comments related to three issues that are of most importance. These three issues are:
(a) Given that commercial insurance is considered forbidden, can such insurance be resorted to in the name of necessity or overriding need?
(b) If the state requires its citizens to get a certain type of insurance, can that requirement be considered a necessitating force allowing Muslims to take prohibited commercial insurance?
(c) If the contract is agreed to in a non-Islamic state, will that have any effect on the application of the contract?
Invoking the Law of Necessity in the Discussion of Insurance
There is quite a bit of difference of opinion among the scholars on the question of invoking the law of necessity to allow insurance.
The Board of the Leading Scholars of Saudi Arabia explicitly stated that law of necessity cannot be invoked with respect to insurance because
the means that Allah has permitted to earn the good things are many times more than what has been forbidden. Thus, there is no recognized, Shareeah necessity driving one to what the Shareeah has forbidden concerning insurance. It [insurance] is just something that many of the people have grown accustomed to since they have been taking part in those contracts for a long time now. What they must do is simply remove themselves from them [those types of contracts] and cut themselves off from them and, instead, choose another permissible mean that can be a substitute for it, such as mutual societies…
Abu Zahrah explicitly states that to say that commercial insurance is permissible out of necessity means that there must be no alternative. However, he says that such alternative exists. He points to the example of a cooperative insurance venture in Khartoum. He also strongly qualifies the permissibility of reinsuring with commercial insurance companies. Al-Furfoor states that he does not accept the claim of necessity, as the Muslim world should be able to replace the exploitative system of commercial insurance with a system that is consistent with Islam. He states that such would not be a hardship if the people truly wanted to implement the law of their Lord.Abdullah al-Bassaam strongly warns against simply accepting some practice because it is widespread and a common practice. If such an approach is taking by the Muslim scholars, all of Islam will be destroyed.
Abdul-Azeez al-Khayyaat says that even reinvesting is not permissible with such commercial insurance companies. He also adds that he fears that the Islamic companies will simply then rely on those companies beyond what is allowed by necessity and without attempting to create Islamic reinsurance companies. The one exception he states to this is if the government requires a specific company to specifically reinvest and they cannot find an Islamic reinsurance company to reinvest with. Muhammad Uthmaan Shabeer states that, even given the restrictions that scholars have laid down, there is no room any more for reinvesting with non-Islamic companies now that Islamic alternatives exist, such as the reinvestment companies in Bahrain and Tunis. Muhammad al-Ashqar also states that there definitely is no “necessity” for reinvesting with such commercial investments. He then says that he has doubt whether there is any “need” to do so. Finally, he says that if there was “need,” that was in the past now. Currently, there are other acceptable ways in reinvesting and thus no one is excused from such proper means. Al-Minyaawi makes the same conclusion.
Similarly, al-Dhareer argues that the gharar in insurance is not to be overlooked because the need for it is not specific and there is another way to solve this problem.
Al-Zarqa explicitly asks what al-Dhareer would say if there was no such Islamic alternative, which is the situation, he says, today. Thus, he says that commercial insurance must be specifically resorted to in order to meet the needs of the people. Al-Zarqa further notes that ibn Rushd stated that gharar can be overlooked due to necessity, meaning a strong need as al-Dhareer explained it. He further notes that even the Shareeah Supervisory Board of the Faisal Islamic Bank of Sudan, headed by al-Dhareer himself, says that it is allowed for the mutual insurance company run by said bank to reinsure its policies with an international commercial insurance company, since there is no proper Islamic reinsurance company in that country.
Indeed, it is interesting to note how many state the permissibility of reinvesting as a type of necessity. For example, here is a portion of the text of the Shareeah Supervisory Board from the Faisal Islamic Bank of Sudan that al-Zarqa referred to above,
An exception for the prohibition of reinsuring [with commercial insurance companies] is the situation or situations wherein the need is specific for reinsuring, the case where the Islamic insurance company will encounter hardships and difficulties if they do not deal with the reinsurance companies.The Shareeah Supervisory Board for the Arabic-Islamic Insurance Company also states that due to need, the Islamic insurance company can reinsure with commercial insurance companies. However, they add that if they receive any profits from that company, they should not add that money to their accounts but should give it away to beneficial causes. The Shareeah Supervisory Board of the Islamic Insurance Company of Jordan says similarly, saying that need requires such companies to reinvest. The Jordanian Majlis al-Iftaa has also concluded the same.
Al-Zuhaili says that, presently, there is no excuse to resort to insurance, since the need for it is not specific, meaning its goals can be met through permissible means such as Islamic insurance companies. However, he then states that if “we accept the proposition that the need is specific, insurance is permissible to the extent that is needed only.” However, he also concluded that it is allowed to reinsure with a commercial insurance company because in that case the need does become particular and constraining. He also discussed the numerous conditions that must be applied even in that case of “need” or “necessity.”After concluding that commercial insurance is forbidden, Maulawi is one of the few who takes up the question of resorting to commercial insurance in the absence of an Islamically acceptable alternative. He says that if the insurance is optional—not required by the state—yet in a Muslim’s particular case he may be facing difficulties that he would not be able to bear, he then can resort to insurance under the law of necessity. He cautions that this is not a general ruling for Muslims but that each individual case needs to be looked at to see if necessity truly exists, as in some cases the possible harm may not be great or the person would be able to bear it.Ahmad al-Sharbasi also said that insurance is unlawful due to its riba aspect. But, “In case it is not possible to get rid of this system of interest immediately, it may be treated as a necessity and be acted upon for the present while we endeavor to get rid of it.”
It is perhaps of great interest to note the opinions of some of the scholars of India, since they live in a non-Muslim environment somewhat similar to those who live in the West. Ubaydulla Rahmani of India says similarly that insurance is permissible “when the conditions are such that there is no safety of life and property.” Abd al-Salam Nadwi noted the communal riots in India as a cause for the necessity of insurance.A committee of the Nadwat al-Ulamaa in Lucknow, India concluded in 1965 that,
Taking into consideration the importance of insurance which has penetrated deep into human life, the difficulties involved in conducting business without it and especially the need to protect life and property, it seems that Islamic law provides for insurance in case of emergency. NOTE: Emergency implies the danger of unbearable loss to one’s life, property and dependants. The decision whether such emergency has arisen or not depends upon the opinion of the person in danger, which is to be formed after consultation with ‘Ulama [scholars] and in full realisation of one’s own responsibility before God.
Al-Qaasimi, also of India, discussed the question of health insurance. He specifically mentioned the rising cost of health care in the United States and Europe. He says that such expenses are usually more than one can bear and without health insurance one can find himself in grave difficulties. He also argues that the amount of gharar is small in health insurance because, he argues, that such gharar will not lead to disputes since it will be based upon what the professionals and doctors prescribe for the patient. (In this author’s view, this reasoning is weak on two counts. First, “leading to disputes” is not the effective legal cause that prohibits gharar and, secondly, such disputes with insurance companies and medical professionals in the U.S. are well-known.) He also argues that if such health insurance is required by the state, it is to be considered permissible. He then states that if it is not required, then in countries like his where health expenses are high, the gharar should be considered moderate and overlooked. Thus, health insurance should be considered permissible. Finally, he states, “People are forced to chose it [that is, health insurance]. The American Muslim is driven by necessity to take health insurance.” Similarly, in the discussion portion, Ali al-Quradaaghi also argues that health insurance for those living in the West is beyond being simply a need; it is definitely a necessity.Finally, being perhaps the most blatant statement on this issue, Abdul-Lateef Janaahi stated, “We can never differ that insurance is a necessity of the necessities of life.” At the same time, he states that statistics from ten countries show that if zakat was paid in the way that it is supposed to be paid, it would be sufficient to cover the needs and would make insurance unneeded. Thus, all that is really needed is that the Muslim governments apply zakat properly. (Note that this contradicts his statement that insurance is a necessity of life.)
Government Required Insurance
A number of scholars referred to the case where a particular type of insurance is required by law. Maulawi explicitly writes that if the government makes such insurance required, the Muslim is forced out of necessity to take it, although that does not change the basic ruling concerning insurance. He also says that one only takes such insurance if he cannot avoid it by some means that will not cause him harm or difficulty. Mahdi Hasan of India, a non-Muslim land, also states that insurance is permissible if it is compulsory. He cites the cases of petroleum companies, aircraft, steamers, automobile and the like. Wahbah al-Zuhaili, “Obligatory insurance, such as auto liability insurance, that the state requires is permissible, as it is the same [in ruling] as paying taxes to the state.” Abdullah ibn Baih shares the same opinion.Rules for non-Muslim Lands
As was noted earlier, ibn Abideen was one of the first scholars to discuss the legality of insurance. Due to his being the first, many scholars today still quote his opinion. Among the points that he made is that if such an insurance contract was made outside of the lands of Islam, it would be permitted to take such money from the non-Muslim in the non-Islamic land. It is permissible to take their wealth with their consent in ways that are not permissible in the land ruled by Islam. Perhaps the second Muslim scholar to discuss insurance was Muhammad Bakheet al-Muti’yi, writing in 1906 C.E./1324 A.H. He said that according to the Hanafi school, the Muslim who is residing in a land other than the land of Islam may take any of their wealth, even if it is via interest or gambling, as long as it is through their goodwill and consent. He says that what is not allowed is to deceive or cheat them. As long as that is not done, their wealth can be taken. Muhammad Rasheed Ridha gave virtually the same ruling, saying that their wealth can be taken in such ways although wealth cannot be given to them via such unlawful means. These statements, in particular the one by ibn Abideen, are quoted by a number of scholars without any comment, implying acceptance of such a conclusion. Therefore, within the space limits of this paper, it is important to briefly touch upon this point.
As noted above, the above is a Hanafi view (but not the view of Abu Yusuf). As al-Muti’yi stated, this view states that if a Muslim enters a non-Islamic state in a peaceful and secure manner, it is permissible for him to take their wealth if it is with their consent and without any deception. This view is traced back to, for example, Abu Hanifah’s student Muhammad al-Shaibaani who said, “If a Muslim enters the daar al-harb (land of war) in security there is no harm in him taking their wealth with their goodwill through any means.” The Hanafi scholar ibn al-Humaam stated that a Muslim may sell non-Muslims pork or alcohol or gamble with them.
The majority view is that what is not permissible for Muslims in the land of Islam is not permissible for them in the land of disbelief. Al-Shafi’ee, for example, said, “Daar al-harb does not drop any obligation from them nor does it drop any prayer, fast or zakat. The legal punishments are still obligatory upon them.”
It is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss this issue in detail. In this author’s view, the opinion of the vast majority is definitely the stronger opinion. Perhaps the most important thing to note here, again, is that ibn Abideen’s and al-Muti’yi’s statements are being quoted as if there is agreement on such a principle. However, that is not correct. Again, the vast majority do not accept this concept. What is forbidden for a Muslim in an Islamic state is also forbidden in a non-Islamic state.Summary of These Three Issues
The opinions of the respected scholars concerning three important and relevant issues have now been reviewed. Concerning the first issue, invoking the law of necessity as a justification for insurance, the opinions of the scholars are not completely conclusive. Many of the scholars stated that commercial insurance is not allowed due to the presence of Islamically acceptable alternatives. However, as a whole, such alternatives are not available in the U.S. or the West. One cannot conclude, however, from their argument that without the presence of such an alternative, insurance would be permissible as a type of necessity. This would be argument o contrario (مفهوم المخالفة), which is not always a conclusive argument. On the other hand, there are a number of scholars who specifically say that it is allowed to resort to insurance as a type of necessity. Some of them even mentioned the situation in the West in particular. In this author’s view, the issue is still somewhat debatable, especially given some of the conditions for invoking the law of necessity. Indeed, as is virtually the case with every invoking of the law of necessity, the specifics of each case and type of insurance has to be studied. Perhaps an important statement to remember is that quoted earlier from the Nadwat al-Ulamaa, “Emergency implies the danger of unbearable loss to one’s life, property and dependants” (emphasis added). The author’s own views on specific types of insurance in the West will be given below.
As for the question of getting the insurance that is mandated by the state, there seems to be a general agreement among the scholars that such can be resorted to as a case of necessity. This author did not note any scholar who specifically disagreed with this view.
Concerning the issue of applying the laws of Islam in the non-Muslim lands, this author has concluded, without discussing it in detail, that the view of the Hanafis, which is mentioned in passing in many of the works related to insurance, is the weaker opinion. What is forbidden for the Muslim in an Islamic state is also forbidden for him in a non-Muslim state.
Insurance, the Law of Necessity and Living in the West
For the Muslim, the overriding point concerning commercial profit-oriented Western insurance companies is that the basic ruling concerning them is that of prohibition, due to the reasons described earlier. Hence, whenever he does not feel that there is truly a strong need or necessity to take insurance, it should be avoided. Even when a Muslim decides that he is facing a situation where he truly necessitates insurance, he should try to seek the ways by which he will be involved as little as possible with this forbidden institution. This may require some research or effort on his part. However, this will allow him to take the legal allowance of resorting to such a necessity while at the same time meeting the requirements of invoking that important principle of necessity.
Furthermore, as in all cases of necessity, after meeting the theoretical qualifications for invoking the law of necessity, the individual’s particular situation and abilities will be the final determinant as to whether he is truly in a state of necessity.
Obviously, there are many forms, types and companies of insurance available today in the West or in the United States. Indeed, one could discuss accident, all-risk, automobile, casualty, credit, employer’s liability, fidelity, fire, floater, health, homeowners, key-person, liability, life, medical, malpractice, marine, mortgage and title insurance. In this short paper, this author will restrict himself to three of the basic and prevalent forms of insurance: life insurance, auto insurance and health insurance.
It is natural for people to want to take care of themselves and their families, even beyond their deaths. Such has been a natural desire for years, long before the presence of modern-day insurance. In fact, there is definite Islamic justification for this goal. For example, al-Bukhari and Muslim record on the authority of Saad ibn Abi Waqqaas that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stated,
إِنَّكَ أَنْ تَذَرَ وَرَثَتَكَ أَغْنِيَاءَ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَنْ تَذَرَهُمْ عَالَةً يَتَكَفَّفُونَ النَّاسَ
“It is better for you to leave your heirs well-off than to have them dependent, begging from the people.”
But as with the case with all noble goals, the means to achieve them must be permissible and proper. It would not be acceptable for someone to put money in a savings account, taking interest, and arguing that he is saving that money for his children’s well-being after his death. Similarly, he cannot go out and steal a few thousand dollars and save it for his children and so forth. One tries to achieve this proper goal through the proper means. Thus, Islam put definite restrictions on behavior even when the goal is praiseworthy.
In particular in this case, there seems to be no room for invoking the law of necessity. Allah has reminded all people that He is in fact the true Sustainer and Provider. He has warned against taking illegal steps thinking that those illegal steps are the keys to preventing poverty. One should ponder the deep meaning of two verses of the Quran, in which Allah refutes the argument of those who sought to avoid children, via forbidden steps, thinking that such will keep themselves or their children from poverty. Allah says,
(وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ مِنْ إِمْلَاقٍ نَحْنُ نَرْزُقُكُمْ وَإِيَّاهُمْ)
“Kill not your children on a plea of want – We provide sustenance for you and for them” (al-Anaam 151). And, similarly Allah says,
(وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ نَحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا) “Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin” (Israa 31). The killing of children is a great sin. However, it is also clear that being involved in riba is a great sin. One, therefore, should not resort to riba in fear of “future possible poverty.” It may be that if the Muslims fear Allah, Allah will provide very well for them. Thus, life insurance cannot be considered a legal alternative for the Muslims living in the West.Maulawi also concludes that there is no room for invoking the law of necessity when it comes to life insurance. One point that he mentions is that the goal of life insurance is to accumulate wealth (for oneself or one’s family) and not to remove any harm that has occurred. It is for this reason that some scholars who otherwise approve of insurance consider life insurance in particular to be forbidden.