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What is a Mosque?

What is a Mosque?

Muslims in the past and even today have made use of local artisans and architects to create beautiful, magnificent mosques.

Muslims in the past and even today have made use of local artisans and architects to create beautiful, magnificent mosques.

A mosque is the building in which Muslims worship God. Throughout Islamic history, the mosque was the centre of the community and towns formed around this pivotal building. Nowadays, especially in Muslim countries, mosques are found on nearly every street corner, making it a simple matter for Muslims to attend the five daily prayers. In the West mosques are integral parts of Islamic centers that also contain teaching and community facilities.

Mosques come in all shapes and sizes; they differ from region to region based on the density of the Muslim population in a certain area. Muslims in the past and even today have made use of local artisans and architects to create beautiful, magnificent mosques.

There are however, certain features that are common to all mosques. Every mosque has a mihrab, a niche in the wall that indicates the direction of Makkah; the direction towards which Muslims pray. Most mosques have a minbar (pulpit) from which an Islamic scholar is able to deliver a sermon or speech.

Other common features include, minarets, tall towers used to call the congregation to prayer. Minarets are highly visible and are closely identified with mosques.  Normally there is a large rectangular or square prayer area. It often takes the form of a flat roof supported by columns or a system of horizontal beams supported by architraves. In other common mosque designs, the roof consists of a single large dome on pendentives (an Islamic contribution to architecture that allows the placing of a circular dome over a square room or an elliptical dome over a rectangular room). There are usually separate prayer areas, with separate entrances for both men and women.

Mosques have developed significantly over the past 1400 years. Many have courtyards containing decorative pools and fountains, which originally supplied water for ablution before prayer. Nowadays however, more private bathroom and toilet facilities are provided.

Originally simple structures with earthen floors, now, mosque floors are usually covered with plush carpet.  They are more often than not decorated with straight lines of geometric designs that ensure Muslims stand in straight rows to perform their five daily prayers.

There are never any images of life or statues in mosques, for in Islam it is forbidden that such things are kept or displayed. At times, the interior walls of the mosque are decorated with verses from the Qur’an in Arabic calligraphy, or with intricate geometric designs. The patterns are made from a variety of materials including mosaics, stucco, stone, ceramics, and wood. The more classical designs are referred to as arabesque, and they take the form of a radial grid in which circle and star shapes are prominent. Designs can be both two, and three-dimensional.

More often than not, even in arid desert countries mosques are cool, serene havens.  When a person enters a mosque he or she would have left the hustle and bustle of the material world and retreated into a calm shelter or sanctuary.

Mosques are houses of worship. Men are expected to pray all five daily obligatory prayers in a mosque, in congregation. Although women are welcome to pray in the mosque it is more praiseworthy for them to pray in their homes. Nonetheless, Muslims are permitted to pray anywhere, excluding filthy or impure places such as toilets or in graveyards. Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him) said: “The entire earth was made a masjid for me”.  (Al-Bukhari)

Masjid is the Arabic word for mosque. However, while the term mosque has come to mean a building specifically for prayer the word masjid has retained several layers of meaning.

In the very literal sense, masjid means place of prostration. The Arabic word comes from the root ‘sa-ja-da’ meaning to prostrate. When a Muslim’s forehead touches the ground, he or she is close to God. Prayer establishes the connection between the believer and his Lord and prostration symbolizes complete submission.

Many people have incorrectly stated that the word mosque is not a translation of the word masjid. They claim that the word mosque comes from the word mosquito and attribute it to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of 15th century Spain. However, the words mosque and mosquito are totally unrelated.

The word ‘mosque’ was introduced into the English language in the late 14th or early 15th century from the French.  It comes from the French word mosquée from the old French word mousquaie. The French, in turn, derived the word from the Italian word moschea from moscheta. The Italians got it either directly from the Arabic word masjid or from the old Spanish mesquite, according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.

Thus we can see that the translation of the Arabic word Masjid, into English becomes mosque. A mosque is a house of prayer, and a place of prostration. It is a building designed and built specifically for the worship of Allah. It is where Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder, united in their love for God and their desire to please Him.




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The Legal Rulings of Purification in Islam

The Legal Rulings of Purification in Islam

By Editorial Staff

Purification is the first chapter in almost all the books written about the Islamic science of fiqh (jurisprudence). Since the performance of almost every act of worship is dependent upon the fulfillment of its prerequisites, jurists start with purification because it is one of the most important prerequisites for salah (prayer).

Jurists divide purification into two categories: tangible and intangible.

The ritual purification of wudu’ or ghusl is one of the most important prerequisites for performing salah (prayer).

Intangible Purification

The intangible kind of purification is the freedom or purity of the heart from shirk (associating false deities with God). Thus, it is more important than purification of the body. Believing in the Oneness of God is one of the prerequisites of the acceptance of deeds. Allah says,

“Indeed, the idolaters are (ritually) unclean.” (Quran 9:28)

Allah says about some disbelievers,

“These are the ones whose hearts God does not intend to purify.” (Quran 5:41)

Furthermore, purification refers to the freedom of the heart from sins like grudge, hatred, suspicions, etc. Allah says about the Prophet’s wives (Allah be pleased with them),

“Furthermore, (with respect to his wives,) whenever you ask them for any article, then ask them from behind a screen. That is (sure to deepen) the purity of your hearts, and their hearts.” (Quran 33:53)

Tangible Purification

The tangible kind of purification means cleanliness and the freedom from impurities. In the technical usage of the term, it means to free from hadath (ritual impurity) through wudu’ (ablution) or ghusl (ritual bath) and to remove physical impurities.

Hadath is a legal description of the human body which prevents one from performing prayer or any other act of worship which require purification. Jurists also divide hadath into two categories: major and minor.

Major Ritual Impurity

Major ritual impurity is a state which requires having a ritual bath. It arises from having a sexual intercourse, a wet dream, seminal emission, menstruation and post-natal bleeding. Allah says,

“And they ask you, (O Prophet,) about menstruation. Say: It is a (cause for) harm. So withhold yourselves (from sexual intercourse) with women during menstruation, and do not approach them (there) until they are cleansed. Then, when they are cleansed, come to them as God has commanded you. Indeed, God loves those who are ever-penitent, and He loves those who purify themselves.” (Quran 2:222)

Minor Ritual Impurity

Minor ritual impurity is a state which requires ablution. It arises from breaking wind, urination, defecation, etc.

There are two important things here. One thing is that you can use only water to free yourself from hadath (ritual impurity) or soil (i.e. through dry ablution or tayammum) in case there is no water. The second thing is that you can use water or any other cleanser to remove other physical impurities.

Also, hadath is a description of only the human body. Jurists call a person who is free from ritual impurity pure. On the other hand, physical impurity is a description of the body, clothes, objects, places, etc. For instance, a pig is always impure and can never be purified.

The Water That Can Be Used for Purification

Most of the time, we use water for purification. That’s why jurists discuss the kind of water that we can use.

We can use only clean and cleansing water for ritual purification. Jurists call it the absolute water. Based on this, we cannot use rose water for ritual purification. The water may be clean but not cleansing such as rose water. Other liquids such as vinegar, benzene, etc. are clean but one cannot use them to perform ablution.

The Kinds of Absolute Water:

The absolute water is that water found in its original state. For instance, it includes the following:

1. Water or snow falling from clouds, Allah says:

“Moreover, He sent down upon you, from the sky, water to purify you thereby…” (Quran 8:11)

“Thus do We send down, from the sky, purifying water.” (Quran 25:48)

2. Sea water

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said regarding the sea,

“Its water is purifying and its dead (animals) are lawful (to eat).” (Abu Dawud, Al-Nasa’i, Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

3. River water

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Saihan (Oxus), Jaihan (Jaxartes), Al-Furat (Euphrates) and An-Nil (Nile) are all (originally) from the rivers of Jannah.” (Muslim)

4. Ice

The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said as a part of his supplication,

Alluhum maghsilni min khatayaya bith-thalji wal-ma’i wal-barad

“O Allah! wash away my sins with snow, water, and ice.” (Muslim)

5. Underground water

This includes Zamzam water and other wellsprings. Allah says,

“Say, (O Prophet): Have you considered that if, suddenly, one morning (you found that) your water had become deeply sunken (in the ground,) who, then, would bring you water, fresh flowing (and clean)?” (Quran 67:30)

What to Do in Case There Is No Water?

It is not allowed to use liquid other than water for ritual purification of wudu’ (ablution) or ghusl (ritual bath). However, you can use whatever cleanser to clear other impurities on the body, clothes or places. Allah says,

“But if you become sick or are on a journey, or if one of you comes forth from the place of relieving oneself, or if you have touched women (intimately) and you cannot find water then take recourse to (patting) clean earth; then wipe (over) your faces and your hands with it (in place of ritual ablution).”  (Quran 5:6)

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The Prophet’s Tahajjud Prayer

The Prophet’s Tahajjud Prayer

How did Prophet Muhammad perform the Tahajjud (late night) prayer? How did he praise Allah? What du`aa’ did he say?

It is the middle of the night, or maybe a little before that time or a little thereafter. The Prophet wakes up. He sits in bed and wipes the sleep from his eyes. He picks up his tooth stick and brushes his teeth. He then turns his gaze to the heavens and avails himself of the peace and quiet at night to meditate on Allah’s greatness and how it manifests itself in the majesty of His creation. He recites a ten-verse passage from Surat Aal `Imran which begins with words:

Verily in the creation of the heavens and Earth, and in the alternation of night and day are signs for those who understand. (Aal `Imran 3:190)

He stands up and takes a water skin down from where it hangs on the wall. He opens it and pours out some water into a large cup. He uses this to perform ablution for prayer. He does not use much water for his ablution, though he completes them thoroughly.

Before he commences with the late night prayer (Tahajjud), he sometimes engages in the glorification of his Lord with the recitation of a number of remembrances. This prepares his mind for prayer. `A’ishah gives us an account of the things he says:

“When Allah’s Messenger got up at night to pray the Tahajjud, he used to extol Allah’s greatness ten times then praise him ten times. Then, he would say the words “Glory and praise be to Allah” ten times. Then, he would say “Glory be to the Holy King” ten times. Then, he would ask Allah for forgiveness ten times. Then, he would say “There is no God but Allah” ten times. He would conclude by saying:

“O Allah! I seek refuge with You from the tribulations of this worldly life and the tribulations of the Day of Resurrection.”

Then, he would commence his prayer.

He begins by offering two brief units of prayer. The prayer will become much longer. Though he prays quickly when he leads others in prayer, he is just the opposite when he prays alone. He prolongs every action in the Tahajjud prayer, form the opening recitations, to the recitation of the Qur’an, to the supplications. Tahajjud is the longest prayer he makes. He is following Allah’s specific command to him in the Qur’an:

Stand in prayer the night long, except for a little. (Al- Muzzammil 73:2)

If we consider the Prophet’s state of mind, we realize that he is totally immersed in prayer while offering Tahajjud. His every thought and feeling are engaged and his communion with his Lord is total. It is as if his spirit has ascended to heaven and is being bathed in divine light while looking upon the throne of his Lord. It is as if he is having a private audience with Allah, so he extols His praises in the most emphatic way and beseeches Him with the most perfect supplications. This is not surprising, since the Prophet really had such an experience on the night of his ascension above the seven heavens, where he was brought to a level where could hear the scraping of the pens as they wrote out the decrees.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) has greater knowledge of Allah and stronger faith than anyone else in creation. His faith is certain. He admits this to his Companions: “The most God-fearing and knowledgeable about Allah among you is none other than myself.” (Al-Bukhari)

He commences the Tahajjud prayer with a heart full of reverence, love and longing for his Lord. His words are full of invocations of awe and praise. Among the words he uses to commence his prayers are the following:

“O Allah! Lord of Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, Creator of the heavens and earth, Knower of the seen and unseen, You will judge between Your servants in what they used to differ. Guide me by Your Grace to the truth in what they differ about. Indeed, You guide whomever You please to a path that is straight.”

“O Allah! Our Lord, Yours is the praise. You are the light of the heavens and earth and all that they contain. Yours is the praise. You sustain the heavens and earth and all that they contain. You are the King of the heavens and earth and all they contain. Yours is the praise. You are the Truth. Your Promise is true. The meeting with You is true. Your Word is true. Paradise is true. Hell is true. The Prophets are true. Muhammad is true. The Final Hour is true. O Allah, to You I have submitted and in You I have believed, and upon You I rely. I repent my sins to You. For Your Sake I dispute and by Your Standards I judge, so forgive me for what I have done before and what I have left behind, for what I have committed secretly and what I have committed openly and what only You know that I have done. You are the One Who sends forth and You are the One Who delays. There is no God but You. There is no might or power except with You.”

“I turn my face to the Creator of the heavens and earth upon the pure faith, and I am not from among the polytheists. Indeed my prayer, my sacrifice, my life, and my death are for Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, Who is without partner. This is as I was commanded, and I am of those who submit. O Allah! You are the King. There is no God but You. You are my Lord and I am Your servant. I have been unjust to myself and I confess my sins, so forgive me all of my sins, for indeed no one forgives sins but You. Guide me to the best conduct. No one guides to what is best except You. Keep me away from bad conduct, for no one can do this for me except You. Here I am. I heed Your Call, happy to serve You. All good is in Your Hands and no evil belongs to You. I exist by Your Will and shall return to You. You are Blessed and Sublime. I seek Your Forgiveness and repent unto You.”

 The Qur’an & the Tahajjud

Then, the Prophet begins to recite the Qur’an. He recites in a slow and melodious voice and is attentive to every word. When he recites a verse that speaks about Allah’s Mercy, he beseeches Allah. When he recites a verse that warns of Allah’s Wrath, he seeks refuge from it. When a verse of the Qur’an speaks of Allah’s Glory, he glorifies Allah.

He stands for a long time in recitation. Ibn Mas`ud tells us: “I prayed with Allah’s Messenger one night, and he stood for so long that I almost resolved to do a very bad thing.” When asked what that bad thing was, he says: “I considered sitting down and not continuing with the Prophet in prayer.”

Sometimes the Prophet prolongs his recitation and offers a few very long units of prayer. On other nights, he stands in recitation for a shorter time and offers more units of prayer.

When he bows, he remains bowing for a long time, almost as long as the time he spends standing in recitation. He says:

“O Allah! I bow to You. In You I believe, to You I submit, and upon You I rely. You are my Lord. My hearing, my sight, my flesh, my blood, my mind, my bones, my sinew, and what my feet bear up, all of them submit in humility to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. Glory be to the Possessor of Might, Pride, and Greatness, the Glorified and Holy, the Lord of the angels and of the Holy Spirit.”

Near the end of his life, he will often say while bowing and prostrating:

“Glory and praise be to Allah, our Lord. O Allah, forgive me.”

`A’ishah asked him about this, and he said: “My Lord has told me that I will see a sign in my community, and if I see that sign I should start saying: “Glory and praise be to Allah. I seek Allah’s forgiveness and repent to Him.” I have seen this sign (which is found in the following verses of the Qur’an):

When the help of Allah and the victory come, and you see the people entering into Islam in droves, then glorify the praises of your Lord and seek His forgiveness. Verily, He is ever ready to accept repentance. (An-Nasr 110:1-3)

The Prophet understands from this verse that the end of his life is near.

The Prophet prolongs his prostration in Tahajjud. He spends almost as much time prostrating as he in his bowing. It is here that he asks of Allah’s Grace and beseeches Him in many ways. The Prophet tells us:

“The nearest we are to our Lord is when we are in prostration, so beseech Him often at that time.”  (Muslim)

He also says while in prostration:

“O Allah, to You I prostrate myself and in You I believe. To You I have submitted. My face is prostrated to the One who created it, fashioned it, and gave it the faculties of hearing and sight. Blessed is Allah, the Best of Creators. O Allah! Forgive me all my sins, great and small, the first and the last of them, those that are apparent and those that are hidden. O Allah! I seek refuge in Your Pleasure from Your Anger, and in Your Forgiveness from Your Punishment. I seek refuge with You from You. I cannot count Your Praises. You are as You have praised Yourself.”

This is how the Prophet relates to his Lord in the depths of the night, in communion filled with worship, exaltation, reverence and submission. His spirit is raised up to great heights from his devotion and longing for his Lord. It is as if the world with all its vast mountains and starry skies recedes and regards him from a distance, bearing witness to his compliance with Allah’s command:

“Remember the name of your Lord and devote yourself to Him with full devotion. (Al- Muzzammil 73:8)

The Prophet remains in worship throughout the night, reciting the Qur’an with reverence, beseeching his Lord in humility and praising Allah’s holy name, until only one-sixth of the night remains. At this time, he pauses from his Tahajjud prayers and wakes up his wife so they can offer the Witr Prayer together. He performs the Witr Prayer as three consecutive units. In the first, he recites Surat Al-A`la (87th chapter of the Qur’an). In the second, he recites Al-Kafirun (the 109th). In the last, he recites Al-Ikhlas (the 112th). Sometimes, in the final unit of prayer, he also recites Surat Al-Falaq and Al-Nas (the 113th and 114th chapters of the Qur’an).

At the end of the Witr Prayer, he says:

“O Allah! I seek refuge in Your Pleasure from Your Anger, and in Your Forgiveness from Your Punishment. I seek refuge with You from You. I cannot count Your Praises. You are as You have praised Yourself.”

After completing the Witr Prayer, he says three times: “Glory be to the Holy King.” He holds the words longer on the final repetition.

The Prophet prays Tahajjud in his small one-room house that is free from luxuries and worldly effects. Sometimes he has a mat to pray on that is just big enough to accommodate him in prostration. At other times, he only has the bedding that he shares with his wife. He prays while she lies sleeping in front of him. There are no lamps in his house, so when he wants to prostrate in prayer, he makes a gentle indication to her so she can move her feet out of his way. When he stand up again, she stretches her legs back out.

On rare occasions, he goes to the mosque to pray Tahajjud. He does so when there are extenuating circumstances, like when his wife is in extra need of rest and he wants to avoid disturbing her. On one occasion, `A’ishah realizes he is not in the house, and she reaches out of the door leading into the mosque and finds his foot. He is engaged in worship there and saying:

“O Allah! I seek refuge in Your Pleasure from Your Anger, and in Your Forgiveness from Your Punishment. I seek refuge with You from You. I cannot count Your Praises. You are as You have praised Yourself.”

On another occasion, she finds him missing and fears he may be at the home of one of his other wives. She goes out searching for him and returns to find that he is deeply involved in prayer. She says to herself: “By my father and mother, O Messenger of Allah, my mind is on one thing and yours is on something else entirely.”


The text is written by Sheikh Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Turayri


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Overview of Night And Witr Prayers

Overview of Night And Witr Prayers

By Editorial Staff

Some virtues of the night prayer

The night prayer is one of the most recommended acts that draw a person near to Allah. It is one of the hallmarks of prophets (Allah bless them and grant them peace) and righteous people. In the Gracious Quran, Allah describes the pious people who are destined for Paradise. They enjoy some attributes which qualify them to be admitted into it. Among these attributes is the following. Allah says,

Little of the night did they lie down. For at night’s end they were seeking (God’s) forgiveness. (Quran 51:17-18)

The best kind of excellence in the worship of Allah is the night prayer as it indicates the sincerity of its performer. Obedient people are described as performing the best act of worship, namely, prayer at the most excellent time i.e. night. Allah says,

True believers prefer performing the night prayer to sleep. They find more happiness in prayer and in making supplication to Allah at that time.

(Is such a one better), or one who is devoutly obedient (to God) in the watches of the night, bowing (his face) down to the ground and standing (in Prayer), fearing (God’s Judgment in) the Hereafter and imploring the mercy of his Lord? Say (to humankind, O Prophet): Are those who know (God) and those who do not know (Him) equal? (Quran 39:9)

True believers prefer performing the night prayer to sleep. They find more happiness in prayer and in making supplication to Allah at that time. Allah says,

and whose sides forsake their beds (in the night), to call upon their Lord in fear and hope; and who (generously) spend (in charity) from all that We have provided them. Thus not a soul (in the world) can (now) comprehend (the joys) that have been concealed (by God) for every one of them – from all that greatly delights the eyes – (awaiting them) in reward for all (the good) that they used to do (in life)! (Quran 32:16-17)

On the other hand, Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) highlighted the excellence of the night prayer when he said:

The most excellent prayer after the prescribed prayers is the prayer that is performed in the middle of night. (Muslim)

The Number of Rak’ahs (units) of the Night Prayer

The great scholar Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr related that scholars reached a consensus that the number of the rak’ahs of the night prayer is limitless. This is supported by a lot of proofs from the Sunnah. Ibn ‘Umar reported that a person asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) about the night prayer. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

Prayer during the night should consist of pairs of rak’ahs, but if one of you fears morning is near, he should pray one rak’ah which will make his prayer an odd number for him. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

However, some contemporary scholars are of the opinion that a person can pray up to eleven rak’has. Narrated Abu Salama bin `Abdur Rahman:

That he asked `Aisha “How was the prayer of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) in Ramadan?” She replied, “He did not pray more than eleven rak`ahs in Ramadan or in any other month. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The first opinion may be more preferred because there are sound hadiths proving that Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) prayed thirteen rak’ahs for the night prayer. Another reason may be that Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not prohibit Muslims to pray more than eleven rak’ahs.

Witr Prayer

Witr prayer means to perform the prayer of an odd number of rak’ahs at the end of your night prayer. It is also part of the night prayer.  A person can perform the prayer of one, three, five, seven, or nine rak’ahs at the end, making what he performed an odd number.

When to perform the night prayer?

The time for the night prayer starts after performing the ‘Ish (Evening) Prayer until dawn. You can perform the night prayer at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of night. Narrated Abu Qatadah:

The Prophet (ﷺ) asked Abu Bakr: When do you observe the witr?

He replied: I observe the witr prayer in the early hours of the night.

The Prophet (ﷺ) asked Umar: When do you observe the witr?

He replied: At the end of the night.

He then said to AbuBakr: This has followed it with care; and he said to Umar: He has followed it with strength. (Abu Dawud)

However, it is better to perform it at the end of night for the following hadith. Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:

Our Lord, the Blessed and the Exalted, descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the latter part of the night is left, and says: Who supplicates Me so that I may answer him? Who asks Me so that I may give to him? Who asks Me forgiveness so that I may forgive him? (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

We learn from these two hadiths that a person may perform the night prayer or witr at any part of the night. If a person fears that he may not be able to wake up at the end of the night to perform the night prayer, it is better for such a person to perform it before going to bed. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

My friend (the Messenger of Allah) (ﷺ) directed me to observe fast for three days in every month, to perform two rak’ahs (optional) Duha prayer at forenoon and to perform the Witr prayer before going to bed. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

On the other hand, if a person has the ability to wake up at the end of the night, it is better for him or her to perform prayer at that time. Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said to me, “The most beloved fasting to Allah was the fasting of (the Prophet) David who used to fast on alternate days. And the most beloved prayer to Allah was the prayer of David who used to sleep for (the first) half of the night and pray for 1/3 of it and (again) sleep for a sixth of it.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

How to perform the night prayer?

Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) sometimes used to perform the night prayer two by two. Sometimes, he performed four rak’ahs then another four then three at the end.

It is also proved that he performed nine connected rak’ahs sitting at the eighth to recite the supplication of the first tashahhud and at the ninth rak’ahs to recite tashahhud in full.

What to recite when you perform three rak’ahs for witr at the end of your prayer?

It was narrated that Ubayy bin Ka’b said:

“In the first rak’ah of witr, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to recite: “Highly exalt the name of your Lord, the Most High;” in the second; “Say: O you disbelievers!” and in the third; “Say: He is Allah, (the) One.” (Al-Tirmidhi and Al-Nasa’i)

Du’a’ Al-Qunut (The Supplication of the Standing)

It is so called because a person recites it while standing. This supplication may be made after reciting the sura (chapter of the Quran) i.e. before ruku’ (bowing) or after standing up. It was narrated that Abu Al-Jawza said:

“Al-Hasan said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) taught me some words to say in witr in Qunut:

Allahumma ihdini fiman hadayta wa ‘afini fiman afayta wa tawallani fiman tawallayta wa barik li fima a’tayta, wa qini sharra ma qadayta, fa innaka taqdi wa la yuqda ‘alayk, wa innahu la yadhilluman walayta, tabarakta Rabbana wa at’alayt

(O Allah, guide me among those whom You have guided, pardon me among those You have pardoned, turn to me in friendship among those on whom You have turned in friendship, and bless me in what You have bestowed, and save me from the evil of what You have decreed. For verily You decree and none can influence You; and he is not humiliated whom You have befriended. Blessed are You, O Lord, and Exalted.)’” (Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah)

You can recite this supplication or any other one because the companions used to recite a different one in the second half of Ramadan.

What to say when you finish your prayer?

On the authority of ‘Abdur-Rahman ibn Abza (Allah be pleased with him) who said that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to recite in Witr: “Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High;” and “Say: O you disbelievers!;’ and ‘Say: He is Allah, (the) One.’ And when he said the taslim, he would say: Subhanal-Malikil-Quddus (Glory be to the Sovereign, the Most Holy) three times, raising his voice with Subhanal-Malikil-Quddus the third time.” (Al-Nasa’i)


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Wiping over Footwear or Socks

Wiping over Footwear or Socks

By Editorial Staff

Ablution is one of the prerequisites of performing prayer. Although washing both feet to the ankles is compulsory, there is a substitute for this which is wiping over socks.

An important term to define here is Khuff which is mentioned in almost all the hadiths that discuss this matter. Scholars in turn use the term in their books.

Khuff means a covering (often of leather and the like) for the foot that usually reaches above the ankle. Moreover, this article will also discuss the legal rulings for wiping over boots, shoes, socks, sandals and slippers.

Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “Seventy Companions of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) told me that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) wiped over his khuffs.”

The Legal Ruling on Wiping over Khuffs (Leather Socks)

All Sunni scholars of Islam agree that wiping over Khuffs (leather socks or boots) is permissible. There are many hadiths that support this legal opinion. Hummam reported:

Jarir urinated, then performed ablution and wiped over the khuffs. It was said to him: Do you do like this? He said: Yes, I saw that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) urinated, then performed ablution and then wiped over his khuffs.

A’mash said: Ibrahim had observed that this hadith was a surprise for them (the people) because Jarir had embraced Islam after the revelation of Surat al-Ma’ida. (Muslim)

In Surat Al-Ma’idah (Surah 5), Verse 6 demonstrates the obligatory acts of ablution. The fact that Jarir (Allah be pleased with him) accepted Islam after the revelation of such verse means the above mentioned legal ruling is effective. If such incident had occurred before the revelation of Surat al-Ma’idah, the ruling would have been abrogated.

“I have no doubt about the permissibility of wiping over khuffs because (I know) 40 hadiths concerning it”, Imam Ahmad said. In addition, Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “Seventy Companions of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) told me that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) wiped over his khuffs.”

In addition, Sunni scholars have reached a consensus that wiping over khuffs is permissible whether the person is on a journey or at the place of residence and whether there is a need to do so or not.

Prerequisites for Wiping over Khuffs and the Like

1. You must wear them while you are in a state of purification through ablution or ritual bath.

Then, when you need to perform ablution after wearing khuffs, you do not need to wash your feet again. Narrated `Urwa bin Al-Mughira:

My father said, “Once I was in the company of the Prophet (ﷺ) on a journey and I dashed to take off his Khuffs (socks made from thick fabric or leather). He ordered me to leave them as he had put them after performing ablution. So he passed wet hands over them. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

2. The Khuffs must reach above the ankle to cover the feet and the lower part of the leg

According to this condition, you can wipe over boots, leather socks. However, you may not wipe over sandals, slippers and shoes that do not cover the ankle. The hadiths that allow a person to wipe over shoes are not authentic.

As for socks, there are two different opinions concerning the permissibility to wipe over them. On the one hand, Abu Hanifa, Malik and Al-Shafi’i are of the opinion that it is not allowed to wipe over socks. In fact, all the hadiths or reports which denote that Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) wiped over socks are not authentic.

On the other hand, it is allowed to wipe over socks according to Imam Ahmad. Here, there are two things used by Imam Ahmad and other scholars who uphold this opinion to support it. The first thing is that a good number of the companions are reported to have wiped over socks. The second thing is the analogy that is there between socks and khuffs. However, according to the majority of the scholars, one may not wipe over light socks.

3. The khuffs must be made from legally pure material

One may not wipe over khuffs or boots that are made from pig’s leather for example.

4. Wiping over khuffs must take place within the legally prescribed period.

A person who is at the place of residence may wipe over khuffs for a day and a night i.e. 24 hours. However, a traveller may wipe over khuffs for three days and nights. Narrated ‘Ali (Allah be pleased with him):

The Prophet (ﷺ) fixed the period of wiping over the leather socks for three days and nights for a traveller and one day and a night for the resident person in a town. (Muslim)

How to Wipe over Khuffs?

It is permissible to only pass your wet hands over the apparent or upper part of the khuff. You may not wipe over the bottom part which cover the sole of your feet or the back of your leg.

Things Which Nullify Wiping over Khuffs

1. Major ritual impurity

Major ritual impurity is a state which requires a person to take a ritual bath. In this case one must take off one’s khuffs. Narrated Safwan bin ‘Assal (Allah be pleased with him):

When we were on a journey, the Prophet (ﷺ) used to command us to wear our Khuffs (leather socks) for three days and three nights, whether we had to answer the call of nature or slept. However, in case of ejaculation or sexual impurity, he commanded us to remove the leather socks. [Reported by An-Nasa’i and At-Tirmidhi, version is of the latter. With them Ibn Khuzaima graded it Sahih (sound)].

2. The expiration of the prescribed period

A person at the place of residence may not wipe over khuffs for more than 24 hours. Likewise, a traveller must take off his or her khuffs after three days and nights. After the expiration of such period, a person can take off khuffs, perform ablution and wash his or her feet before wearing them again.

3. Taking off the khuffs

Taking off the Khuffs nullifies wiping over them. However, does that nullify ablution? The preferred opinion is that it does not nullify ablution.


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How to Offer the Funeral Prayer

How to Offer the Funeral Prayer


The imam stands beside the body facing the qiblah at Mecca with the followers behind him in lines.

The prayer to God for the deceased Muslim is a common collective duty (Fard Kifayah). This means that some Muslims should offer this prayer, and when it is offered by some of the Muslims present at the time it is sufficient, and the other Muslims become exempt from responsibility.

– When a Muslim dies, the whole body – beginning with the exposed parts washed in ablution (wudu’ ) – must be washed a few times with soap or some other detergent or disinfectant, and cleaned of all visible impurities. A man washes a man and a woman washes a woman. A woman may wash her husband, and a man or woman may wash young children. During the washing, the washer’s hands should be covered by gloves or cloth, and the private parts of the dead body should be washed without being seen.

When the body is thoroughly clean, it is wrapped in one or more white cotton sheets covering all the parts of the body

– The dead body is then placed on a bier or in a coffin and carried to the place of prayer, a mosque or any other clean premises. The body is put in a position with the face toward the qiblah (direction of Makkah).

– All participants in the prayer must perform an ablution unless they are keeping an earlier one. The imam stands beside the body facing the qiblah at Mecca with the followers behind him in lines.

– The imam raises his hands to the ears declaring the intention in a low voice to pray to God for that particular deceased one, and saying Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest). The worshippers follow the imam’s lead and after him place their right hands over the left ones under the navel as in others prayers

– Then the imam recites in a low voice the “Du’ a Thana’” and Al-Fatihah (the 1st chapter of the Qur’an) only.

– Then he says Allahu Akbar without raising his hands and recites the second part of the Tashahhud:

Allaahumma salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa ‘ala aali Muhammadin kamaa sallayta ‘ala Ibraheema wa ‘ala aali Ibraheem. Innaka hameedun majeed. Allaahumma baarik ‘ala Muhammadin wa ‘ala aali Muhammadin kamaa baarakta ‘ala Ibraheem wa ‘ala aali Ibraheem. Innaka hameedun majeed.” (O Allah, exalt Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You exalted Ibrahim (Abraham) and the family of Ibrahim. Verily You are full of praise and majesty. O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You blessed Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim. Verily, You are full of praise and majesty.)

– Then he makes the third takbir saying Allahu Akbar without raising the hands and offers a supplication (du`aa’ ) in any suitable words he knows, preferably these

O God! Grant forgiveness to our living and to our dead, and to those who are present and to those who are absent. And to our young and to our old folk, and to our males and to our females. O God! whomsoever You grant to live, from among us, help him to live in Islam, and whomsoever of us You cause to die, help him to die in faith. O God! Do not deprive us of the reward for patience on his loss, and do not make us subject to trial after him.”

– Then the fourth takbir (saying Allahu Akbar) without raising the hands is made followed by the concluding peace greetings right and left as in other prayers. It should be remembered that the worshippers behind in lines follow the lead of the Imam step by step and recite privately the same utterances in low voice.

– After completing the Prayer, the body is carried to the graveyard, there the body is lowered in the grave for burial with the face resting in the direction of Mecca. When lowering the body down these words are said:

“In the name of God and with God, and according to the Sunnah (Traditions) of the Messenger of God upon whom be the blessings and peace of God.”

– Besides these, any other fit prayers may be offered. If the deceased is a child under the age of puberty, the prayer is the same except that after the third Takbeer and instead of that long supplication the worshippers recite these words:

“O God! Make him (or her) our fore-runner, and make him for us a reward and a treasure, and make him for us a pleader, and accept his pleading.”

The whole funeral prayer is offered in the standing position.

Whenever a funeral procession passes by, be it of a Muslim or otherwise, every Muslim should stand out of respect for the dead.

The grave should be built and marked in a simple way. The dead body should be covered with white cotton sheets of standard material. Any extravagance in building the grave or dressing up the body in fine suits or the like is non-Islamic. It is false vanity and a waste of assets that can be used in many useful ways.

The custom of some Muslims of offering a big and costly banquet upon burial of the deceased is also non-Islamic and an irresponsible waste of money and effort that can be of infinite benefit If used otherwise.


The article is excerpted from the author’s well-known book “Islam in Focus”.

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