Fiqh is Not Black and White

What is said about wiping the face after du’a?

From those that allowed it are Imam Nawawi (rh), Sanani (rh), Ibn Hajr (rh). From our times the aalim Ibn jibreen and from the people of the past, Hassan al Basri and Imam Ahmad (rh)!

Although many scholars have weakened it, and it’s better to avoid it, to call it a bid’ah seems very difficult!

So, whilst we don’t follow these actions ourselves, as the evidence doesn’t seem strong, to say it is a bid’ah is very problematic!

And from the Sahaaba Ibn ‘Umar (ra) and Zubayr (ra) did it!

So, we must be careful when saying something is an innovation.

Of the dozens that have commented on this issue, only one or two scholars have said it is an innovation.

  • Fiqh is not black and white.

Other issues which would come under this:

  • Trimming the beard
  • Trousers above the ankles
  • Prayer beads

And more. These issues are not clear cut innovations or haraam. We can say that it’s safer to avoid them etc and this is how the ulema speak.

For example, does Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen (rh) use language such as “bid’ah” and “it’s false” or softer language?

Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about the ruling on wiping the face with the hands after making du’aa’. He replied:

Wiping the face with the hands after making du’aa’ is more likely to be not prescribed in Islam, because the ahaadeeth that have been narrated concerning that are da’eef (weak). Shaykh al-Islam (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: They cannot be used as evidence. If we are not certain or we think it most likely that this is not prescribed, then it is better not to do it, because Islamic rulings cannot be proven on the basis of mere conjecture, unless we believe it to be mostly likely to be the case.

What I think about wiping the face with the hands after du’aa’ is that it is not Sunnah. As is well known, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed for rain during his Friday khutbah and raised his hands, but it is not narrated that he wiped his face with them. Similarly, in a number of ahaadeeth it says that the Prophet raised his hands, but there is no proof that he wiped his face. End quote.

Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 14/question no. 781

The main point being made is to:

  • Be open minded
  • Not exclude others views
  • Research matters properly

For example, the hands on the chest when praying, Imam Ahmad (rh) actually disliked this and some said most of the narrations are weak. However, the ones above the navel are stronger than those below so just above the navel is fine.

Uniting The Ummah

Should the Basmallah be said after reciting Surah Faatiha? Should it be said out aloud if leading the prayer?

A scholar of the past has said:

… Nevertheless the correct view is that it is not to be recited out loud, although it is prescribed to recite it out loud if that serves a definite interest. Hence it is prescribed for the imam to do that – sometimes – for example, to teach the people who are praying behind him. It is permissible for the worshippers to recite a few words out loud sometimes, and it is also permissible for a man to forego something that is preferable, in order to soften hearts and unite people, lest they be put off from what is in their best interests. For example, the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) decided not to rebuild the Ka‘bah on the foundations of Ibraaheem, because Quraysh had only recently left Jaahiliyyah behind (and were new in Islam), and he was worried that they may be put off by that. He thought that the issue of uniting people and softening their hearts took precedence over the issue of rebuilding the Ka‘bah on the foundations of Ibraaheem. Ibn Mas‘ood said, when he offered the prayer in full behind ‘Uthmaan, although he disliked that and objected to him about it, and he was questioned about that: “Dissent is evil.” Hence the imams or leading scholars, such as Ahmad and others, stated that the same applies in the case of the basmalah, and praying Witr as three continuous rak‘ahs, and other issues in which one may turn from that which is preferable to that which is permissible in the interests of softening the hearts or the obligation of teaching them the Sunnah, and so on.

End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (22/436, 437).

He (may Allah have mercy on) also said: One may refrain from doing that which is preferable in one’s own opinion, lest the people be put off. The same applies if a man thinks that the basmalah should be recited out loud, but he is leading some people in prayer who do not think that that is recommended, or vice versa; if he goes along with them, that is fine.

End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (22/268, 269).

What is an Innovation? (Bid’ah)

An innovation, as mentioned by the master of maqaasid (aims and objectives) of the Shari’ah, is any act of worship which the Prophet (saw) and his (saw) companions could have done but did not do so.

Some say making du’a after finishing the Qur’an is an innovation, but Anas (ra) used to do this.

And sometimes a Sahaabi statement is taken as evidence when it’s about something which only the Prophet (saw) could know, like something from the unseen.

As for innovation, an action can fall into this in a number of different ways:

  • The way the action is done
  • The reason
  • The type
  • The time
  • The manner

And other examples.

We don’t call the person doing it an innovator unless we know that they know it’s an innovation, they’ve been told and they refuse to leave and a few other conditions too.

So praying 5 Rak’ah for dhuhr would be an innovation due to which type?

This would fall under “The way the action is done.”

How about making du’a after the fard prayer in congregation regularly?

This would fall under “The time.”

It could even be more than one category and it’s not narrated on the Sahaabah either.

As for things which are narrated on the Sahaabah then we can’t always follow that. It depends if it has some basis as sometimes the Sahaabah did ijtihaad (came to their individual conclusions).

They were qualified to do such a thing.

Another example is Abu Hurairah (ra), he would wash until near his shoulders and his knees in wudoo. This was his own judgement. This was not known on anyone else, not even the Prophet (saw). So we don’t follow him in that.

Why did Abu Hurairah (ra) do this?

Nu‘aym ibn Al-Mujmir narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: “On the Day of Resurrection, my followers will be called “Al-Ghurr-ul-Muhajjaleen” from the trace of Wudoo’ (i.e. Ablution) and thus whoever can increase the area of his radiance should do so (i.e. by performing ablution regularly).”

In another wording, he said: “I saw Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him, perform ablution. He washed his face and washed his hands up to the arms. He then washed his feet and reached up to the shanks and then said: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, say: ‘My people would come with bright faces and bright hands and feet on account of the marks of ablution, so he who can increase the luster of his forehead (and that of his hands and legs) should do so.”

In a third wording, reported by Imam Muslim, he (i.e. Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “I have heard my Friend, peace and blessing be upon him, say: ‘In a believer adornment would reach the places where ablution reaches.”

So he understood it to mean washing further and some scholars do follow this view but we say this was his ijtihaad and we don’t know of anyone else doing this even though some scholars allow it.

What about prayer beads? Bid’ah , Sunnah or allowed?

A scholar has said:

ويباح استعمال السبحة ليعد بها الأذكار والتسبيحات من غير اعتقاد أن فيها فضيلة خاصة

“It is permissible to use prayer beads, to count Tasbeehaat and Adhkaar, as long as one doesn’t believe there is a special Fadhilah in doing it this way.”

A scholar of the past has said:

لا حرج فيها، لكن تكون في البيت، مع الناس بأصابعك في المسجد ومع الناس بأصابعك أفضل، في البيت في جلوسك في البيت أن تسبح بها، والأصابع أفضل في كل حال

“There is nothing wrong with prayer beads, but use them when you’re at home. When you’re with the people, when you’re in the Masjid, use your fingers. When you’re sitting at home, you can use the prayer beads. It’s always better with the fingers.”

Another scholar of the past was asked:

س 260: ما رأيكم في استخدام المسبحة في التسبيح ؟ جزاكم الله خيراً .

الجواب: استخدام السبحة جائز ، لكن الأفضل أن يسبح بالأنامل وبالأصابع

Question 260: “What do you think of counting Tasbeeh with prayer beads? May Allaah reward you with goodness.”

Answer: “Using prayer beads is permissible, but it’s better to count with your fingers.”

Narrated on some of the Sahaabah that they used to count their Adkhar on date stones and so on.

From this you must learn that Fiqh is very wide and also it’s important to take knowledge from its people, meaning Fiqh from a scholar of Fiqh, Hadith from its scholars and so on.

Be careful with labelling things. Things aren’t black and white.