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Professional Notes

Qabeelat Wasat • Chicago, IL • April 22-24, 2016

For more AlMaghrib notes, please visit www.qwasat.org
Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, the Lord of the universe. And peace and
blessings be upon His beloved Messenger Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his
family, and his pious followers who follow his guidance.

By the grace and mercy of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, we have compiled notes for Shaykh
Abdul Nasir Jangda’s class “Firm Ground: Foundations For Clarifying Textual
Misinterpretation”. These notes are student notes and they have not been approved by
AlMaghrib Institute or Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda.

Any benefit you obtain from these notes are from Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, while any
shortcomings are from ourselves.

Due to time constraints in class, Shaykh Jangda did not cover Seerah-related issues.
However, we have supplemented those portions with his online lectures, which you can
access at www.qalaminstitute.org/seerah. Also, the portion of Satanic Verses was
completed through Shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s online lecture from 2011.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda


Topic Page
Part 1: Why People Doubt Islam
We Need Confidence 3
How to Handle Misunderstandings 6
Fertile Land vs. Barren Land 10
First example of Textual Analysis 11
Linguistic Meaning of Dharabah 13
Kind Treatment to Women 15
Story of Khawla Bint Tha’lab 17
Can a Husband Hit His Wife? 21
What Does it Mean to Truly Believe? 23

Part 2: Principles of Textual Interpretation
Hierarchy of Islamic Sources 25
15 Fields of Mastery 27
Types of Tafsir 31
Principles of Understanding Hadith 33
Usul’l Fiqh 36

Part 3: Faith-Related Gender Issues
Gender Bias Within the Text 46
Two Women and One Man for Testimony 49
Wives Obey Husbands 53
Traveling Alone 56
Female Governance 59
Angles Cursing a Woman who Refuses her Husband 62

Part 4: Hudud – Penal Code
What is the Role of Hudud 64
Fornication 66
Homosexuality 68
Slander 70
Theft 72
Public Intoxication 75
Apostasy 76

Part 5: Violence in Islam
Methodology of Approaching the Qur’an 78
First Revealed Verse About Fighting 79
Non-Muslim Relations 84

Part 6: Seerah-Related Issues
Marriage to ‘A’ishah 86
Marriage to Zaynab bint Jahsh 90
Banu Qurayzah 95
Satanic Verses 96

Conclusion 99

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda


Confidence Provides Firm Ground
When we read the Qur’an, and the words of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, there
is one very fundamental concept that resonates: confidence. It remains consistent
throughout all the statements and examples of iman and belief. It gave our righteous
predecessors stability, a firm ground, and a sense of who they are, what they believe in, and
why they believe in those things.

One of the biggest problems in our community is a lack of confidence.
Where does this lack of confidence stem from? A very serious lack of understanding or
even basic familiarity with our own sacred texts. We are told what we believe in and we
automatically assume it is the truth without investigating further. Confidence, however, is
not something that magically manifests within a person and his or her heart. Rather,
confidence is a consequence, an outcome, of knowledge and understanding.

Overview of Study and Demographics
Researchers looked at the attitudes of 700 ex-Muslims and the reasons they left the folds of

Of those interviewed, 73% were male, and 27% were female. A quarter were Arab, a third
were of South Asian descent, and the remaining were of different ethnicities.

What did former Muslims struggle with the most? Their response:
Ø Status of women in Islam
Ø Contradiction of Sharia in real life
Ø Problematic nature of the Qur’an
Ø Problematic nature of leaders and the bad character of the Prophet, sallallahu
‘alayhi wa sallam
Ø Unscientific Belief
Ø Condemning behavior of other Muslims
Ø Arab centricity of Islam (Islam seemed to place Arabs above other communities)
Ø Dubious historicity of the preservation of the Quran

Emotional Undertone
After digging a little deeper, researchers realized that there was an emotional undertone
behind the motivations for leaving Islam in all of the people interviewed.

What finally made them leave Islam?
Ø Encounters with cruel or bad Muslims
Ø Muslim society seen as oppressive entity
Ø Muslim communities were backward

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

Ø Ill treatment of women and dehumanization of non-Muslims
Ø Felt brainwashed into accepting Islamic values

Summarized reasons behind leaving Islam into two points:
1. Preference of secular values over Islamic values
2. Repulsion from Muslim conduct (disgusted with the behavior of the Muslim

What did they gravitate toward after leaving Islam?
After they left Islam, 30% now identified themselves as atheist, 15% as agnostic, and 38%
as Christian.

Why did over a third gravitate towards Christianity? When asked, none of them could say
with full confidence that they believed that Jesus, ‘alayhi assalam, was the Son of God. It was
community acceptance that they were drawn towards. All of them felt included and
welcomed by the Christian community.

Process of leaving Islam
Ø Context of person: even though these former Muslims were of various
backgrounds, all of them spoke of a particular traumatic event in their lives and
some ongoing struggle.
Ø All identified one major crisis that finally pushed them out of the folds of Islam.
Ø There was initially a quest/search when they felt they were losing their faith.
However, when they could not find the answers to their questions from within
their own communities, they went elsewhere.
Ø They had friendly encounters with members of another community that finally
convinced them to leave Islam.
Ø They felt fully drawn to that group/organization/community that finally drew
them in.
Ø And finally, they felt an obligation to make a commitment because the other
community treated them well, and thus, they needed to be good in return.

Consequences of their commitment
They were disowned by their family, ostracized by the community, shunned by friends, and
further isolated from people they had known their entire lives.

Five main issues why people left Islam
1. Family issues & trauma within the home
2. Lack of community
3. Emotional distress
4. Political persecution- in many Muslim majority parts of the world, there exists a
terrible abuse of power in which leaders use religious blackmail to justify their
oppression. These leaders misinterpret religious texts/sources.
5. Cultural baggage

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

While we celebrate people entering the deen, we have turned a blind eye to people leaving
Islam in mass numbers. It is a very ugly reality, but we will have to come to terms with it.

Regaining confidence
We will go through the controversial issues that Muslims struggle with today in hopes of
regaining or establishing confidence about our deen.

What this class will not be is a long list of controversial issues and a very stapled generic
response to each of the criticisms against Islam. Rather, we will take examples, ayat,
ahadith, and incidents from the life of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, that are
subject to a lot of criticism and slander, and we will try to hopefully resolve those

We will discuss how to come to educated informed conclusions about the sacred sources of
our religion. We will learn methodology, a consistent academic and informed approach, on
how to handle such issues. When we feel backed into a corner or pinned against a wall
because your religion says such and such, we will have some type of confidence and
methodology of knowing how to approach it. We may not have the exact answers, but we
will know where to obtain those answer. We will know the process of coming to a holistic

Challenge our understanding
We are going to have some difficult, but very honest, discussions in this course. It will make
a lot of people feel uncomfortable. Some of the conversations and thoughts Shaykh Abdul
Nasir Jangda will discuss may even challenge some of our understandings of the deen.

Be intellectually honest
We need to be more intellectually honest and open in these conversations because our own
thoughts and ideas are not the only ones in question. These misunderstandings should not
be passed off as religious rulings. We cannot standardize our own thoughts saying that this
is what the deen truly says about those issues.

When we take a personal understanding of the religion and project it onto the rest of the
ummah, we will inadvertently push people outside of the religion.

Lack of Knowledge
Some make suspicious claims regarding the preservation of the Qur’an and the problematic
nature of the Qur’an, stating that it is incoherent and inconsistent. The Qur’an, however, is
mind-blowing in its structure, significance, grammar, and language! This is even more
evident when you study classical Arabic language.

Before we turn the blame onto the person struggling with his or her understanding, we
have to ask, where exactly does this lack of knowledge come from? To an extent, the

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

individual is responsible when he or she is not serious about learning the deen, but it is also
a communal failure. The availability of information that we have in this day and age does
not equate to the availability of understanding and learning. The fact that people criticize
the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, shows a serious lack of understanding.

Biased or dogmatic approach to texts
Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, is the Supreme Authority. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam, is an authority within our knowledge and he has been given that authority by Allah.
But after what Allah and the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, say, there is no authority
in our religion.

There may be people who clarify and explain religious concepts, but they do not dictate the
deen. We cannot take what previous scholars have said and turn it into something sacred
that supersedes or equates with the words and rules of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. We
should not believe that disagreeing with scholars is tantamount to disbelief; this is an
incorrect mentality.

When Allah intends for something to be conclusive and decisive, there is no room for
discussion: five prayers, fasting Ramadan, Ka’bah serving as the qiblah, Qur’an is the word
of Allah, Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is the Messenger of Allah, etc.

Other issues, however, have some flexibility. There is something about the human instinct
that we want only one clear ruling. Allah intended there to be a level of diversity and
different opinions. If the Qur’an and hadith leave room for discussion, we cannot close the
door to those discussions.

Oversimplification of religious concepts
Problems happen when some very deep, nuanced, and complex issues are oversimplified or
when bad translations replace entire volumes of code that Qur’an provided us.

Lack of clarity
This is related to lack of knowledge.

Unable to ask questions or receive satisfactory answers
For example, interviewers felt they were being brainwashed into being Muslim because
they could not ask questions and did not receive satisfactory answers to their concerns.

What is Islam’s authentic approach in handling misunderstandings within the religion?
People have questions and doubts, so how do we respond to those questions and doubts?
The Qur’an and Sunnah are our references when it comes to dealing with the crisis of faith
within our communities. Instead of referring only to the translation, we must actually
understand the meaning.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

“Recite in the name of your Lord who created. Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous –
Who taught by the pen – Taught man that which he knew not.” Surah al-‘Alaq, 96:1-5

This is the very first revelation of the Qur’an. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, says
in an authentic hadith in the musnad of Imam Ahmad that there were no prophets sent
between him and Isa, ‘alayhi assalam. For 6 centuries, there was no revelation or
communication between the heavens and earth. Also, Isa himself said that there is a
prophet coming after him:

“…[And Isa said, I] bring good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is
Ahmad.” Surah As-Saf, 61:6

Every book of Seerah will start by discussing pre-Islamic Arabia in order to explain what
environment the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was born into. The pre-Islamic time
was considered one of the darkest times in history as humanity at large was greatly
suffering. Human beings practically lost their humanity. When revelation came to the
Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the gates of the heavens opened again, the very
first word was iqra (read). The word tilawa means recite, and it can be done without
comprehension or understanding. Reading, on the other hand, requires comprehension. So,
Allah has emphasized the importance of true understanding from the very beginning. And

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

unless we read, comprehend, and internalize the Qur’an, we cannot understand our own

“The Most Merciful; taught the Qur’an, Created man, (And) taught him eloquence...” Surah Al-
Rahman, 55:1-4

This surah mentions the countless blessings that Allah has bestowed upon us. The very first
blessing that He mentions is the fact that He taught us the Qur’an. Allah didn’t simply reveal
and provide it, but rather, He taught it. He mentions this immense blessing even before He
mentions our creation!

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

“Move not your tongue with it, [O Muhammad], to hasten with recitation of the Qur'an.
Indeed, upon Us is its collection [in your heart] and [to make possible] its recitation. So when
We have recited it [through Jibril], then follow its recitation. Then upon Us is its clarification
[to you]” Surah Al-Qiyamah, 75:16-19

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, would try to recite the verses of Qur’an very
quickly in an attempt to retain them. But Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, told him not to rush
and not to be frantic. Allah also says that He will compile the Qur’an and clarify the verses
to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, so that he may recite it back and teach it to
other people. After all, the Book of Allah was not revealed for ritualistic recitation, but
rather, it was revealed for people to discuss, understand, and internalize.

“[We sent them] with clear proofs and written ordinances. And We revealed to you the
message that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they
might give thought.” Surah al-Nahl, 16:44

Allah says that He sent the Qur’an specifically to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Allah did not send it to the entire earth through a gigantic mushaf falling from the sky (even
though technically that would have been a way of delivering the Qur’an to humanity). Allah
chose to deliver the Qur’an to the Prophet so that he would clarify, explain, and elaborate
its teachings to the people. Those people in turn will ponder the Qur’an and process its
verses, a virtue that is heavily emphasized in the Qur’an.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda


Abu Musa al-Ash’ari narrated that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "The
guidance and knowledge with which Allah has sent me are like abundant rain which fell on a
land. A fertile part of it absorbed the water and brought forth profuse herbage and pasture;
and solid ground patches which retained the water by which Allah has benefited people, who
drank from it, irrigated their crops and sowed their seeds; and another sandy plane which
could neither retain the water nor produce herbage. Such is the similitude of the person who
becomes well-versed in the religion of Allah and receives benefit from the Message entrusted
to me by Allah, so he himself has learned and taught it to others; such is also the similitude of
the person who has stubbornly and ignorantly rejected Allah’s Guidance with which I have
been sent.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

As Muslims, our goal is to receive the rainfall (i.e. guidance and knowledge) eagerly like the
fertile soil. When fertile soil receives and accepts rain, it will give forth vegetation and
grass. Likewise, when we embrace and absorb the guidance and knowledge of our deen, we
grow as individuals, benefiting ourselves and others. We need to actively seek an
understanding of our deen and avoid pushing others out of the folds of Islam simply
because they have questions. If people leave Islam, we shouldn’t merely say, good riddance!
Rather, we need to make whatever efforts possible in order bring them back to the truth.
The deen in reality doesn’t need anyone, including ourselves. We are the ones in need of
the deen.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda


Jabir b. ‘Abdullah reported Allah’s Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as saying, “My
example and your example is that of a person who lit the fire and insects and moths began to
fall in it and he would be making efforts to take them out, and I am going to hold you back
from fire, but you are slipping from my hand.” [Muslim]

When studying this hadith, we can really feel the emotion of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi
wa sallam. At first, he uses 3rd person by talking about “a man” and using the pronoun “he”.
But he ends the hadith in 1st person by using the pronoun “I”, making it more personal. In
Bukhari, the Prophet ended the hadith slightly differently than mentioned above by saying,
“I take hold of the knots at your waist (belts) to prevent you from falling into the Fire, but
you insist on falling into it”.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, clearly did not have a passive approach when it
came to Muslims falling into sin and becoming further away from Islam. Rather, he
manifested compassion to his ummah and tried his best to prevent Muslims from falling
into those traps. So, we must reassess our approach in dealing with Muslims who are
sinning or having a crisis of faith within our communities.


Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

“Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what
they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient,
guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives]
from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed;
and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them.
Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.” Surah al-Nisa, 4:34

This ayah from Surah al-Nisa, also known as the ayah of dharb, presents itself as a big issue
among both Muslims and non-Muslims. Unfortunately, it is sometimes called “the wife-
beating verse”. At times, Muslims almost have shame and embarrassment about this ayah,
and they are afraid to discuss this issue amongst non-Muslims. Any kind of shame we may
harbor about this ayah is akin to the first thread our iman being undone; the iman may
continues to unravel over weeks, months, years, or even decades. This unraveling is the
antithesis of yaqeen (certainty).

In order to comprehend this issue, we must first understand the linguistic analysis.
When we try to determine whether something is literal or figurative, we first have to return
to the context of the word (i.e. when and how was it used). We cannot say that language
defines what is literal or figurative because language is constantly changing. When studying
tafseer of Qur’an, we need to take into account the different Arabic dialects that existed in
the past. It does not suffice to say an Arabic word meant such and such 1400 years ago.
Rather, the specific dialect that was native to the specific region and time of Qur’anic
revelation dictates whether something is literal or figurative.

We all harbor some kind of bias within ourselves based on what we have heard or read
when it comes to literal vs. figurative meaning. Such conversations can be subjective at
times because we all have different definitions of literal vs. figurative meaning.

For example, Allah says in Surah al-Tawbah:

“O you who have believed, indeed the polytheists are najasun (filthy, unclean)…” Surah al-
Tawbah, 9:28

This is a jumla ismiyan (an informative, factual sentence in Arabic). Translating the verse
as “they are filthy,” is quite literal. However, we all know this verse is supposed to be
understood figuratively. Touching a mushrik (polytheist) does not make your hand najas;
so, you wouldn’t have to wash your hand from impurity.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

We understand that the word najas can refer to filth and impurity such as urine, feces, and
blood. The word was also used figuratively by the previous generations of Arabs in the
specific area of Qur’anic revelation. The Arabs would use the word najas to refer to
something that was not in its natural state.

There is little to no disagreement that a Muslim does not have to wash his or her hands
after touching a mushrik. There was only one famous opinion of al-Hasan al-Basri, which
stated otherwise, but some of his students said that he retracted the statement later in life.

In a hadith in Sahih Muslim, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, says that when the
sun sets in the evening, it goes and it prostates in front of the ‘arsh (throne of Allah,
subhanahu wa ta’ala), and it stays there until the morning time. Then Allah grants it
permission to rise again. Imam an-Nawawi, who has written a commentary of Sahih
Muslim, writes that there is ijma’ (consensus) on the fact that this is not referring to a jismi
(physical) prostration, but rather, it is referring to the sun’s obedience before God depicted
by the sajdah. So, this hadith can be interpreted figuratively. But we cannot take this
understanding too far and say our sajdah in salah is merely figurative. The Prophet,
sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, physically prayed and demonstrated the prostration,
narrowing the definition of the word sajdah. Sometimes, the definition of a word can be
broad. But if Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, and the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,
narrow it, then the definition becomes less broad. Allah and His Messenger have a right to
narrow the meaning of a concept or word, but we cannot narrow it any further.

Linguistically, the Arabic word dharaba can be used in multiple different ways:

1. It can mean hitting or striking (i.e. coming into physical contact with something or
• Allah commands the angels in the Battle of Badr:

“…so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip." Surah al-
Anfal, 8:12

2. It can mean to give an example or to decide/conclude something.
• Allah says that He has set forth an example:

“Verily, Allah is not ashamed to set forth a parable even of a mosquito or so
much more when it is bigger (or less when it is smaller) than it…”
Surah al-Baqarah, 2:26

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

• Allah uses dharaba in reference to giving an example, and furthermore,
concluding the conversation.

3. It can also mean travel.

“And when you travel throughout the land, there is no blame upon you for
shortening the prayer, [especially] if you fear that those who disbelieve may
disrupt [or attack] you. Indeed, the disbelievers are ever to you a clear enemy.”
Surah al-Nisa, 4:101

• Note: dharaba in the context of travel comes with the preposition fee (in). So,
when you travel in the Earth or when you travel in the land, etc.

4. And lastly, it can refer to business. The Arabic word for business is mudhaarabah, a
derivative of the word dharabah.

These are all the original uses of the word dharaba. Meanings 2, 3, and 4 do not fit the ayah
of dharb, so we understand that the ayah is referring to meaning 1: to make physical
contact with someone or something.

The Qur’an is one congruent text. So, parts of the Qur’an do not contradict or clash with
other parts of the Qur’an. Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, says, “Had [the Qur’an] been from
other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much contradictions.” Surah al-
Nisa, 4:82

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

“And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion, there is no sin upon them if
they make terms of settlement between them - and settlement is best. And present in [human]
souls is stinginess. But if you do good and fear Allah - then indeed Allah is ever, with what you
do, Acquainted. “ Surah An-Nisa, 4:128

Allah addressed the wives later in the surah. So, if a wife fears aggression or abandonment
from her husband, there is no harm if they decide to separate at that time. But it is better if
they can resolve the problem.

“O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion. And do not
make difficulties for them in order to take [back] part of what you gave them unless they
commit a clear immorality. And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them - perhaps
you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.” Surah al-Nisa, 4:19

Women cannot be married off without their consent or transferred as property. Allah tells
us not to create such difficult circumstances for women that would otherwise force them to
ask for a divorce, at which point the husband takes back the mahr.

When a man divorces his wife, he must pay the entire mahr to the woman. However, if a
woman asks for the divorce, he is able to negotiate and avoid paying her the mahr or
request she return the mahr if she already received it.

Allah tells us that we can’t move women around like property. If a couple is in a bad
marriage, the husband should not make the wife so miserable that she demands a divorce.
Furthermore, Allah says to live with the spouse in a dignified and respectful manner even
in difficult situations.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

“Certainly has Allah heard the speech of the one who argues with you, [O Muhammad],
concerning her husband and directs her complaint to Allah. And Allah hears your dialogue;
indeed, Allah is Hearing and Seeing. Those who pronounce thihar among you [to separate]
from their wives - they are not [consequently] their mothers. Their mothers are none but those
who gave birth to them. And indeed, they are saying an objectionable statement and a
falsehood. But indeed, Allah is Pardoning and Forgiving. And those who pronounce thihar
from their wives and then [wish to] go back on what they said - then [there must be] the
freeing of a slave before they touch one another. That is what you are admonished thereby;
and Allah is Acquainted with what you do. And he who does not find [a slave] - then a fast for
two months consecutively before they touch one another; and he who is unable - then the
feeding of sixty poor persons. That is for you to believe [completely] in Allah and His
Messenger; and those are the limits [set by] Allah. And for the disbelievers is a painful
punishment. Indeed, those who oppose Allah and His Messenger are abased as those before
them were abased. And We have certainly sent down verses of clear evidence. And for the
disbelievers is a humiliating punishment. On the Day when Allah will resurrect them all and
inform them of what they did. Allah had enumerated it, while they forgot it; and Allah is, over
all things, Witness. Have you not considered that Allah knows what is in the heavens and what
is on the earth? There is in no private conversation three but that He is the fourth of them, nor
are there five but that He is the sixth of them - and no less than that and no more except that
He is with them [in knowledge] wherever they are. Then He will inform them of what they did,
on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed Allah is, of all things, Knowing.” Surah al-Mujadilah,

Khawla bint Tha’lab was going through a very difficult situation in her marriage. Her
husband explained how they are meeting the social and family expectations: they have a
convenient living, they have children, the man is paying the bills, and Khawla was taking
care of the housework. But the husband said that he just doesn’t love Khawla anymore and
that he doesn’t find her appealing, interesting, or attractive. So, the husband declared that
he and Khawla are legally married, but there can be no intimate, physical, or personal
relationship between them.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

One can imagine how extremely hurt Khawla felt. Being the intelligent sophisticated
woman that she was, Khawla explained that she still had feelings for him even though he
doesn’t feel the same way. She said that she wants to get out of the marriage. The husband
refused, saying that he needs structure and comfort in his life and that ultimately, he is the
one in charge of issuing any divorce.

So, Khawla went to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and was visibly upset. The
Sahaba described her as almost running to the Prophet, breathing very hard. She was
furious, yet crying at the same time. Khawla explained the situation to the Prophet, asking,
how can Allah allow this man to do this to me? Are you going to allow this to happen? She
was almost yelling at the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. One may misunderstand her
demeanor as disrespectful to the Prophet, but Allah clarifies in the above verses that she
was not disrespectful but very honest.

Allah explains that He heard what the woman said and that He agrees with her. He
validates her feelings, and Allah disapproves of the husband’s behavior. The husband
has two options:

1.) He divorces her immediately.
2.) Or he reconciles with her, wins her back, and works out the problems with his wife.

Allah says that in either case, the husband will have to pay a penalty for how he
treated his wife and the cruel words he said to her. The penalty is as follows:

1.) He has to free a slave. This sounds praiseworthy at first, but we have to understand
that this entails the husband gifting away something very valuable. If he doesn’t own
a slave, he must buy a slave and then free it (a slave would be the equivalent of tens
of thousands of dollars in our times). So, he has to spend tens of thousands of dollars
as a penance for the emotional abuse he has inflicted upon his wife.
2.) If he is unable to free a slave, then he must fast for two consecutive months
(anywhere from 58-60 days).
3.) If he cannot fast for two consecutive months (e.g. medical condition), then he must
feed 60 poor people a day’s meal. This is the very least of the penalties.

This is a Quranic example of how Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, does not tolerate emotional
abuse in marriage. So, for someone to suggest that physical abuse would be permissible in
marriage is an interesting notion.

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April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

‘A’ishah said, “The Apostle of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, never ever struck a servant
nor a woman.” [Sunan of Abu Dawud]

• The word “woman” in this hadith refers to wife. So the Prophet, sallallahu
‘alayhi wa sallam, never struck anyone who served him nor did the Prophet
strike any of his wives.

‘A’ishah narrates that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, never beat any of
his servants, or wives, and his hand never hit anything. [Ibn Majah]

• Another narration clarifies that the only time the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi
wa sallam, raised his hand against anyone was in the battlefield.

Narrated Mu’awiyah al-Qushayri: “I went to the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam, and asked him, What do you say (command) about our wives? He replied: Give them
food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not
beat them, and do not revile them.” [Abu Dawud]

• The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is forbidding physical and verbal
abuse in an authentic narration.
• This narration is from ‘aam al-nuful, the 9th year of hijrah (the year before the
passing of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Why is this significant?

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April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

• Because he said the words above towards the end of his life. So, no one can
claim that it is older advice and was abrogated later on.

Fatimah b. Qais, radyAllahu ‘anha, said: I came to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,
and said to him: "Muawiyah and Abul-Jahm sent me a proposal of marriage." The Messenger
of Allah said, "Muawiyah is destitute and he has no property, and Abul-Jahm is very hard on
women." [Bukhari and Muslim]

• When Fatimah approached the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, seeking his
advice on the proposals, he said with full disclosure: Mu’awiyah is great guy, but he
is not very financially comfortable (i.e. he doesn’t have much money). So, accepting
his proposal will put you through some financial hardship. The Prophet knew that
Fatimah came from a more privileged background.
• And as for Abul-Jahm, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that he never
puts the stick down from his shoulder. Some narrators said this means he beats his
wife, but Imam Nawawi clarifies that the Prophet never said dharaba an-nisa (he
beats his wife), but rather, he said he never puts his stick down (i.e. he travels a lot,
he never unpacks his bag because of frequent travel). So, if you marry him, know
that he won’t be home much because he travels for work.
• This is a prime example of someone taking creative license with the translation. We
have to understand what Allah and His Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, truly
said as opposed to what people think Allah and His Messenger said.

Some men were reprimanded for beating their wives, and they were told that good men do
not beat their wives. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was the best of all men and
he never ever hit any of his family members. [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba]

When we study the Qur’an, we understand that Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, does not
tolerate emotional abuse towards one’s spouse. When we study hadith, we understand that
the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, never raised a hand against any of his family
members. Through authentic hadith, the Prophet actually forbade and prohibited a husband
from hitting his wife.

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April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

Imam al-Darimi (the teacher of Imam at-Tirmidhi) has a book called the Jami’a al-Darimi. In
his book, he actually has a chapter titled: “The Chapter about the Impermissibility of Hitting
One’s Wife.”

Ata bin Abi-Rabah, a student of Abdullah ibn Abbas, took the opinion that it is
impermissible for a man to hit his wife (i.e. it is haram).

Ibn al-Arabiy (Maliki faqih) says that it is makrooh tahleemy—severely disliked to the
border of being haram for a husband to hit or physically strike his wife.

So, it is a lot more nuanced than one would initially think. But at the end of the day, one
question remains: Allah uses the word dharaba in the ayah, so how do we understand that?
Scholarly opinion has ranged from permissible to disliked to severely disliked to
prohibited. However, that still does not answer the question why Allah uses the word

One of the very sophisticated understandings resonate personally with Shaykh Abul Nasir
Jangda. Ibn A’shoor (a mufassir of the Qur’an and a great faqih) explains that whenever we
talk about these issues, we must understand the era we are living in.

If we live in an era where there are Islamic courts and an Islamic legal system, dharaba of a
woman is actually allowed as explained in the Qur’an. However, this is in extreme
circumstances in which the wife is completely out of control and her irresponsibility is
destroying the family. We must keep in mind that an Islamic government must exist; if a
husband takes the physical contact too far, the wife can bring the case to the Islamic court.

Ali bin Abi Talib established an Islamic court in Kufa. There are documented cases of
Muslim women coming to court and complaining to Ali that their husbands beat them.
There would be actual physical signs of abuse on the women. So, Ali summoned the men to
court and ordered them to pay their wives a certain amount in financial reparation for
causing the women physical harm. Then Ali would enact a separation; he actually annulled
their marriage! Each of the madhaahib have their own books of fatawa on the matter. The
Shafi’is, Hanbalis, and Malikis took the opinion that the husband should be beaten in court;
he should be lashed and financial reparation should be taken from the husband and given
to the wife. All four madhaahib agree that if the case is severe enough, and if the wife
demands it, the judge should carry out annulment and divorce them.

The act of dharaba does not involve mere disagreements between the husband and wife in
which they have different opinions. After all, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, gave
his wives the option to stay in the marriage or leave when there was a difference of
opinion. In disagreements, we should try to sort out the problems or, at last resort,

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April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

Ayah 34 in Surah Al-Nisa is referring to the wife causing destruction and harm to the
family. In an appropriate cultural context in which it would be deemed acceptable, it is
permissible for the husband to physically communicate the message to his wife. Abdullah
bin Abbas says the dharaba is to the extent of using a miswak or a hand on hand. In our
time, this would be the equivalent to holding someone by the shoulder while talking to him
or her.

Ibn A’shoor says even the physical communication of such a message in such a severe
circumstance is only legitimate when there is an Islamic government that can ensure the
safety and rights of the wife. But in the absence of such a system, we cannot give any
person physical dominance over another person. Just like we do not enact the hudud on
fornicators and thieves in the absence of an Islamic government, we do not enact the act of
dharaba. We cannot ensure fairness and justice if there is no Islamic court system. So, the
act of dharaba is not applicable in our times because of the lack of accountability. If we give
husbands that right over their wives, where do the women go in cases of abuse?

In summary, this becomes an issue of translation. Shaykh Abul Nasir Jangda says that the
Qur’an absolutely does not allow for a husband to beat his wife. Rather, the Qur’an allows a
husband to very seriously communicate a message to his wife in very extreme
circumstances under certain preconditions. The usage of word “beat” is very problematic.


“O mankind, there has come to you a conclusive proof from your Lord, and We have sent down
to you a clear light.” Surah al-Nisa, 4:174

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“Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith, [saying], 'Believe in your Lord,' and
we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause
us to die with the righteous.” Surah Ale-Imran, 3:193

“O you who have believed, believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book that He sent down
upon His Messenger and the Scripture which He sent down before. And whoever disbelieves in
Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day has certainly gone far astray.”
Surah al-Nisa, 4:136

“No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah - He will
guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things.”
Surah al-Taghabun, 64:11

The ultimate objective of our deen is to build a strong relationship with Allah, subhanahu
wa ta’ala. We need to put our faith and trust in Allah, and He will guide our hearts and
suffice us. And during the ongoing journey of developing our iman, we continue to
spiritually grow and come closer to Allah.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, saw a young sahabi named Haritha one day, and
he asks him, “How are you doing this morning oh Haritha?” He says, “I am a true firm
believer this morning oh Messenger of God, I have never felt more sure of my faith than I do
this morning.” The Prophet says, “Every claim of faith in belief has a truth and a reality to it.
What is the truth and reality of what you claim to believe?” He says, “I am no longer driven
by the acquisition of material things” (i.e. I don’t just live to acquire wealth and
materialistic things). “So I fast during the day, and I pray and worship during the night. And
I constantly feel like I am standing in front of the Throne of Allah, ready to meet Him and to

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talk to Him. I feel like I am there in the company of the people of Paradise as they laugh and
joke and enjoy themselves. And I feel that I can see and hear the torment and the anguish
and the pain of the people in Hell as they are punished in Hell.” The Prophet, sallallahu
‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “You have found the truth. Now never let it go. This is what it looks
like when Allah puts light into a person’s heart.” It gives you the beautiful noor of iman and

Ultimately, the core of our deen is our relationship with Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. We
must strive to learn about Islam in order to establish peace, tranquility, and contentment
within our hearts. When that is acquired, there is no force on earth that can shake us,
delude us, or confuse us.

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We derive our understandings and rulings from
various sources of legislation and there is a
hierarchy to these sources.

The Qur’an:
At the top of the hierarchy is the Book of Allah,
subhanahu wa ta’ala, the Qur’an. There is some
difference of opinion among Islamic scholars and
Islamic philosophers; some say that the Qur’an and
the Sunnah are both at the top of the hierarchy.
However, generally speaking, the Qur’an is at the top because the Qur’an is what authorizes
the Sunnah.

The Sunnah:
A level below the Qur’an, in the hierarchy, is the Sunnah of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi
wa sallam. The Sunnah of the Prophet can generally be distributed into four categories:
1. What the Prophet said
2. What the Prophet did
3. What the Prophet approved of
4. Something that the entire generation of the Sahaba agreed upon and confirmed. This
is considered to be part of the Sunnah even though it came about after the departure
of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Note: In regards to the fourth category, some might ask “how can we call it ‘sunnah’ when
the Prophet wasn’t there?” The understanding is that the Prophet gave authority to that
generation. They were trained and taught by the Prophet who said “if the Sahaba agree in
regards to something, that is a consequence of the understanding that I have imparted to

After the Qur’an and Sunnah:
After the Qur’an and Sunnah, we do not have an absolutely conclusive form of legislation.
Some may ask “what about the opinions of the Sahaba?” We have the utmost regard and
respect for the Sahaba. They are entitled to their individual opinions and interpretations,
and we are obligated to validate them, but they are not binding.

For example, some of the Sahaba considered all types of musical instruments to be
impermissible. We are obligated to validate this opinion and respect it as a legitimate
position in our religion. At the same time, there were some Sahaba who didn’t hold the
opinion that all musical instruments are impermissible. Some said percussion instruments
are permissible, while stringed instruments are impermissible. We are also obligated to

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validate and respect this position. When we discuss this issue in terms of its legislation, the
opinion of one Sahabi will not trump the opinion of another Sahabi. This is called madhhab
us-Sahabi or ijtihad us-Sahabi; this is the individual position of a Sahabi and other Sahaba
might have held another position.

Another example: ‘A’ishah, radyAllahu ‘anha, believed that if somebody missed a fast during
Ramadan (let’s say Ramadan 2015), whether it is a sister who couldn’t fast due to her cycle,
or someone who couldn’t fast due to traveling, or someone who couldn’t fast because of
illness, he or she has until the next Ramadan (Ramadan 2016) to make up the missed fasts.
If he or she does not make up the missed fast(s) by the time Ramadan 2016 comes, he or
she will now end up making up the fast(s) after Ramadan 2016. ‘A’ishah believed that
merely making up the fast is not sufficient anymore. Rather, the individual will now have to
make up that fast and give sadaqah on top of it (which is the amount of fidya: a day’s worth
of meals to a miskeen). That is the opinion of ‘A’ishah, one of the most knowledgeable
people of this ummah. However, whether it is Hafsah or Zaynab or ibn Umar or ibn Abbas
or ibn Mas’ud or Ali, NONE of the other Sahaba held that position. None of the major fuqaha
have taken that position as an obligation either.

How do we understand and interpret the above example of ‘A’ishah’s opinion? According to
the framework of how we arrive at conclusions, the individual opinion of a Sahabi is due
the utmost respect and courtesy, but it does not become a binding form of evidence.
However, if the Sahaba developed a consensus on an issue, then the Prophet, sallallahu
‘alayhi wa sallam, authorized it as being part of the Sunnah and that will become a binding
form of evidence.

Bottom of the Hierarchy of the Islamic Sources:
At the bottom of the hierarchy, we have different mechanisms through which rulings are
arrived at. We can use linguistic analysis, rational interpretation, cultural dynamics, and
extrapolation of the scholars; these are at the bottom of the hierarchy and they are not
binding forms of evidence. The purpose of saying so is not to discredit the scholars of our
religion; we do greatly appreciate and benefit from the work done by the scholars of the
past. However, it is important to note that saying “Abu Hanifah said this” or “Ibn Kathir said
that” or “Nawawi said this” does not make it binding. That doesn’t mean that no one else
can ever have another position or interpretation on any particular issue. We protect the
deen and the religion from becoming so narrow and restricted where it loses its versatility,
practicality, and placement within different situations and circumstances.

In this section, we’ll discuss the principles that are in place to properly understand and
interpret the Qur’an. More than principles, we’ll discuss the resources that go into the
analysis, the interpretation, and the explanation of the Book of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala.
The studying of these resources is a lifetime endeavor, so what we will do is survey the
resources one needs in order to interpret the Qur’an. The survey of these resources in and
of itself will give us an appreciation of the depth of the Book of Allah.

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It is a rehabilitative experience for our minds and our hearts to understand the level of
resources that go into the interpretation of the Qur’an. The reason why we say this is
because we live in an age of instant gratification and information where everything is at
our fingertips. “Google” any question that we may have and a dozen different possible
answers show up on our screens. We always look for a short, quick, easy solution for
whatever it may be that we want to do. We must understand that knowledge does not work
in this manner, and that is definitely not how we interact with the Qur’an. As far as
personal reading, personal understanding, and personal reflection of the Qur’an is
concerned, that is not only something we are allowed to do, that is something that every
person is encouraged to do. However, deriving rulings and legislations and developing
authoritative understandings from the Qur’an is something that has prerequisites.

1.) Classical Arabic
One has to have a firm grasp of classical Arabic vocabulary. One has to learn meanings of
words and know what the words mean in classical Arabic versus in modern Arabic.

Muhajir, radyAllah ‘anhu, said, “It is not permissible for one who holds faith in Allah and the
Day of Judgment to speak on the Qur’an without learning classical Arabic.” In this respect, it
should be known that classical Arabic must be mastered in its entirety because one word
may have various meanings; a person may only know two or three of them whereas the
meaning of that word in the Qur’an may be altogether different.

2.) Arabic Philology
Any change in the diacritical marks affects the meaning, and understanding the diacritical
marks depends on the science of Arabic philology.
§ Changing a fatha to a kasra can change the meaning of a word.
§ Vowel markings/ending sounds of the words end up determining who is doing the
action versus what the action is being done to.
§ The doer, the object, and the subject can change depending on the diacritical marks.
3.) Arabic Morphology
Morphology in the Arabic language is called “as-sarf.” “Sarf” quite literally means to “turn.”
An interesting facet of the Arabic language is that you can take one particular root word
and morph it into dozens, if not hundreds, of different meanings! For example, “nazala”
means for someone to descend, for someone to step down. “Nazaltu” means “I stepped
down,” but “nazzaltu” (with the shadda) means “I sent it down.”

Arabic morphology is significant because changes in the configuration of verb and noun
forms change the meaning. Ibn Faris said, “A person who misses out on Arabic morphology
has missed out on a lot.”

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4.) Al-Ishtiqaq
Al-Ishtiqaq means to understand the root from which every word originated from. It means
to understand the history and etymology of words. Al-Ishtiqaq is very important because it
helps us understand what a word actually alludes to.

Ishtiqaq becomes very important when dealing with a word like “jihad.” The word “jihad”
can be used in a context that refers to military activity, but where does the word originate
from? It originates from the word “jahada” which has nothing to do with military activity
but rather hard work. When the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said “go do jihad to
your parents,” was he saying to go fight your parents? No, he was saying “go work hard to
serve your parents.”

Ishtiqaq is also very important when tracing words back to their origins. The word ‘athaab
means punishment. The root of the word is ‘athbun, and the word ‘adhb in the Arabic
language means “sweetness.” How did we get from sweetness to punishment? We didn’t.
The scholars of language tell us that this particular word, even though it looks like a
derivative, has nothing to do with the origin of the word. In fact, ‘athaab was an
independent word that the Arabs created to refer to punishment.

It should be learned because sometimes one word derives from two root words, the
meaning of each root word being different. This is the science of etymology, which explains
the reciprocal relation and radical composition between the root and derived word. For
example, “masih” derives from the root word “masah”, which means “to feel something and
to touch something with a wet hand,” but also derives from the root word “mashat”, which
means to measure.

5.) ‘Ilm’l-Ma’ani
The science by which one figures the syntax through the meaning of a sentence. Once
you’ve put all of the above four principles together, then what meanings are you deriving
from the construction of that sentence?

6.) ‘Ilm’l-Bayan
Embellishments, rhetorical devices, similes, metaphors, parables, zuhur (evident meaning),
and khafa (hidden meanings) all fall within ‘Ilm’l-Bayan. It is when one is saying more than
what the words are saying.

7.) ‘Ilm’l-Badi
The science by which one learns to interpret sentences which reveal the beauty and
eloquence of the spoken and written word. It has a lot to do with tone and inflection of

Note: The above-mentioned three sciences are categorized as ‘ilm’l-balagha (science of
rhetoric). It is one of the most important sciences to a mufassir because he is able to reveal
the miraculous nature of the Qur’an through these three sciences.

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8.) ‘Ilm’l-Qira’at
Dialecticisms of the different readings of the Qur’an. This science is important because one
qira’ah (reading) of the Qur’an may differ in meaning from another, and one learns to favor
one reading over another based on the difference in the meanings. One must have a good
grasp and familiarity of the variant readings of the Qur’an. The variant readings of the
Qur’an are such where the structure of the text accommodates and allows for slightly
different variations of the reading of the word.

For example, Allah tells us in the Qur’an:

“Do not spy on one another” Surah Hujurat, 49:12
§ The jeem in the word “tajassasu” has a dot underneath it. If you take that dot away,
then it is possibly saying another word and that word is “tahassasu,” which would
change the meaning to “do not eavesdrop.”
§ “Tajassasu” could be used in the context of hacking into someone’s email to spy on
them. “Tahassasu” could be used in the context of actually standing near someone
and trying to eavesdrop on their conversation.
9.) ‘Ilm’l-‘Aqa’id
One needs to know what the fundamental beliefs of the Muslims are. That means one has to
have a very good survey of what the entirety of the Qur’an and the collection of hadith say
about what we believe prior to interpreting the Qur’an authoritatively. If you take one ayah
in isolation, you might derive some understanding in regards to belief that may contradict
what the Qur’an says.

It is important because we cannot attribute the literal meaning of some ayahs to Allah. In
this case, one will be required to interpret the ayah as in “the hand of Allah is over their

10.) Usul’l-Fiqh
The principles of Islamic jurisprudence. It is important to master this field so one
understands the methodology of legal derivation and interpretation. Refers to when you
see a word or when you see a text, how you go about unpacking all of its meaning. It is a
methodology to unpack the meaning of something. On a cursory level, it involves the
following process:
§ First, we have to linguistically understand and unpack the word
§ Then we have to corroborate it to the source text itself
§ Then we think about how we can go about implementing it
§ Then we have to have some consideration and sensitivity to the cultural context in
which you are going to be implementing it
§ Then we have to consider what the consequences are, what the desired outcome is
from a particular ruling, and consider whether or not it’s delivering that desirable
outcome in the way we’re implementing it

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11.) Asbab’l-Nuzul
In this field, one learns the circumstances in which an ayah was revealed. It helps us
understand the historical, social, and political context of a verse. Asbab’l-Nuzul shouldn’t be
understood to restrict the meaning of a verse. At the same time, it gives us some idea about
how to apply the verse, so that we’re not applying verses of marriage in business contracts,
or that we’re not applying the verses about capital punishment (hudud) when it comes to
family dealings and interactions. Sometimes, the meaning of an ayah is wholly dependent
on its historical background.

12.) ‘Ilm’l-Naskh
This is knowledge of the abrogated ayahs. This field is important because abrogated rulings
must be separated from the applied rulings. It takes into account the sequence of
commands that have been issued in regards to a particular situation.

For example, when it comes to wills and inheritance of a person, the initial ruling in the
Qur’an was that somebody needs to draft a will before they die, and their wealth would be
distributed however they have drafted their will. The Qur’an stated that an individual
should give preference to the parents and the family (meaning the wife and kids) when
drafting the will. But one can draft the will any way that he or she likes. After that, Allah,
subhanahu wa ta’ala, revealed verses in Surah al-Nisa and laid out an elaborate, detailed
structure in terms of who gets what under certain situations and circumstances.

13.) Fiqh
Jurisprudence. This field is important because one cannot gain an overview of any issue
until he or she has understood its particulars. So, one must have a proper understanding of
the entire Qur’an and hadith literature, in addition to logical arguments concerning
different issues, in or order to extrapolate a ruling. Without a proper understanding of
jurisprudence, one may extrapolate a ruling that contradicts our religion.

Somebody who does not have mastery in this field can read an isolated verse in the Qur’an
and come to the conclusion that giving zakat is merely recommended and not obligatory.
He or she may not realize that there are eight other verses that actually tell us that zakat is
mandatory and that there are about 100 hadiths that also teach us that zakat is mandatory.

14.) ‘Ilm’l-Hadith
One has to have a firm grasp of hadith. Knowing what the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam, said, what he did, how he interpreted, how he understood, and how he
implemented is of utmost importance. ‘Ilm’l-Hadith helps us live in accordance with the
Qur’an and understand the Qur’an. Hadith can help explain mujmal (general) ayahs.

15.) ‘Ilm Laddani
The endowed knowledge which Allah grants to His closest servants. They are the servants
indicated in the hadith: “Allah will grant one who acts upon whatever he knows from a
knowledge he never knew”. The study of the Qur’an should lead us to a life of dignity,

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honor, and distinction in accordance with the Quran. It has to be a spiritually
transformative experience and not just an academic exercise.

The word “tafsir” in the Arabic language literally means to uncover something, to open
something up. The word “tafsir” is used for the Qur’an in a sense to open up the meaning
and understanding of the Qur’an. There are three types of tafsir:

1.) Tafsir bi’l-riwayah
This is tafsir by transmission; also known as tafsir bi’l-ma’thur. There are three steps to
tafsir by transmission:
1. Step one is to see what the Qur’an says about what the Qur’an says. This is
where the clarification of the Qur’an is found within the Qur’an.

Allah says in on place of the Qur’an:

“The ship that was full” Surah Ya-Sin, 36:41

§ There’s discussion as to what that means. Is it a metaphor for something?
When we survey the Qur’an, we find the story of Nuh, ‘alayhi assalaam. Allah
states that Nuh put the believers and creatures on the ship. When he was
prepared to sail, Allah refers to the ark as “the ship that was full.” This is an
example of the Qur’an clarifying itself.

2. Step 2 is to look at tafsir through the statements, words and the actions of the
Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This can be done in two ways, one is
specific and one is general.
§ Specific commentary: ‘A’ishah was asked “what was the character of the
Prophet like?” She responded by saying “his character was the Qur’an.” She
then went on and asked the sahabi who asked the question to recite Surah
Mu’minun. The sahabi read it until he reached the end of the beginning
passage which talks about the qualities of the believers and then ‘A’ishah said
“that was the character of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.” This is
commentary from the words, actions and the life of the Prophet specifically
about an ayah.
§ General commentary: Allah tells us in the Qur’an “fight through difficulty
and adversity by leaning on patience and prayer.” If we survey everything
that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said and taught us about
patience as a virtue and how to be patient, is he specifically talking about that
verse? No, but he is generally talking about patience. This is general
commentary; we read a verse about patience and then we look at everything
that the Prophet said about patience.

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3. Step 3 is to see what the Sahaba said about what the Qur’an says.
2.) Tafsir bi’l-ra’y
Literally translated as “tafsir by rationale,” which doesn’t communicate what it means.
“Ra’y” in Classical Arabic is not tafsir based on rationale/opinion; rather, it is tafsir based
on knowledge of the religion, tafsir based on structure, and tafsir based on principles. This
type of tafsir is also known as “tafsir bi’l-dirayah.” The way that Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda
would explain the second type of tafsir is as “tafsir by analysis,” not “tafsir by sound

Tafsir by analysis means that your analysis is not allowed to contradict something in the
first category of tafsir. There is a hierarchy, and the top one (tafsir bi’l-riwayah) is the most
authoritative. This second type of tafsir is based on a set of principles that are generally
agreed upon, and the biggest example of it is the language itself. Linguistic analysis of the
Qur’an is tafsir by analysis. However, your linguistic analysis cannot contradict anything
that the Qur’an says about the Qur’an.

3.) Tafsir bi’l-isharah
This is tafsir based on one’s personal thoughts and is a reflective tafsir. This type of tafsir
can neither contradict tafsir bi’l-riwayah, nor can it contradict tafsir bi’l-ra’y.

What is the point of discussing the three types of tafsir?
Tafsir by transmission is authoritative proof within our religion, so when we are discussing
“wadribuhunna”/contention within the home, when a husband is dealing with his wife in
an extreme circumstance, the tafsir by transmission becomes very important. The fact that
we know the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, never ever physically struck anyone in
his home, and that he even reprimanded those who raised their hands against family
members is a tafsir by transmission. From this we understand that we aren’t being granted
a license to raise our hands on our family members.

Tafsir by analysis will not be authoritative, but can be used as an argument in the
conversation. And tafsir bi’l-isharah holds absolutely no weight within our religion. When
we’re reading tafsir about an ayah, we have to be alert about which category of tafsir the
given conclusion falls under.

The second source of legislation within our religion is what we call the “Sunnah.”

The Issue of Terminology
We have to be careful and considerate about what a term means and where the term is
used in that meaning. The word “sunnah” is defined as the words and actions of the
Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The technical definition of the word is “recommended

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Something that is “said or done by the Prophet” and something that is “recommended,” are
these two definitions synonymous? Is everything said or done by the Prophet a
recommended act? No, not everything said or done by the Prophet is a recommended
course of action; some things were done by him to demonstrate permissibility/exemption.
For example, one time the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did not fast during the
month of Ramadan when they were traveling for the Battle of Badr (and later during the
conquest of Makkah). During the journey, he fasted part of the journey (because of the
month of Ramadan), and he did not fast for part of the journey. Doing so, he demonstrated
that when you are traveling, you have the option to fast or not fast.

So, is it recommended to fast while traveling, or is it recommended to not fast while
traveling? The answer is neither. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said “whether
you fast or don’t fast while you’re traveling says nothing about your level of piety.” Either
way, however, you will fast that day or you will end up making up that fast later. Neither
choice is more righteous or pious. Neither is recommended. Just because the Prophet,
sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said or did something, it doesn’t necessarily make it

The Word “Sunnah” in Different Sciences
§ In the science of aqeeda, the word “sunnah” is synonymous with “Islamic.”
§ In hadith or seerah sciences, the word “sunnah” means something that has to do
with the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, something that is connected to the
o The color of the Prophet’s hair, his height, color of his eyes, the shape of his
fingers, and the length of his fingers are all sunnah because it is talking about
him. Is it recommended for your fingers to be that long? No. Is it more Islamic
for your eyes to be that color? Of course not.
§ In the science of Fiqh, for something to be “sunnah” means that it is recommended.
o What does it mean for something to be recommended? It means that if you
do it, you get rewarded and if you don’t do it, you are not liable and is not

It is important to realize that our usage of the word “sunnah” can possibly be confusing to
other people. If we are not careful, our meaning may be misunderstood due to the
interchangeable nature discussed above.

Hadith generally is understood to be describing the words, the actions, or the approvals of
the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

“Sanad” is the chain of narration. The purpose of the sanad is that the person who is
quoting the hadith is ensuring that the hadith did in fact come from the Prophet, sallallahu
‘alayhi wa sallam. It means that the person is sourcing the narration.

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There is a nuance that needs to be understood here. We don’t actually source every
narration continuously back to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, anymore. We now
source a hadith to books (i.e. Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, etc.) and the books actually source
back to the Prophet. This is fine because this is something that the ummah came to an
agreement to. This agreement was not arrived at flippantly. These texts were vetted,
verified, and spread to the rest of the Muslim world. Hundreds (if not thousands) of
scholars delved through them, critiqued them, verified them, and then considered it ok for
someone to source these texts.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said “may Allah bless the person who hears my
statement and then relays it as that person has heard it”. He goes on to explain that
sometimes you might end up delivering some knowledge to someone who can retain it
better than you were able to. You might pass on knowledge to someone who can do more
with it than you could. So, there is a serious warning about not falsifying the words of the
Prophet, but at the same time, this concern shouldn’t prevent us from learning and teaching
knowledge. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, also said “somebody who falsifies
information in my name, then that person should prepare their seats in the fire of hell.” So,
the sanad is very important.

There is a beautiful statement by Abdullah ibn Mubarak in which he says this sourcing of
knowledge is actually essential to the preservation of the religion because if we don’t
source our information, then anyone can say whatever they want. He goes on to say to be
very considerate about who you get your knowledge from.

“Mattan” is the text of a hadith. Even once the chain of narration is sound, there is some
level of scrutiny, validation and authentication of even the text of a hadith. We aren’t going
to disqualify something that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, but we are going
to verify it and make sure that we are able to understand it. The only thing worse than not
acting on what the Prophet said is misinterpreting and misrepresenting what the Prophet

Literary Appreciation of the Arabic Language
One of the first things you look at when looking at the text of a hadith is the literary
appreciation of the Arabic language. We can’t just use a dictionary to dissect the text,
because it just wouldn’t translate properly. Sophisticated speech has idiomatic phrases,
parables, figures of speech and so on. For example, “al deen an naseeha” does not simply
translate to “religion is advice.” It actually translates to “religion is first and foremost a
sincere devotion and dedication of oneself.”

Understanding the Occasion of a Hadith
In regards to the Qur’an, we called it “asbab’l-nuzul,” the circumstances in which an ayah
was sent down. In regards to hadith, it is called “sabab al-wurood.” “Wurood” means the
circumstance in which it was said, done or occurred.

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Ahadith are not always the words of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Whose words
are they? If it is talking about what the Prophet did, those are the words of the Sahaba. We
won’t disqualify the texts for being the words of the Sahaba and the Sahabiyat, but we will
take into consideration the fact that they are their words. For example, one Sahabi will say
that the Prophet “said,” one will say the Prophet “shouted,” and one will say the Prophet
“yelled,” because each one of them is giving his or her vantage point. Someone who is
standing close to the Prophet would say he “yelled,” someone who is standing a little
further away from the Prophet would say he “shouted”, and someone standing very far
away would say the Prophet “said.”

Even if it is the words of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, who are we relying upon
to relay those words? Again, we’re relying on the Sahabi. So, naturally there is going to be a
larger context, and the Sahabi would be relaying what he remembered from the Prophet.
This is not us being disrespectful; this is us recognizing their humanity. The Prophet was
human, but he had divine assistance, where he never forgot anything. The Sahaba would be
honest about this issue. Umar ibn al-Khattab said that the Prophet once lectured all the way
from Fajr to Dhuhr. There are some who remember, but I don’t remember everything.
Umar explained that he could give a general overview of the lecture, but he admitted that
he didn’t remember everything.

There is also a famous narration involving Ziyad bin Labid. Ziyad was a young companion
who was considered to have a photographic memory and was an up and coming genius of
Madinah and surrounding areas. The Prophet complemented his intellect by saying “I
thought that you were one of the most brilliant young people in Madinah,” so there is no
doubt in Ziyad’s memory and intellect. Ziyad said in a hadith that “the Prophet was talking
about something, but then the Prophet said something so astounding and overwhelming, I
forgot what he had said before that.” What the Prophet had said was “that is what will
happen when knowledge leaves this world.” Immediately, Ziyad asked “what do you mean
knowledge will leave? What if we keep reading the Qur’an and we teach it to our kids and
teach our kids to teach it to their kids?” To that, the Prophet responded, “I used to think you
were smart.” He went on to ask the Sahabi “do you mean you will create a system of
Qur’anic recitation or Qur’anic education?” The Prophet made a distinction between
Qur’anic recitation and education. This narration demonstrates that the Sahaba themselves
explain that even when it came to the words of the Prophet, they are sometimes giving us
an excerpt of a much longer conversation. So, exploring the dynamics of what possibly
could be the context within which a hadith manifested is very important.

Interpretation in the Light of the Qur’an
After studying all the resources mentioned above, you start to see the symmetry and how
the Qur’an and Sunnah feed into one another. You have to understand the Qur’an in light of
the life of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and you have to understand the life of
the Prophet in light of the Qur’an.

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Study of All the Variant Texts
We have to remember that because the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is a human
being, speaking in a human circumstance, talking to human beings, that sometimes
different Sahaba remember different parts of the conversation, or they relay different
details of the conversation.

In authentic narrations, we find at least four different circumstances in which the Prophet,
sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was asked the same exact question, “which action is the best?”
In multiple authentic variations, he answered the question differently every single time. In
one narration, he said “be good to your parents.” In another narration he said “praying on
time.” In yet another narration, he said “to believe in God.” Knowing these variant texts and
understanding their occasions is very important. We understand that the question was
being answered based on whom the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was speaking to.
Ali ibn Abi Talib teaches us that one of the principles of the Prophet was to “speak to people
in a way that they are able to understand.” Meaning, to address what is relevant to people.
So when the Prophet said, “to believe in God,” he was speaking with a person who wasn’t a
Muslim yet. In the narration where the Prophet responded, “be good to your parents,”
because the Prophet was talking to a younger person who had elderly parents. In the
narration in which he responded, “praying on time,” the Prophet was speaking with a new
Muslim who had asked him what he should focus on as a new Muslim. So, there is always
context, and without context, it seems like a contradiction.

In this section, we will discuss the evaluation of words, how you extrapolate rulings from
the words that are found in the sacred text and sources.

Rules of Interpretation: Al-Dalalat (Textual Implications)
When you have a statement, whether it is from the Qur’an or from a hadith, there are al-
dalalat (textual implications).

A.) The Explicit Meaning (‘Ibarat’l-Nas)
The explicit meaning of a text.

For example, Allah says:

“Allah has allowed for you to do business, but Allah has not allowed for you to engage in
interest-bearing transactions.” Surah Baqarah, 2:275

The explicit meaning from the above text is the fact that interest is something that is
impermissible within Islam. It doesn’t require any other explanation; it is self-evident.

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B.) The Inferred Meaning (Dalalat’l-Nas)
An example of this is where Allah says:

“Those who wrongfully consume the wealth of orphans are consuming the fire of Hell. And
they will be burnt in the blazing Fire!”
Surah Nisa, 4:10

It says wrongfully consuming the wealth of orphans is impermissible. However, it is
inferred that if someone destroys the wealth of an orphan as opposed to consuming it, that
would also be impermissible. The verse speaks explicitly about consuming the wealth of an
orphan, but it infers the fact that destruction of an orphan’s property is also impermissible.

C.) The Required Meaning (Iqtida’l-Nas)
There is a blank within a text and until and unless you fill in the blank, the meaning
wouldn’t make sense. In the native language, it doesn’t have to be mentioned, but when
we’re translating and interpreting it, we have to fill in that blank. Allah says:

Surah Yusuf, 12:82

A native speaker of Classical Arabic would understand the above text, but if you are not
natively familiar with Classical Arabic and try to literally translate this, it translates as “ask
the city.” Even in the English language, it doesn’t make sense. So what does it actually
mean? It means to ask the people of the city (i.e. the people who live in the city).

D.) The Alluded Meaning (Isharat’l-Nas)
In order to arrive at the conclusion that the text is giving you, there may be prerequisites.

Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, commands the Prophet:

“And include them in consultation” Surah Ale-Imran, 3:159

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Are there any prerequisites that may be involved in consulting them? You have to make
sure that you have trained and prepared people who are qualified to give advice in
consultation. This verse was revealed in the third year of hijrah, meaning it was 16 years
after revelation began. That means that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, spent the
last 16 years preparing a group of people that can one day stand properly and intelligently
and be able to give sound counsel on critical matters and issues.

Allah says:

“Go and ask the people who know when you don’t know.” Surah al-Anbiya, 21:7

Is there a prerequisite to this? Yes, that means that it is the job of the community to ensure
that there are people within the community who know, so that there is someone to ask. The
verse reads, "ask those who know when you don't know”. It is not saying "ask those who
know more than you when you don't know." So if you have a question and there’s nobody
to answer your question, your job is not to discuss it with somebody who knows just a little
bit more than you. Your job in that situation is to get access to someone who knows and is
qualified for consultation.

Clear Words
We have to fundamentally understand that some words are very clear in their meaning and
there are some that aren’t so clear initially in their meaning. When a word is clear in its
meaning, we know what to do with it. When a word is not very clear in its meaning, we
cannot base any rulings from it until we’re able to clarify it. As far as clarity is concerned,
there are four levels of clarity that a word goes through.

A.) Zahir
Zahir is the meaning of the word that is found in the dictionary.

B.) Nas
The meaning of the word in which it is used within the sacred text. When we look at the
word “wadribuhunna” from ayah 4:34, we understand that it is not just unrestrictedly
being used in the meaning of “hit” or “strike,” but rather, it is being used in the meaning of
delivering consequences to destructive behavior.

C.) Unequivocal (Mufassar)
A developed understanding of what’s found not only in one particular text, but based on all
texts that are available on the subject. It is the developed meaning after you take all the
information available on the subject. When we discussed “wadribuhunna,” the developed
meaning was that this is a very restricted course of action that is specific to some very
extreme circumstances.

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D.) Perspicuous (Muhkam)
Muhkam is when a ruling is now attached to it and you have arrived at a conclusion of the
meaning of a word. Again, with the word “wadribuhunna,” the act is severely disliked
because the Qur’an and sunnah discuss how a couple might as well separate before it gets
to this point.

Unclear Words
When words are unclear, they go through similar degrees of lack of clarity.

A.) Obscure (Khafi)
Khafi means when you look up a word in the dictionary and you are still unsure what the
word means. Some of the meanings of the word “'ayn” that can be found in the dictionary
are eyes, spy, spring, essence of something, core and life, so it is obscure.

B.) Difficult (Mushkil)
This is when the word is embedded within the text and you still aren’t able to tell what the
word is referring to. An example for this is the Arabic word “anna,” which can mean
“however,” “wherever” or “whenever.”

We read in the Qur’an, when Zakaria sees Maryam has fruits out of season, he asks:

Surah Ale-Imran, 3:37

If you translate that as “when did you acquire this?” or “where did you get it from?” or “how
did you get that?”, do the three work interchangeably? Yes, they do work interchangeably
in this context. However, it is important to remember that this sort of interchangeability
with the word “anna” does not work in another place in the Qur’an.

Disclaimer: We discuss whatever we have to discuss for the sake of education, but when
the subject matter is addressing something that is more age appropriate, then disclaimers
need to be provided. The following example from Surah Baqarah addresses spousal
intimacy and we will try to talk about it as appropriately as possible.

While there is a free reign that is provided in intimacy between spouses, there are a few
restrictions that do exist. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that anal
intercourse and intercourse during the cycle is not permissible. That prohibition exists
within our religion.

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Allah says:

Surah al-Baqarah, 2:223

It is very important how we translate the word “anna” from this verse. When Allah is
addressing the husband in this verse and saying “you may engage your spouse in physical
intimacy,” is He saying “whenever you would like” or “wherever you would like” or is He
saying “however you would like?”

The verse is not saying “whenever you would like.” If it said “whenever,” even then it is not
completely open-ended because the verse occurs in the middle of the passage about fasting
in the month of Ramadan. In the month of Ramadan, can you engage in spousal intimacy
any time you would like? No, you can’t engage in spousal intimacy while fasting because
that invalidates the fast.

Is the verse saying “wherever you would like?” No, because the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi
wa sallam, already forbade anal intercourse. So the verse is not saying “wherever.”

The verse is saying “however.” As long as you’re not engaging in this activity during the day
time in the hours of fasting, and as long as you’re not engaging in this activity
inappropriately, THEN the manner in which you approach it (physical position, type of
intimacy, or foreplay) has no prohibition or restriction.

We have to be careful in the way we translate the word “anna” because its
interchangeability (whenever, wherever, however) works in the context of the “out of
season fruits” that Maryam had, but it doesn’t work interchangeably in the context of
spousal intimacy.

C.) Ambivalent (Mujmal)
This is when the meaning of a word requires external explanation that is not part of the
text itself. It has to be an explanation from another person, another ayah, another hadith or
another source from the outside that has to come in and define it. Until an explanation
comes in to explain it to us, it is mujmal, it is not clear.

In the example above from Surah Baqarah about spousal intimacy, did a hadith come in and
explain it for us? Yes, it did, when the Prophet forbade engaging in spousal intimacy

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D.) Intricate (Mutashabih)
Mutashabih means that there is no explanation. For example, disjointed letters in the
Qur’an (like “alif laam meem” or “ha meem” in the beginning of surahs) are mutashabih. In
terms of translation, “alif laam meem” will always just be translated as “alif laam meem.”
There are lessons that we can take from disjointed letters. They humble us and remind us
that we don’t know everything.

Homonym (Mushtarak)
The word “mushtarak” implies a word has multiple meanings. For example, we looked at
the word “’ayn” earlier which has many different meanings. The general ruling for a word
that is mushtarak (has multiple meanings) is that you cannot pass a ruling on it unless and
until you can ascertain which of the meanings is intended in a particular place. There are
no blatant examples of this in the Qur’an and the sunnah because anything that is stated in
the Qur’an or the sunnah, we have something that clarifies what is intended by it.

Mushtarak is more relevant to contracts. If Ahmad was to write in a contract that “I am
gifting my car to my brother,” and all Ahmad says in the contract is “akhi” (“my brother”)
and Ahmad actually has two brothers (Zaid and Khalid), we wouldn’t be able to tell whom
the car belongs to unless we get some clarification from the source. We would have to go
back to Ahmad, who wrote the contract, and inquire which brother he intended. There is
discussion about the fact that you can generally look for clues. Clues in contractual
language in Arabic are called “qara’in”. If Zaid is 18 years old and Khalid is 8 years old, you
can use that clue and say that Zaid is the intended brother, but that would not be conclusive
because maybe Ahmad actually intended Khalid for when he grows up and is old enough to
drive. Nevertheless, that is what mushtarak means.

Literal (Haqiqi) and Metaphorical (Majazi)
Allah says:

“God created the human being” Surah ar-Rahman, 55:3

That is not a metaphorical statement, but a literal statement. Allah actually created the
human being. We understand that and we interpret it literally and that reflects in our

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We read in the Qur’an where Zakaria makes a dua:

“My Lord, indeed my bones have weakened, and my head has filled with white...” Surah
Maryam, 19:4

This is an example of a metaphorical statement. In the Arabic language, “ishta’ala” means to
“catch on fire” and “ra-as” means “head.” If we literally translate it, we would think he said
“my head has caught on fire.” However, because it is a figure of speech in the Arabic
language, we understand what he actually means is “my hair has gone white” (i.e. I have
become old). There is a clue embedded within the language; he says “shayban” which
means “due to old age.” When you become old, your head doesn’t catch on fire, it goes
white or grey.

Allah says:

“Those people who buy kufr for iman, never will they harm Allah at all, and for them is a
painful punishment.” Surah Ale-Imran, 3:177

This verse is an example of a statement with dual meaning. It can be understood both
literally and metaphorically. How do we understand this verse literally? At the time of this
ayah’s revelation, there was a man from the Quraysh who accepted Islam. It is said that he
was a poor man, so the leaders of the Quraysh approached him and offered him wealth in
exchange of his iman. Due to the weakness of his own faith and the circumstances, he gave
in to their offer and publically left Islam. Allah revealed the above ayah when this scenario
occurred. Money literally changed hands and the man bought kufr for iman.

There is also a figurative meaning of this verse that any time you are willing to compromise
your faith for any type of worldly gain, then that is something that Allah is talking about in
the above ayah. The ayah is talking about people who make a compromise in their religion
for worldly gain; they have to know that they don’t cause any harm to God. The Quraysh
intended to use the man who left Islam as propaganda, but it didn’t work. It still didn’t
deter the number of people coming to Islam.

General (‘Am) and Specific (Khas)
Note: Before we discuss the example demonstrating this categorization, we have to
understand the structure of houses back in the days of the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa
sallam. They did not have completely closed off homes back then like we do now. They did
not have air conditioning or running water, so they had a very open design to their homes.
The rooms were not separated by walls but by curtains. What we today consider the living
room, for them back then it was not a closed off private area, rather it would have three

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walls and a ceiling and their living room would open out into a courtyard. Overall, there
was not the same level of privacy we have today. For instance, the Prophet's home opened
up into the same area as the home of Ali and Fatima.

Women Praying in the Masjid
There is an authentic narration from the Sunan of Abu Dawud, narrated by Abdullah ibn
Mas'ud, that the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said "a woman's prayer inside the
open area [i.e. the living room; it is still an open area, but more inside the apartment] is
better than her praying in the courtyard." The Prophet goes as far as to say "a woman's
prayer inside the curtained off area [i.e. bedroom] is better than her praying in the living
room." So inside the living room is better than out in the courtyard and inside the bedroom
is better than in the living room, because the bedroom is further secluded and more
private. When we read this, the big issue that comes up a lot of times is that can we
generally say that there is more reward for a woman to pray at home than at the masjid?
We need to think about the implications of that statement.

There is an interesting narration from Sahih Bukhari, in which ‘A’ishah says “the Prophet,
sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, prayed Fajr while it was still very dark outside. The Muslim
women who had come to Fajr prayer (when it was still dark outside) would get done with
the prayer in congregation and they would not recognize one another because it was so
dark.” There was no lamp in the masjid of the Prophet until the ninth year of hijrah, when
Tamim ad-Dari hung a lantern in the masjid for the first time. ‘A’ishah is saying that Muslim
women, Sahabiyat, wives of the Prophet, daughters of the Prophet, they used to go and pray
in the masjid even at Fajr time when it was so dark that they couldn’t recognize one
another. So would it be a fair statement to say that the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam,
is generally saying that any woman, for her there is more reward to pray at home than in
the masjid? If this statement was meant generally, then why were the wives of the Prophet
and the mothers of the believers going to the masjid?

Scholars such as Imam an-Nawawi and Ibn Hajar along with many others—based on the
combination of different narrations and the evaluation of the actual circumstances at the
time of the Prophet—have concluded that the hadith regarding a woman’s prayer being
better at home than the masjid is not meant generally. They say that that particular hadith
has a specific application. They say that this is a reward and encouragement being offered
by the Prophet to women who are not able to go to the masjid. This was a concern because
while there were women who, like ‘A’ishah, would be able to comfortably go for the
prayers, many of the women (especially those who lived in the outskirts) were not able to
go because it wasn’t considered safe. Particularly during the first three years of hijrah, the
Makkans would come and conduct raids on Madinah at night time.

We also have to consider that there was a very severe importance given to men praying at
the masjid back then, some of the Sahaba even considered it mandatory. What would
happen if they had small children at home? The wives would stay home. So, the Prophet,
sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, is encouraging those young mothers to pray at home as
opposed to the masjid even though they sincerely desire to go the masjid. Their intention to

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pray at the masjid gets them the reward of praying at the masjid and the act of looking after
their children gets them double the reward.

Absolute (Mutlaq) and Qualified (Muqayyad)
Something that does not have any conditions of qualifiers is considered absolute.

Allah says:

“Oh Mankind! Seek out your relationship with your Lord” Surah Baqarah, 2:21

Meaning, if you fall under the category of being a human being—regardless of gender, age,
race, or faith—Allah is telling you to find a way to Him. This is an example of something

Allah says:

“Oh you who believe! Seek strength in moments of difficulty through patience and prayer”
Surah Baqarah, 2:153

There is a qualifier here, “oh you who believe.” You have to first be Muslim in order for this
to be meaningful to you. This is an example of something qualified.

Hermeneutics is the discipline of the methodology of interpretation and ascertaining the
intention of the speaker/author. What follows in this section are some of the questions you
ask in hermeneutics.

What is the ‘formal’ interpretation of this text?
This is what we would call tafsir by transmission.

What is the ‘official’ interpretation of this text?
What is a more concrete, scientific, disciplined, principled interpretation of the text? This is
what we would call tafsir by analysis.

How do people interpret the text who are experts on the history, politics, culture,
life, times, customs, etc. of the writer?
This means what the scholars have to say about the text. For us, it means what the Sahaba
had to say about the text. For example, what did ‘A’ishah have to say about the hadith

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concerning a woman’s prayer being better at home than the masjid? She herself actually
went to the masjid and prayed.

What did the author intend to say?
This does not completely apply to us. How can we say something on behalf of God when we
do not have the right to do so?

Is the use of a particular word, grammatical construction, verb tense, etc., significant
in this case?
In Ibn Malik’s Arabic poem about the Arabic language, when he says “lufdh” versus
“kalima,” is that relevant? “Kalima” is a word that has a concrete meaning and “lufdh” is just
an utterance of sound. When we apply this question to the Qur’an and Sunnah, will the use
of a particular nuance or word be relevant? Yes, always.

Qadhi al Baydawi wrote a tafsir completely through lens of the linguistic and logical
interpretation of the Qur’an. In it, he delves into the nuances of every single word in the
Qur’an. His tafsir of Surah Fatiha is 250 pages long in Classical Arabic, which in English
would translate into 400 pages. This is why speaking in absolute terms can be problematic;
so many nuances get ignored. Speaking in absolutes is a sign of ultimate ignorance. Imam
al-Shafi’i says “every single time my knowledge increased, I became even more aware of
how little I knew.” Knowledge leads to further nuance, not the removal of nuance.

Who were the author’s readers or listeners, culturally, etc.?
When it comes to sacred sources, you have to understand what the context is, whom the
Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, was speaking to and what was going on when a
revelation came down. We also have to consider the fact that the deen is meant for all of
humanity at all times and at all places.

How did the author’s contemporaries interpret the text?
This is important, as we look at how the generation of the Sahaba implemented the text.

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Some critics may argue that gender bias presents itself within the Islamic text itself.

Ibn ‘Umar, radyAllahu ‘anhu, said, “The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, ‘O women
folk! You should give charity and be diligent in seeking Allah’s forgiveness because I have seen
(i.e. on the Night of the Ascension to the highest heavens) that dwellers of the Hell are women.’
A woman amongst them said, ‘Why is it that the majority of the dwellers of Hell are women?’
The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, replied, ‘You curse frequently and are ungrateful to
your husbands. In spite of your lacking in wisdom and failing in religion, you are depriving the
wisest of men of their intelligence.’ Upon this the woman asked, ‘What is the deficiency in our
wisdom and in our religion?” He, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, replied, ‘Your lack of wisdom
can be well judged from the fact that the evidence of two women is equal to that of one man.
You do not offer salah (prayer) for some days and you do not fast (the whole of) Ramadan
sometimes. It is a deficiency in religion”. [Muslim]

We need to keep in mind that this was a translation, not the translation. In another
narration of this particular hadith, it was reported that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam, went out for the Eid prayer in the early morning. He emphasized the importance of
giving in sadaqah, repeating the reminder several times. He gave the Eid khutbah in front of
the entire congregation and then released the men.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then went to the sisters’ area and spoke
exclusively to the women, saying the words mentioned in the hadith above. He did not say
these words to the women in the general gathering. Ibn Qayyim says that addressing the
women privately makes all the difference in the world. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam, is like the father of this ummah, and he is advising the women whom he cares for
and loves. Ibn Qayyim says that it is not permissible for someone to use this narration in
order to justify publicly shaming or ridiculing women.

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Anyone who used the phrase nuqsan al-‘aql as a joke needs to understand the
egregiousness of such words as it mocks the Sunnah. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam, was addressing his Sahabiyyat in a caring, loving, and affectionate manner, similar
to how a father advises his daughters. Furthermore, the Prophet has a right to speak to his
community in any way he likes, and we have no right to judge that whatsoever.

There is a more extended narration of this hadith in Al-Qastalani’s sharh of Sahih Muslim. It
explains how the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said these words and then returned
home. His wife tells him that Zayneb, the wife of Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, wanted permission
to see him, so the Prophet allowed her to come in. Zayneb entered and said, oh Prophet of
Allah, you asked us to give charity today. After hearing your motivating speech, I decided
that I want to give my jewelry away as charity, but my husband ibn Mas’ud objected.

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud came from a humble background; he worked as a shepherd and was
relatively poor. His wife Zayneb was an Ansari, and she came from a wealthy background.
So, ibn Mas’ud objected to her giving her jewelry away as charity because they were having
their own financial difficulties at home. Ibn Mas’ud said, wouldn’t it make more sense for
you to help out at home and help your own family?

So, Zayneb asked the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, about the issue. He stated that
ibn Mas’ud is correct and that her husband and children are more deserving of her charity
than other people.

Al-Qastalni brings this extended narration to explain how the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam, was aware of the financial difficulties some of the muhajireen men were going
through. The muhajireen came from Madinah and were not very wealthy, but they were still
marrying the wealthy women of Madinah. So, when the Prophet said that women are
ungrateful to their families and husbands, he was addressing the specific situation of
women refusing to help financially even though they had the means to.

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The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, says that women will be the majority of the
inhabitants of Hell. Akthar in the Arabic language does not always translate as majority, as
opposed to minority. Rather, it can mean abundance.

Even if we translate akthar as majority, what does that mean? Technically, for a group to be
the majority, you would only need one more person in that group. For example, in a room
of 100 people, women would be the majority if they totaled 51. Men would be considered
the minority if they totaled 49.

In an authentic narration found in many books of hadith, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam, said that for every man who enters into Paradise, there will be two women who
enter Paradise. These two women are from the progeny of Adam who lived in this world. If
there are two women who enter Paradise for every man, then 2/3 of the people of Paradise
are women! Overall, we conclude that there are generally more women than men. But why
did the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, emphasize that there are more women in Hell?
Because he was talking specifically to the women! He was reprimanding them, similar to a
father reprimanding his daughter. It would very presumptuous of us to judge parents as
they admonish their children since they have that right. Likewise, we have no right
whatsoever to judge the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was saying that he has never seen people who are
“lacking in intelligence and lacking in faith” who are capable of outsmarting even the
smartest man. In Tuhfatul Ahmadi, a book of sharh of hadith, the scholar writes that
describing women as “intellectually and spiritually deficient creatures” was a pre-existing
kind of joke or slight present amongst the Arabs at that time. Just like we have stereotypes
in our times about ethnicities and genders, the Arabs also had stereotypes. Calling women
intellectually and spiritually deficient was prevalent in the Arab culture at that time.

So, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was explaining the following: I don’t
understand how you women are able to outsmart the smartest men and run circles around
them if you truly were so intellectually and spiritually deficient. The Prophet realized that
the women would sometimes use this excuse of being “deficient” to avoid meeting higher
expectations. He was telling them to stop using this excuse because he knew that some of
the women are smarter and more spiritual than the men.

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One of the woman asked the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, what do you mean by
deficiency in intelligence and spirituality? He responded by saying that the testimony of
two women is equal to the testimony of one man and that women don’t pray or fast at
times due to the menstrual cycle.

We accept that the testimony of two women is equal to the testimony of one man because
this is the law of Allah. In terms of the menstrual cycle, scholars all say that it is
impermissible for women to pray and fast during this time. Allah will reward women who
abstain from prayer and fasting during the menstrual cycle because it is a form of
obedience and the most righteous thing for them to do. So, would a woman who refrains
from praying and fasting during menstruation be spiritually deficient? No, because she is
acting upon the commandment of Allah which ultimately increases her piety.

In reality, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was addressing a negative stereotype
about the women of his time. He was saying that women are obviously not inherently
deficient in terms of spiritualty and intellect. It’s just not true! The tone of this hadith is not
apologetic; rather, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is demanding more from
women as he wants them to give in charity, make more istighfaar, and stop fighting at home
with their husbands. He doesn’t want them to use the “deficient” excuse to avoid helping
their families.


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“O you who have believed, when you contract a debt for a specified term, write it down. And
let a scribe write [it] between you in justice. Let no scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught
him. So let him write and let the one who has the obligation dictate. And let him fear Allah, his
Lord, and not leave anything out of it. But if the one who has the obligation is of limited
understanding or weak or unable to dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate in justice.
And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men
[available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses - so that if
one of the women errs, then the other can remind her. And let not the witnesses refuse when
they are called upon. And do not be [too] weary to write it, whether it is small or large, for its
[specified] term. That is more just in the sight of Allah and stronger as evidence and more
likely to prevent doubt between you, except when it is an immediate transaction which you
conduct among yourselves. For [then] there is no blame upon you if you do not write it. And
take witnesses when you conclude a contract. Let no scribe be harmed or any witness. For if
you do so, indeed, it is [grave] disobedience in you. And fear Allah. And Allah teaches you. And
Allah is Knowing of all things.” Surah al-Baqarah, 2:282

This ayah is called ayat al- dayn, and it is the longest ayah in the Qur’an. Dayn means
borrowing money.

When we transact a loan, we must ensure there is a specified term outlining a deadline for
repayment. We should also try to find a trustworthy person to write down the contract.
This individual should serve as an honest, understanding, and neutral third party. People
who meet these criteria should accept the responsibility of writing the contract and serving
as witnesses because Allah has given them the ability to do so.

The one loaning the money should clearly state how much he/she is giving to the other
person. For example, he/she can state, I am giving you $100. If this individual is unable to
state how much money will be loaned (for example, the lender cannot speak), then a
representative who has the lender’s best interest at heart should speak on his/her behalf.
This representative should preferably be from the family of the lender.

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Surah al-Baqarah discusses a multitude of topics: our relationship with Allah, theology,
belief system, prayer, qiblah, fasting in Ramadan, rules and regulations of fasting, and
overall faith. This surah is the spiritual and religious foundation of our deen. It first starts
by stating, this is the book that has no doubt. It concludes by talking about exchanging
money with one another. How are the two connected?

The culmination of your relationship with Allah, beliefs, prayers, fasting, and charity
ultimately manifest themselves in the way you handle money. It serves as proof whether
your prayer is superficial or real, whether your fasting is just a hunger strike or true act of
ibadah, and whether the Qur’an simply rolls off your tongue or if it truly enters your heart.

Do we resort to lying, cheating, and harming others just to obtain money? As Muslims, we
must understand that business is part of our deen because it is mentioned in the Qur’an.
Therefore, we only conduct business and deal with money in ways that are pleasing to

Imam Muhammad al-Shaybani wrote many books
about Islam, and he was a student of Imam Malik
and Imam Abu Hanifah. He was also the teacher of
Imam al-Shafi’i and one of the influences of Imam
Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Someone once asked Imam
al-Shaybani why he has not written a book about
tazkiyah (spiritual purification). He responded by
saying, I have written a book about that specific topic,
and it is called “The Book of Islamic Ethics in Financial

Transactions”. To Imam Muhammad, if people can
properly conduct themselves with money, they have a strong relationship with Allah
because they give preference to the Hereafter over money. Thus, these individuals have
depicted spiritual purification.

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Some people may pray, fast, read Qur’an, and have the outward appearance of a righteous
Muslim, but when they deal with money, they lose sight of who they are. They would do
practically anything for money, indicating that their relationship with Allah needs

This ayah discusses how the loan contract should have witnesses, either 2 men or 1 man
and 2 women. The question becomes, does Islam and the Qur’an say that a woman is half of
a man? The vast majority of scholars say that this ruling is non-transferrable; so, the only
situation in which the testimony of a woman is not equal to the testimony of a man is in the
loan contract. This ruling applies specifically to the loan contract and does not apply to
general business contracts. But why? Because this is the law of Allah.

In cases other than a loan contract, the testimony of 1 woman plus the testimony of 1 man
serves as 2 testimonies. So, in general business transactions, criminal cases in court, family
issues, and testifying in matters of the religion, a woman’s testimony is equal to a man’s
testimony. In regards to family issues, a woman can testify that a man and woman were
nursed by the same nanny, making marriage between them impermissible. If two women
testify to this, then the judge can rule that the man and woman are foster siblings. So, the
ayat al-dayn cannot be used to claim that a woman is half of a man.

Narrating a hadith is a kind of testimony, and we must establish the narrator’s ‘adalaa
(qualification/trustworthiness). Anyone who narrates hadith must be trustworthy,
dependable, and reliable. The evaluation of ‘adalaa is not dependent on gender since
women are equal to men in this regard. So, a female narrator of hadith is just as legitimate,
accepted, and valid as a male narrator of hadith.

Imam al-Qurtubi and Imam al-Taftazani explain ayat al-dayn by discussing how one of the
women can remind the other woman in case she makes an error. Imagine two women: “one
of them” and “the other”. If “one of them” has troubles or makes an error, “the other” can
remind her. However, the woman referred to as “one of them” must still give the final
testimony in court (even if she receives help from the other woman).

The ayah does not say that 2 women will testify along with the 1 man, or else there would
be 3 testimonies. There will only be 2 witnesses in court for this scenario: either 2 men or 1
man plus 2 women. The woman serving as “the other” does not testify; rather, she is just in
the background assisting “one of them”. So, in regards to the women, only one will serve as
the official witness.

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Ibn ‘Ashoor was a Tunisian scholar trained in both the old Ottoman system in addition to
western academia. He served as head of the Zaytuna University as well as the supreme
Maliki authority at the time. Ibn ‘Ashoor explains how men have mostly dominated the
fields of business as opposed to women. So, men in general have more expertise in loan
transactions. Therefore, a woman may feel uncomfortable serving as a witness to a loan
contract. Allah says there should be 2 female witnesses so that the woman can bring
someone with her.

Just because we may not understand the rationale behind a certain concept, it does not
equate with being irrational. There is always a level of submission and compliance in the

There is a difference of opinion regarding this matter. The majority of scholars say the
witnesses should be Muslim. However, Abu Hanifah says that the witnesses in a financial
transaction do not necessarily have to be Muslim as long as they are trustworthy. As a
Muslim minority living in a non-Muslim country, it may be easier for us to follow the
opinion of Abu Hanifah.


“Abu Hurayrah, radyAllah ‘anhu, reported: The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “If
I were to order anyone to prostrate himself before another, I would have ordered a woman to
prostrate herself before her husband.” [Tirmidhi]

This states a hypothetical statement. If this is being discussed in a relationship, then that is
problematic and the couple should seek marriage counseling. In the Arabic language, “low”
means IF (as in IF I were to). But it’s clear that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did
not actually order this. Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, says in Surah Ale-Imran ayah 379 that
He has not granted any human being the right to say that another human being is
subservient to him/her (not through prophethood, authority, or religion).

If the Qur’an says that an individual is not allowed to tell another human being that he or
she is subservient, then this hadith cannot be interpreted to say that a man’s wife is
subservient to him. When we were learning to interpret hadith, we said it must be
interpreted in the light of Qur’an. Everything works together. Islamic guidance is very
holistic. Even the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, never declared that anyone was

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subservient to him. We are commanded to be like the Prophet, to obey the Prophet, and to
see him as a role model, but we are not subservient to him; rather he taught us we are only
subservient to Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. This is important to understand because it
serves as a fundamental part of our faith.

In the extended narration in the Musnad of Imam Ahmed and the Sunan of Imam Nas’ia,
Anas bin Malik reports that the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, says it is never okay
for one human being to make sajdah to another human being. But then he says, “low” (if) I
were to command anyone to do sajdah to another human being, it would have been the
wife to the husband because of the level of right he has upon her and because of how much
she might owe him. The idea of a sajdah demonstrates love, respect, admiration, some level
of authority, and responsibility the husband has. We cannot say the sajdah is
representative of superiority. Because then we would say the other is inferior, leading to
the idea that “husband is always right, wife is always wrong”. This is not true. We only say
this for the relationship between a slave and Allah. Allah is always right, and He is superior
to us while we are inferior.

“[Isa said]: I said not to them except what You commanded me - to worship Allah, my Lord
and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You
took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness.”
Surah Al Mai’dah, 5:117

Allah talks about Isa, alayhi’ assallam, standing before Allah. Isa will say that he told the
people to worship Allah alone. So, there is an emphasis that Allah alone is the Supreme
Authority who is the only one deserving of sajdah.

There’s a fascinating narration where the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, came to a
garden of a Sahabi where a camel was “acting out”. The Prophet walked up to the animal,
and the animal bowed down its head to the Prophet (almost like sajdah). The Prophet,
sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, reached down, picked up its head, and walked it over to do
work. Even the Prophet himself was uncomfortable with an animal doing this for him,
knowing that such a sajdah is only for Allah.

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The hadith of a woman making sajdah to the husband hypothetically presents the notion of
a human being making sajdah to another human being. There is a scenario in the Qur’an in
which this happened with the family of Yusuf, ‘alayhi asalaam. The brothers and parents
made sajdah to Yusuf, but we need to take into account the following:

1.) That was a permissible means of displaying respect for someone in the
previous shariahs that existed. But it is not acceptable in our Shariah.

2.) There are actually many scholars, including Imam al Razi, who interpret the
family’s sajdah as sajdah to Allah, not Yusuf. They say that the family made
sajdah at that moment in gratitude to Allah for being reunited as a family.

Amongst those who made sajdah to Yusuf, were his brothers AND also his parents. We
know that in Islam, parents have more respect and authority than the children. But since
Yusuf was a Prophet, did that maybe give him more respect and authority? Logically, if we
say that the person whom people make sajdah to is “superior”, then how do we explain
Ya’qub, the father of Yusuf and a Prophet himself, making sajdah to Yusuf?

Does this say that Yusuf is superior to Ya’qub? Can we say that? No, because we don’t know.
As far as we are concerned, they are both Prophets, and this does not prove superiority of
one over the other. No theologian or scholar has ever said that Yusuf is of higher status
than Ya’qub. We don’t differentiate between any one the Prophets. Only Allah, subhanahu
wa ta’ala, can do that. Only Allah can say that a certain Prophet is better than the other. An
example of when He decides this is during the Isra and the Mi’raj, when Allah decided to
make the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the Imam over all the other Prophets. He
decided that the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in that case was superior. We didn’t
decided that, and we don’t have the right to decide that. We can only affirm what Allah,
subhanahu wa ta’ala, tells us about their status.

Ibrahim, ‘alayhi was sallam, was the forefather of the Prophets and the head of tradition.
We use the term “millata Ibrahim” (the religion of Ibrahim) because Allah established this
term; we did not come up with this term ourselves.

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Everything in the Qur’an is connected to everything else in the Qur’an. Everything in the
hadith is connected to everything else in the hadith. Also, everything in the hadith is
connected to everything in the Qur’an, and vice versa. If we say that one part of the hadith
or Qur’an can be separately considered, then that’s wrong because then we are saying that
one contradicts the others. This is not true because they all are interconnected and

We’re never going to deny that the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that IF he were
to ask anyone, then he would tell the wife to do the sajjdah to her husband. But we must
understand that the commentary coming afterwards is not from the Prophet. Rather, that is
OUR commentary. We are sometimes more attached to our own interpretations and won’t
believe something unless it’s interpreted our own way.


“Narrated Ibn ‘Umar, radyAllahy ‘anhu: “A woman should not travel for more than three days
except with a mahram (i.e. a male with whom she cannot marry at all, i.e. her brother, father,
grandfather, etc.) or her own husband.” [Bukhari]

There are 3 things that establish relationships within Islam in which a man cannot marry a
certain woman:

1.) Nasb (blood)
• E.g. father, son, brother, uncle, nephew, grandfather, grandson, etc.

2.) Radhaa’ (nursing, milk, breastfeeding, foster-relations)
• Once there is a woman who has nursed a baby girl, any other boys that woman
has nursed becomes the baby girls’ brothers through nursing. That woman’s
own biological sons became her brothers, and her husband becomes that baby
girl’s nursing father.

3.) Musahar (marriage, more contractual, in-laws)
• A woman’s relationship to her husband is through nikkah, and through this
contract, the sons of her husband even from another woman become mahram to
her. The father-in law also becomes mahram to her.

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This narration is saying there is a prohibition of women traveling by themselves. First and
foremost, we must survey everything we have on this topic. This specific narration says
that a woman should not travel for more than THREE days. We find another narration in
which the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said ONE day (yawman wa laylatan –one
day and one night). There is also another authentic narration in which the Prophet does not
mention any stipulations or number of days; rather, he said that a woman should not travel
at all, unless she has a mahram. All of these ahadith are graded as authentic.

Before we discuss a ruling, we must reconcile between the different ahadith. Which
narration should we pick concerning a woman traveling: none at all, 1 day, or 3 days?
Some ideas shared by students from class:
• Whenever the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was presented with two
choices, he would pick the one that is more lenient, easier, or accommodating of
the two.
• In other similar cases, the narration that was reported last or most recently is
taken as a ruling (based on chronological order). We don’t have a definitive
timeline in this particular case.

The Hanabila took the position of 3 days. The Ahnaf differed within the madhab; in their
usool, they say that whenever you have different narrations speculating different amounts,
you cannot make a ruling unless you reconcile the contradiction. Some earlier Ahnaf, due to
precaution, took the Hanabila opinion of 3 days because that seems like the most
accommodating. The later Ahnaf ultimately took the ruling that traveling alone not
absolutely prohibited because before we can first reconcile the apparent contradiction
among the three narrations, we cannot base a ruling off it.

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The Shafi’i and Maliki scholars add more authentic narrations into the conversation. Two
other ahadith from the Sahih of Bukhari:

1.) Abdullah ibn Omar narrates that in the time of Umar bin al-Khattab, the
Mothers of the Believers were unable to go on Hajj due to the lack of available
mahrams. In the last Hajj of Umar’s lifetime, they went to him and argued that
the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, only required women to have a
mahram during travel in order to ensure safety and security. They argued that
if the Mothers of the Believers traveled as a group, it would fulfill the objective
of safety.

• Umar consulted with his shura who all concurred that the purpose of the
ruling was indeed to ensure safety. At that particular time, Umar issued a
fatwa, saying it is permissible for women to travel without a mahram as long
as it is a public form of travel, public transit, and one that generally ensures
the dignity and safety of women.

• At that time, travelling meant one was alone in the desert and with no hotels
to stay in overnight. Rather, one had to set up a tent, light a fire, and sleep out
in the open. But if the women traveled in groups, then they would not face
these challenges. So Umar allowed for it and hence, Imam Malik and Imam al-
Shafi’i took the opinion that it is permissible for a woman to travel without a
mahram considering that safety is guaranteed.

2.) `Adey ibn Hatem said that the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “The
day is near when a young woman will travel from Al-Heera (a city in Iraq),
going to the Sacred House with no company with her, fearing none but Allah.”

• Ali bin Abi Talib said that he remembered seeing a woman arrive in Makkah
by herself. When he asked her where she was from, she said that she was
from Al-Heera and that she came by herself. So, the prophecy did indeed
come true.

• This narration is used as supporting evidence (i.e. secondary not primary).
Some say that this narration was more about a prophecy, not for legislation.
But others say that the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, spoke about this
incident in a praiseworthy manner. He said it would be great that a woman
could travel by herself in the land.

Many scholars come to the conclusion that the objective of the Prophet’s teachings was to
ensure the safety and dignity of any traveler, especially women. In a public form of transit,
safety, dignity, and protection are generally expected. In these scenarios, scholars ruled
that it is permissible for a woman to travel by herself.

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April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

Even the scholars that prohibit traveling for more than 3 days explain that the word used in
the hadith “la tusaafir” which comes from the word “safr” (i.e. an actual journey, being in
transit, in the process of traveling/moving). Once you arrive at your temporary destination,
then one is not in transit/safr anymore. For example, let’s say you’re traveling from Chicago
to Dallas and you stay there for 1 week. The journey itself is safr, but the 1 week stay is a
temporary iqamah. The scholars say that travel lasting more than 3 days (the actual travel/
movement/journey) should not be undertaken by herself.

Many modern means of travel, particularly all domestic travel and much of international
travel, won’t apply in many situations. Safety is usually guaranteed and the travel itself
usually doesn’t take longer than 3 days.


Narrated Abu Bakra radyAllahu ‘anhu: During the battle of al-Jamal, Allah benefited me with
a Word (I heard from the Prophet). When the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, heard the
news that the people of Persia had made the daughter of Kisra their Queen (ruler), he said,
“Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman attain success so long as they have
appointed a woman to leadership.” [Bukhari]

There was a lot of turmoil towards the end of the era of the Sahabah. Uthman had been
assassinated and the ummah was confused on how to proceed after the assassination. In
the disagreement and confusion, two sides were formed, one led by Ali, radyAllahu ‘anhu,
the other by Mu’awaiyah, radyAllahu ‘anhu. There was a lot of instigation and some very
unfortunate circumstances snowballed, leading to multiple battles. ‘A’ishah, radyAllahu
‘anha, participated in one of those battles as she rode a camel, heading the army.

Some narrations tell you she was there symbolically to stand for what they were fighting
for and to become a motivator; other narrations mention that she was seen directing traffic
and instructing people in battle. Eventually, when the battle concluded, ‘A’ishah was very
respectfully escorted back to Madinah. She was advised of the difficult situation and told
that she was a beacon of light and respect for all of us. Although we as brothers and sisters
disagree, we don’t disagree that we all love you and respect you, so please don’t enter into
this situation, as we cannot negotiate our feelings for you. ‘A’ishah then decided to just sit
out of the battles and make dua.

Abu Bakra (a Sahabi, not the Abu Bakr) says he was initially enrolled and enlisted to fight
on the side of Mu’awiyah, the side from which ‘A’ishah also stood within the battlefield. Abu
Bakra said that during the Battle of the Camel, he benefited from recalling the words of the

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April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. When the Prophet was told that the Persians had
appointed the princess of Persia, the daughter of the previous Emperor, as their Queen, he
said, “A people will never attain success so long as they have appointed a woman to
leadership”. Abu Bakra says that this was enough reason for him to back off and not
participate in the battle.

Interpreting this hadith requires a lot of maturity and sophistication. Was ‘A’ishah
comfortable playing the role she did? Yes. She felt bad afterwards because of the spilled
blood and Muslims killing Muslims, but when she initially signed up, no one forced her. She
was willing to participate as a leader of the army. ‘A’ishah disagreed with Abu Bakra and
didn’t see women as unfit to lead an army. Who else was in the army of Mu’awiyah? Talha
and Zubayr. They were all comfortable with ‘A’ishah playing this role. They fought in the
battle that day under her leadership. They did not feel that it contradicted words of the
Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

When the Sahabah unanimously agree on an opinion, it is considered authoritative. When
the Sahabah have their own individual opinions, they are all valid, but one cannot be said to
be more authoritative than the other.

There is a greater context to all of this mentioned in extended narrations of this hadith.
They discuss how the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, had initially sent a letter inviting
the Emperor of Persia to Islam. When the Emperor received the letter, he tore it up. In
response, the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said Allah will rip his kingdom apart like
he ripped up my letter.

Abu Hisham mentions that in the next 4 years, the Persians had ten different leaders. The
Emperor who tore up the letter was murdered by his own brother, and many murders of
family members ensued. Finally, since the only member of the original royal family who
remained was a 6-year-old girl, they appointed her as the Queen of Persia. When the
Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was brought this news in the last year of his life, he
made the above statement “A people will never attain success so long as they have
appointed a woman to leadership”.

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April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

The majority of scholars take the opinion that women cannot occupy the position of
Khalifah due to the following reasons:

1.) The Khalifah has to give the khutbah and lead salah (obviously this is a
responsibility only assigned to a male Imam).

2.) The Khalifah must lead the Muslim army in battle.
• If the Khalifah becomes physically incapable of participating in battle due to
illness or injury, the issue must go to council. They can decide to keep him as
the leader even though he does not participate in battles. Otherwise, they can
excuse the Khalifah from his responsibility and appoint someone else.
• We don’t call this impeachment because that would involve an element of
criminality or misconduct.

Some scholars such Imam As-Shafi’i and Imam Ahmad believe that the words of the
Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, have a general application. So, they believe that other
leadership positions such as governor, qadhi, or being in a position to issue rulings and
judgments should not be occupied by women.

Imam Abu Hanifah believes that women can occupy any position of leadership except the
Khalifah and a leadership position in financial courts (based on the previous discussion of
testimony). Imam Malik says the only position of leadership that a woman cannot occupy is
Khalifah. Furthermore, he responds to the Hanafi opinion about women leading in financial
courts with the following: Umar had appointed a woman known as Umm Suleiman to be
the head of the market places (i.e. director of market place department). Thus, money was
exchanged and business conducted. So, Imam Malik says that even the financial courts are
not a restriction for women.

Scholars themselves say that the leadership position in question is a religiously sanctioned
one (with religious authority). This does not extend into private organizations or different
collections of people (not talking about MSAs or small non-profit organization). It’s talking
about governmental position (the Islamic judges, Khalifah, religious authority figures, etc.)

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April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda


Abu Hurayrah, radyAllahu ‘anhu, said: The Messenger of Allah, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,
said, “If a man calls his wife to his bed and she refuses, and thus he spends the night angry
with her, the angels continue cursing her till the morning.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

This hadith says man and woman, but in the Arabic language, this means husband and wife.


It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas, radyAllahu ‘anhu, that the Messenger of Allah, sallalahu
‘alayhi wa sallam , said: “There are three people whose prayer does not rise more than a hand
span above their heads (meaning their prayers are not accepted): 1) A man who leads people
(in prayer) when they do not like him 2) A woman who has spent the night with her husband
angry with her 3) And two brothers who have severed contact with one other.” [Ibn Majah]

Zayn al-Deen al-Iraqi (a foremost authority in authenticating hadith) says, there are two
things that need to be understood here. He explains that this hadith talks about a wife
instigating or creating a situation, not about the husband already being in a bad mood or
being upset (i.e. making himself upset). The woman is picking a fight and aggravating the
situation. It does not refer to the husband having a bad day at work and taking it out on his
wife, or her refusing to give into bullying or his rude and obnoxious behavior. Also, his
anger needs to be justified and should not be over something small and petty.

Imam al-Qurtubi comments on this topic to say that this only applies in a situation in which
the husband is not trying to create discomfort for her. If she is physically or emotionally
unhealthy, and he is forcing her into intimacy and spiritually blackmailing her with angles’
curse, HIS conduct is described as haram. He is the one committing a major sin.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

Another narration in Imam Bukhari says that this is referring to a woman spending the
night in protest to her husband, and in that protest she has left the bed. If she leaves the
bed in protest without any justification, then Allah is displeased with her until she comes
back and reconciles.

All the narrations refer to “firaash”, the marital bed. In that time, homes were constructed
and certain places had designations. Dar is the overall compound or complex, a smaller
apartment is referred to as hujrah. Larger like town house, is called a bayt. Within the bayt
you would have private areas, and firaash is considered the actual bedding behind the

When the husband calls the wife to bed, this does not necessitate sexual activity or sexual
intercourse. Because the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, would call his wife to bed
even in the days of hayd (days of menstruation). He would be physically affectionate with
them, but they would very seriously limit the activity for there was no sexual activity. The
Mother of the Believers said, he would not go below the waist in terms of touching. So,
calling the wife to bed is definitely talking about being together, but does not have to
necessitate intercourse and sexual activity. So the idea of demanding sex is a very
problematic notion.

In Bukhari, the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, says that before you actually engage in
intercourse with your spouse, you should first proceed by sending a messenger. He spoke
using a very eloquent metaphor. One of the Sahaba asked, what do you mean? The Prophet
said you should kiss and talk (basically describing foreplay). He said that we should not
engage in intimacy with the spouse like an animal relieves its need. So the idea of
demanding, let alone forcing sex, is completely unheard of in any kind of Islamic tradition.
Husband calling wife to bed refers to: come lie down, sit, talk, can possibly result in
intimacy and intercourse but doesn’t necessarily have to.

There are narrations that mention if the woman is at the tandoor (oven, cooking), she
should come if the husband calls her to bed. They should prioritize their intimacy and
personal time with one another, and this should come before chores and housework. If we
were to simply prioritize time for our spouse over the chores of the house, then that would
fix a lot of marital problems. Unfortunately, nowadays, everybody puts the private intimate
time at the end of his or her list. The Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is telling us to

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April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

People who are decent human beings have a very intuitive understanding of marital rape.
They understand that it happens today and that there is no Islamic justification for marital
rape. Demonstrated by Ali bin Abi Taleb, a woman came to him, saying my husband
assaulted me. Ali called that man and lashed him 30 times. He asked the woman if she
wanted to stay with him and when she refused, he separated them.

Scholars have categorized rape not as a sexual crime but rather a violent crime. Violence is
dealt with very seriously in the Islamic legal tradition.


Hudud is the plural of word hadd à in Arabic language means al-mana’ (to
prevent/prohibit). It is given this specific name in Islamic Law/Shariah because it is meant
to serve as a deterrent and eventually put an end to a lot of the problematic behavior and
conduct that exists in our society.

Technically speaking, it is a punishment that is limited. So, there is no free reign or free
license for all. We can’t just randomly start beating and massacring people. It is enforced
(mandatory) given the right circumstances. It is understood to be God’s right (Divine right).
Any other rationale that we have about the hudud and why they exist is problematic.

The hadd is the law of God and the law of God is final. Even if the people don’t stop
committing crimes, we would still continue enforcing the hudud. It is just a benefit that the
hudud can serve as a deterrent. Islamic hudud is not to enforce morality but rather to
enforce order, public safety, and decency.

Morality is not legislated and enforced. Law and order in addition to public safety is
legislated and enforced. For example, if someone is publicly intoxicated, is there a
punishment in Shariah under the rule of Khalifah? Yes. Are they punished for drinking or
for publicly drinking? Publicly drinking. If he or she is privately drinking, then although it is
still sinful, the person will not be punished in the court by Islamic law. We will not break
into that person’s house or raid the house (unless selling). In fact, if a ruler does so, he can
be removed from power.

Umar bin al-Khattab heard something that sounded like a party coming from a house, so he
climbed up onto the wall and looked in. He saw a man drinking and becoming intoxicated.
He said from the wall, fear Allah! The man said, and you’re invading my privacy and spying
is haram! Umar came down and realized he was wrong. What have I done? The man was
right, and Umar became remorseful. A few days later, Umar told the man he had not told
anyone about him drinking. The man said, and since that day, I have never drunk any

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April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

If two people fornicate in public and there are 4 witnesses who testify against them, then
there is a punishment. But if two people fornicate in private and there are no witnesses,
then do we actually start to follow and spy? Do we keep tabs on them to try to catch them?
No, there is no notion of trying to catch someone committing these crimes in Shariah!

There are a few different hudud. Abu Hanifah has the tightest of these opinions,
listing only 5:

1.) Punishment for theft
2.) Fornication/Adultery
3.) Consuming alcohol in public
4.) Slander
5.) Apostasy

Note that homosexuality is missing from this list. Some scholars would include
homosexuality and qisas (retribution for killing) on the list as well.

Some scholars say that it is a penance for the sin and a punishment for the crime. Not only
is it a worldly consequence, but it also serves as a way to remove the sin from the person,
(i.e. washing off their sin). But if we’re saying that the punishment of the hadd is to remove
sin, then we can argue that tawbah also removes sin! If a person commits a crime and he is
convicted, will the punishment be removed if he repents and the Qadhi is convinced of his
sincerity? The majority scholars say no. Imam Ahmad says that if a person repents for the
sin he or she has committed, and undergoes a kind of rehabilitation, then the punishment
can be removed from the person. The Qadhi must be convinced of his or her repentance.

2 ahadith of the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

1.) Defer the punishments if doubt enters the equation

2.) Try to remove punishment from the people to the best of your ability

Based on these 2 ahadith, the scholars take a more cautious attitude towards hadd.

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April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda


“The (unmarried) woman or (unmarried) man found guilty of sexual intercourse- lash each
one of them with a hundred lashes, and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion of
Allah, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a group of the believers witness
their punishment.” [al-Nur, 24.2]

Zina is defined as:
• Fornication: zina between two people that are not married
• Adultery: zina when one is married

In either case, a necessary stipulation is that it be a consensual act between both parties. All
the scholars have agree that somebody who is raped, forced, taken advantage of, or
overpowered is not considered to have performed zina and should not be punished for
fornication or adultery.

The Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, says that Allah has absolved the sin of someone
who makes an honest mistake, someone who sincerely forgets, or someone who is forced
into a situation.

Scholars says, as stated in Imam an-Nawawi’s writing, if there is a newcomer to Islam who
doesn’t know the difference between right or wrong in Islam yet and that person commits
zina, that person will not be punished. He also says that if someone grows up in an area far
from the scholars and Islamic education, and he or she falls into the sin of zina, and that
person had no religious understanding on the matter, then that person will not be punished
for zina. This is because the person should not be punished for a shortcoming on behalf of
the community.

If these two stipulations are not met, the punishment will not be carried out (even though
zina may have actually occurred).

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1.) Witness testimony (eye-witness)
• This requires 4 eye witnesses who are considered trustworthy members of the
community who are free Muslims. They can’t be slaves. If 4 people all have
criminal backgrounds à testimony won’t be accepted.

• What did they have to actually see? The Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,
explicitly said that the witnesses must have seen the actual act of intercourse
and penetration. In their testimony, they will be questioned. Umar questioned all
the witnesses together at one place in front of one another; if their testimonies
did not all align, then he would lash all of them for slander. They are also
interviewed individually, and then as a group. If they are not willing to interview
as a group, then lash them all.

• Merely seeing two people enter a room together then leave later that night will
not suffice. If people come to the court accusing them of zina in this scenario,
these people will be lashed for slander.

• Specifics of questioning: as a part of their testimony, what did they see? Where
did they see it? When did it happen? What time of the day? All the stories have to
be the same.

• Is there any expiration date to the testimony of the eye witnesses? Majority of
scholars say there is no expiration date even if they come after some time. Abu
Hanifah says that if they do not testify for an extended period of time, then it will
be to the discretion of the judge.

• Are witnesses demanded? If an individual comes to the court saying he or she
has information of zina, the individual will be warned: if you say names but can’t
bring 3 or more witnesses, then you will be lashed. If the individual says he or
she has 3 other witnesses, the judge doesn’t have to demand for those other
witnesses to come.

2.) Self-confession
• In the life of the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, someone came and
confessed to committing zina. The Prophet told the person you should not have
come to me but rather you should have made tawbah and figured things out
between you and Allah.

• Scholars say that if someone confesses to zina, they have to confess 4 times in 4
different settings at 4 different occasions. If they do, then that person’s sanity
will also be checked through interview. What about the person whom they
committed zina with? The judge will not ask whom they committed zina with,

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

only did you commit zina with another person? If they say the name but don’t
bring 3 witnesses, they will first be lashed. This is because one cannot implicate
another person, but you can implicate yourself.

• Hadith of Ma’iz: this man came and confessed 4 times that he committed zina,
specifically adultery. The Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, upheld his
teachings of trying to defer punishment if there is any doubt. So, he told Mai’z,
maybe you touched her, maybe you kissed her. The Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam, asked, did you actually have intercourse? He said yes. Then the Prophet
asked, to the point where your private entered into her private? Like you would
dip the stick into the container used to apply the kuhl? And like the lowering of
the bucket into the well? Ma’iz said yes. From this, we understand that the
testimony must explicitly state that the private entered the private.

• When punishment (death by stoning) was carried out, Ma’iz panicked, broke
free, and ran away. The Sahaba chased after him and brought him back to carry
out the punishment. When the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, heard this,
he said, you should have let him go because maybe he would have made tawbah
and Allah would have forgiven him. The Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was
upset with them for having brought him back. The objective is to bring people
back to Allah, not to cut hands, stone, etc.

• What is done with the person after carrying out the punishment of zina? There is
no difference of opinion that the person’s body is washed, shrouded, and their
janazah is prayed, and they are buried in the graveyard of the Muslims in a
respectful manner. The Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said you handle
Ma’iz now as you would handle any other deceased Muslim. There is no
difference as he is your brother.


It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,
said: “Whoever you find doing the action of the people of Lut, kill the one who does it, and the
one to who it is done.” [Ibn Majah]

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April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

Islam differentiates between an urge/feeling vs. an act. There is a valuable principle that
the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, taught us, which scholars of fiqh would constantly
refer back to; he said we judge and implement the legal system based off the reality and
manifestation of things, while Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, takes care of the internal reality
of things (e.g. sentiments, urges).

The Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that when a someone intends to do a good
deed, a good reward is written for him. If he follows through with it, he will get at least 10
times that reward. If the person intends to do one sin but doesn’t do it, he will get one good
deed. If he follows through with it, he gets one bad deed. (*he is referring to both he and
she in this paragraph).

The narration mentioned above about homosexuality is a weak narration. We cannot base a
legal ruling off of it, especially one of this gravity. All the narrations that talk about killing
people who engage in homosexual acts are considered weak narrations.

The majority of scholars (e.g. Imam al-Shafi’i, Malik, Ahmad) take the opinion that there is
an analogous nature to the homosexual act. It is a type of intercourse and penetration, so
whatever rulings we established in terms of zina or adultery, then the same rules will apply
to this sexual act (or even anal intercourse between man and woman who are not married).

We still need to have 4 specific witnesses. If their testimonies completely align, then the
punishment is carried out (fornication-100 lashes, adultery-stoning by death). This shows
us that even in an Islamic state, homosexuality is not treated like a witch hunt in the
Muslim community. It is conducted by the same legal procedure of zina. This is only
applicable in an Islamic state. Since we live in the U.S., we cannot apply these rulings to this

Abu Hanifah disagreed with the majority saying that the act of homosexuality and zina are
not analogous situations. He said we cannot compare anal intercourse between two men
(or even between man and woman) to intercourse between man and woman (non-anal
intercourse). Because one is in accordance with the natural fitrah while the other is not;
thus, we cannot apply rules of zina to homosexuality. This still requires evidence of 2
witnesses (instead of 4). Punishment would not be the punishment of adultery but an
alternative that is in the best judgment of the Qadhi in that situation (e.g. life in prison).

It is just as impermissible for a man to have anal intercourse with a woman as it is for a
man to have anal intercourse with another man.

In terms of women committing homosexuality, this was a bit of a conundrum for the
classical scholars. The hadith specifies that one organ must penetrate the other organ.

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April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

Therefore, this ruling cannot be applied to two women committing homosexuality. The
punishment would be an alternative such as life in prison.

Part of the methodology of ahlul sunnah wal jama’ is that we do not condemn people to be
out of the folds of Islam due to major sins. This is called takfeer. We dealt with it in Islamic
history, and one of the earliest deviations from Islam from within the Muslim community
was the khawarij group. Part of the khariji doctrine was that someone who commits a
major sin is out of the folds of Islam, resulting in a total breakdown of order, community,
and society.

This led to mass takfeer, as they declared that almost 90% of the community was out of the
folds of Islam. It resulted in the assassination of khulafa, murder of the Sahabah, and an
overall very dark and tragic time in our history. It took centuries to recover from that
traumatic development within the ummah. So, there was a beginning point to that tragedy.
It became so radicalized that anyone who committed any major sin was automatically
excommunicated from Islam, declared as an apostate, and an enemy of state; this meant
they had to be killed at all costs. Massacres and tragedies happened. We cannot allow
ourselves to move back down along that path, as a lot of what we see today e.g. ISIS,
Taliban, have a similar mentality to that of the khawarij.

These people deem it permissible to massacre and kill. Hundreds of people were being
blown up and children were gunned down in schools. Muslim children are the children of
the “apostates”. As abhorrent as some sins may be and as socially pervasive as they may be,
we cannot and will not allow for anyone to entertain the thought that a major sin will push
someone out of the folds of Islam.

Whatever problems we think we have now, (e.g. social decadence, evil, degradation of
culture within communities) although they are difficult and problematic, they have to be
remedied through efforts of education and tarbiyah. Once we open the door of pushing
Muslims out of the folds of Islam or even killing them, this has the potential to destroy the
ummah at its core.


“And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses - lash them with
eighty lashes and do not accept from them testimony ever after. And those are the defiantly
disobedient.” Surah al-Nur, 24:4

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Qathf means to throw a rock at someone, just like uttering slander against people is like
throwing rocks at their dignity. Those people who slander chaste women and then they are
unable to bring 4 eye witnesses, they will be lashed. If their testimony does not match up, if
one of them backs out, or if there is some kind of inconsistency, they will also be lashed.
And do not accept their testimony again, as they are sinful people.

The context of the ayah is talking about a woman but this applies to both men and women.
When a person makes tawbah, becomes completely rehabilitated, and apologizes, we said
before we can usually forgo punishment. This is not the case in qathf (slander). They still
need to be lashed 80 times because they violated the dignity of another human being.

‘A’ishah was slandered and accused, along with the Sufyan. The accusers were proven to be
wrong. The Qur’an stated that they did not commit this act, and the individuals, including
some very noble Sahaba, who were involved in the slander were lashed.

The slander of one person accusing another person of committing fornication or adultery is
punishable. This is the only type of slander that has a prescribed punishment (80 lashes).
Punishment for slandering a person of other things (eg. stealing, etc.) would be at the
discretion of the judge.

Umar b. al-Khattab came to Ali bin Abi Taleb (who was the chief of justice and head of
court). Umar wanted to discuss some rumors in the community about 2 people engaging in
an illicit relationship. Ali said, please stop, don’t say any names. We should speak in general
terms because if you say the name of specific people, I will have to ask you to bring
witnesses. If you cannot, then I would have to lash you.

Scholars agree that the rules of qathf also apply in terms of homosexual acts. Imam al-
Shafi’i says that if you say you engaged in a homosexual act with someone, that is slander.

Lashes are done in a place where some people are present. They do not happen absolutely
privately nor absolutely publically. The decision makers in courts are required to be
present for these punishments because the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, wanted the
court judges (or other decision makers) to see the consequences of their decisions.

The cases of lashing/stoning in the case of the Prophet, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, were all
from confession, not from 4 witnesses.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda


“ (As for) the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what
they committed as a deterrent (punishment) from Allah. And Allah is Exalted in Might and
Wise.” Surah al-Ma’idah, 5:38

According to Islamic law, theft refers to deliberately taking someone else’s property. There
are some stipulations that scholars have presented. Theft does not refer to disagreements
in a business deal in which you feel cheated; rather, this is referred to as khiyana.

The punishment for theft does not apply to someone who fails to pay back money to the
lender. There may be court proceedings in this scenario, but the hadd punishment is not
carried out.

In the book of Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, and the musnad of Imam Ahmad, Jabir narrated
that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said the following: there is no cutting of the
hand of someone who unlawfully seizes someone else’s property or he who cheats in a
business deal.

So, if you lend money to someone who later refuses to pay you back, the hadd punishment
will not be applied. Nor will the hadd punishment be applied if a person refuses to give you
back an amanah or in cases of unethical business. It is morally wrong, and there will be a
civil proceeding. However, the hand is not cut off in such scenarios.

The hadd punishment is carried out in cases of armed robbery and breaking an entry.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that there is no cutting of the hand if the
value of the item stolen is less than 10 dirhams. So, shoplifting and petty theft are excluded
from the hadd punishment. The Prophet also excluded food items like fruits and vegetables.
But in cases of stealing live animals such as goats and sheep, there is a difference of opinion
because animals are seen as financial assets in certain societies.

Theft requires two witnesses in the court setting.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

What about cases of taking property that is not protected or guarded? These scenarios are
judged based on specific cultural and societal norms.

For example, what if I park my car on the
driveway as opposed to leaving it inside the
garage, and somebody steals my car? If the
driveway is considered personal property,
it would be considered theft.

What I leave my bike on the sidewalk in front
of my house and someone steals it? If the
sidewalk is considered public domain, then
there is no cutting of the hand. We must defer
the hudud even if there is the slightest bit of
doubt. In some communities, people leave unwanted items past the driveway for others to
take. It may also be the same place where people leave their garbage for weekly pickup. If
an individual wanted to argue such a case, it would be considered a case of
misunderstanding, not theft.

One of the Sahaba asked the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, about the punishment of
theft, saying it was rather harsh. The Prophet replied that no one gets caught the first time.

Ibn Kathir and many scholars discuss the severe drought which took place in the time
‘Umar ibn al-Khattab which led to famine in the territory of Madinah. Many people suffered
from hunger, and there was a sudden spike of theft cases coming to court. ‘Umar
understood that fear and hunger were driving people to steal. So, he ruled that in times of
desperation and poverty, there could be a moratorium in terms of carrying out the
punishment for theft. All of the Sahaba agreed with this ruling, and it is considered ijma’a.
This ruling revealed the deep level of insight and wisdom the Sahaba possessed; they
understood that the objective of the Qur’an and Sunnah was to protect life and property,
not to further decimate them.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that if the hand of the thief is cut, then he or
she no longer has to pay back the money or offer any kind of compensation.

Imam al-Shafi’ says that if the thief is willing to return the stolen item to the rightful owner,
and the judge feels that the thief is rehabilitated, the hand does not need to be cut off (as
long as the thief actually returns the stolen item). This opinion upholds the principle of
deferring the hadd punishment as much as you can.

Some scholars say yes it would apply, others would say no it wouldn’t apply. It depends on
the overall nature of the people and to what extent they are integrated in the Muslim
community. If they are a pocket of people that live separately from the Muslims, we won’t
go and enforce the hudud. But if they are more integrated in the community, then the hudud
would apply


“The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in
the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on
the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great
torment is theirs in the Hereafter.” Surah al-Ma’idah, 5:33

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that someone who raises arms against our
community is not from amongst us. This hadith is basically describing a group of people
who have waged war on the community itself. Many of our scholars would describe acts of
terrorism and mass chaos as al-baghi wal muharaba (acts of mass violence against
civilians). Such oppressors wreak havoc through their actions, destroying public safety. The
Qur’an describes such individuals as: yas’awna fil ardhi fasadan (they create chaos within
the earth).

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda


It was narrated that Anas b. Malik, radyAllahu ‘anhu, said: “The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu
‘alayhi wa sallam, used to beat (offenders) for drinking wine with sandals and date-palm
stalks.” [Ibn Majah]

In order to carry out the hadd punishment for public intoxication, there are specific
stipulations that must be met. The individual must meet the following criteria:
• Sane
• Sound mind, intellect, and emotional stability
o One could possibly argue that someone is suffering from a mental health
condition such as addiction, alcoholism, or clinical depression. Therefore,
discretion is required to differentiate between a criminal and a patient.
• Adult
• Muslim
• Of their own accord (i.e. not forced)
• Not compelled (i.e. not for legitimate medical use)
• Aware that what they are consuming is actually alcohol.
o Accidental public intoxication does not count.
o But then, couldn’t everyone make some bogus excuse to avoid the hadd
punishment? They could say, I thought it was soda!
o The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said you are better off and safer in
the Eyes of Allah having not punished someone who was supposed to be
punished, as opposed to punishing someone who was not supposed to be
o Maybe just having the person come to court will be enough to instill him or
her with more taqwa.
• Aware that drinking alcohol and consuming intoxicants is haram
o If a person says that he or she did not know intoxicants were haram, there is
no hadd punishment.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

There is a difference of opinion on this matter. The majority of scholars say the punishment
is 80 lashes. Imam al-Shafi’i says it is 40 lashes (there are different narrations from the
Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Most of the court documents throughout the
centuries defaulted to the opinion of al-Shafi’i, and 40 lashes became the standard.
Remember the overarching principle given by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: try
to be as cautious as you can when it comes to the hudud.


Ibn ‘Abbas, radyAllahu ‘anhu, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam, said, “He who changes his religion (i.e. apostates) kill him.” [Bukhari]

The Arabic word for apostasy is rida, and the apostate is called a murtad. Rida refers to
abandoning and leaving something for something else; technically, it equates with
abandoning Islam for disbelief.

On the authority of Ibn Mas’ud, radyAllahu ‘anhu, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu
‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “It is not permissible to spill the blood of a Muslim except in three
[instances]: the married person who commits adultery, a life for a life, and the one who
forsakes his religion and separates from the community.” [Related by al-Bukhari and

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

So, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, explains how the blood of a Muslim cannot be
spilled except in the three cases: the adulterer, someone who has intentionally murdered
another person, and someone who abandons/leaves his religion while becoming an enemy
of the community.

We observe the last part of the hadith:

Realize that there is no in the middle. There is no “and” in between the two phrases.
Rather, it is one gigantic description of a person who has forsaken his religion while
becoming an enemy of the state.

We do not carry out the punishment for apostasy simply because a person no longer
identifies himself or herself as Muslim, but rather for the crime of treason and becoming an
enemy of the state. What is the evidence? At the time of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam, there were individuals who became Muslim, but they later left Islam and left
Madinah. The Prophet did not send anyone after them to kill them. These individuals
eventually returned with an army to fight the Muslims; they were captured and executed
because they left Islam, raised an army, and attacked the Muslims. This punishment is for
treason, not for a crisis of faith or leaving Islam.

Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda believes that the apostasy laws present in Muslim-majority
countries are a travesty. Individuals who implement the hadd punishment of apostasy in
these countries are completely misapplying the law and taking it out of context. They feel
like they have solved a huge problem when in reality, their actions do more harm than
good. When they persecute people and glamorize their plight, it leads to hundreds and
thousands of people completely forsaking Islam.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that Allah gives and facilitates through
gentleness what He does not give and facilitate through harshness. The Prophet also said
that whenever you add gentleness to something, you beautify it. And whenever you remove
gentleness from something, you ruin it. We need to adopt this kind of mentality when
dealing with Muslims who are having a crisis of faith because even the hardest of hearts
can become soft with iman by the will of Allah.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda


“And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them
and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if
they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah
is Forgiving and Merciful.” Surah al-Tawbah, 9:5

Ibn Taymiyyah (the teacher of Ibn Kathir) explains the methodology of approaching
different verses of Qur’an that pertain to one topic. In his book on the rules of interpreting
the Qur’an, he discusses three steps:

1.) Collect all the verses in the entire AYAT OF QUR’AN
Qur’an that discuss the particular subject PERTAINING TO ONE TOPIC

2.) Place the verses in chronological order
• Note: he did not say sequential order (i.e. the
order in which the verses appear in the mushaf).
Rather, he said chronological order (i.e. which
ayah was revealed first, second, third, etc.)

3.) Read and understand the very first verse that
was revealed about the particular subject.
That first verse will now serve as a filter.
• You filter the second verse through the first verse.
Then the third verse, etc. You continue to narrow
the subject with this “funnel” approach until you
end up with a specific and concise understanding

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

We are dealing with the issue of fighting. The very first verse in the Qur’an that was
revealed on the subject of fighting is found in Surah al-Hajj:

“Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were
wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory.” Surah al-Hajj, 22:39

This ayah is called ayatu’l ithn (verse of permission), ayatu’l qital (verse of fighting), and
ayatu’l sayf (verse of the sword). This is the very first verse revealed that gave Muslims the
ability and permission to fight. Since it is the first verse revealed about fighting, it will serve
as a filter for all the other verses that pertain to fighting. Ibn Kathir explains that the default
ruling is not to fight because the verse says that permission has been granted; so, the
default status is peace and fighting becomes a concession.

Fighting is the exception to the rule, and it is permitted to those who were first attacked
because they were oppressed. And Allah will make a way for them out of their difficulties
and give them victory.

“[They are] those who have been evicted from their homes without right - only because they
say, "Our Lord is Allah." And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others,
there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which
the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him.
Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.” Surah al-Hajj, 22:40

Had it not been for Allah allowing people to defend themselves, there would be no religion
on earth because groups would simply obliterate other groups in aggression and injustice.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

“[And they are] those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give
zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of
[all] matters.” Surah al-Hajj, 22:41

Uthman bin ‘Affan said regarding this ayah: Allah praised us before we did anything
because He expected us to establish prayer, give zakah, enjoin good, and forbid evil. So,
Allah will allow us to fight and defend ourselves as long as we don’t become the monsters
we were trying to free ourselves from. When we achieve sovereignty in the land, we are
expected to keep our duty to Allah.

Firstly, we understand that the default status is peace and that war should not be a
constant. This is why the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, accepted the Treaty of
Hudaybiyya. He said that if the Quraysh offered him a deal, he would take it (i.e. if they are
willing to make peace with me, I will make peace with them).

Secondly, we cannot be the ones to provoke or instigate the war. We must actually fear the
enemy (we cannot merely wait for the enemy to make some minor offense and then launch
a full-blown attack in retaliation).

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, reprimanded his cousin Abdullah ibn Jahsh whom
he sent with some other companions to monitor the route between Ta’if and Makkah. The
Prophet instructed him to scout the area and observe the Quraysh, but to avoid any
confrontation or fighting. Abdullah ibn Jahsh and the companions spotted one of the
leaders of Quraysh with his men; he seemed vulnerable, so the Muslims took him out. When
Abdullah ibn Jahsh and the companions returned to Madinah, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi
wa sallam, was very angry and condemned their actions. The Prophet issued a public
apology and offered financial reparation to the man’s family. Propaganda started to spread
that the Muslims were warmongers, and ayat of Qur’an were revealed to address the issue.

Thirdly, the enemy must be a very serious threat.
All these conditions serve as the very first filter.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda


“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful
what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth
from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they
are humbled.” Surah al-Tawbah, 9:29

• Qatiloo means fight (note: it does not mean kill. The Arabic word for kill is uqtuloo).
Qatiloo is a mutual action and requires reciprocation; so, there is action from both
sides as opposed to a vacuum of murder. Fighting involves responding to a threat
through physical military means.

“And fight them until there is no fitnah and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah . And if they
cease - then indeed, Allah is Seeing of what they do.” Surah al-Anfal, 8:39

• Again, it is qatiloo (fight, not kill).

“And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you
may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not
know [but] whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully
repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.” Surah al-Anfal, 8:60

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

“And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them
and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if
they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah
is Forgiving and Merciful.” Surah al-Tawbah, 9:5

Uqtuloo refers to kill (not fight). We must consider the context of this verse. Surah al-
Tawbah was revealed before the conquest of Makkah and after the Treaty of Hudaybiyya.
When two parties entered into a treaty with one another, it was the accepted norm that any
allies of the two parties could also enter the treaty. So, when the Muslims established a
treaty with the Quraysh, the allies of both groups had the option to enter the treaty and
thus be protected and governed by it. Banu Khuza’a was a tribe outside of Makkah, and it
decided to join the Muslims. Banu Bakr was another tribe outside of Makkah, and it decided
to join the Quraysh. So, what does this stipulate?
• Muslims cannot attack the Quraysh
• Quraysh cannot attack the Muslims
• Banu Bakr cannot attack Banu Khuza’a
• Banu Khuza’a cannot attack Banu Bakr
• Muslims cannot attack the allies of the Quraysh (i.e. Banu Bakr)
• Quraysh cannot attack the allies of the Muslims (i.e. Banu Khuza’a)

The Treaty of Hudaybiyya was meant to last ten years, but in reality, it only lasted one and
a half years. After about one and a half years of the treaty, someone from Banu Khuza’a
comes riding into Madinah. He was out of breath, and he falls to the ground crying and
pleading, stating that Banu Bakr has waged war on Banu Khuza’a. Not only that, but the
Quraysh had also joined in the attack.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, disapproved of the attack, but he wanted to try to
negotiate between the parties in order to avoid more violence. Banu Khuza’a protested,
saying that he was a truthful man who stood true to his word and that he agreed to defend
them if they were attacked by the might of Makkah. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam, admitted that his desire for peace gets the best of him. However, he didn’t
completely give up hope at peaceful reconciliation; he sent a message to the Quraysh
explaining that they need to desist immediately from fighting and pull back the troops from
Banu Khuza’a. The Prophet also stated that they will meet to discuss another peace
agreement. The Quraysh in their arrogance refused the offer. So, the Prophet, sallallahu

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

‘alayhi wa sallam, gave them four months to cease fighting, but the situation extended
beyond this time period and the Prophet had to come with his army and conquer Makkah.

Ayah 5 in Surah al-Tawbah was revealed during the conquest of Makkah on the battlefield.
Allah tells the Muslims to kill those who are trying to kill you during the war. The word
“kill” is used to describe the action necessary on the battlefield, while the word “fight” is
used to describe the action necessary while not on the battlefield.

On the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, radyAllahu ‘anhu, that the Messenger of Allah,
sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: I have been ordered to fight against the people until they
testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the
Messenger of Allah, and until they establish the salah and pay the zakat. And if they do that,
then they will have gained protection from me for their lives and property, unless [they
commit acts that are punishable] in Islam, and their reckoning will be with Allah. [Related
by al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda


“O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact]
allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you - then indeed, he is [one] of
them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.” Surah al-Ma’idah, 5:51

“Let not believers take disbelievers as allies rather than believers. And whoever [of you] does
that has nothing with Allah, except when taking precaution against them in prudence. And
Allah warns you of Himself, and to Allah is the [final] destination.” Surah Ale-Imran, 3:28

• Awliyah refers to allies, like governmental relationships.
• Don’t turn your backs on the Muslims in order to have alliances with non-Muslims.

Abu Hurairah, radyAllahu ‘anhu, reported Allah’s Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as
saying, “Do not greet the Jews and the Christians before they greet you and when you meet
any one of them on the road, force him to go to the narrowest part of it." [Muslim]

This hadith in Sahih Muslim describes a situation with Banu Natheer, a Jewish tribe that
lived on the outskirts of Madinah. Banu Natheer was a signatory on the Constitution of
Madinah; they agreed to abide by its law and uphold the pact they made with the Muslims.
However, they violated the code and conducted multiple offenses. The Prophet, sallallahu
‘alayhi wa sallam, wanted to forgive all of them, so he visited the Jews of Banu Natheer and
asked them to please stop instigating a fight.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

The Jews sent someone to throw a boulder on the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,
while he was sitting against a wall. They said, cut off the head of the snake. So, Jibril, ‘alayhi
assalam, came down and told the Prophet that he needs to leave. When the Muslims
confronted Banu Natheer about the situation, the Jews did not deny their actions. Their
treachery forced the Muslims to launch an offensive attack against Banu Natheer; the Jews
eventually surrendered and the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, exiled them. When
the Muslims were laying siege to the Jews’ fortress, the Prophet said the above hadith
found in Muslim. They were at a time of war, so they were instructed not to initiate
greetings with the enemy. In terms of pushing them off the road, this refers to questioning
them and controlling their movements due to the nature of war.

The most popular sharh of Sahih al-Bukhari is called Fath al-Bari written by Imam Ibn Hajr.
Some would consider the 2nd most popular sharh of Sahih al-Bukhari to be Umdat al-Qari
by Imam al-'Ayni. And the 3rd most popular is the sharh of Sahih al-Bukhair by Ibn Battal
who offers a very sophisticated and scholarly explanation of ahadith.

…OR NOT???

Ibn Battal brings a longer narration from Sahih al-Bukhari to shed light on the hadith above
in Muslim. In this hadith, Usamah bin Zayd was riding behind the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi
wa sallam, on a donkey. Zayd was Usamah’s father, and he was like the adopted son of the
Prophet. The mother of Usamah, Umm Ayman, was the nanny of the Prophet. Usamah was
called the beloved of the beloved of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Prophet
wanted to visit Sa’d bin Ubadah, one of the Muslim leaders in Madinah who had fallen ill.
When he and Zayd came upon the gathering, there were some Muslims, idol worshippers,
and Jews. The leader of the hypocrites, Abdullah bin Ubay, was also present.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

As the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was approaching the gathering, his donkey
naturally kicked up some dirt and dust. Abdullah bin Ubay covers his nose with his shawl
and tells the Prophet, don’t bring your filth here. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,
said salam to the whole gathering, and he proceeded to recite the Qur’an to invite the non-
Muslims to Islam.

Based off of this particular narration, we understand that it is permissible for Muslims to
greet non-Muslims in times of peace. This particular scenario took place in the city of
Madinah in a time of peace.



‘A’ishah, radyAllahu ‘anha, reported: Allah’s Apostle, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, married me
when I was six years old, and I was admitted to his house when I was nine years old. [Muslim]

From a historical and classical perspective, the marriage of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi
wa sallam, has not been a major issue. However, from a contemporary perspective, there
has been some concern and criticism.

After the death of Khadija, radyAllahu ‘anha, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,
became a single father. He was in charge of running the affairs at home, caring for his
children, caring for the community, and fulfilling the obligations of prophethood. Khawla,
the wife of Uthman bin Math’un, approached the Prophet about one a half years after the
death of Khadija. Khawla asked him, why don’t you get remarried? The Prophet, sallallahu
‘alayhi wa sallam, asked if she had any particular suggestions. She responded by suggesting
Sawda bint Zam’a and ‘A’ishah, the daughter of Abu Bakr. The Prophet gives her permission
to present the proposal, so she visits the house of Abu Bakr and discusses the matter with
them. They agreed to the marriage.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

The nikah (marriage contract) was conducted, but ‘A’ishah remained in her home with her
family. She was 6 years old at the time. When she was 9 years old, she and the Prophet,
sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, decide to move in together.

There are two opinions on this issue. The first opinion states that ‘A’ishah truly was 6 years
old at the time of the nikah and 9 years old when she moved in with the Prophet, sallallahu
‘alayhi wa sallam. This has been the position of scholars and historians for almost 1100-
1200 years based on the authentic hadith mentioned above by ‘A’ishah herself. The
majority of scholars follow this opinion.

The second opinion is a minority opinion that just recently surfaced about 100-150 years
ago. This opinion states that ‘A’ishah was probably closer to the age of 12 at the time of the
nikah and closer to age of 15 or 16 when she moved in with the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi
wa sallam. People who adopt this opinion use another hadith in Bukhari in which ‘A’ishah
says that the earliest time I can remember both my parents being Muslim was at the time of
the migration from Makkah to Abyssinia (she would have been around 4 or 5 years old at
the time). This migration occurred in the early part of the 5th year of prophethood. The
hijrah from Makkah to Madinah took place after the 13th year of prophethood. So, there is
an 8 year difference between these two events, leading some to say ‘A’ishah was older
when she got married. However, such an opinion clearly contradicts the authentic hadith
which ‘A’ishah states herself that she was 6 years old when the nikah was done and 9 years
old when she moved in with the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

In our societal norms, how can we justify and validate marrying someone that young?
Firstly, from a purely Islamic, legal, fiqh perspective, there is nothing wrong with it. The
Shari’ah also takes into account basic biology when it comes to this issue. It is permissible
and legal for someone to get married when he or she reaches the age of adulthood. This age
is not an arbitrary number (e.g. 18 years old in United States). Rather, this age is based on
cultural norms.

Classically speaking, the majority of the civilized nations that came before us basically
classified age into 2 major categories: childhood and adulthood. In our norms, we classify
age into 3 major categories: childhood, adolescence (teenage years), and adulthood. This
latter categorization is a very modern phenomenon.

The onset of adulthood and maturity differs from society to society based on time and
place. In the Arab society at the time of ‘A’ishah’s marriage, an individual was considered to
be a mature adult around the age of 9 or 10 years. So, ‘A’ishah was considered an adult at
the age of 9.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

In our current culture, and in many places of the
world today, marrying someone so young is
considered abnormal and problematic. When
studying anthropology and world civilizations,
we must separate ourselves from our own cultural
biases in order to fully understand that specific
society. If we impose our own cultural biases onto
others, we are not understanding but rather judging.
When we assess the situation through an objective lens,
we realize that most societies (not just Arab societies)
up to 100 years ago did not view marrying someone so young as problematic.

Some critics may argue that marrying someone so young is just not right. However, that is
not an academically viable statement. People can say that in their culture, it is not
acceptable to marry someone so young (and there is nothing wrong with that). But we need
to understand that every culture and society has a right to establish its own norms as long
as it does not contradict the Qur’an or sunnah.

Imagine that fifty years from now, it becomes completely abnormal for someone to marry
before the age of 40. Those people can look back at previous generations who may have
married in their 20s and accuse them of being wild animals and backward barbarians. How
would we defend ourselves? We would say, we have a right to practice our own cultural
norms and you have a right to practice your cultural norms. No group of people can judge
another group of people due to cultural differences.

We cannot say that a cultural norm from 1400 years ago is illegitimate just because we do
not practice it today. There are certain aspects in our current-day society that people from
1400 years ago would not approve of, such as, drinking soda or eating food that has been
sitting in a box for over a month.

Neither Khawla nor ‘A’ishah’s parents found the marriage to be problematic. Critics may
argue that they were all “brainwashed Muslims”. But even the non-Muslims did not find the
marriage problematic!

Throughout the first 1200 years after the life of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,
neither Muslim academics nor non-Muslim academics have criticized the marriage. Such
criticism is not even levied by a legitimate academic in our own times. Rather, the criticism
manifests itself through the internet, blogs, youtube, and cheap Evangelical publications.
But no reputable and educated professor of history, sociology, or anthropology makes an
academic case against the marriage because they know it is not a valid criticism at all.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

Based on research found in Oxford and Cambridge, in addition to the opinion held by some
Jewish and Christian scholars, Mary the mother of Jesus was about 13 or 14 years old when
she gave birth to Jesus. They say that she was to marry Joseph the carpenter (i.e. conduct
the nikah) who was over the age of 30. (Note: this is the opinion of some Jewish and
Christian scholars, not Muslim scholars).

Every society has complete license to practice their cultural norms as long as it does not
contradict the Qur’an or sunnah, and we have no right to say that it is illegitimate. People
will establish these norms based on the community’s physical, psychological, emotional,
and financial situation. In our current society, it may be somewhat counterproductive for
people to get married that young. We don’t need to strive to implement and revive the
practice of very early marriage. We should maintain whatever is culturally normal within
our own time and place; this is even an Islamic recommendation.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that he was shown a dream 3 nights in a row
by Jibril, ‘alayhi assalam. In the dream, Jibril would open up a silk cloth to reveal an image
of ‘A’ishah, saying that the Prophet is to marry her. So, the marriage was divinely ordained.

‘A’ishah memorized and narrated more than two thousand ahadith. She ranks 3rd or 4th on
the list of narrators. If we omit the repetition in hadith, she comes out as number one.
Some of the great scholars in the past have said we inherited a third of the religion from
her. She was one of the huffath of Qur’an, and she had written the entire Qur’an by her own
hand. ‘A’ishah was also a very gifted poet as she memorized all of the pre-Islamic and post-
Islamic poetry; she even used to write poetry herself. Her father was a genealogist and
knew everyone’s heritage. ‘A’ishah inherited this gift as she too knew everyone in the
community and their forefathers.

Putting all of this together, we realize that she had a photographic memory. She was
supremely intelligent, very independent, and had the ability to critically analyze situations
as she would engage the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in intellectual conversations.
The Prophet himself would even remark about her intelligence. ‘A’ishah would even
disagree with some policies that were later amended based on her suggestions.

Clearly, there was profound wisdom behind Allah’s qadr in placing A’ishah in the company
and close proximity of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. She was able to transfer
and carry on the religion after the Prophet passed away.

Furthermore, her nikah took place in the month of Shawwal as did her moving in
(waleemah) with the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. In the pre-Islamic time, people
had superstitions about the month of Shawwal, saying that marriage in that month was
cursed. Even in some Muslim societies, people say to avoid marriage in between the two
Eids. However, ‘A’isha destroyed that superstition in its entirety! She bragged about her

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

marriage and moving in with her husband which both occurred in Shawwal. She would
even tell the young girls of the Ansar to get married in Shawwal to break that pre-Islamic


Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

“It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have
decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And
whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error. And
[remember, O Muhammad], when you said to the one on whom Allah bestowed favor and you
bestowed favor, "Keep your wife and fear Allah," while you concealed within yourself that
which Allah is to disclose. And you feared the people, while Allah has more right that you fear
Him. So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there
not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when
they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished. There is
not to be upon the Prophet any discomfort concerning that which Allah has imposed upon
him. [This is] the established way of Allah with those [prophets] who have passed on before.
And ever is the command of Allah a destiny decreed. [Allah praises] those who convey the
messages of Allah and fear Him and do not fear anyone but Allah. And sufficient is Allah as
Accountant. Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger
of Allah and last of the prophets. And ever is Allah, of all things, Knowing.” Surah al-Ahzab,

The marriage of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, to Zaynab bint Jahsh pertains to
the personal life of the Prophet, yet it is authoritative, legislative, and a part of our Shari’ah
and deen. This incident serves as guidance for us in terms of conducting our own personal

Zaynab is the first cousin of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Her mother was
named Umaymah, and she was the daughter of Abd’l Muttaleb (the grandfather of the
Prophet). Zaynab’s mother and the Prophet’s father were siblings, making them paternal
first cousins. Zaynab became Muslim in the very early days of Islam while it was spreading
in Makkah. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, had arranged for her to marry Zayd
bin Haritha.

Zayd bin Haritha was basically the adopted son of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,
and he was the 3rd person to accept Islam (after Khadija and Ali bin Abi Taleb). Slave
traders captured him when he was a child; he somehow made it to Makkah and was gifted
to Khadija who then gifted him to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Prophet
freed him from slavery, and Zayd grew up in his house, becoming a very loyal and devoted
individual who made many sacrifices for the sake of Islam.

When the family of Zayd discovered his whereabouts, they came to retrieve him. However,
Zayd requested to stay with the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Prophet would
embrace him and say, he is my son! So, Zayd was very close and beloved to the Prophet,
becoming like an adopted son. In the incident of Ta’if, it was Zayd who accompanied the
Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

The Prophet loved him so much that he gave him the nickname hibb (the beloved one),
which comes from the word hub (love). And when Zayd had a son whom he named
Usamah, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, referred to him as hibbu hibbi
Rasoolillahi (the beloved of the beloved of the Prophet).

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, had such trust and confidence in Zayd, that
whenever there would be a military expedition in which the Prophet was not personally
attending, he would put Zayd in charge.

Realizing Zayd and Zaynab’s devotion to Islam, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,
chose to marry them off to one another. However, they came from very different
backgrounds. Zayd grew up in slavery and worked as a servant most of his life, not even
knowing his own family for a period of time. Zaynab, on the other hand, was the
granddaughter of Abd’l Muttaleb from Banu Hashim, giving her the status of nobility and
royalty. So, the personalities of Zayd and Zaynab did not match very well even though their
values were aligned.

Realizing that the marriage is not running as smoothly as anticipated, Zayd and Zaynab
discuss the problem at separate times with the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The
Prophet counsels and consoles each one, encouraging them to work out their differences.
However, they could not resolve the differences and decided to get a divorce about one
year after marriage. This was the qadr of Allah, which has infinite wisdom. Sometimes,
conflict between the husband and wife cannot be resolved, and divorce can be a means to
get out from a very difficult situation. And it requires a very mature and sophisticated mind
to overcome the cultural stigma of divorce.

After the divorce, Zayd marries Barakah (also known as Umm Ayman). This woman was
the nanny and caretaker of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Prophet said, “If
one of you desires to marry a woman from the people of Paradise, let him marry Umm
Ayman!” It was with Barakah that Zayd had his son Usamah.

Zaynab marries none other than the beloved Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Certain rules came down to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, pertaining to this
situation. The first rule stated that if anyone has adopted a child, the child must be called by
his or her father’s name. So, you must confirm and maintain the biological lineage of the
child. The adopted father does not replace the biological father, and the adopted mother
does not replace the biological mother. Some people would refer to Zayd bin Haritha as
Zayd bin Muhammad (Zayd the son of Muhammad). So, Allah rules that this is not correct
and that he should be referred to as Zayd bin Haritha to clarify his actual lineage.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

Furthermore, the rules that pertain to biological relationships do not necessarily pertain to
adopted relationships. For example, if a man marries a woman and then gets a divorce, the
ex-wife can never marry her former father-in-law. Adopted relationships do not have this
same ruling. Also, biological siblings don’t have to observe the rules of hijab in front of one
another, and they are allowed to make physical contact with one another. However, if a
family adopts a boy, those same sibling dynamics will not be automatically created. Also,
adopted children don’t automatically inherit from the family; rather, the individual must
actually write them into the will.

At-Tabani is an Arabic term used when you declare someone to be your biological child
when he or she is not actually your biological child. This is forbidden in Islam.

In early English translation of fiqh, at-tabani was sometimes translated as adoption. So,
Muslims may have thought that adoption is not permissible in Islam. However, that is not
true. The Arabic word kafala refers to taking care of a child or taking guardianship of a
child. Islam not only permits this, but it encourages it! The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam, said that whoever sponsors an orphan will be in Paradise with him like this – and
he gestured with his two fingers. So, Islam permits us to adopt children, but we cannot say
that child is our biological child.

Allah chooses to marry the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, to Zaynab. This marriage
was part of divine legislation, and the sunnah that was established through this marriage
challenged some of the incorrect practices present before Islam. When the Prophet married
Zaynab, some of the mushrikun and hypocrites started to spread rumors about him, saying
that he has married his son’s ex-wife. So, Allah responds to these rumors with the ayat
mentioned above. Again, Zayd is not the biological son of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam. So, there is nothing wrong with the Prophet marrying Zayd’s ex-wife. This marriage
removed any difficulties the Muslims may have experienced in terms of adopted
relationships. Everything that Allah decrees is perfectly calculated and precise.

When Allah says “and you feared the people”, He is stating how the Prophet, sallallahu
‘alayhi wa sallam, was apprehensive of how people would react to the marriage (the
Prophet did not actually have fear of the people). And Allah has more right that the Prophet
be concerned about what He thinks.

Zaynab would brag about her marriage occurring in the heavens while everyone else’s
marriage occurred on earth. A human being performed your nikah while my nikah was
performed by Allah!

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

Zaynab told the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, that she tries not to delve into other
people’s business while she tries to guard her eyes and ears (she said this during the
slander of ‘A’ishah, and she told the Prophet that she cannot say a single bad thing about

‘A’ishah said that Zaynab’s original name was actually Barra, which refers to the outdoors.
The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that was not a good name, so he changed it to
Zaynab. Her title was Umm’l Hakam (The Mother of Wisdom). ‘A’ishah described Zaynab as
a God-conscious woman who was truthful, generous, charitable, pious, and maintained her
family relations.

When the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was about to pass away, he said that the
first amongst his wives to join him in the afterlife would be the one with the longest
hands/arms. He was speaking metaphorically of the one who gave the most sadaqah for the
sake of Allah. Zaynab worked jobs in order to earn money and then gave it away in charity.
She would not even use the money given to her from Bayt’l mal because she didn’t really
view that as a true sacrifice. She gave so much sadaqah, it made her arms the “longest”. And
the Prophet was referring to her.

Zaynab passed away in the 20th year after hijrah, 10 years after the death of the Prophet,
sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

There is a fabricated narration that has no valid chain, no basis, and no foundation that is
sometimes propagated by European orientalists. Some Muslim authors even make the
tragic mistake of carrying it forward. There is supposedly a narration (but it is completely
false), that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, once visited Zayd when he was still
married to Zaynab. Supposedly, Zaynab was not properly covered, and the Prophet was
struck by her beauty, leading to the divorce. The slander does not end there. They go as far
as saying that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, even sent Zayd on one of the major
military campaigns in order to get rid of him (i.e. more or less, sending him on a suicide
mission). These narrations are completely false, and we reject them in their entirety. In
fact, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, cried when he heard of the death of Zayd.
And the Prophet always told Zayd NOT to divorce Zaynab. Cleary, the lies and propaganda
are in contradiction to the reality.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

In the first five years of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam’s, residence in the city of
Madinah, the city was comprised of refugees and asylum seekers who were able to put
together some semblance of a life of safety, dignity and freedom to practice their religion
freely. There were also tribes in Madinah who were not Muslims; one of them was Banu
Qurayzah. The Prophet had an agreement with Banu Qurayzah that they won’t attack the
Muslims and that the Muslims won’t attack them, and that they will help each other if either
one of them were attacked by someone else. However, when the Quraysh attacked the
Muslims, not only did Banu Qurayzah not help, they actually tried to attack the Muslim
women and children, hence violating the agreement and committing treason.

The Prophet comes back from the Trench, takes off his armor, puts down his weapons, and
takes a bath. Jibril came to the Prophet and said “oh Messenger of God, you have taken off
your armor and laid down your weapons?” The Prophet said “yes.” Jibril said “I swear to
God that we (the angels) have not laid down our arms yet, so you have to go again.” The
Prophet asked “where would Allah have me go?” and Jibril pointed towards Banu Qurayzah.

Eventually, Banu Qurayzah sent word out to the Prophet saying that they’re willing to
surrender. Sa’ad bin Mua’adh was elected to be the one to decide what would happen and
Banu Qurayzah (and Aws, the allies of Banu Qurayzah) agreed. When Sa’ad arrived, some of
the people of Banu Qurayzah and Aws started telling Sa’ad, “the Messenger of God has put
you in charge and has allowed you to decide so that you can deal with them in a more
compassionate manner.” When Sa’ad was being put under pressure by them, the Prophet
said that “the time has come for Sa’ad bin Mua’adh, that he should not fear the criticism of
anyone who is willing to criticize.” Meaning that Sa’ad should do what is right.

Sa’ad issued the verdict that “the men be executed, and the wealth be distributed and the
women and children be taken into custody.” When Sa’ad decided this, it was a very difficult
moment. This was not something that the Muslims relished in. It was and is an established
principle that treason results in the death penalty. It is important to keep in mind that
when this verdict was passed, there was no celebration or spectacle. The Prophet then told
Sa’ad “you have decided amongst them in accordance with the decree of God from above
the seven heavens.” Meaning that this is the decree of God and therefore Sa’ad hasn’t
committed any violence.

Steps were being taken at this moment to arrange for the carrying out of the penalty. The
women and children were taken into custody, and the Prophet emphasized to treat them
very, very well. They weren’t held in enclosed areas, rather they were kept within homes in
Madinah and meals were being provided for them. An area was cleared out and graves
were dug and the men who were capable of fighting were given the death penalty and were
buried there. The Prophet emphasized that this not be dragged out, but that it be done
quickly because this is not something that anyone enjoys.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

Every single time that this particular incident is used to criticize Islam, the critic will not
mention the extensive context within which the incident took place. They talk about the
death penalty of this many people in a vacuum. The picture is painted as if one day the
Prophet and the Sahaba woke up and decided to carry out 400 death penalties. When you
look at the historical context, you realize that these people were those who committed
treason and this was a justifiable punishment in that situation. Go ahead and look through
history; look at any type of system of governance or politics and you will realize the
punishment is a legal, sound course of action in any situation involving treason. This is not
a place for us to be concerned, worried, ashamed or embarrassed. At the same time, we
shouldn’t be unruly and overzealous and go to the opposite end of the spectrum. We need
to be intelligent, thoughtful and reflective while understanding the circumstances.

Within three months after the immigration to Abyssinia, the Muslims returned to Makkah.
What caused the 15 Sahaba to return so quickly? They returned because of a rumor, and
that rumor was that the Quraysh have accepted Islam. On the way back, they found out that
the rumor wasn’t true. The basis of this rumor is what some have called the “satanic

The controversy is regarding whether this incident is authentic or not and how we
understand this incident. In this section, we’ll be discussing three different versions of the

This is the version that is reported in Sahih Bukhari and is the most authentic. It says in this
narration that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, recited Surah an-Najm in its
entirety. An-Najm is a powerful and elegant surah and its last verse says:

“Prostrate to Allah and worship Him” Surah an-Najm, 53:62

The momentum and excitement built up in the surah and the power of the Qur’an affected
the entire congregation—Muslim and non-Muslim—such that the Muslims AND the
Quraysh fell into sajda when the Prophet recited the last verse. This was the first time
Muslims and non-Muslims united together in the worship of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. By
the time the rumor reached Abyssinia, the rumor became that everyone back in Makkah
accepted Islam.

This version is the authentic version and there is no mention of ash-shaytan. Versions two
and three are disputed and they revolve around reports that aren’t found in the famous
books of hadith, they are found in obscure works.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

The name “satanic verses” isn’t found in the Qur’an or sunnah, nor is it found even in weak
narrations. It was William Muir, a Western researcher and Orientalist who passed away in
1905, who coined the term “satanic verses.” The Islamic sources that do mention this
incident, they call it qisaat'l-gharaneek. Gharaneek is a bird with a long neck, this fact
becomes relevant when discussing versions two and three.

This version of the story is reported in at-Tabari and is narrated by a tabi’i, ‘Urwa ibn
Zubair. The main weakness of this version is that ‘Urwa never actually saw the Prophet.

“Have you not seen al-Lat and al-‘Uzza? And the third of them, Manat? Are you going to get
the females and you give him the males? What an unfair sharing.”
Surah an-Najm, 53:19-22

The above is what the Qur’an actually says. ‘Urwa ibn Zubair said that after verse 20,
shaytan cried out in his own voice and added two verses that were not in the Qur’an and
these verses were heard by the mushrikoon, but not by the Muslimoon. The verses
allegedly added by shaytan are “these idols are the mighty pelicans (gharaneek al-‘ula). And
their requests will be granted.” ‘Urwa said that when the mushrikoon heard these verses,
they thought the Prophet had finally come to a middle ground with them and therefore
they fell into sajda.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

This version is worse than the second. In version two, shaytan recites out and the
mushrikoon hear. In version three, the Prophet hears shaytan’s recitation and thinks it is
Jibril reciting to him and the Prophet’s own tongue recites the two satanic verses. Those
people who believe version three are saying that the Prophet couldn’t tell the difference
between Jibril and shaytan. This is the premise of Salman Rushdie’s book, “Satanic Verses.”

In 1966, there was a worldwide conference in Cairo exclusively over this incident, to
discuss it academically. Major scholars were present at the time and the conclusion of the
conference was that the story is fabricated. The bulk of the scholars of our times want to
cross out versions two and three. And if you read almost any modern book of seerah, you
will see that this story is either not mentioned, or is mentioned as a fabrication. However,
that is not the only position held by the scholars. Some scholars have accepted version two
and some scholars have even accepted version three.

In the humble opinion of Sh. Yasir Qadhi, version one is the one that we need and versions
two and three can be crossed out for the following reasons:
• Claiming that shaytan can inspire the Prophet is interfering with the process of
wahi. In so many verses, Allah talks about the purity of revelation.
• There is no authentic version of the satanic incident at all
• Contextual analysis is an important part of understanding this story
o Verses 19-20 show us that what will follow is criticism. If the satanic verses
are inserted, then it would go from criticism to praise to criticism. This works
neither linguistically, nor contextually.
• We have the authentic narration from Sahih Bukhari with a good explanation, so
there is no need to even look at the satanic verses.
o Ibn ‘Abbas said that when the Prophet prostrated, the Muslims, the mushriks
and even the jinn were so overwhelmed by Surah an-Najm that they
prostrated along with him.

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda


Also on the authority of ‘Umar, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said: While we were one day sitting
with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), there appeared before us a man dressed in
extremely white clothes and with very black hair. No traces of journeying were visible on him,
and none of us knew him. He sat down close by the Prophet (peace be upon him), rested his
knee against his thighs, and said, "O Muhammad! Inform me about Islam."

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "Islam is that you should testify that there is
no deity except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, that you should perform salah,
pay the Zakah, fast during Ramadan, and perform Hajj to the House, if you are able to do so."

The man said, "You have spoken truly." We were astonished…

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

“…We were astonished at his questioning him (the Messenger) and telling him that he was
right, but he went on to say, "Inform me about iman."

He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, "It is that you believe in Allah and His angels and His
Books and His Messengers and in the Last Day, and in qadr (fate), both in its good and in its
evil aspects." He said, "You have spoken truly."

Then he (the man) said, "Inform me about ihsan." He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, "It is
that you should worship Allah as though you could see Him, for though you cannot see Him
yet (know that) He sees you."

Qabeelat Wasat Firm Ground
April 2016 Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

He said, "Inform me about the Hour." He (the Messenger of Allah) said, "About that, the one
questioned knows no more than the questioner." So he said, "Well, inform me about the signs
thereof." He said, "They are that the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress, that you will see
the barefooted, naked, destitute, the herdsmen of the sheep (competing with each other) in
raising lofty buildings." Thereupon the man went of. I waited a while, and then he (the
Messenger of Allah) said, "O ‘Umar, do you know who that questioner was?" I replied, "Allah
and His Messenger know better." He said, "That was Jibril (the Angel Gabriel). He came to
teach you your religion." [Muslim]

This beautiful hadith explains the major tenants of our faith. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi
wa sallam, stated that Jibril came to teach you YOUR deen, YOUR religion. We need to stop
having a relationship with our deen as if we are standing on the outside, negotiating what
we will accept and what we will reject. We cannot merely wait for the perfect time to walk
through the door and take over our relationship with Allah because procrastination can
result in regret and remorse.

This hadith revolves around 4 main concepts:

1.) Islam
• What is the regimen/ritual?
• How have we disciplined ourselves in regards to our deen?
• We must have a routine of prayer, fasting, etc.
• It requires dedication and commitment.

2.) Iman
• Our faith and belief should help us strive for something beyond this world.
• To have a connection and relationship with Allah.

3.) Ihsan
• Beautify your life.
• Not just when you’re praying or spending time with your family. Even when
you’re driving.
• Be aware that Allah is watching you at all times.
• Worship Allah as if you can see Him.

4.) The Hour
• Know that there is a clock ticking.
• Time is limited, and there is a sense of urgency.
• Since the hour is coming, you need to take ownership of YOUR deen NOW.