The religious teachings revealed by Islam are the teachings that are written in the books of the scholars of Ahl as-Sunna . A person becomes a kafir (disbeliever) if he does not believe, among the teachings of iman  and the Sharia  that have been reported by the scholars of Ahl as-Sunna, even one of the nasses (ayats  or hadiths ) with explicit meaning. If he keeps his disbelief secret, he is called a munafiq. If not only he keeps it secret but also he tries to deceive Muslims by passing himself off as a Muslim, he is called a zindiq. If he makes tawil (to interpret) of the nasses with explicit meaning without knowing, that is, gives wrong meaning to them and believes wrongly, he again becomes a disbeliever and is called a mulhid.
If he believes wrongly by making tawil of the nasses with inexplicit meaning, he does not become a disbeliever but, because he has departed from the right path of the Ahl as-Sunna, will go to Hell. Since he believes in the nasses with explicit meaning, he will not remain in Hell eternally but will be taken into Paradise. Such people are called ahl al-bida or heretical groups. There are seventy-two heretical groups. None of their ibadat (worship) is acceptable. Muslims whose faith is correct are called Ahl as-Sunnat wa l-Jamaa or Sunnis. In relation to ibadat, the Sunnis belong to four different Madhhabs . Those who follow one of these madhhabs acknowledge that the followers of the other three also belong to Ahl as-Sunna, and they love one another. He who does not belong to Ahl as-Sunna is either a disbeliever or a man of bida.
 Ahl as-Sunna (wal-Jamaa): the true pious Muslims who follow as-Sahabat al-kiram. These are called Sunni Muslims. A Sunni Muslim adapts himself to one of the four Madhhabs. These madhhabs are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii and Hanbali.
 iman: faith, belief, beliefs of Islam; kalam, itiqad.
 Shariat: (pl. of Sharia) i) rules and commandments as a whole of the religion. ii) religion.
 ayat: a verse of al-Quran al-kerim; al-ayat al-kerima.
 hadith (sherif): i) a saying of the Prophet (alaihi s-salam); al-Hadith ash-sherif: all the hadiths as a whole; ii) ilm al-hadith; iii) Books of the hadith ash-sherif. iv) Al-hadith al-qudsi, as-sahih, al-hasan: kinds of hadiths (for which, see Endless Bliss, II).
 Madhhab: all of what a profound alim of (especially) Fiqh (usually one of the four Hanafi, Shafii, Maliki, Hanbali) or iman (one of the two, namely Ash-ari, Maturidi) communicated.
MUSLIMS believe that Surat Al-Israa’ was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in Makkah after his Night Journey from Makkah to Jerusalem.
In this surah, Allah mentions some basic commitments of Muslims. Without fulfilling these commitments, no individual or group can succeed. Muslims have to live by these values and should invite humanity to these principles.
These principles are not limited to one race, tribe, or group; they are universal in their scope and application. These are also called the hikmah or the teachings of wisdom. If followed properly, they are capable of increasing the goodness and wisdom of all people.
These principles are as follows:
1. To worship Allah alone
“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him.” (Qur’an, 17:23)
This means to recognize Allah as the ultimate reality and to recognize Allah as the Lord, to worship Him with all sincerity and to submit to Him in every aspect of life. A Muslim’s life is nothing but total commitment to Allah.
We are not only monotheists but we are also theocentric people. Allah is the center of our life and He is our total and ultimate concern.
2. To be respectful and kind to parents
“And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honor. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.” (Qur’an, 17:23-24)
This is to acknowledge the compassion and kindness of parents, to be grateful to them, and to do one’s utmost to reciprocate that love and compassion. Filial piety and devotion is the second most important commitment of Muslims. Respect and kindness to parents is not just a social duty for us; it is our religious duty and obligation.
3. To be good to relatives, to the poor, and to travelers
“…And give to the kinsman his due and to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer.” (Qur’an, 17:26)
This is to remember that we are interconnected in this world. Our responsibilities are not only towards ourselves and our immediate families but also to other relatives and to the society at large.
We are all in need of each other and we are all fellow travelers in this path of life. We must see what we can do for others. Muslims must live a socially responsible life. Social responsibility begins with the family and other relatives and it includes all those who are in need.
4. To be careful with money and not waste resources
“…But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift (Tafsir At-Tabari). Verily, the spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin (devils), and the Shaitan (Devil-Satan) is ever ungrateful to his Lord. And let not your hand be tied (like a miser) to your neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach (like a spendthrift), so that you become blameworthy and in severe poverty. Truly, your Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills and straitens (for whom He wills). Verily, He is Ever All-Knower, All-Seer of His slaves.” (Qur’an, 17:26-27, 29-30)
One should be neither too tight with one’s money nor too loose with it. Extravagance is not right, but also one should not become stingy and miserly. A Muslim is committed to a balanced lifestyle.
Money should be earned in halal (lawful) ways and it should be spent in the right manner. This principle can be applied to all resources that Allah has given us. Wise and conscientious use of resources is a very important commitment of Muslims.
5. To take good care of children
“And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We shall provide for them as well as for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin.” (Qur’an, 17:31)
As we recognize the rights of the parents, we should also recognize the rights of children. Our children are our future. We must see that we raise healthy, intelligent, and morally responsible children. Our commitment should be to raise them in a safe and healthy environment. We must protect their life as well as their spirit and mind, their morals and manners.
6. To steer clear of adultery and illicit relations
“…And come not near to the unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a Fahishah (i.e. anything that transgresses its limits: a great sin), and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allah forgives him).” (Qur’an, 17:32)
Sexual perversions bring the greatest harm to individuals and societies. Observing the proper rules in this matter leads to health, happiness, and a good, moral society. Muslims are committed to a pure, clean, and socially responsible lifestyle.
Islam teaches that one should not come even close to adultery or fornication. This means proper dress codes for males and females, proper behavior in mixed societies, and proper control on social relations and entertainment.
7. To respect every life and not to kill anyone unless in the pursuit of justic
“…And do not kill anyone whose killing Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause.” (Qur’an, 17:33)
This means that one should recognize the sanctity of all life and should not do anything that may jeopardize life. One should avoid aggression and violence because these things lead to murder. Every Muslim must be committed to peaceful ways. Conflicts should be resolved through dialogue and negotiations, not by killings and murders. However, justice must be maintained, because just punishment brings safety and protects life.
8. To take care of the orphans
“…And come not near to the orphan’s property except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength.” (Qur’an, 17:34)
Orphans and all those who are vulnerable must be taken care of. Their rights must be recognized and they should be protected from all harm. A Muslim must be deeply committed to the care of the young, poor, infirm, and handicapped. Kindness and compassion is the basic commitment of a Muslim. It includes everyone and includes even the animals.
9. To fulfill promises and commitments
“And fulfil (every) covenant. Verily, the covenant will be questioned about.” (Qur’an, 17:34)
Promises and contracts are an important part of human life and human civilization. When promises are not kept, people lose trust in each other and the whole society becomes weak. Muslims must be true to their words. Our commitment must be to speak the truth and to be honest and when we make a pledge we must do our best to fulfill our pledges.
10. To be honest in business dealings
“…And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight: that is good (advantageous) and better in the end.” (Qur’an, 17:35)
Honest business brings progress, success, and blessings. All businesses, whether commercial, social, or political must be done with a sense of justice and fairness. A Muslim is committed to fair dealing in everything and with everyone. Dealing with a Muslim means dealing with full confidence. A Muslim businessman should be the most truthful businessman. A Muslim worker should be the most honest worker. A Muslim in any profession should bring honor to that profession.
11. To act upon knowledge and not follow hearsay or act on half-truths”
…And follow not (O man i.e., say not, or do not or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge. Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those one will be questioned (by Allah).” (Qur’an, 17:36)
Information agencies, the media, have a great responsibility. A lot of injustice is done when misinformation is given or information is misused. Muslims should be committed to the truth in information. They should promote truthful and honest reporting about everyone, including their enemies. A report coming from a Muslim source should be the most trustworthy report. In a similar way, Muslims should be extremely careful with their actions and reactions. They should not react against everyone without proper evidence.
12. To be humble and have no arrogance
“…And walk not on the earth with conceit and arrogance. Verily, you can neither rend nor penetrate the earth nor can you attain a stature like the mountains in height.” (Qur’an, 17:37)
Moderation and balance is the best thing in one’s behavior as well as in one’s attitude toward others. A Muslim is a dignified person, but he or she is humble. A Muslim is not boastful, arrogant, or vainglorious. A Muslim thanks Allah for all His gifts. For everything, the ultimate praise is for Allah and the real glory belongs to Allah.
These are the basic commitments of Muslims as individuals and as people. These are the principles of wisdom and the universal values of Islam. When they are followed, they bring justice, peace, and happiness in this world and they will indeed bring success and salvation in the Hereafter. Let us all try to make these our real commitments.
THE spirit of Haj is turning to Allah wholeheartedly in humble and passionate yearning and ardent love and devotion. This spirit should rule the hearts of all pilgrims at all times, regardless of gender differences.
Men and women during Haj also share equally in the various dos and don’ts. Both must refrain from all forms of intimate sexual contact with spouses. They also must shun all vain talks, wrangling, and quarrels.
Likewise, both males and females must absolutely avoid using any kind of perfumes or scents, clipping nails, removing, plucking, trimming or shaving of hair, etc.
It is, however, permissible for both males and females during ihram to bathe or take showers or wash.
Likewise, they are permitted to use ordinary shampoos, soaps or creams, lotions, etc. so long as these are not scented.
Specific issues or regulations that concern women exclusively during Haj can be listed as follows:
Unlike men, women are allowed to wear their normal clothes regardless of whether they are sewn or not. There are no restrictions whatsoever on the kind of clothes they can wear during the state of ihram so long as they are not dyed in saffron or scented. Thus it is permissible for them to wear even clothes with colors or designs; although women pilgrims may do well in keeping it simple and avoid attractive designs and colors. After all, it should be noted, the hallmark of Haj is simplicity and humility before the Creator.
Women, again as opposed to men, are also allowed to wear shoes, slippers or sandals as they choose.
Women, however, are not allowed to wear either face-veils or hand-gloves during ihram; they must not cover their faces while in a state of ihram.
Women who are menstruating should assume ihram after a bath and recite Talbiyah and engage in dhikr and dua. However, they must not offer Prayer.
Menstruating women can perform all of the rituals of Haj with the sole exception of Tawaf (going around the Kabah). As far as performing Tawaf is concerned, they should postpone it until such time that they are free from menses and have cleaned themselves through ghusl (bathing).
If, however, because of special circumstances beyond their control, they find themselves unable to stay in Makkah (for instance, they have no choice but to leave with the group because of inability to change or reschedule travel plans), then they are allowed to perform Tawaf while still menstruating after cleaning themselves and wearing pads, etc.
The above ruling is given by Imam Ibn Taymiyyah. It has been based on a valid principle of Islamic jurisprudence which states that any condition — upon which the validity of a certain act of worship is dependent — can be waived if a person cannot fulfill the same; and the act of worship thus performed will be considered as valid without it. An example for this is covering oneself during Prayer. Thus if a person finds himself unable to cover his awrah (what must be covered) because he could not find anything to wear, then he must still pray without covering himself and his prayer will still be considered as valid, although in ordinary circumstances such a Prayer will be considered as null and void.
The same rule applies to a menstruating woman who must leave Makkah because of special circumstances beyond her control. The normal condition of cleansing from menses for the validity of Tawaf is waived in her case, and her Haj will be considered as perfectly valid.
Finally, rules for women are relatively more relaxed in regards to throwing pebbles at the Jamrat in Mina (stone pillars). Thus women, as well as those who are weak and elderly, are allowed to leave Muzdalifah early before Fajr in order to perform the rite of throwing pebbles before the crowd arrives in Mina.
In conclusion, I must point out that while it is important to pay due attention to the formal aspects of Haj, one must never lose sight of the inner dimensions of Haj.
The wisdom is that by shaving off one’s hair, one demonstrates one’s sincerity and humility to Almighty Allah without caring for one’s physical appearance.
This practice of shaving or clipping the hair is affirmed by the Qur’an, the Sunnah of the Prophet, and the consensus of the Muslim scholars.
Almighty Allah says: “Indeed Allah shall fulfill the true vision which He showed to His Messenger (peace be upon him) [ i.e. the Prophet saw a dream that he has entered Makkah along with his Companions, having their (head) hair shaved and cut short] in very truth…” (48:27)
Both Al-Bukhari and Muslim quote the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying, “May Allah bless those who shaved (their head during Haj).” The Companions asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what about those who cut their hair short?” Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “May Allah bless those who shaved.” They repeated their question the third time, and again the Prophet said, “May Allah bless those who shaved.” When they asked him for the fourth time, “O Messenger of Allah, what about those who clip their hair short?” He said, “And (may Allah bless) those who clip their hair short.”
Shaving here means removing hair of the head with a razor, etc., or plucking them out. It suffices, however, to remove only as many as three hair. And cutting the hair short means cutting the length of one fingertip of the head’s hair.
However, the issue of which one is obligatory, between shaving or cutting hair short, is controversial among jurists. Most scholars hold that shaving or cutting the hair short is obligatory, and one failing to do so is to slaughter an animal in order to atone for this omission.
According to the Shafi’i school, it is an integral part of Haj.
The keys to the life of the heart lie in reflecting upon the Qur’an, being humble before Allah in secret, and leaving sins.
– Ibn Al-Qayyim (Hadi Al-Arwah Ila Bilad Al-Afrah, pg.45)
Allah said: “A Book which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its verses, and that men of understanding may take heed.” (Qur’an, 38:29)
So Allah informed us that He sent down this Great Qur’an, blessed in its wording, meaning, commands, prohibitions, and regulations. Among its blessings is that whoever recites even one word of it has a reward, and this reward is increased tenfold, as mentioned in the Hadith reported by Al-Tirmidhi. Also, the one who reads it and acts upon it will not be misguided in this world, nor will fall into distress or misery in the Hereafter, as Ibn Abbas said so in the commentary to the following verse:
“Whoever follows My Guidance shall neither go astray nor fall into distress and misery.” (Qur’an, 20:123)
Among the blessings of the Qur’an is that whoever learns it and teaches it, is from among the best of people, as mentioned in the Hadith reported by Al-Bukhari: “The best of you is the one who learns the Qur’an and then teaches it.” (Al-Bukhari, 6/501 no. 545)
The Qur’an will also be an intercessor on the Day of Judgement for its companions who used to act by it in this world as mentioned in two narrations of Sahih Muslim (2/385, no. 1757-59).
Allah informed us that He revealed the Qur’an so that its meanings, commands, and prohibitions may be reflected over. If one were to come across a verse commanding something, he should obey the command; if the verse forbids something, he should desist from it; if it was concerning the Mercy of Allah then he should hope for this Mercy and ask for it; if the verse threatened with punishment then he should fear it and seek refuge with Allah from it; if the verse was about the glorification of Allah then he should glorify Allah. By doing so, faith, knowledge, guidance, and piety will increase.
Allah said about the believers:
“And when His verses are recited unto them, they increase their faith.” (Qur’an, 8:2)
Allah also said:
Do they not ponder over the Qur’an or are there locks upon their hearts? (Qur’an, 47:24)
Among the ways of giving life to the heart is to be humble to Allah in secret. Meaning to desire and long for Allah through du’a, seeking forgiveness, turning to Him, asking for help and support, Paradise and shelter from Hellfire at the time when Allah descends to the lowest heaven in the last third of the night, as mentioned in the authentic Hadith:
“Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven when a third of the night remains, saying: Who is supplicating to Me that I may answer him? Who is asking of Me that I may give him? Who is seeking forgiveness from Me that I may forgive him?” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
This Hadith contains encouragement to stand in the last part of the night, praying, making dua, and asking for forgiveness, Paradise, and release from the fire of Hell. Indeed Allah commanded us to make dua and promised to accept Allah, who is far removed from imperfection, does not violate His promises.
Leaving sins is also another way of giving life to the heart, as mentioned in the Hadith:
“When the servant performs a sin a black spot appears on his heart, and if he seeks forgiveness this black spot is removed, and if he returns to sin the black spot grows until his heart becomes black, and this is the ‘Raan’ about which Allah said, ‘Nay! But on their hearts is the covering of sins (raan) which they used to earn.’” (Qur’an, 83:14) (An-Nasa’i and Al-Tirmidhi)
A poet said, “I saw sins killing the hearts, breeding ignominy due to their addiction. And in the desisting from sins lies its life and it is best for your soul that you preserve it.” – Al-Hidaayah.
– By Sheikh Ibrahim Bin Abdullah Al-Hazimi