Ruling on following the imam’s recitation in a book in which there is a translation of the meanings of the Qur’aan

Ruling on following the imam’s recitation in a book in which there is a translation of the meanings of the Qur’aan

A group of brothers were getting together to pray Qiyam during the month of Ramadan, and they are mostly converts. Is it wrong for the Imam to lead the prayer from the (arabic) Mushaf, and for them to join him in prayer, while following with the English translation? They say that when they do this, they can follow along and get a greater khushu’ by following along and getting the meaning.

Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly:

Following the recitation of the imam in the Mushaf is contrary to the Sunnah and is to some extent makrooh. This has been explained previously in the answers to questions nos. 52876 and 10067.

Secondly:

With regard to following the imam’s recitation in a book in which there is a translation of the meanings of the Qur’aan, this requires further discussion:

1.

If he says something from the book whilst following the imam’s recitation [i.e., moving his lips whilst reading], then his prayer is invalid, because the translation of the meaning of the Qur’aan is regarded as a commentary on it (tafseer), and it is not Qur’aan according to the consensus of the scholars and it does not come under the same rulings as Qur’aan, so these words invalidate the prayer.

See: Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Ifta’, 4/165

2.

If it is limited to following the words by looking and thinking without speaking, then the prayer is valid even though it is makrooh.

al-Nawawi said: “If he turns the pages sometimes during his prayer, it is not invalidated, and if he looks at a book other than the Qur’aan and reads that in his mind, it does not invalidate his prayer, even if it is done for a long time, but it is makrooh.

End quote from al-Majmoo‘, 4/95

Al-Mardaawi said: Prayer does not become invalidated by looking for a long time in a book if he reads it in his mind, if he does not actually utter the words, according to the correct view. … It was narrated from Imam Ahmad that he did that. And it was said that it does invalidate the prayer.

End quote from al-Insaaf, 2/98

Something similar to this was said in Fath al-Qadeer, 1/403

Following the recitation by looking in the book and pondering the meaning is permissible, although it is makrooh, but this description of it being makrooh does not apply if there is a need for that, because the basic principle according to the fuqaha’ is that that which is makrooh becomes permissible if there is a need.

Seeking to focus properly in prayer and understand the meaning of what the imam is reciting is a kind of need that makes this no longer makrooh, because understanding the meaning of the verses is something that is important for the person praying behind the imam, so that he may ponder them and think of their meanings.

Something similar to this was stated in a fatwa by Shaykh Ibn Baaz, that it is permissible for the person praying qiyaam al-layl behind the imam to hold a Mushaf in which there is tafseer, and if he does not understand a word he may look at its meaning. This was mentioned in the answer to question number 9505.

But what is better than that is to strive to learn Arabic and learn the Holy Qur’aan and its meanings, so that it will be easy for you to ponder it and focus properly in prayer, and you will not need to carry this book and look at it whilst praying.

And Allah knows best. Continue reading

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Which is regarded as the first row when some people pray next to the imam?

We have a prayer room in our school, but it is not big enough for all the students and some students stand in a row next to the imam. Is the row that is nest to the imam the first row, even though it happens every day?.

Praise be to Allaah.The first row is that which is behind the imam. So the row that is directly behind the imam is the first row, and those who form a row to his right and his left will not have the reward of the first row, because this standing — meaning members of the congregation standing on the right and on the left — is something that is permitted but it is not mustahabb. Standing behind the imam is undoubtedly the Sunnah, but if someone is forced to stand on his right or on his left, they may do so but that is not regarded as the first row. 

Question: even though this happens every day throughout the year?

Shaykh: There is no problem with that in any case. This thing is permissible, to Allaah be praise. Their standing on his right and on his left is better than their waiting until the first group has finished. End quote.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn’Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) Continue reading

What should the person praying behind an imam do if he recites a verse in which there is a sajdah (prostration)?

What should I do if I recite a soorah in which there is a sajdah when I am praying behind an imam?.

Praise be to Allaah.You should not prostrate, because following the imam is obligatory and the prostration of recitation is Sunnah. If a person is praying behind an imam, it is not permissible for him to prostrate, and if he prostrates deliberately although he knows that that is not permissible, then his prayer becomes invalid. End quote. Continue reading

The distance at which it is prescribed to shorten one’s prayers and join them

My question has to do with a traveller’s prayers and shortening and joining prayers. I work in another city that is about 35 kilometers away from my city. Am I allowed to join or shorten my prayers – or to do both – because when I travel I leave the built-up area of the city where I live?.

Praise be to Allaah.The majority of scholars defined the distance at which a traveller may shorten his prayers; and some of them did not set a limit, rather they left that to be decided by custom (al-‘urf) – what is customarily regarded by the people as travelling is where the concession is granted allowing the traveller to shorten his prayers and break his fast. 

According to the majority of scholars, the distance is defined as being approximately eighty kilometers.

It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (8/99): The distance in which the concession of traveling is allowed is that which is customarily regarded as travelling, which is approximately eighty kilometers. Whoever is going to travel this distance or more is allowed to avail himself of the concessions granted to travellers, namely wiping over the socks for three days and nights, and joining and shortening prayers, and not fasting in Ramadaan. If this traveller intends to stay in a place for more than four days, then he is not allowed the concession of travel. If he intends to stay for four days or less, then he is allowed that concession. The traveller who stays in a place and does not know when he will finish what he came to do or how long he will be staying may avail himself of the concessions granted to the traveller, even if that is for a long time. And there is no difference between travel by land or by sea.

From this it is known that you are not allowed to shorten your prayers for the distance mentioned, because it is not equal to the distance of traveling.

And Allaah knows best. Continue reading

Minimum distance of travel at which it is permissible not to fast and to shorten prayers

What is the minimum distance of traveling at which the fasting is exused.

Praise be to Allaah.The majority of scholars are of the view that the distance at which a traveler may join prayers and not fast is forty-eight miles. Ibn Qudaamah said in al-Mughni: 

The view of Abu ‘Abd-Allaah [i.e., Imam Ahmad] is that it is not permissible to shorten the prayers for a distance of less than sixteen farsakhs, and a farsakh is three miles, so the distance is forty-eight miles. This was the estimation of Ibn ‘Abbaas. He said: From ‘Usfaan to Makkah, or from al-Taa’if to Makkah, or from Jeddah to Makkah.

Based on this, the distance at which it is permissible to shorten prayers is the distance of two days’ travel aiming directly for that dsetination. This is the view of Ibn ‘Abbaas and Ibn ‘Umar, and the view of Maalik, al-Layth and al-Shaafa’i.

The equivalent in kilometers is approximately 80 km.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (12/267), explaining what is meant by traveling:

The view of the majority of scholars is that this is equivalent to approximately eighty kilometers for one who travels by car, plane or ship. This distance is what is called traveling according to the custom of the Muslims. So if a person travels by camel, car, plane or ship, for this distance or more, he is regarded as a traveler. Continue reading

They travelled for twenty days during which they shortened their prayers. Do they have to make them up?

During the summer vacation we went on a trip for twenty days, and during this time we shortened our prayers because the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) went on trips for six months and shortened their prayers. Is this view correct? Do we have to make up the days that have passed?.

Praise be to Allaah.Firstly: 

The majority of scholars are of the view that a traveller may avail himself of the concessions of travel so long as he is not staying in the place to which he has gone for four or more days, whether he travels for work, medical treatment, a vacation or any other reason.

See the answer to question no. 21091.

Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The well known view of Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) is that the period during which the traveller must perform his prayers in full with the intention of staying is a period in which there are more than twenty-one prayers. And it was narrated from him that if he intends to stay for more than four days he must perform his prayers in full, but if he intends to stay less than that, he may shorten them. This is also the view of Maalik and al-Shaafa’i. End quote from al-Mughni (2/65).

It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (8/109): the basic principle is that the traveller who is actually travelling is the one who is granted a concession allowing him to shorten the four-rak’ah prayers, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And when you (Muslims) travel in the land, there is no sin on you if you shorten As‑Salaah (the prayer)”

[al-Nisa’ 4:101]

and Ya’la ibn Umayyah said: I said to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him): “ ‘And when you (Muslims) travel in the land, there is no sin on you if you shorten As‑Salaah (the prayer) if you fear that the disbelievers may put you in trial (attack you),’” He said: I wondered the same thing as you, and I asked the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about it, and he said: “It is a charity that Allaah has bestowed upon you, so accept His charity.” Narrated by Muslim.

The one who stays in a place for four days and nights or less also comes under the ruling of the traveller who is actually travelling, because it is proven in the hadeeth of Jaabir and Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to Makkah on the fourth of Dhu’l-Hijjah for the Farewell Pilgrimage, and he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stayed for the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh, and he prayed Fajr in al-Abtah on the eighth day, and he shortened his prayers during those days. He had formed the intention to stay, as is well known. So everyone who travels and intends to stay for this length of time that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stayed, or less, may shorten his prayers. Whoever intends to stay longer than that should offer the prayers in full, because he does not come under the heading of a traveler.

But if a person stays for longer than four days during his trip and has not formed the intention to stay, rather he has resolved that when he has finished his business he will go back, like one who stays in a place to engage in jihad against the enemy, or has been detained by the authorities or by sickness, but he has resolved that when the jihad ends with victory or a peace treaty, or the sickness or enemy power that is keeping him there ends, or he sells all his goods and so on, he will go back, then he is regarded as a traveller, and he may shorten the four-rak’ah prayers, even if that period is long, because it is proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stayed in Makkah during the year of the Conquest for nineteen days, during which he shortened his prayers, and he stayed in Tabook for twenty days to fight the Christians, and he led his companions in shortened prayers, because he had not resolved to stay, rather his intention was to leave once he had finished his business. End quote. Continue reading

The distance at which it becomes permissible to shorten prayers

Is it possible to shorten prayers if I know that I will be late coming back? Is the distance for travel 80 km (there and back) or is it only the distance of the outward journey, in order for it to be permissible to shorten and join my prayers?.

Praise be to Allaah.The travel in which sharee’ah gives a concession allowing shortening of prayers is that which is customarily regarded as travel, and the distance involved is approximately eighty kilometres. So the one who is going to travel this distance or more on his outward journey may avail himself of the concessions that are granted to travellers, such as wiping over the khuffayn (leather slippers or socks) for three days and nights, joining and shortening prayers, and not fasting in Ramadaan. 

If the traveller reaches the city he has travelled to and intends to stay there for more than four days, then he cannot avail himself of the concession of travelling, but if he intends to stay for four days or less, then he may avail himself of the concession of travelling. If a traveller is staying in a place and he does not know when he will finish his business and he has not set a specific length of time for his stay, he may avail himself of the concessions of travelling even if that goes on for a lengthy period.

To sum up: It is stipulated that the length of the outward journey should not be less than 80 kilometres in order for it to be permissible for you to shorten your prayers. If you are going to stay more than four days you should offer your prayers in full.

With regard to joining prayers – Zuhr and ‘Asr, and Maghrib and ‘Isha’ – that is permissible for the traveller, and it is permissible for a non-traveller too if it is too hard for him to offer every prayer on time because of sickness or important work that cannot be delayed, such as a student taking exams or a doctor doing surgery and so on.

For more information please see the answer to question no. 97844 and 97455.

And Allaah knows best. Continue reading

Praying in a mosque which is attached to a grave in the direction of the Qiblah

In our village there is a mosque in front of which is a grave. There is a wall between them, but there are windows in this wall that overlook the grave. The grave is in the qiblah of the mosque. Is it permissible to pray in this mosque? There are those who say that it is permissible, and others who say that it is not permissible. We need a definitive answer to this important question.

Praise be to Allaah.

It is not permissible to pray in this mosque that is adjoining the grave, especially since the grave is in the qiblah faced by the worshippers, and between them there is a wall with windows in it that overlook the grave. It is still not permissible even if it does not occur to them to venerate the grave. It was reported that it is forbidden to pray in graveyards. ‘Umar saw a man praying at a grave and forbade him to do that, saying, ‘Don’t pray at the grave.’ (Narrated by al-Bayhaqi, 2/435; classified as mu’aalaq by al-Bukhaari in his Saheeh, 1/523; classified as mawsool by ‘Abd al-Razzaaq, 1/404, no. 1581).

On this basis, you have to move the mosque to another place, or enclose the grave with a separate fence that will form a barrier between it and the wall of the mosque. And Allaah knows best. Continue reading

Problem of a mosque which is said to have been built on land belonging to the waqf of another mosque

We have a mosque that was built by one of the charitable foundations on land that was bought from an individual person. The problem here is that some of the elders say that that this land on which the mosque was built is a waqf belonging to another mosque.
We would like to point out to you the following:
1. The person who sold this land to the foundation has documents authenticated by the court.
2. The people in charge of the mosque to which it is said that this land belongs have not asked for this land up till now, knowing that it has been more than a year since they started building it.
3. The elders do not have any documents indicating that this land is a waqf belonging to that mosque.
4. The charitable foundation that built the mosque is prepared to buy the land again if it is proven in court that it is a waqf belonging to this mosque.
5. The mosque which was built on this land is a jaami’ mosque [mosque in which Friday prayers are held] and there is only one other mosque in this village, which belongs to the Sufis and is filled with innovations and no Jumu’ah prayer is held there.
6. This mosque – praise be to Allaah – is based on the Sunnah.  Our question here is:
What is the ruling on praying in this mosque? What is your opinion on those who warn people against praying in this mosque on the basis that it is built on land concerning which there is some doubt?
Please advise us, may Allaah reward you with good.

Praise be to Allaah.

Prayer in the mosque is valid, and no attention should be paid to what some of the elders are saying with no foundation. Based on what you have said, the documents that the person who sold you the land had are proof that the owner of the land does indeed own it, unless something to the contrary can be proven. So the words of some of the elders do not  carry any weight here, especially since those who are in charge of the waqf of that land are present and have not asked for it.

So carry on praying in the mosque, and do not pay any attention to words that are thrown about with no shar’i proof. Those who warn against praying there should fear Allaah, and not repeat the words of others so long as it is contrary to the facts. They should support their words with shar’i evidence, otherwise it is not permissible for them not to pray in this mosque, let alone warn others and stop them from praying there.

You say in your question, “The charitable foundation that built the mosque is prepared to buy the land again if it is proven that it is a waqf”. It is not permissible to sell a waqf, but if the mosque to which this land was donated as a waqf has no need of it, it is permissible to sell it to someone who will build a mosque on it, which is what has been done. That is if it is proven that this is a waqf.

May Allaah help you to do that which pleases Him. We ask Him to accept your righteous deeds. And Allaah knows best. Continue reading

Showing video tapes in which there are crosses in the mosque

We have some videotapes in the Islamic centre, and as part of our cultural program in the mosque we want to show a video tape which shows a play about the history of al-Quds (Jerusalem). It is free of music, and it shows the history from an Islamic point of view. But one of the actors wears a cross because he is playing the part of a priest. Is there anything wrong with showing this tape to the Muslims only, for it will inform the young people here, and the children and adults, about an important matter which is of concern to Muslims nowadays?

Praise be to Allaah.

Mosques are built to be filled with the remembrance of Allaah and for the establishment of salaah, and for the teaching of Islamic knowledge. Allaah has ordered the mosques to be raised, i.e., venerated. Part of that veneration is to protect them from everything that will compromise their sanctity, such as vain talk and idle entertainment, and other kinds of falsehood in word and deed. Showing plays in the mosque, even though it is for an Islamic purpose, does not befit the sanctity of the mosque, because these films are based on acting and image-making; these are the two main features of all kinds of entertainment, no matter what kind they are or what their aims are. The Muslims should do without them by teaching instead; it is possible and is easy to teach instead without them. And hardly any plays are free of some kind of munkar (evil; reprehensible action), to a greater or lesser extent.

Acting is more obviously doubtful. If these films have to be shown, then it should be done somewhere other than the mosque, out of respect for its sanctity, and so as to avoid making any kind of connection between the mosque and entertainment. Continue reading