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 Pilgrimage and Unsettled Debts

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Join date : 2011-06-29

PostSubject: Pilgrimage and Unsettled Debts   Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:24 pm

Pilgrimage and Unsettled Debts

Q. A man from another country who came to Saudi Arabia soon found himself jobless and in debt. When time for the pilgrimage was approaching, he had conflicting advice about whether he could perform the pilgrimage, since he was in debt. Yet he thought that the opportunity was too great to miss as he was so close to the holy cities . Could he have done the pilgrimage? If so, would it fulfill his duty for the future? Or should he have waited until he had settled his debts.

A. This is a common point of confusion, which arises from the nature of the pilgrimage duty. God states in the Qur’an that this duty is owed to Him by everyone who is able to undertake the journey. The ability is physical and financial. Hence a person who has no money to pay for his traveling ticket and his other expenses, let alone the expenses of his dependents during his absence, is exempt from this duty until such a time when he can financially afford the journey. What about a person who has substantial debts but finds himself in a position where doing the pilgrimage is easy for him, or would not cost him much, as in the case of a person who happens to be in Saudi Arabia as the pilgrimage season draws near. Well, if he knows that his creditors would not mind his absence, or the marginal delay in his settling his debts, then he can go and fulfill his duty. Even if he does not mention his intention to them, and he goes on his pilgrimage, he commits no offence. His pilgrimage is correct and valid, and it fulfills his essential duty. The same applies if he has arranged to pay a certain amount every month, and he can pay for his pilgrimage while maintaining his debt payments. This rule also applies to a person who is not earning enough to meet his family’s expenses. If he incurs a reasonable amount of debt as a result of offering the pilgrimage, and he manages to look after his family in this way, and offers the pilgrimage, he is deemed to have done the pilgrimage when the duty is not applicable to him. Yet, his pilgrimage is valid and counts as fulfillment of the duty required of all Muslims who are able to make the journey.

Ablution Without Removing Socks

Q.1. Could you please explain how the ablution can be performed while one is wearing socks? A ruling issued by some scholars say that this is not permissible if the socks are made of cotton or nylon material, which has created some confusion. Please explain.

Q.2. After one has had a bath, is it necessary to have ablution for performing prayers?

A.1. When we perform ablution, or wudhu, we have to wash our faces, hands up to the elbows and feet up to the ankles, as well as wiping our heads. However, a concession is given regarding the washing of our feet. This concession is based on the Hadith in which one of the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was pouring water for him to have his ablutions. When he was due to wash his feet, the companion was about to help him with washing them, but the Prophet signaled him that it was not necessary. He wiped on his khuff, which was a type of shoes worn under the main shoes. The Prophet told his companion that he was doing that because “I put them on after having had ablution.” Scholars apply this concession to men’s socks and women’s stockings. This means that the necessary condition for using this concession is that one should have had a full ablution, or wudhu, before wearing his socks, or her stockings. If he needs to have a fresh ablution, he performs all the parts, but instead of washing his feet, he wipes with a couple of fingers over his socks from the top. He does not wipe the bottom of his feet. It is not necessary to wipe all the foot; it is sufficient to wet one’s hand and with one finger go over any part of the top of his foot once only. This process can be repeated every time one needs to have a fresh ablution for one full day, i.e. 24 hours. Some scholars insist that socks made of cloth are not suitable for using this concession, because they are not waterproof. They may specify other conditions, such as the socks must have no holes. Such conditions are not really required, because they have no strong evidence to support them.

A.2. If one takes a bath for a religious reason, such as a grand ablution to remove the state of ceremonial impurity, or janabah, or the Friday bath, or for the Eid, then his bath or shower includes ablution, or wudhu. If it is an ordinary bath, or shower, for cleanliness, or freshening up, then it does not include the wudhu. You will need to perform the ablution in this case in order to pray.

Wearing Stones

Q. Does Islam permit the wearing of stones on one's fingers or body? Is there any reference to this in the Qur'an or the Hadith?

A. I am not sure what you mean by wearing stones. If you mean precious stones such as sapphire, emerald or ruby, then this is permissible, unless they are worn to boast of one’s wealth. If stones are used as a sort of charm to prevent harm or to bring benefit, then wearing them is forbidden. It is an act of associating partners with God, or shirk. The Hadith which relates to this is in the form of a prayer: “Whoever wears a charm, may God not grant him his purpose”, i.e. the purpose for which he has worn it.

Punishment in the Grave

Q. People give different views about punishment in the grave, with some saying that all punishment is administered only on the Day of Judgement, while others say that it starts shortly after the person is buried. Which is correct?

A. There are certain things Islam mentions about happenings after this life is over, without giving much explanation. We take these as they are, without going into too much detail, because if God has not provided these details, there is no means that we can ascertain them. One of these is punishment in the grave, which is clearly, though implicitly, mentioned in the Qur’an when God refers to the punishment suffered by Pharaoh’s people: “A grievous scourge encompasses Pharaoh’s people: before the Fire they are brought morning and evening, and on the day the Last Hour strikes, a voice will say: ‘Mete out the sternest punishment to Pharaoh’s people.’” (40: 45-46) These verses clearly show that there are two stages of punishment. The first is when Pharaoh’s people are brought before the fire of hell every morning and every evening. The second is clearly spelt out for the Day of Judgement. So, the first stage is the one meted out in the grave. Hence, we are taught by the Prophet (peace be upon him) to pray to Allah for protection against punishment in the grave. May God guard us all against it and against punishment in the hereafter.

Joining a Prayer in Progress

Q. I arrived late for Maghrib congregational prayer. As I was about to join, the lady next to me signalled me not to do so. I prayed on my own, but I could not tell why she prevented me from joining. Should I have joined the congregation anyway?

A. Yes, you should have done. If you arrive in the mosque and find the congregational prayer already started, you can join it at any time. The only thing is that if you have missed one or more rak’ahs, you have to complete your prayer and make up for the shortfall after the congregation has finished. In this case, you were about to join in the second rak’ah. This means that you would have prayed two rak’ahs with the congregation. You still owe one rak’ah when the imam has finished. You stand up then and add one rak’ah to complete your prayer. This applies in all obligatory prayers.

Use of the Prophet's (Pbuh) Name

Q. Some people use the name "Muhammad' as a means of calling any person or drawing his attention. Instead of using any of the common calling words, such as Sir, Mr., Brother, etc. they say, "Hey, Muhammad!" when the man's name is not so. They do not even know whether the person whom they are calling is a Muslim or not. Is this acceptable?

A. No, it is totally unacceptable. Whoever thought of such usage has little respect for the Prophet (peace be upon him). God tells us in the Qur’an: “Do not address God’s Messenger in the manner you address one another.” (24: 62) If the Prophet’s companions were not allowed to address him as they addressed each other, and ordered instead to use his title as ‘God’s Messenger’, how can we imagine that using his name as a common word for drawing people’s attention can be acceptable. Anyone using it without giving the matter a thought should know better. He should reflect and ask himself whether he would accept that people use his own name in this way. How could he accept this for the Prophet’s name?

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