Monday, June 25, 2007

An important translation by Shaykh Suhaib Webb of a response by Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah to a question about Allah's names and attributes (asma' llah wa-sifatuhu).

Also see another set of short translations by Shaykh Suhaib Webb (may Allah preserve him) that deserve attention.

Finally, a precious and affectionate post about how one can get into al-Azhar as a Westerner.

May Allah reward Shaykh Suhaib!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Hilal Sight Committee of North America met recently and published a statement. Here is the text of the resolution agreed to at the end of the meeting:

Resolution on Hilal Sighting
May 6, 2007 (Newark, California)

Bismillaah Walhamdulillaah WasSalaatu WasSalaam Ala Rasulillaah

We Muslims believe that our success in this life and the hereafter is in following the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (S).

We believe we can achieve unity among the Muslim community regarding the starting of all Islamic months, particularly Ramadan, Shawwal and the Dhul-Hijja by following the Hilal sighting by naked-eye in contiguous 48 states of USA and Canada

We believe the Shahada or reporting of Hilal sighting has to meet the criteria of the Shari’ah, i.e.:

1. The witness is a Muslim, sane, mature (at least reached the puberty age).

2. Known in his community to be sincere and truthful practicing Muslim

3. Accessible to Muslim Astronomers of Hilal Sighting Committee of NA for verification of the testimony.

4. If the elongation of the moon is less than 7 degree (Danjon limit), sighting claim is not acceptable.

5. If the elongation and altitude of the moon is between 7 and 10 degrees, we
need approximate 50 witnesses each from 5 places (total approximate

6. If the elongation of moon is between 10 and 12 degrees, altitude is less
than 10 degrees, and moonset-sunset lag is > 35 minutes we need 10+
witnesses each from 3+ places if cloudy and Jamme Ghafeer if clear.

7. If the moon’s elongation > 12 degree, altitude is > 10 degrees, we need 1
witness for Ramadan and 2 witnesses for all other months in case of
cloudy skies and Jamme Ghafeer for clear skies.

We the Imams and Muslim leadership present here trust and have confidence in the Hilal Sighting Committee of North America to perform the task of Hilal
sighting in a timely and professional manner.

The Shura of the Hilal Sighting Committee of North America that is consisting of Ulema of different schools of thought and the technical experts must make the final decision about the starting of the Islamic month within 4 hours after the sunset on the east coast (since we need to wait for sunset on the West coast if the Hilal is not sighted in the East and Midwest region of the US). The Ulema involved in this decision making should themselves be regular in sighting the Hilal and promoting this Sunnah.

The Muslim astronomy experts (Dr. Omar Afzal, Dr. M.A.K. Lodhi and Zaheer Uddin, Br. Qaiser Imam, Dr. Salman Zafar Shaikh, Br. Yousuf Ismail) will collect the data about the Hilal sighting and will provide to the Shura after scrutinizing it and advise the Ulema.

The member Masajid and Islamic Centers should receive the decision of Hilal Sighting Committee of North America every month via e-mail. Moreover, they or non-member Masajid and Centers or any individual can benefit through our website.

The Hilal Sighting Committee of North America would continue to base its decisions regarding the commencement of all lunar Islamic months on the
reliable actual sighting of the Hilal with the naked eye anywhere in contiguous USA (48 states) and Canada.

The Hilal Sighting Committee of North America would use for reference the astronomical data to assist in making its decisions.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The following is a quick translation of a precious response from Imam Taqi al-Din al-Subki (May Allah have mercy on him) that I come across recently while reading his compilation of ethical-legal responsa (fatawa), known as Fatawa al-Subki. Imam al-Subki said

Note (fa'ida): You asked on Saturday,Rabi` II 752 [A.H.] about the reason (`illa) for the prohibition of recitation of the Qur'an while bowing and prostrating. I said: Prayer encompasses
1) directing oneself [towards Allah] (tawajjuh), which is the aim (maqsud) of the one who is praying [as indicated by his] saying "I turned my face...";
2) recitation of the Qur'an, which is an [act of] devotion (`ibadah) intended in and of itself (maqsudah fi-nafsiha) and
3) standing, which is not an [act of] devotion per se since it is a conventional [posture] (mu`tadah). Rather directing oneself [towards Allah] and recitation of the Qur'an are what is intended [during this posture].

Then when he finishes [standing] he bows, humbling himself before Allah. [Since] bowing is an [act of] devotion intended in and of itself, he does not recite Qur'an during it because one [act of] devotion is not [to be] intruded upon by [another] act of devotion [li-anna `ibadatan la-tadkhulu `alayha `ibadah]. The supplication [that is said] while [one is bowing] is but a confirmation of the meaning of [this posture, as indicated] by his saying: "To you I bowed...". Prostration is similar [to bowing in this] and is even more complete [as a posture in which one] humbles [himself to Allah]. The supplication [recited during it], that is, "My face prostrated..." is a confirmation of the meaning of [this posture.] These three [acts of] devotion--recitation , bowing and prostrating--are the aims of prayer [maqasidu l-salah] that are, in their entirety, sheer directing oneself [towards Allah]. When he finishes [praying] he closes with the Testification (tashahhud) while sitting, which is like standing in that both are conventional [postures], the [sitting] posture not being a posture of devotion [per se]. Praising Allah and then invoking peace upon "His righteous slaves" are performed during [this posture], as though the one praying were detached from this world, advancing upon Allah (Flawless is He!) with the entirety of his self, such that when he is about to return to his senses and to the fellow members of his species, he greets "Allah's righteous slaves" with [the phrase] "peace [be upon you]" and then closes the prayers with [the same greeting], since when one who has been absent comes upon [a group of people] he says "peace [be upon you]." [So], since he was absent during his prayer and has [at this point] finished, he greets the righteous--the angels, jinn and human beings--in his presence.

(Fatawa al-Subki , K. al-Salah, s.v. "Qira'at al-Qur'an fi-l-Ruku` wa-l-Sujud")