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Risālah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawaanī – Chapter Six: Tayammum and Its Description

نظم رسالة ابن أبي زيد القيرواني
Risālah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawaanī

The Risālah : A Treatise on Mālikī Fiqh by ʿAbdullah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī (310/922 -386/996)

Translated by Alhaj Bello Mohammad Daura, MA (London) (Including commentary from ath-Thamr ad-Dānī by al-Azharī)

Risālah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawaanī – Chapter 6: Tayammum and Its Description

6.1 When It is Done

[If you cannot find water, then you must do tayyamum, which is recommended. Linguistically tayammum means aiming for something. The Almighty says, “Do not have recourse to bad things,” (2:267) i.e. aim for them. In the Sharī’ah it is a legal act of worship by which the prayer becomes allowed. This means that the Sharī’ah has judged it. This exists in wudū and ghusl. By it the prayer is permitted when wudū‘ and ghusl are excluded because tayammum is only to make lawful. Wudū‘ and ghusl are done in order to remove impurity. It is obligatory by the Book, Sunna and consensus. The Almighty says, “If you cannot find any water, then do tayammum with pure earth,” (4:43) and in Muslim the Prophet said, “We were preferred over people by three things: our rows were made like the rows of the angels, the entire earth was made a mosque for us and its earth is purification if we do not find water.” The consensus is that tayammum is obligatory when water is lacking or the ability to use it lacking it. There are preconditions for the obligation: Islam, adulthood, sanity, absence of the blood of menstruation or lochia, the arrival of the time, lack of water or lack of ability to use it, and that there is no barrier over the limbs and nothing which precludes it.]

6.1a. On a Journey

If you are on a journey and you cannot find water, you have to dotayammum, provided that you do not expect to find any water before the time for the prayer has finished.

[The situation is that either that there is no water to be found at all or a judgement that he will not find enough water for wudū‘ or ghusl in a journey (or while resident), whether short or not, whether the traveller is healthy or not, and whether the journey is permissible or not, because the allowance for doing it on a journey or while resident does not have the precondition that the journey be for something permissible. If the allowance is only in the journey, like breaking the fast in Ramadan, then the journey must be permissible and it must be a distance of at least four postal stages, like that for shortening the prayer. Thus the mere absence of water is only a reason for the obligation of tayammum when he despairs of finding water or he thinks it probable that there is no water. It is not the case if he is unsure or hopes for water or is certain of finding water within the time. What is meant by the obligation is the widest period of obligation. The one who has despaired is someone who has searched for it in a manner which is not arduous for someone like him. He is only obliged to seek if he hopes to find it or suspects its presence. If he is certain that he does not exist, then he does not look for it in the time. By ‘time’, the preferred time is meant.]

6.1b. Lack of Ability

You also have to do tayammum even when there is water, whether on ajourney or staying in one place, if you are unable to touch water on accountof illness or are disabled by illness to such an extent that although youcould use it, you are unable to get to it and cannot find anyone else tobring it to you.

[This is when there is water and you are unable to use it, on a journey or at home, because of illness which prevents using it since you fear that using it will cause death, loss of use of a faculty or limb, increased illness, delayed recovery, or will actually cause a illness. If he does not fear any of that, but is only pained by it, he must continue to do wudū‘ or ghusl. So tayammum is obliged for someone who is healthy when water exists because he cannot use it because illness would occur, or for a sick person who is able to use it, but does not find anyone to bring it to him, even for a payment equal to the price which the seller would oblige or it or he does not find a vessel or he only finds a forbidden vessel or cannot pay for using it.]

6.1c. Danger

The same applies to someone traveling who is near water but prevented from reaching it because of the fear of thieves or wild animals.

[This is also true about the traveller who is near water but cannot reach it out of fear of thieves as he must preserve his property and the property of others. The property must be more than what he would have to pay to buy water. It must be ascertained that they exist or he thinks that it is probable that they exist. Uncertainty is not taken into consideration. The same applies if he fears for himself from wild animals when he is certain about that or thinks that it is probable.]

6.1d. Certainty About Reaching Water

If a traveller feels certain that he will get to water within the time of the prayer, he avoids doing tayammum until the end of the time.

[Whether he is in a journey where he shortens the prayer or not and he is certain that he will find enough water for wudū‘ or ghusl, it is recommended that that he delay tayammum. The upshot of the fiqh in the matter is that one of the preconditions of the obligation of tayammum is the arrival of the time. The judgement in it varies according to the state of the person doing tayammum because either he is certain that water will exist in the time or he will reach it or he despairs of finding it or reaching it, or he is unsure about finding it or reaching it in time or hopes to find it or reach it in time. The author clarifies these circumstances and indicates it when he says, “If a traveller feels certain.” In fact, it is not particular to the traveller, but applies to all who are permitted to do tayammum due to the absence of water. When he is certain that water exists or that he will reach it within the time or thinks that it is probable that it exists or that he will reach it in time, then it is recommended to delay tayammum to the end of the time.]

6.1e. Certainty About not Reaching Water

If he feels certain he will not get to water he should do tayammum at the beginning of the time.

[This is about the absence of water or the failure to reach it in time after seeking for it. If there is what obliges seeking, then it is recommended that he do tayammum at the beginning of the time to obtain the excellence of the time because the excellence of water is despaired of. That is how it is judged by the one who thinks it probable that it will not exist within the time or will not be found in it.]

6.1f. Uncertainty About Reaching Water

If he does not know whether he will get to water or not, he should do tayammum in the middle of the time. This also applies to someone who is afraid that he will not be able to get to water but nevertheless hopes that he will.

[If he is unsure about finding it, it is recommended to do it in the middle of the time. It is affirmed by Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq that what is meant is uncertainty about reaching it. He said that there is no difference between it and what before it according to the Mālikī School. Although it is sound from the aspect of the judgement, the author’s words imply a difference when based on what is meant by the one who hopes. He said that the words of the author contain something different from the position of the School. That is because his literal words say that the one who hopes does not delay, but does tayammum in the middle of the time. It is not as he said. His judgement is that of the one who is certain and the one who is certain delays to the end of the time. Ibn Harūn said, “I do not know of anyone who transmitted that the one who hopes does tayammum in the middle of the time except Ibn Abī Zayd. Ibn Nājī said that it is possible that it refutes his words. According to the words of Ibn Nājī by “fears” the author means “suspects“.]

6.2 Finding Water after doing Tayammum

If, under any of these circumstances, you do tayammum and do the prayer and then come across water within the time of the prayer the following judgements apply.

[These seven who can do taymmum are: the sick person who cannot touch water, the sick person who cannot find anyone to bring him water, the traveller who is near water but is prevented from reaching it by fear of thieves or animals, the traveller who is certain that water will exist within the time, the one who despairs of finding it within the time, the one who has no knowledge, and the fearful one who hopes to find it. This is what happens if such a person (except for the sick person who cannot use water then find water or the sick person who can, but does not find anyone to bring him the water) finds water. Finding water means having the ability to use it, its existence, or the existence of a vessel to bring it.]

6.2.a A Sick Person

A sick person who could not find anybody to bring water to him should do the prayer again.

[It is recommended that he does the prayer again within the time. The rule for the sick person who does not find anyone to bring him water or any vessel with which to bring the water is to delay tayammum to the middle of the time. If he does the necessary tayammum in the middle of the time and prays and then before the end of the time of the prayer then that which stops him from using the water is removed, as when he finds what will enable him to obtain it, then it is recommended for him to repeat the prayer within the time if he is restricted in that people do not come in to him often. If people come in to him often, then he has no restriction, then he does not have to repeat it.]

6.2b. A Fearful Person

This also applies to someone who was afraid of wild animals or other dangers of that sort, and to a traveller who was afraid he would not get to water but hoped that he would. If you have done tayammum for any other reason, you should not repeat the prayer.

[The one who fears for himself from wild animals or for his property from thieves is like the sick person who does not find anyone to bring him water in the time. It is recommended that he repeat the prayer when he gets water within the time. The result is that when the person who is afraid of animals does tayammum in the middle if the time, it is recommended that he repeat it in the time with four provisos. That is that he is certain that water exists or that he will find it were it not for his fear. His fear must be definite or likely and he ascertains the absence of what he fears and the existence of water itself. If he is not certain that it exists or that he will reach it, or what he fears is clear, or none of it is certain and someone else finds it, he does not repeat if. If his fear is a simple doubt, then he always repeats it. ]

6.2c. A Traveller

and to a traveller who was afraid he would not get to water but hoped that he would.

[When he finds water within the time, it is recommended that he repeat the prayer he has prayed in the time allotted for it, which is the middle. Part of the subject is that it is better if it is advanced. What is meant by ‘fear’ in the words of the author is uncertainty about reaching it. It is recommended for the one who prayed in the time allotted to it to repeat it within the time. That is even more the case if he has advanced it. As for the one who is unsure about whether it exists, if he does it before the middle of the time allotted for it, then he repeats it. If he prayed in the middle of the time allotted for it, he does not have to repeat it. The difference between them is that the one who is unsure about reaching it, has a sort of falling short and so he is asked to repeat it. As for the one who is unsure about whether it exists, he relies on the basis, which is its non-existence.]

6.2d. Other Reasons

If you have done tayammum for any other reason than these three, you should not repeat the prayer.

[It appears from his words that the one who despairs does not repeat the prayer when he finds water absolutely. It is not like that, and it must be explained. If he finds the water which he despaired of, he repeats it. If he finds other water, he does not repeat it. It also seems from his words that someone who finds water in his bag or saddle or forgets it is there and then remembers it, does not have to repeat it. The one who acts deliberately in the three cases has to repeat it, which differs from the literal words of the author.]

6.3 Frequency

6.3a. Number of Fard Prayers with One Tayammum

You should not pray two fard prayers with one tayammum except if you are ill and cannot touch water because of some harm to your body which will last at least until the time of the next prayer.

[None of those seven categories should pray two obligatory or sunna prayers at home or on a journey. whether they share in the time or not, with the same tayyamum except for the person with a constant illness which will continue to the time of the second prayer. It may happen that he does not do the first prayer in its time, either intentionally or by forgetfulness or ignorance. In that case he can pray them both together with one tayammum. This is a general judgement for prayers at home and on a journey.]

6.3b. For Each Prayer

Although there are some who say that even in this situation you should do tayammum again for each prayer.

[For each obligatory prayer, whether he is healthy or ill, travelling or at home.]

6.3c. A Number of Missed Prayers

It has been related from Mālik that someone who remembers not having done a number of prayers can do them with one tayammum.

[This is a number of fard prayers which he missed by forgetfulness or by sleeping through them or deliberately not praying them and then repenting and wanting to make them up: he can pray them with one tayammum, whether healthy or ill, travelling or at home. The first statement is by Ibn Sha’ban and the second is by Ibn al-Qasim and is the famous one. This is why it was rejected by the shaykh when he was ill at midday when someone else suggested it to him. According to the well-known position, if he disagrees and prays two prayers with one tayammum, whether they are shared or not, he does not ever have to make up the second. According to his words at the beginning of the chapter about the time, one does tayammum for the obligatory prayer absolutely, even for Jumu’ah. That is not the case, since the healthy person who is resident does not do tayammum for Jumu’ah since it is a substitute for Dhuhr. He prays Dhuhr with tayammum, even at the beginning of the time. If he prays Jumu’ah with tayammum, that is not acceptable. The sick person and the traveller can do tayammum for it. It That is also the case with the funeral prayer. The healthy resident does not do tayammum for it unless it becomes a specific obligation for him since no one else is found who can pray it nor is it possible to delay it until he can obtain water.]

6.3d. Voluntary Prayers

[As for the sunnahs and the voluntary prayers, the traveller but not the heathy resident person does tayammum for them, i.e the one who is obliged to do tayammum because of lack of water. The judgement of the healthy resident for whom tayammum is obliged out of fear of illness is like that of the sick person and he does tayammum for Jumu’ah and the funeral, even if it is not a specific obligation, and for the sunnah and voluntary prayers. If he intends an obligatory prayer by his tayammum, he is permitted to pray the voluntary prayer with it afterwards with the precondition that it is connected to the obligation, even if he did not intend the voluntary prayer after the obligatory. It is limited to prayers which are after the obligatory, although if he prays a voluntary prayer before it, it is valid by his statement, ‘provided that it is connected to the obligatory.’ If there is a long separation or he leaves the mosque, he must repeat his taymmum if he wants to pray the voluntary prayers. A short separation is overlooked. That is defined as about the length it takes to recite Ayat al-Kursi. It is also a precondition that he does not do more than the voluntary. What is “more” is defined by custom.

6.3e. What Can Be Used for Tayammum

Tayammum is done using pure surface earth, that is any substance on the earth’s surface such as soil, sand, stones, or salt deposits.

[“Pure” is how the people of firm knowledge and those who know fiqh explain “tayyib” where Allah says,”do tayammum with clean earth,” Tayyib means pure earth in Arabic and that is what Mālik said. Mālik said that sa’id means what is on the surface of the earth in accordance with Arab usage. Others believe that the sa’id in the ayat designates pure earth found on the surface of the earth or brought out from inside of it. This includes salt desposits, and secretions. Tayammum is not done deliberately on wood, plants and grass and groups. The literal meaning of his words is that tayammum can be done on stones, even hard ones, if there is no soil as long as it has not been baked. It is not permitted to do tayammum on lime nor baked bricks, which are red bricks. Tayammum can bedo ne on soil, whether it has been moved or not, although it is better when it is not moved by agreement. The first is based on the well-known position. One does not do tayammum on other things than earth. Things like salt, alum, sulphur, copper and iron are not used for tayammum except in their original place or moved from one place to another. But it is cannot be in a form which is firm in people’s hands, like medicines. As for what can be held in people’s hands like medicines, it is not valid to use them for tayammum.]

6.4 How to do it

6.4a. Beginning Tayammum

To do tayammum you hit both hands on the ground – if anything clings to them it should be lightly shaken off –

[This clariifies how tayammum is done. He strikes both hands on the ground. If he is missing a hand, he does tayammun with the other. If he is unable to do it, someone does it for him. If he cannot delgate someone, he rubs his face in the dust. What is meant by ‘striking‘ is not actual striking. What is meant is to place his hands on the surface used for tayammum, soil or whatever. This ‘striking’ is an obligation. It is not a precondition that anything clings to his hands. If something clings to them, he shakes them lightly so that some people consider this shaking as one of the meritorious parts of tayammum so that it does not harm his face.]

6.4b. The Intention

[Before beginning, the one doing tayammum must intend earth and nothing else with which tayammum is not valid. He must intend to make the prayer lawful or intend the obligation of tayammum in the first striking. If he is in minor impurity, he intends to make the prayer permissible from the lesser impurity. If he is in greater impurity, he intends to make the prayer lawful from the greater impurity. If he does not call the major impurity to mind and thus omits the intention regarding the greater impurity intentionally or by forgetfulness, and prays with that tayammum, then he must always repeat the prayer. If he intends the greater impurity, believing that he has it and then the opposite is clear, then it allows the lesser. When he intends the obligations of tayammum, it is enough for him, even if the intention of the greater does not occur to him, If he intends to remove the impurity, it is enough enough for him in the well-known position. Tayammum does not remove lesser impurity. It only makes the prayer permissible.]

6.4c. Wiping the Face

then using both of them you wipe over your whole face.

[After shaking his hands, then he wipes his face and does not omit any of it. He does not miss the cartilage of the upper ear and other things. If he leaves any of the wiping of all of the face, even a little, then it is not allowed. He begins from the top, as in wudu’ and runs his hands over the length of it to his beard. He passes over the lines of the face, because the basis of wiping is doing it lightly.]

6.4d. Striking the Ground a Second Time

Then you hit both hands on the ground again

[The second blow is for wiping the hands by way of sunnah. It is not said how the obligation is done in a sunnah manner because we say after the obligation that the second comes after the first so if he fails to strike the earth the second time and then wipes his face and hands with the first, it is adequate.]

6.4e. Wiping the Hands

and then wipe your right hand and arm with your left hand. To do this you put the fingers of your left hand on the tips of the fingers of your right. Then you slide your fingers down the back of your right hand and arm, as far as the elbow, folding your fingers round it as you do so. thoroughly.

[The recommended manner of wiping is to first wipe the right with the left, putting the fingers on the right on the left except for the thumbs. The palm is passed over the top of the hand and arm to the elbow. It appears from the words of the author that the elbow is not wiped because it is the end. It is said that he meant including the elbows as is done with wudu’ since tayammum replaces it. Wiping to the elbows is sunna, and to the wrists is obligatory according to what is in al-Mukhtasar. Al-Bisami adds to it by saying that the well-known position of the school is that wiping is to the elbows is obligatory. The dispute is when it is confined to the wrists and he prays. The well-known position is that he repeats the prayer if still within the time. An opposite position is that he must always repeat it. This consequence is rejected. Al-Muqaddamat (Ibn Rushd) prefers that which is followed in al-Mukhtasar, and Qadi ‘Iyad summarised it in his Qawa’id, and it is preferred.

The well-position of the school is that the fingers go between each other, and that is by the flat sides of the fingers, not the sides because they have not touched earth. The well-known position is also that a ring is removed and moving it from its place can be done instead of actually removing it. The difference between tayammum and wudu’ is said to lie in the fact that the ring is removed in tayammum but not in wudu’ because of the force of the water flowing in wudu’ which is not the case with earth.

6.4f. Wiping the Inside of the Right Hand

Then you put your palm on the inside of your arm and, gripping your arm, slide your hand from your elbow just back as far as your wrist

[After wiping the outside of the right hand, using the palm, because the fingers because the fingers were already use on the outside of the hand except for the thumb.]

6.4g. The Thumb and then run the inside of the left thumb over the outside of your right thumb.

[This is because it was not wiped before. What he mentioned about wiping the thumbs was also mentioned by Ibn at-Talla’ who is Muhammad ibn Farāh, the shaykh of the fuqahā‘ in his time. The literal of the transmission, which is relied upon, it wiping the outside of the right thumb with the outside of the fingers. Al-Fakhānī said, “I do not know of anyone of the people of language who transmit that the thumb is the largest “finger“].

6.4h. The Left Hand

You then wipe over the left hand and arm in the same way and after reaching the wrist you wipe your right palm with the left down to the tips of the fingers.

[After finishing the right, then do the left to the wrist. The tips of the fingers designates the inside of the palm and fingers. Observe how he is silent about the left palm unless he says that each of them wipes and is wiped. This is the description which the shaykh mentioned and it was also mentioned by Shaykh Khālid. He begins with the outside of the right hand with the left and moves to the left before completing the right. This was transmitted by Ibn Habīb from Mālik. Ibn al-Qāsim said, “He only moves to the left after finishing the right.” Al-Lakhmī and ʿAbdul-Ḥaqq preferred that. The position of Ibn al-Qāsim is preferred. The basis of the preference is that moving to the second before completing the first misses out the excellence of proper order between right and left. Some of the shaykhs recommend the transmission of Ibn Habīb so that he does not wipe the dust onthe palm, but the one with the reliable position says that the remaining of the dust is not sought aso that its judgement should be observed.]

6.4i. Other Methods of Wiping

If you wipe the right with the left or the left with the right in some other way that you find easy, that is acceptable as long as it is done fully.

[If you differ from the recommended manner, your tayammum is still allowed. It only differs from the best manner. One can deduce from his words, “done fully” that if he does not wipe his forearms, it is not allowed because the arms are mentioned in wiping. The well-known position is that if he confines hismelf to the wrists and then prays, then he repeats it within the time.]

6.5 Judgements About Someone in a Major State of Impurity

6.5a. Tayammum for janābah or end of menstruation

If someone is in a state of janābah, or has been menstruating, and cannot find any water to do ghusl with, they should do tayammum and do the prayer and then when they find water they should do ghusl.

[Even if someone like this finds enough water for wudu’, they still do tayammum following the previous information regarding the possibility of finding water which is not repeated here. Tayammum is obliged when there is no water. He mentions it here to refute those who say that someone in a state of janābah and or a woman who has been menstruating do not do tayammum.]

6.5b. Not Repeating Prayers Done with Tayammum They do not have to repeat any prayers they have done.

[Because their prayer occurs in manner which is commanded. The literal import of his words is that that is the case in the time or after it. It is explained that it is repeated within the time in the instances which were already mentioned. Its literal meaning is that is the case or not whether there is impurity on their bodies. It is the text of the Mudawwana and it restricted by there not being any impurity on the body. If there is impurity in his body and he prays with it by forgetfulness and they remember after they have finished, then they repeat it within the time. The statement of the author about not repeating it is informing about when water is found after they have prayed with tayammum. If there is water before the prayer, and there is enough time for ghusl and the prayer, even a rakʿah, within the time, then tayyamum is invalid. If they find it after the time has begun and before it finished, even if the time is ample, or the time has begun, but there is not enough time for a ghusl and still catching a rakʿah, they pray with tayammum.]

6.6 Further Judgements about Tayammum

6.6a. Taymmum Does not Make Intercourse Permissible A man cannot have sexual intercourse with his wife if she has just finished menstruating or the bleeding after childbirth if she has only purified herself by tayammum until there is enough water for her to do ghusl first and both of them to do ghusl afterwards.

[This is whether she is a Muslim or a kitābī or a concubine. According to the well known position, it is forbidden for him to have intercourse with her. This does not only imply to actual intercourse, but enjoying her between the navel and knee, even through a barrier, is unlawful. Finding water can either be his responsibility or the responsibility of both.]

6.6b. Water for Ghusl after Intercourse

[There must be enough water for ghusl on account of bleeding and then for ghusl on account of janābah. This explains the words at the end of the book about not approaching a woman bleeding from menstruation or lochia because the literal meaning is would be that when the bleeding stops, he is permitted to have intercourse, and so here he explains that even if menstruation has stopped, intercourse is not permitted, even with tayammum. Intercourse is forbidden in the well-known position beause tayammum does not remove impurity. It only makes the prayer permitted. The words of author show that tayammum is called ‘purification,’ and that is indeed the case since the Prophet said, “Its earth is pure.” It is also called wudu’ by since the Prophet said, “Tayammum is the wudu’ of the Muslim.]

6.6c. Avoiding Janābah if There is No Water

[It is also deduced from this that he if he does not find water, he should not voluntarily bring about a state of janābah in himself. That is the position of Mālik in al-Mudawwana, i.e. that it is disliked. if he does tayammum for the lesser impurity, he should not bring about janaba in himself so that he has to do tayammum for the greater impurity. This does not negate what was already stated about the unlawfulness in the statement of the author about having intercourse, because the unlawfulness comes from his going to have intercourse with her when she has purified herself from menstruation by tayammum. This is is when he does not fear any harm to his body or fear fornication. If he is physically harmed by the length of time or fears fornication, then he has intercourse and does tayammum. Other matters relating to tayammum will be mentioned in the general chapter on the prayer.

Published in: on January 3, 2021 at 22:16  Leave a Comment  

Learn the Languages Spoken by African Muslims

Madani Timbukti Shared Library presents:

Learn the Languages Spoken by African Muslims: A Language Resource for learning one or more of the languages of the African Muslims

African Muslims speak a number of major languages spoken on the African continent. Theses languages are spoken by millions of people over vast stretch territory that reach from the Atlantic ocean to the Red Sea. Some these languages have become the lingua franca in social transaction, trade and in places even education among both Muslims and non-Muslims, These languages are the oral representation of the tribes that use them. They convey the magnificence of the tribes history and culture.

Allah has said in His Noble Book: O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Chapter (49) Sūratu-l-Ḥujurāt (The Dwelling Places)

What better way to get to know your brother from another tribe than to learn his language and he learns yours. It’s a form of honoring and respect for each other, especially when learning another language is not an easy task. When you invest the time to learn your brothers language, you honored him, and he feels honored. and when he invests the time to learn your language, he honors you, and you feel honored. What was distant becomes close. What was not understood becomes understood without intermediaries. No more walls or barriers will exist between you, and you will be able to transact directly without interpreters.

Madani Timbukti Shared Library presents Spoken Languages of the African Muslims: An African language learning resource found both on our facebook page and YouTube Channel for courses, textbooks, reference materials and other learning tools needed to learn the languages spoken by Muslim Africans.

Among the main languages spoken by African Muslims are:

  • Al-Arabiyyatu-l-Fuṣ-ḥah (Classical Arabic) – the language of African Muslims of every tribe and ethnic group who are practicing Muslims
  • Fulfulde (pronounced: full – full – day) – the language of the Fulani, Fula People
  • Hausa (pronounced: how-sa) – the language of the Hausa People
  • Mandinka – the language of the Mandinka people
  • Swahili – the language of the Swahili People – spoken by Muslims and non-Muslims
  • Wolof (pronounced woo-luf) – the language of the Wolof People
  • Yoruba (pronounced: you-ra-ba) – the language of the Yoruba People – spoken by Muslims and non-Muslims

Other languages spoken by African Muslims include:

  • Serahule
  • Chadian Arabic
  • Berber
  • Somali
  • Hassaniyya Arabic Spoken in Mauritania
  • Soninke
  • Pulaar Gambia an African Language related to Fulfulde
  • Pulaar (Mauritania) an African Language related to Fulfulde
  • Oromo (Oromoo) – the language of the Oromo People – spoken by Muslims and non-Muslims

A Discussion About the Major Languages and the People Who Speak Them

Al-Arabiyyatu-l-Fuṣ-ḥah (Classical Arabic)

Classical Arabic (Arabic: اَلعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلْفُصْحَىٰ‎, al-ʿArabiyyatu-l-Fuṣ-ḥaa) or Quranic Arabic is the standardized literary form of the Arabic language used from the 7th century and throughout the Middle Ages.

Classic Arabic which is also known as Qur’anic Arabic is what is found in the Muslim Holy Book and what was spoken in the pre-Islamic era. It is highly intricate, nuanced, imaginative and sophisticated. Those who speak it) pride themselves heavily on its usage. The grammar is very involved and complex and the vocabulary is quite layered and highly contextualize. Some will say that its beauty if unmatched by any language on earth. even today you find many Arabic speakers who are still captivated and awe struck by the beauty of the words written in the Qur’an.

As Islam spread through Africa, Arabic became the lingua franca first and foremost for the purposes of worship and Islamic scholarship and then as the medium communication for trade and commerce

It is impossible for any community in Islam to be truly Muslims without the minimum ability to use Arabic for it’s ʿibaadah (worship of Allah) and for learning ʿuluumu-d-diin (the knowledge that clarifies the correct practices of their worship and way of life).  

By the 2nd century AH, the language had become standardized by Arabic grammarians, and Classical Arabic had become the common language of worship, scholarship, and  trade throughout the Islamic world. Arabic  was the bridge language across the Middle East, North Africa East, West Africa,  wherein if Arabic was not use as a primary language in these regions, it surely had become a second language.

As mentioned above, historically speaking, Arabic was used as one of the main mediums of communication for trade and commerce among African Muslims. As result, many African Muslims from coast to coast became masters of Al-Arabiyyatu-l-Fuṣ-ḥaa (Classical Arabic) and this still continues even up until today.

About Fulfulde (pronounced: full – full – day) – the language of the Fulani, Fula People

Fulfulde, Pulaar, Pular, Peul (French spelling), is a Sene-Gambian language spoken in various dialects across some 20 countries in West and Central Africa by more than 65 million people.It is spoken as a first language by the Fula people (“Fulani”, Fula: Fulɓe) from the Senegambia region and Guinea to Cameroon, Nigeria, and Sudan and by related groups such as the Tukolor people in the Senegal River Valley. It is also spoken as a second language by various peoples in the region, such as the Kirdi of northern Cameroon and northeastern Nigeria.

As mentioned above,  Fulfulde is known by several other names as is the Fula people who are the speakers of it. The Fulas themselves call their language Pulaar or Pular in the western regions of Africa  Fulfulde in the central and eastern dialects. Fula, Fulah and Fulani in English come originally from Manding (esp. Mandinka, but also Malinke and Bamana) and Hausa, respectively; Peul in French, also occasionally found in literature in English, comes from Wolof.

Fulfulde is an official language in Senegal (It is called Pulaar there). Fulfulde is an official lingua franca in Guinea, Senegambia, Maasina (Inner Niger Delta), North Eastern Nig eria and Northern Cameroon, precisely in Adamawa regions of the two countries where many speakers are bilingual. (It called Fulfulde in these regions). Fulfulde is found among the local languages in many other African countries also, such as Mauritania, Mali, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana, Benin and Niger.

About the Fula People

Who Are the Fulani People and What is Their Origins?

Fula or Fulani or Fulɓe are an ethnic group of people spread over many countries, predominantly in West Africa, but found also in Central Africa and The Sudan of east Africa. The countries in Africa where they are present include Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, The Gambia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Niger, Togo, the Central African Republic, Ghana, Liberia, and as far as Sudan in the east. Fulas are not a majority in every country they live, but in Guinea they are largest single group among its multi-ethnic population .

There are also many names and spellings of the names used in other languages to refer to the Fulɓe. Fulani in English is borrowed from the Hausa term. Fula, from Manding languages is also used in English, and sometimes spelled Fulah or Foulah. Fula and Fulani are commonly used in English, including within Africa. The French borrowed the Wolof term Pël, which is variously spelled: Peul, Peulh, and even Peuhl. More recently the Fulfulde / Pulaar term Fulɓe, which is a plural noun (singular, Pullo) has been adapted to English as Fulbe, which some people use. In Portuguese it’s Fula or Futafula.


A closely related group is the Tukolor (French Toucouleur) in the central Senegal River valley. These people are often referred to together with Fulɓe of the region as Haalpulaar’en (Pulaar-speakers). Fula society in some parts of West Africa features the “caste” divisions typical of the region. In Mali, for instance, those who are not ethnically Fula have been referred to as yimɓe pulaaku (people of the Fula culture). The Woɗaaɓe, also known as the Bororo, are a sub-group of the Fula people.


The Fulani are traditionally a nomadic, pastoralist, trading people, herding cattle, goats and sheep across the vast dry hinterlands of their domain, keeping somewhat separate from the local agricultural populations.


The Fulani People are believed to have descended from the nomads of both North Africa and sub-Sahara Africa. It is believed that they came from the Middle-East and North Africa and settled into Central and West Africa. In the Senegal region, they established the Tukruur Empire which was contemporary to the Ghana Empire. Then, they spread all across the countries in West-Africa, as nomads leading their nomadic life style. They created here and there sometimes where they were the dominant group. But more often, they were absorbed by the indigenous population whom they had dominated.

While some have speculated over the origin of Fulani people, current linguistic and genetic evidence suggests an indigenous West African origin among the Peul. The vast majority of genetic lineages associated with them reflect those most commonly seen in other West Africans. Their language is also of West African origin, most closely related to that of the Wolof and Serer ethnic groups. Historical and archaeological records indicate that Peul-speakers have resided in western Africa since at least the 5th century A.D. as well. Interestingly, rock paintings in the Tassili-n-Ajjer suggests the presence of proto-Fulani cultural traits in the region by at least the fourth millennium B.C. Scholars specializing in Fulani culture believe that some of the imagery depicts rituals that are still practiced by contemporary Fulani people.

The Fulani were among the first group of people in West Africa to convert to Islam. They became the missionaries of Islam.

The Fulani are primarily nomadic herders and traders. Through their nomadic lifestyle they established numerous trade routes in West Africa. Many times the Fulani go to local markets and interact with the people, getting news and spreading it through much of West Africa.


The history of the Fulani seems to begin with the Berber people of North Africa around the 8th or 11th century AD. As the Berbers migrated down from North Africa and mixed with the peoples in the Senegal region of West Africa the Fulani people came into existence. Over a thousand year period from AD 900 – 1900, they spread out over most of West Africa and even into some areas of Central Africa. Some groups of Fulani have been found as far as the western borders of Ethiopia. As they migrated eastward they came into contact with different African tribes. As they encountered these other peoples, they conquered the less powerful tribes.

Takrur, Tekrur, or Tekrour (c. 800 – c. 1285) was an ancient state of West Africa, which flourished roughly parallel to the Ghana Empire. Takrur was the name of the capital of the state which flourished on the lower Senegal River. Takruri was a term, like Bilad-ul-Sudan, that was used to refer to all people of West African ancestry.


Distribution of Fulani in West Africa

Beginning as early as the 17th and 18th centuries, but mainly in the 19th century, Fulas and others took control of various states in West Africa. These included the Fulani Empire founded by Usman dan Fodio (which itself included smaller states), Fouta Djallon, Massina and others. M. Delafosse suggested that with the expansion of the Fulani from Futa to Darfur, all this region became known to the Arabs as Takrur.


The language of Fulas is called Pulaar or Fulfulde depending on the region, or variants thereof. It is also the language of the Tukulor. All Senegalese who speak the language natively are known as the Halpulaar or Haalpulaar’en, which stands for “speakers of Pulaar” (“hal” is the root of the Pulaar verb haalugol, meaning “to speak”). In some areas, e.g. in northern Cameroon, Fulfulde is a local lingua franca.

With the exception of Guinea, Fulas are minorities in every country they live in (most countries of West Africa). So some also speak other languages, for example:

Portuguese and Creole in Guinea-Bissau, French and Arabic in Mauritania, Hausa and French in Niger, French and English in Cameroon, Wolof and French in Senegal, Sango and French in Central African Republic, Bambara and French in Mali, English, Hausa and Ghanaian languages in Ghana, English and some indigenous languages in Sierra Leone, particularly Creole, that lingua franca, Hausa and English in Nigeria.

Fula are primarily known to be pastoralists, but are also traders in some areas. Most Fula in the countryside spend long times alone on foot, moving their herds; they were the only major migrating people of West Africa, though most Fula now live in towns or villages.

Over 99% of Fulani are Muslims. It is said that to be a Fulani is to be a Muslim. There are a small group of Fulani called the Mbororo, or Wodaabe, found in Niger and Cameroon, who resisted Islam, and have kept much of their pre-Islamic way of life and beliefs. And in different places, small groups of Fulani have also become Christians. However, the vast majority of Fula are are Muslims.

By the 1840s the effects of Islamization and the Fulani expansion were felt across much of the interior of West Africa. New political units were created, a reformist Islam that sought to eliminate pagan practices was spread, and social and cultural changes took place in the wake of these changes. Literacy, for example, became more widely dispersed and new centers of trade, such as Kano, emerged in this period. Later jihads established other new states along similar lines. All of these changes had long-term effects on the region of the western Sudan.


For the fully nomadic Fulani, the practice of transhumance, the seasonal movement in search of water, strongly influences settlement patterns. The basic settlement, consisting of a man and his dependents, is called a wuru. It is social but ephemeral, given that many such settlements have no women and serve simply as shelters for the nomads who tend the herds.

There are, in fact, a number of settlement patterns among Fulani. In the late twentieth century there has been an increasing trend toward livestock production and sedentary settlement, but Fulani settlement types still range from traditional nomadism to variations on sedentarism. As the modern nation-state restricts the range of nomadism, the Fulani have adapted ever increasingly complex ways to move herds among their related families: the families may reside in stable communities, but the herds move according to the availability of water. Over the last few centuries, the majority of Fulani have become sedentary.

Those Fulani who remain nomadic or seminomadic have two major types of settlements: dry-season and wet-season camps. The dry season lasts from about November to March, the wet season from about March to the end of October. Households are patrilocal and range in size from one nuclear family to more than one hundred people. The administrative structure, however, crosscuts patrilinies and is territorial. Families tend to remain in wet-season camp while sending younger males—or, increasingly, hiring non-Fulani herders—to accompany the cattle to dry-season camps.

Town Fulani live in much the same manner as the urban people among whom they live, maintaining their Fulani identity because of the prestige and other advantages to which it entitles its members. In towns, Fulani pursue the various occupations available to them: ruler, adviser to the ruler, religious specialist, landlord, business, trade, and so forth.


Subsistence and Commercial Activities:  The Fulani form the largest pastoral nomadic group in the world. The Bororo’en are noted for the size of their cattle herds. In addition to fully nomadic groups, however, there are also semisedentary Fulani—Fulbe Laddi—who also farm, although they argue that they do so out of necessity, not choice. A small group, the Fulbe Mbalu or Sheep Fulani, rely on sheep for their livelihood.

The Toroobe are outstanding clerics in the Sunni branch of Islam. They have generally intermarried with Hausa and no longer speak Fulfulde. They are found practicing other urban trades: teaching, serving in government positions, engaging in legal activities, renting property, financing trade, and so forth.

Many of the other Town Fulani were actually slaves of the Fulani who now identify with the group because of their high prestige. These urban dwellers engage in all the trades one finds in Hausa towns from crafts to long-range trade throughout Africa and the world.

Industrial Arts:  The Fulani are not particularly noted for industrial arts, except for those associated with cattle. They do engage in leatherworking and some craft production. Many of their former slaves who have assumed Fulani ethnicity follow the basic crafts of other West Africans: silver- and gold-smithing, ironworking, basket making, and similar crafts.

Trade:  The Fulani are engaged in long-distance trade, generally involving cattle, with their Hausa colleagues. Often the Hausa are also butchers who control West African cattle markets by controlling access to Fulani cattle.

Division of Labor:  Herding cattle is a male activity. Tending and milking cattle, however, are women’s work. Women may also sell dairy products; their graceful movement with containers of milk or cheese is a common sight in West African towns. Adolescent males traditionally have been in charge of moving the herds, whereas their elders deal with the political decisions and negotiate with sedentary people for the safe movement of the herds through farmlands.

Land Tenure:  Land is held by—and inherited through—the patrilineage. As the Fulani have become increasingly sedentary—generally as a result of the pressure of the modern nation state and its centralized control—rights in land have become increasingly important.] Source:  The

The Fulani consist of a few million people speaking dialects of the Fulfulde language, and are spread across several countries of North-West Africa. Traditionally they were nomadic cattle herders, moving around the grasslands of the savannah south of the Sahara. Over the past few hundred years many Fulani have settled down as farmers and intermarried with other peoples of the region. But some Fulani remain as nomads, and the Wodaabe [singular: Bodaado] are one of the largest tribes of these ‘pastoral’ Fulani. The Fulani, including the Wodaabe, are now at least nominally Muslims, though the Wodaabe have retained many of their pagan traditions.

From early times explorers and anthropologists have been intrigued by the appearance of the Fulani, which differs from that of the Negroid peoples around them. According to Stenning: “The Fulani are not basically of Negro stock, although it is clear that through the centuries Fulani populations have interbred in various degrees with the Negro populations among whom they are dispersed…[the pastoral Fulani] retain non-Negroid physical characteristics to the greatest extent, speak the purest Fulfulde, and in general have been the least amenable to conversion to Islam…

These are obviously ‘Caucasian’ characteristics, and the natural explanation is that the Fulani have a partly Caucasian ancestry, either from East Africa (e.g. Ethiopean) or more likely from the North (e.g. Tuareg). The Fulani themselves believe they are related to the Tuaregs and Arabs.

Countries with a large number of Fulanis [Source:, Sagata Group Inc ]

The Principal Traditional Fulanis regions are: Adamawa, Kanem-Bornou, Masina, Futa-Jallon, Futa-Toro and many other regions in West Africa. Fulanis are found in significant numbers include the following republics: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, The Gambia, Guinea Republic, Guinea Bissau, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra-Leone, Sudan (See Table: Fulanis Country Statistics)


In 21 countries (Ethnic Groups and religions); (2008 Data)


Population: 130 million; Fulani: 9%; Growth rate: 2.54%Nigeria, which is Africa’s most populous country, is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups; the following are the most populous and politically influential: Hausa and Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo (Ibo) 18%, Ijaw 10%, Kanuri 4%, Ibibio 3.5%, Tiv 2.5%Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%


Population: 54 million; Fulani: small; Growth rate: 2.64%Oromo 40%, Amhara and Tigre 32%, Sidamo 9%, Shankella 6%, Somali 6%, Afar 4%, Gurage 2%, other 1% Muslim 45%-50%, Ethiopian Orthodox 35%-40%, animist 12%, other 3%-8%


Population: 16.2 million; Fulani: 10%; Growth rate: 2.34%Cameroon Highlanders 31%, Equatorial Bantu 19%, Kirdi 11%, Fulani 10%, Northwestern Bantu 8%, Eastern Nigritic 7%, other African 13%, non-African less than 1%indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%

4- NIGER; 

Population: 10.6 million; Fulani: 9%; Growth rate: 2.7%Hausa 56%, Djerma 22%, Fulani 9%, Tuareg 8%, Beri Beri (Kanouri) 4.3%, Arab, Toubou, and Gourmantche 1.2%, about 1,200 French expatriatesThe Fulani who, together with their herds, are concentrated in the Dosso-Agadez- Maine-Soroa triangle. Some have also settled in the West, around Tera, Say and Niamey. They predominate in certain parts of Maradi, Tessaoua, Mirriah and Magaria Districts. Sometimes they live alongside Tuaregs and Toubous. (ref : Upenn)Muslim 80%, remainder indigenous beliefs and Christian


Population: 7.8 million; Fulani: 40%; Growth rate: 2.3%Fulani 40%, Malinke 30%, Soussou 20%, smaller ethnic groups 10%Muslim 85%, Christian 8%, indigenous beliefs 7%

6- CHAD; 

Population: 9 million; Fulani: small; Growth rate: 3.27%200 distinct groups; in the north and center: Arabs, Gorane (Toubou, Daza, Kreda), Zaghawa, Kanembou, Ouaddai, Baguirmi, Hadjerai, Fulani, Kotoko, Hausa, Boulala, and Maba, most of whom are Muslim; in the south: Sara (Ngambaye, Mbaye, Goulaye), Moundang, Moussei, Massa, most of whom are Christian or animist; about 1,000 French citizens live in ChadMuslim 51%, Christian 35%, animist 7%, other 7%

7- BENIN; 

Population: 6.8 million; Fulani: small; Growth rate: 2.91%African 99% (42 Ethnic groups, most important being Fon, Adja, Yoruba, Bariba), Europeans 5,500Indigenous beliefs 50%, Christian 30%, Muslim 20%

8- TOGO; 

Population: 5.2 million; Fulani: small; Growth rate: 2.48%African (37 Ethnic Groups; largest and most important are Ewe, Mina, and Kabre) 99%, European and Syrian-Lebanese less than 1%-Indigenous beliefs 51%, Christian 29%, Muslim 20%


Population: 3.6 million; Fulani: small; Growth rate: 1.8%Baya 33%, Banda 27%, Mandjia 13%, Sara 10%, Mboum 7%, M’Baka 4%, Yakoma 4%, other 2%- Indigenous beliefs 35%, Protestant 25%, Roman Catholic 25%, Muslim 15%


Population: 12.6 million; Fulani: 8%; Growth rate: 2.64%Mossi over 40%, Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Mande, Fulani.- Burkina Faso also has several hundred thousand Fulani nomads in the northern part with their goats, sheep, and other livestock.- Indigenous beliefs 40%, Muslim 50%, Christian (mainly Roman Catholic) 10%


Population: 16.8 million; Fulani: small; Growth rate: 2.45%Akan 42.1%, Voltaiques or Gur 17.6%, Northern Mandes 16.5%, Krous 11%, Southern Mandes 10%, other 2.8% (includes 130,000 Lebanese and 20,000 French) (1998)- Christian 20-30%, Muslim 35-40%, indigenous 25-40% (2001) note: the majority of foreigners (migratory workers) are Muslim (70%) and Christian (20%)

12- GAMBIA; 

Population: 1.4 million; Fulani: small; Growth rate: 3.09%African 99% (Mandinka 42%, Fulani 18%, Wolof 16%, Jola 10%, Serahuli 9%, other 4%), non-African 1%- Muslim 90%, Christian 9%, indigenous beliefs 1%

13- GHANA; 

Population: 20.2 million; Fulani: small; Growth rate: 1.7%Black African 98.5% (major tribes – Akan 44%, Moshi-Dagomba 16%, Ewe 13%, Ga 8%, Gurma 3%, Yoruba 1%), European and other 1.5% (1998)- indigenous beliefs 21%, Muslim 16%, Christian 63%


Population: 1.3 million; Fulani: 20%; Growth rate: 2.23%African 99% (Balanta 30%, Fulani 20%, Manjaca 14%, Mandinga 13%, Papel 7%), European and mulatto less than 1%- indigenous beliefs 50%, Muslim 45%, Christian 5%

15- MALI; 

Population: 11.3 million; Fulani: 17%; Growth rate: 2.97%Mande 50% (Bambara, Malinke, Soninke), Fulani 17%, Voltaic 12%, Songhai 6%, Tuareg and Moor 10%, other 5%- Muslim 90%, indigenous beliefs 9%, Christian 1%


Population: 2.8 million; Fulani: small; Growth rate: 2.92%Maur 30%, Fulani, Soninke, Wolof, Haratin – Muslim 100%


Population: 10.6million; Fulani: 23.8%; Growth rate: 2.91%Wolof 43.3%, Fulani 23.8%, Serer 14.7%, Jola 3.7%, Mandinka 3%, Soninke 1.1%, European and Lebanese 1%, other 9.4%- Muslim 94%, indigenous beliefs 1%, Christian 5% (mostly Roman Catholic)


Population: 5.6 million; Fulani: small; Growth rate: 3.31%20 native African tribes 90% (Temne 30%, Mende 30%, other 30%), Creole (Krio) 10% (descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area in the late-18th century), refugees from Liberia’s recent civil war, small numbers of Europeans, Lebanese, Pakistanis, and Indians- Muslim 60%, indigenous beliefs 30%, Christian 10%

19- SUDAN; 

Population: 37 million; Fulani: small; Growth rate: 2.73%Black 52%, Arab 39%, Beja 6%, foreigners 2%, other 1%.The Fulani nomads are found in many parts of central Sudan from Darfur to the Blue Nile. In the Eastern Sudan there are large colonies of Fallata the name by which the Fulani are called. They are also called Teckruri and believed to number between 1 and 2 millions.In Darfur groups of Fulani origin adapted in various ways to the presence of the Baqqara People. Sunni Muslim 70% (in north), indigenous beliefs 25%, Christian 5% (mostly in south and Khartoum)


Population: 7.7million; Fulani: small; Growth rate: 3.46%Somali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including Arabs 30,000)-Sunni Muslim


Population: 4.4; Fulani: 1-2 million; Growth rate: 1.28%Ethnic Tigrinya 50%, Tigre and Kunama 40%, Afar 4%, Saho (Red Sea coast dwellers) 3%, other 3%. The Tekruris have been part of the Eritrean society.

Click the following link for a playlist to study and learn the Fula people. Click the link in the right hand corner of the embedded picture below to open the playlist. Click the picture in the small picture in the left hand corner to go our YouTube channel to learn other languages spoken by African Muslims:

The accompanying textbook for the Fula Basic Course can be downloaded at the following link:

About Mandinka the Language of the Mandinka People

The Mandinka language (Mandi’nka kango) or Mandingo, is a Mande language spoken by the Mandinka people of Guinea, northern Guinea-Bissau, the Casamance region of Senegal, and in The Gambia where it is one of the principal languages.

Mandinka belongs to the Manding branch of Mande and is thus similar to Bambara and Maninka/Malinké but with only 5 instead of 7 vowels. In a majority of areas, it is a tonal language with two tones: low and high, although the particular variety spoken in the Gambia and Senegal borders on a pitch accent due to its proximity with non-tonal neighboring languages like Wolof.

Mandinka (or Mandingo), is part of a group of languages of West Africa known collectively as Manding. it is the main language of Gambia. It is spoken by roughly 1.2 million people in total; also in Senegal and the central-northern part of Guinea-Bissau. There is also a small number of speakers in the United Kingdom.

About Mandinka the Language of the Mandinka People

The Mandinka, or Malinke, are a West African ethnic group primarily found in southern Mali, eastern Guinea and northern Ivory Coast. Numbering about 11 million, they are the largest subgroup of the Mandé peoples and one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. They speak the Mandinka language, which is one of the Western Manding languages in the Mande language family and a lingua franca in much of West Africa. Over 99% of Mandinka adhere to Islam. They are predominantly subsistence farmers and live in rural villages. Their largest urban center is Bamako, the capital of Mali, which is also inhabited by the closely related Bambara.

The Mandinka are the descendants of the Mali Empire, which rose to power in the 13th century under the rule of king Sundiata Keita, who founded an empire that would go on to span a large part of West Africa. They migrated west from the Niger River in search of better agricultural lands and more opportunities for conquest.[18] Nowadays, the Mandinka inhabit the West sudanian savanna region extending from The Gambia and the Casamance region in Senegal to Ivory Coast. Although widespread, the Mandinka constitute the largest ethnic group only in the countries of Mali, Guinea and The Gambia. Most Mandinka live in family-related compounds in traditional rural villages. Their traditional society has featured socially stratified castes. Mandinka communities have been fairly autonomous and self-ruled, being led by a chief and group of elders. Mandinka has been an oral society, where mythologies, history and knowledge are verbally transmitted from one generation to the next. Their music and literary traditions are preserved by a caste of griots, known locally as jelis, as well as guilds and brotherhoods like the donso (hunters).

Between the 16th and 19th centuries, many Muslim and non-Muslim Mandinka people, along with numerous other African ethnic groups, were captured, enslaved and shipped to the Americas. They intermixed with slaves and workers of other ethnicities, creating a Creole culture. The Mandinka people significantly influenced the African heritage of descended peoples now found in Brazil, the Southern United States and, to a lesser extent, the Caribbean.

Today, over 99% of Mandinka are Muslim. Mandinkas recite chapters of the Qur’an in Arabic. Some Mandinka syncretise Islam and traditional African religions. Among these syncretists spirits can be controlled mainly through the power of a marabout, who knows the protective formulas. In most cases, no important decision is made without first consulting a marabout. Marabouts, who have Islamic training, write Qur’anic verses on slips of paper and sew them into leather pouches (talisman); these are worn as protective amulets.

The conversion to Islam took place over many centuries. According to Robert Wyndham Nicholls, Mandinka in Senegambia started converting to Islam as early as the 17th century, and most of Mandinka leatherworkers there converted to Islam before the 19th century.

he Muslim influence from North Africa had arrived in the Mandinka region before this, via Islamic trading diasporas.

The history of Mandinka people started in Mande region. Mande region is between southern Mali and Guinea.

The Mandé were initially a part of many fragmented kingdoms that formed after the collapse of Ghana empire in the 11th century.[25] During the rule of Sundiata Keita, these kingdoms were consolidated, and the Mandinka expanded west from the Niger River basin under Sundiata’s general Tiramakhan Traore. This expansion was a part of creating a region of conquest, according to the oral tradition of the Mandinka people. This migration began in the later part of the 13th century.

The caravan trade to North Africa and Middle East brought Islamic people into Mandinka people’s original and expanded home region. The Muslim traders sought presence in the host Mandinka community, and this likely initiated proselytizing efforts to convert the Mandinka from their traditional religious beliefs into Islam. I

The Mandinka (also known as the Mandingo and Malinke, among other names) are a West African people spread across parts of Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, the Gambia and Guinea-Bissau. With a global population of some 11 million, the Mandinka are the best-known ethnic group of the Mande peoples, all of whom speak different dialects of the Mande language. They are descendants of the great Mali Empire that flourished in West Africa from the 13th through the 16th centuries. Beginning in the 16th century, tens of thousands of Mandinka were captured and shipped to the Americas as slaves. Of the approximately 388,000 Africans who landed in America as a result of the slave trade, historians believe 92,000 (24 percent) were Senegambians, from the region of West Africa comprising the Senegal and Gambia Rivers and the land between them; many were Mandinka and Bambara (another Mande ethnic group). In the 20th century, the author Alex Haley made the Mandinka famous when he traced his “Roots” back to the village of Juffure in the Gambia, where his great-great-great-great-grandfather, Kunta Kinte, was captured and sold into slavery in the United States.

Some Mandinka converted to Islam from their traditional animist beliefs as early as the 12th century, but after a series of Islamic holy wars in the late 19th century, more than 95 percent of Mandinka are Muslims today. Most live in family compounds in rural villages, which are largely autonomous and governed by local chiefs. Most Mandinka men are poor subsistence farmers, for whom one rainy season spells hunger and ruin. Peanuts are a main crop, and a staple of the Mandinka diet; they also plant millet, corn and sorghum. Mandinka women do the laborious, physically demanding work of tending the rice fields, in addition to their roles as wives and mothers.

The Mandinka arrived in The Gambia during the 14th century, at a time when the Mali Empire was at its height. The Mali Empire having been founded by Sundiata Keita. Historians argue over this, but many believe that the reasons for emigrating to the west include the need to find a favourable climate for agriculture in the Senegambia region in order to boost crop production. Another reason given is that many Mandinka merchants wanted to move to areas where there was less competition in trade. The areas west of the Mali empire did not take part in the trans-Sahara trade, and so these Mandinka traders believed they would have a better chance to grow rich. A general named Tiramang Taraore led the expansion westwards, accompanied by thousands of settlers. As a result, they conquered and settled in large parts the Cassamance region in Senegambia and Guinea Bissau.

Most Mandinka live in family compounds in traditional rural villages and are fairly autonomous. They are led by a chief and group of elders. The linguistic culture is rich in tradition, music, and spiritual ritual. In many traditional societies in The Gambia, there was a social hierarchy as well as a political one. In a social hierarchy, the top level, or upper class, is thought of as the most important, while the lowest level of society is not highly regarded. Traditionally, Mandinka society was divided into four main groups, namely nobles, commoners, caste group and slaves.

Most of the Mandinka are farmers. Rice, millet, sorghum, and peanuts are their staple crops. While they raise most of their own food, some products are obtained through trade and some are gathered from the forests. During planting and harvesting seasons, much time is spent in the fields. At other times, the men work in part-time businesses to supplement their incomes. Others raise goats, sheep, bees, poultry, and dogs. Cattle are sometimes kept, but only to gain prestige, to use as ritual sacrifices, or to use as a bride price.

Mandinka are rural subsistence farmers who rely on peanuts, rice, millet, maize, and small-scale husbandry for their livelihood. During the wet season, men plant peanuts as their main cash crop. Men also grow millet and women grow rice (traditionally, African rice), tending the plants by hand. This is extremely labour-intensive and physically demanding work. Only about 50% of the rice consumption needs are met by local planting; the rest is imported from Asia and the United States.

The oldest male is the head of the family and marriages are commonly arranged. Small mud houses with conical thatch or tin roofs make up their villages, which are organised on the basis of the clan groups. While farming is the predominant profession among the Mandinka, men also work as tailors, butchers, taxi drivers, woodworkers, metalworkers, soldiers, nurses, and extension workers for aid agencies. However, most women, probably 95%, tend to the home, children, and animals as well as work alongside the men in the fields.

Click the following link for a playlist to study and learn the Mandinka people. Click the link in the right hand corner of the embedded picture below to open the playlist. Click the picture in the small picture in the left hand corner to go our YouTube channel to learn other languages spoken by African Muslims:

The accompanying textbook for the Mandika Language Course can be downloaded at the following link:

About Hausa (pronounced: how-sa) – the Language of the Hausa People

Hausa is spoken by the Hausa people, the largest ethnic group in Africa. They speak the Hausa language, an Afro-Asiatic language of the Chadic group which is the most spoken indigenous African Language. 

It has been estimated that Hausa is spoken as a first language by 47 million people and as a second language by another 25 million, bringing the total number of Hausa speakers to an estimated 72 million. According to more recent estimations, Hausa would be spoken by 100–150 million people, possibly making it the most spoken indigenous, native African language.

The main Hausa-speaking area is northern Nigeria and Niger. Hausa is also widely spoken in northern Ghana, Cameroon, Chad, Sudanese Hausa in Sudan and the Ivory Coast as well as among Fulani, Tuareg, Kanuri, Gur, Shuwa Arab, and other Afro-Asiatic speaking groups. There are also large Hausa communities in every major African city in neighbourhoods called zangos or zongos, meaning “caravan camp” in Hausa (denoting the trading post origins of these communities). Most Hausa speakers, regardless of ethnic affiliation, are Muslims; Hausa often serves as a lingua franca among Muslims in non-Hausa areas.

Predominantly Hausa-speaking communities are scattered throughout West Africa and on the traditional Hajj route north and east traversing the Sahara, with an especially large population in and around the town of Agadez. Other Hausa have also moved to large coastal cities in the region such as Lagos, Port Harcourt, Accra, Abidjan, Banjul and Cotonou as well as to parts of North Africa such as Libya over the course of the last 500 years. Significant indigenized populations are reported in Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast,[9][unreliable source] Chad, Sudan, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Togo, Ghana, Eritr ea, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Senegal and the Gambia. 

Hausa is a written as well as oral language, and as a result it is used as the language of instruction at the elementary level in schools in northern Nigeria. 

By the early 15th century the Hausa were using a modified Arabic script known as ajami to record their own language; the Hausa compiled several written histories, the most popular being the Kano Chronicle. Many medieval Hausa manuscripts similar to the Timbuktu Manuscripts written in the Ajami script, have been discovered recently some of them even describe constellations and calendars.

As mentioned above, Hausa has long been written using a modified Arabic alphabet called ajami. Since about 1912, Hausa has also been written in a standardized orthography called boko, originally meaning “sham” or “deceit,” that is based on the Latin alphabet (with the addition of modified letters that represent glottalized consonants). This Latin-based orthography is the one now used for education, newspapers, books, and other general purposes.

Hausa is recognized as an indigenous national language in the constitutions of both Nigeria and Niger. So-called Standard Hausa is based on the pan-dialectal koine of Kano (Nigeria), which is the biggest commercial centre in Hausaland. There are two major dialect areas: the northwestern area, comprising most of the dialects spoken in Niger (Kurfeyanci around Filinguey, Aderanci around Tahoua, Arewanci around Dogondouchi, Tibiranci around Maradi, and Damagaranci around Zinder) plus those of Sokoto (Sakkwatanci) and Katsina (Katsinanci) in Nigeria; and the eastern area, with Kano (Kananci), Zaria (Zazzanci), and Bauchi (Guddiranci) as prominent urban agglomerations with their own dialectal variants. Dialectal variation, however, does not impede mutual intelligibility across the whole of Hausaland.

Serious linguistic research on the language began in the mid-19th century with the works of the German missionary J.F. Schön. Hausa has been taught outside Africa since 1885, when the first course was offered in Berlin. Today Hausa is taught on a regular basis throughout the world, mainly at universities that have a department specializing in African languages. An early milestone in Hausa studies was the 1934 publication of a dictionary compiled by the Rev. G.P. Bargery; it had about 40,000 entries and demonstrated the remarkable number of loanwords from Arabic, Kanuri (a Nilo-Saharan language), and Tamajaq (the Amazigh language spoken by the Tuareg). Since the colonial period, English (in Nigeria) and French (in Niger) have competed with Arabic as major sources of Hausa lexical innovation.

Because of the dominant position which the Hausa language and culture have long held, the study of Hausa provides crucial background for other areas such as African history, politics (particularly in Nigeria and Niger), gender studies, commerce, and the arts.

Hausa is available as course of study in northern Nigerian universities. In addition, several advanced degrees (Masters and PhD) are offered in Hausa in various universities in the UK, US, and Germany. Hausa is also being used in various social media networks around the world.

Hausa is considered one of the world’s major languages, and it has widespread use in a number of countries of Africa. Hausa’s rich poetry, prose, and musical literature, is increasingly available in print and in audio and video recordings. The study of Hausa provides an informative entry into the culture of Islamic Africa. Throughout Africa, there is a strong connection between Hausa and Islam.

The influence of the Hausa language on the languages of many non-Hausa Muslim peoples in Africa is readily apparent. Likewise, many Hausa cultural practices, including such overt features as dress and food, are shared by other Muslim communities. 

Hausa has replaced many other languages especially in the north-central and north-eastern part of Nigeria and continues to gain popularity in other parts of Africa as a result of Hausa movies and music which spread out throughout the region.

In West Africa, Hausa’s use as a lingua franca has given rise to a non-native pronunciation that differs vastly from native pronunciation.

About the Hausa People 

The Hausa (also pronounced Hausawa and Ausa; French spelling: Haoussa) are an ethnic group in Africa based primarily in the Sahelian and the sparse savanna areas of southern Niger and northern Nigeria. With a total population of some 80 million (2019 estimate), they qualify as the most numerous single African ethnic group.

The name Hausa is applied to both the ethnic group and the language. Linked culturally to Islam, Hausa are characterized since the early nineteenth century by centralized emirate governments with Fulani rulers, extended households, agricultural villages, trade and markets, and strong assimilative capacities.

The Hausa traditionally live in small villages, as well as in towns and cities, where they grow crops, raise livestock including cattle, and engage in trade, both local and long distance across Africa.

For these reasons, Hausa cultural borders have been constantly expanding. Given modern communications, transportation, and the accelerating need for a lingua franca, Hausa has rapidly become the first or second language of the entire northern area of the country.

The Hausa are culturally and historically closest to other Sahelian ethnic groups, primarily the Fula; the Zarma and Songhai (in Tillabery, Tahoua and Dosso in Niger); the Kanuri and Shuwa Arabs (in Cameroon, Chad, Sudan and northeastern Nigeria); the Tuareg (in Agadez, Maradi and Zinder); the Gur and Gonja (in northeastern Ghana, Burkina Faso, northern Togo and upper Benin); Gwari (in central Nigeria); and the Mandinka, Bambara, Dioula and Soninke (in Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast and Guinea).

The Hausa have an ancient culture that covered a large area, and had long ties to the Arabs and other Islamized peoples in West Africa, such as the Mandé, Fulani, and even the Wolof of Senegambia, through extended long distance trade. Islam has been present in Hausaland since the fourteenth century, but it was largely restricted to the region’s rulers and their courts. Rural areas generally retained their animist beliefs and their urban leaders thus drew on both Islamic and African traditions to legitimize their rule. Muslim scholars of the early nineteenth century disapproved of the hybrid religion practiced in royal courts, and a desire for reform was a major motive behind the formation of the Sokoto Caliphate.  It was after the formation of the Sokoto Caliphate that Islam became firmly entrenched in rural areas. The Hausa people have been an important vector for the spread of Islam in West Africa through economic contact, diaspora trading communities, and politics.

The Hausa people are heirs of a civilization that has flourished for over a thousand years in West Africa. The Hausa also have an architectural legacy represented by the Gidan Rumfa, or Emir’s palace in Kano at the center of what is the economic capital of Nigeria and the remains of the old walls around the city.

The Hausa culture deserves a wider exposure outside of West Africa, since it testifies to the existence of a sophisticated, well organized society that predates the arrival of the European colonizers, who saw little if anything admirable, interesting, cultured or civilized in what they persisted in calling “the Black continent.”

The traditional homeland of the Hausa was an early location for French and British interests, attracted by the gold deposits and the possibility of using the Niger for transport. Some of the earliest British explorers in Africa, such as Mungo Park and Alexander Gordon Laing gravitated to the Niger. Little thought was given to the preservation of indigenous culture or systems,

The city of Kano is considered the center of Hausa trade and culture. In terms of cultural relations to other peoples of West Africa, the Hausa are culturally and historically close to the Fulani, Songhay, Mandé, and Tuareg, as well as other Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Saharan groups further east, in Chadand Sudan.

Daura city is also a cultural center of the Hausa people. The town predates all the other major Hausa towns in tradition and culture. The aristocratic Hausa are traditionally horsemen. Horsemanship has become deeply ingrained in Hausa culture and is still a status symbol of the traditional nobility in Hausa society up until today. The horse still features in the Eid day celebrations, known as Ranar Sallah (in English: the Day of the Prayer).

Islam and the Hausa

In the twelfth century, the Hausa were a major African power. Seven Hausa kingdoms flourished between the Niger River and Lake Chad, of which the Emirate of Kano was probably the most important. According to legend, its first king was the grandson of the founder of the Hausa states. There were 43 Hausa rulers of Kano until they lost power in 1805. Historically, these were trading kingdoms dealing in gold, cloth, and leather goods.

By the onset of the 14th century, Islam was fast becomjng widespread in Hausaland, as Wangara (Malinke, Jula and Soninke) and Fula scholars and traders from Mali as well as a Tuareg caravan traders, brought the religion with them, settled in the merchantile districts of Hausa cities, while Hausa traders began to settle in Zango (camel caravan) districts in cities throughout West Africa. Common Hausa surnames such as “Kaita” (Keita), “Turai” (Touré), “Jallo” (Diallo), “Bello”, and “Coulibaly” reveal their distinctly Mandé and Fula origins, and trace back to the specific Malian clans that engaged in the early and gradual Islamisation of the medieval Hausa city states. In Mali and Guinea today, Haoussa is used as a first name or surname by those who have Hausa ancestry, and several villages and districts use the name Haoussa-Foulane or Aoussa to identify medieval Zango districts. Hausa remains a minority language in the Ansongo District of Mali.

Orthodox Sunni Islam of the Maliki madh-hab, is the predominant and historically established religion of the Hausa people. Islam has been present in Hausaland as early as the 11th century – giving rise to famous native Sufi saints and scholars such as Wali Muhammad dan Masani (d.1667) and Wali Muhammad dan Marna(d. 1655) in Katsina – mostly among long-distance traders to North Africa whom in turn had spread it to common people while the ruling class had remain largely pagan or mixed their practice of Islam with pagan practices. By the 14th Century Hausa traders were already spreading Islam across large swathe of west Africa such as Ghana, Cote d Ivoire etc..

In the 19th century, Muslim scholars began to disapproved of the mixed Islamic religion and non-Islamic practices of the royal courts. A desire for reform contributed to the formation of the Sokoto Caliphate. The formation of this state strengthened Islam in rural areas. The Hausa people have been an important factor for the spread of Islam in West Africa. Up to today, the Sultan of Sokoto is regarded as the traditional religious leader (Sarkin Musulmi) of Sunni Hausa-Fulani in Nigeria and beyond.

Hausa Migration

Many Hausa have moved to large coastal cities in West Africa such as Lagos, Accra, or Cotonou, as well as to countries such as Libya, in search of jobs that pay cash wages.

Click the following link for a playlist to study and learn the Hausa people. Click the link in the right hand corner of the embedded picture below to open the playlist. Click the picture in the small picture in the left hand corner to go our YouTube channel to learn other languages spoken by African Muslims:

The accompanying textbook can be downloaded at the following link:

About Swahili the Language of the Swahili People

It’s a national language in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, and an official language of the East African Community which comprises Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. Its use is spreading to southern, western and northern Africa.

Swahili is the lingua franca (a common language adopted between two non-native speakers) of the East African Union and is the official language of Tanzania (official language), Kenya (official language next to English) and of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is also widely spoken in Uganda and, in smaller numbers, in Burundi, Rwanda, North Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.

People who speak Swahili as their sole mother tongue are usually referred to as Waswahili, but this name refers to their language only and does not denote any particular ethnic or tribal unit. Swahili is widely used as a lingua franca in: (1) Tanzania, where it is the language of administration and primary education; (2) Kenya, where it is, after English, the main language for these purposes; (3) Congo (Kinshasa), where a form of Swahili is one of the four languages of administration, the main language for this purpose being French; and (4) Uganda, where the main language is again English.

Swahili has been greatly influenced by Arabic; there are an enormous number of Arabic loanwords in the language, including the word swahili, from Arabic sawāḥilī (a plural adjectival form of an Arabic word meaning “of the coast”). The language dates from the contacts of Arabian traders with the inhabitants of the east coast of Africa over many centuries. Under Arab influence, Swahili originated as a lingua franca used by several closely related Bantu-speaking tribal groups. In the early 19th century, the spread of Swahili inland received a great impetus from its being the language of the Arab ivory and slave caravans, which penetrated as far north as Uganda and as far west as Congo. Swahili was later adopted by European colonialists, especially the Germans, who used it extensively as the language of administration in Tanganyika, thus laying the foundation for its adoption as a national language of independent Tanzania. In Kenya and Uganda, other local languages also received official encouragement during the colonial period, but the tendency in these countries is now to emphasize the use of Swahili. The oldest preserved Swahili literature, which dates from the early 18th century, is written in the Arabic script, though the language is now written in the Roman alphabet.

The Swahili language dates its origin to the Bantu people of the coast of East Africa. Much of Swahili’s Bantu vocabulary has cognates in the Pokomo, Taita and Mijikenda languages and, to a lesser extent, other East African Bantu languages. While opinions vary on the specifics, it has been historically purported that about 20% of the Swahili vocabulary is derived from loan words, the majority Arabic, but also other contributing languages, including Persian, Hindustani, Portuguese, and Malay. In the text “Early Swahili History Reconsidered”, however, Thomas Spear noted that Swahili retains a large amount of grammar, vocabulary, and sounds inherited from the Sabaki Language. In fact, while taking account of daily vocabulary, using lists of one hundred words, 72-91% were inherited from the Sabaki language (which is reported as a parent language) whereas 4-17% were loan words from other African languages. Only 2-8% were from non-African languages, and Arabic loan words constituted a fraction of the 2-8%. What also remained unconsidered was that a good number of the borrowed terms had native equivalents. The preferred use of Arabic loan words is prevalent along the coast, where natives, in a cultural show of proximity to, or descent from Arab culture, would rather use loan words, whereas the natives in the interior tend to use the native equivalents. It was originally written in Arabic script.

In regards to Islam, Swahili played a major role in spreading Islam in East Africa. From their arrival in East Africa, Arabs brought Islam and set up madrasas, where they used Swahili to teach Islam to the natives. As the Arab presence grew, more and more natives were converted to Islam and were taught using the Swahili language.

The earliest known documents written in Swahili are letters written in Kilwa in 1711 in the Arabic script that were sent to the Portuguese of Mozambique and their local allies. The original letters are preserved in the Historical Archives of Goa, India.

With the arrival of the Arabs in East Africa, they used Swahili as a language of trade as well as for teaching Islam to the local Bantu peoples. This resulted in Swahili first being written in the Arabic alphabet.

Several Swahili consonants do not have equivalents in Arabic, and for them, often no special letters were created unlike, for example, Urdu script. Instead, the closest Arabic sound is substituted. Not only did that mean that one letter often stands for more than one sound, but also writers made different choices of which consonant to substitute.

Borrowed Words in the Swahili Language

Borrowed Words may or may not be given a prefix corresponding to the semantic class they fall in. For example, Arabic دود‎ dūd (“bug, insect”) was borrowed as mdudu, plural wadudu, with the class 1/2 prefixes m- and wa-, but Arabic فلوس‎ fulūs (“fish scales”, plural of فلس‎ fals) and English sloth were borrowed as simply fulusi (“mahi-mahi” fish) and slothi (“sloth”), with no prefix associated with animals (whether those of class 9/10 or 1/2).

In the process of naturalization[42] of borrowings within Swahili, loanwords are often reinterpreted, or reanalysed,[43] as if they already contain a Swahili class prefix. In such cases the interpreted prefix is changed with the usual rules. Consider the following loanwords from Arabic:

  1. 1 The Swahili word for “book”, kitabu, is borrowed from Arabic كتاب‎ kitāb(un) “book” (plural كتب‎ kutub; from the Arabic root k.t.b. “write”). However, the Swahili plural form of this word (“books”) is vitabu, following Bantu grammar in which the ki- of kitabu is reanalysed (reinterpreted) as a nominal class prefix whose plural is vi- (class 7/8).[43]
  2. 2 Arabic معلم‎ muʿallim(un) (“teacher”, plural معلمين muʿallimīna) was interpreted as having the mw- prefix of class 1, and so became mwalimu, plural walimu.
  3. 3 Arabic مدرسة madrasa school, even though it is singular in Arabic (with plural مدارس‎ madāris), was reinterpreted as a class 6 plural madarasa, receiving the singular form darasa.

Similarly, English wire and Arabic وقت‎ waqt (“time”) were interpreted as having the class 11 prevocalic prefix w-, and became waya and wakati with plural nyaya and nyakati respectively.

Swahili is now written in the Latin alphabet. There are a few digraphs for native sounds, ch, sh, ng and ny; q and x are not used,[39] c is not used apart from the digraph ch, unassimilated English loans and, occasionally, as a substitute for k in advertisements. There are also several digraphs for Arabic sounds, which many speakers outside of ethnic Swahili areas have trouble differentiating.

The language used to be written in the Arabic script. Unlike adaptations of the Arabic script for other languages, relatively little accommodation was made for Swahili. There were also differences in orthographic conventions between cities and authors and over the centuries, some quite precise but others different enough to cause difficulties with intelligibility.

About the Swahili People

The Swahili people originate from Bantu inhabitants of the coast of Southeast Africa, in Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. These Bantu-speaking agriculturalists settled the coast at the outset of the first millennium. Archaeological finds at Fukuchani, on the north-west coast of Zanzibar, indicate a settled agricultural and fishing community from the 6th century CE at the latest. The considerable amount of daub found indicates timber buildings, and shell beads, bead grinders, and iron slag have been found at the site. There is evidence for limited engagement in long-distance trade: a small amount of imported pottery has been found, less than 1% of total pottery finds, mostly from the Gulf and dated to the 5th to 8th century. The similarity to contemporary sites such as Mkokotoni and Dar es Salaam indicate a unified group of communities that developed into the first center of coastal maritime culture. The coastal towns appear to have been engaged in Indian Ocean trade at this early period, and trade rapidly increased in importance and quantity between the mid-8th and the 11th century

Many Swahili claim a Shirazi origin. This forms the basis of the Shirazi era origin myth that proliferated along the coast at the turn of the millennium. Modern scholarship has rejected the veracity of these claims. The most likely origin for the stories about the Shirazi is from Muslim inhabitants of the Lamu archipelago who moved south in the 10th and 11th centuries. They brought with them a coinage tradition and localized form of Islam. These Africans migrants seem to have developed a concept of Shirazi origin as they moved further southwards, near Malindi and Mombasa, along the Mrima coast. The longstanding trade connections with the Persian gulf gave credence to these myths. In addition, because most Muslim societies are patrilineal, one can claim distant identities through paternal lines despite phenotypic and somatic evidence to the contrary. The so-called Shirazi tradition represents the arrival of Islam in these eras, one reason it has proven so long lasting. Extant mosques and coins demonstrate that the “Shirazi” were not Middle Eastern immigrants, but northern Swahili Muslims. They moved south, founding mosques, introducing coinage and elaborately carved inscriptions and mihrabs. They should be interpreted as indigenous African Muslims who played the politics of the Middle East to their advantage. Some still use this foundation myth a millennium later to assert their authority, even though the myth’s context has long been forgotten. The Shirazi legend took on new importance in the 19th century, during the period of Omani domination. Claims of Shirazi ancestry were used to distance locals from Arab newcomers, since Persians are not viewed as Arabs but still have an exemplary Islamic pedigree. The emphasis that the Shirazi came very long ago and intermarried with indigenous locals ties this claim to the creation of convincing indigenous narratives about Swahili heritage without divorcing it from the ideals of being a maritime-centered culture.

There are two main theories about the origins of the Shirazi subgroup of the Swahili people. One thesis based on oral tradition states that immigrants from the Shiraz region in southwestern Iran directly settled various mainland ports and islands on the eastern Africa seaboard beginning in the tenth century. By the time of the Persian settlement in the area, the earlier occupants had been displaced by incoming Bantu and Nilotic populations.[9] More people from different parts of the Persian Gulf also continued to migrate to the Swahili coast over several centuries thereafter, and these formed the modern Shirazi. The second theory on Shirazi origins also posits that they came from Persia, but first settled in the Horn of Africa. In the twelfth century, as the gold trade with the distant entrepot of Sofala on the Mozambique seaboard grew, the settlers are then said to moved southwards to various coastal towns in Kenya, Tanzania, northern Mozambique and the Indian Ocean islands. By 1200 CE, they had established local sultanates and mercantile networks on the islands of Kilwa, Mafia and Comoros along the Swahili coast, and in northwestern Madagascar.

The modern Swahili people speak the Swahili language as a mother tongue, which belongs to the Bantu branch of the Niger-Congo family. The language contains loan words from Arabic and Persian.

The Swahili people (or Waswahili) are a Bantu ethnic group inhabiting East Africa. Members of this ethnicity primarily reside on the Swahili coast, in an area encompassing the Zanzibar archipelago, littoral Kenya, the Tanzania seaboard, and northern Mozambique. The name Swahili is derived from Arabic: سواحل‎, romanized: Sawāhil, lit. ‘coasts’ settling on the coast tapped into the Indian Ocean trade networks. The Swahili people follow the Sunni denomination of Islam.

Large numbers of Swahili undertake the Hajj and Umrah from Tanzania, Kenya, and Mozambique. Traditional Islamic dress such as the jilbab and thobe are also popular among the Swahili.

Traditional Sailing in Kilwa

City-states along the east African coast have a longstanding tradition of trade and mingling between various peoples. Many of these former city-states still exist in modern nations. Kilwa, Tanzania, is one such city in which people still use traditional sailing practices.

What Is the Swahili Coast?

The Swahili Coast is on Africa’s east coast. It has a long history and fascinating culture.  The coast stretches from Somalia in the north to Mozambique in the south. It sits along the Indian Ocean. Travelers have passed through the Swahili Coast for centuries. This is partly because of special wind patterns in the Indian Ocean. Such winds made sailing trips easy. A Greek merchant’s guide was found. The writing is from the first century, about 2,000 years ago. It describes ivory, rhino horn, and tortoiseshell available for trade.  This coast is home to a unique culture and language. A mix of African, Arab, and Indian Ocean peoples lived here.

Who Lives on the Swahili Coast?

The original residents were Africans. They spoke the Bantu languages. This group had migrated east from inland areas. They later spread up and down the coast, trading with each other. Later they traded with people from far away.

Around the year 700, Muslim traders settled in the region. Muslims practice the religion of Islam. Most of the traders were Arabs, meaning they spoke Arabic. In the 1100s, Persian settlers arrived. Persia today is the country of Iran. This group was known as the Shirazi. Today, most Swahili people are Sunni Muslims. It is the largest group within the religion of Islam.

The Busy Medieval Times

The Swahili Coast peaked during the medieval period. This happened from around the 11th century to the 15th century. During that time, the Swahili Coast was made up of numerous city-states. They traded across the Indian Ocean. The city-states were independent lands. Their leaders were called sultans. However, they shared a common language, Swahili, and religion, Islam. They traded across the Indian Ocean. Pottery, silks, and glassware were popular items.

Altogether, the city-states are often called “stone towns.” That is because many buildings were constructed using stone. These were coral blocks held together with mortar. 

Kilwa and Songo Mnara

Kilwa was a major southern city-state. It is also a major site for archaeologists. It is located on an island off the southern coast of Tanzania. In the medieval period, it kept a trading post at Sofala. Kilwa traded with the gold-rich Kingdom of Great Zimbabwe, located to the south.

In medieval times, Kilwa was an important trading center on the East African coast. Its ruins today include the Great Palace. Back then the palace was the largest stone building in Africa south of the Sahara Desert. The grounds of the Great Palace were huge. It included a swimming pool. There were about 100 rooms.

On another island just to the south is Songo Mnara. This site was founded by the Kilwa government. No one knows why Kilwa built Songo Mnara. It appears to have been built following a city plan. It has clean lines and coral stone decorations.

Chinese Contacts

Chinese Emperor Yongle ruled from 1403 to 1424, during China’s Ming Dynasty. One of his key officials was Admiral Zheng He. Yongle sent Zheng He on seven sea expeditions. Hundreds of ships were sent for carrying goods and money. Thousands of men were aboard.

Zheng He visited the Swahili Coast. He stopped at Mombasa, Malindi, and Mogadishu. His ships would have been a fascinating sight. The sultan of Malindi sent the Chinese emperor a giraffe and other creatures. The Chinese were impressed with these rare gifts.

However, the Chinese did not stick around in East Africa. The voyages of Zheng He ended with his death and the emperor’s death.

Archaeologists are still finding proof of the Chinese-Swahili connection. In 2010, researchers found a Chinese coin. It was not far from the medieval city-state of Malindi. The coin dated to the Ming Dynasty. A similar coin was found nearby a few years later. 

Arrival of the Portuguese 

From 1497 to 1498, Portuguese voyager Vasco da Gama arrived. He brought four ships and 170 men. They sailed up the East African coast.

The Portuguese used violence to try to control all trade and business in the Indian Ocean. They established bases and trade offices at several Swahili Coast sites. 

Soon, the Swahili Coast city-states began to fall. Dealings with the Portuguese were blamed. Trade declined. However, some city-states did carry on for another few centuries. A few came under the rule of the Omani Empire.

Swahili Today

Today, Swahili is the main language of East Africa. It is in the Bantu language family. That group of languages is spoken in much of central and southern Africa. Swahili has been influenced greatly by Arabic.

Indeed, the term “Swahili” comes from Arabic. It means “[people] of the coast.” The language also contains words from Persian, Portuguese, and German. More than 100 million people speak Swahili.

City-states along the east African coast have a longstanding tradition of trade and mingling between various peoples. Many of these former city-states still exist in modern nations. Kilwa, Tanzania, is one such city in which people still use traditional sailing practices.

Islam is the religion of 10.91 percent of the Kenyan population, or approximately 5.2 million people. The Kenyan coast is mostly populated by Muslims. Nairobi has several mosques and a notable Muslim population.

The majority of Muslims in Kenya follow the Sunni Islam of Shafi school of jurisprudence at 73%, 8% with Shia and 8% as non-denominational Muslims. There are also sizeable populations of Ibadism, Quranist and Ahmadi adherents. In large part, Shias are Ismailis descended from or influenced by oceanic traders from the Middle East and India. These Shia Muslims include the Dawoodi Bohra, who number some 6,000-8,000 in the country.

Pioneer Muslim traders arrived on the Swahili Coast around the eighth century. The tension surrounding the succession of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, and the already established trade links between the Persian Gulf and the Swahili Coast were some of the factors leading to this development.

Archaeological evidence attests to a thriving Muslim town on Manda Island by the Tenth Century AD. The Moroccan Muslim traveller, Ibn Battuta, visiting the Swahili Coast in 1331 AD, reported a strong Muslim presence. Ibn Battuta said: The inhabitants are pious, honourable, and upright, and they have well-built wooden mosques.

On arrival, the Muslims settled along the coast, engaging in trade. The Shirazi intermarried with the local Bantu people resulting in the Swahili people, most of who converted to Islam. Swahili, structurally a Bantu Language with heavy borrowings from Arabic, was born.

Primarily, Islam spread through the interactions of individuals, with the Arab Muslims who had settled in small groups maintaining their culture, and religious practices. Despite encountering local communities, Islam was not ‘indigenized’ along the patterns of the local Bantu communities. Nevertheless, Islam grew through absorption of individuals into the newly established Afro-Arabic Muslim communities. This resulted in more ‘Swahilization’ than Islamization.

There was strong resistance toward Islam by the majority of communities living in the interior. The resistance was because conversion was an individual act, leading to detribalization and integration into the Muslim community going against the socially acceptable communal life.

Islam on the Swahili Coast was different from the rest of Africa. Unlike West Africa where Islam was integrated to the local communities, the local Islam was ‘foreign’; the Arab-Muslims lived as if they were in the Middle East.

The primary concern for the early Muslims was trade with a few interested in propagating Islam. The arrival of the Portuguese in the 15th Century interrupted the small work in progress. On the other hand, the interstate quarrels that ensued meant that much effort was now directed towards restoring normality and not Islamization.

The Spread of Islam into the Interior

Islam remained an urban and coastal phenomenon. The Spread of Islam was low-keyed with no impact amongst the local non-Swahili African Community. There were no intermediary Africans to demonstrate that, adoption of a few Islamic institutions would not disrupt society.

The spread of Islam to the interior was hampered by several factors: for instance, the nature of the Bantu society’s varied beliefs, and scattered settlements affected interior advancement. Other factors included, harsh climatic conditions, the fierce tribes like the Maasai, tribal laws restricting passage through their land, health factors, and the lack of easy mode of transportation. For Trimingham, the brand of Islam introduced to the region was equally to blame.

Muslim traders were not welcome in the social structures thereby impeding any meaningful progress until the beginning of European occupation.

Other factors affecting Islamic movement into the interior included; atrocities committed during slave trading, as these unfavourably affected the spread of Islam. In addition, the embracing of Islam by large portions of coastal tribes in the Nineteenth Century aided in its spread.

Besides, local Muslim preachers and teachers played major roles in teaching religion (Ar. dīn) and the Qur’ān at the Qur’ān Schools (Swa. vyuo) and Madrasa attached to the Mosques.

The coming of the second wave of Europeans, in the Nineteenth Century, brought mixed fortunes to the coastal Muslims, their strong sense of pride and belonging was greatly diminished, with efforts being redirected to self adjustments.

Nonetheless, Muslim agents deployed by Europeans as subordinate labourers to assist in the establishment of Colonial administration centres, were advantageously placed throughout the country, bringing the Islamic influence to the interior. Each place where a European installed himself, military camp, government centre, or plantation, was a centre for Muslim influence.

In the interior, the Muslims neither integrated nor mingled with the local communities, yet, non-Swahili Africans began joining the Swahili trends in trade with some returning as Muslims. Swahili became the trade and religious language. Alongside the interpersonal contacts, intermarriages also yielded some conversions.

Although coastal rulers did not send missionaries to the interior, local Africans embraced Islam freely through attraction to the religious life of the Muslims. Close integration with the local population helped to foster good relations resulting in Islam gaining a few converts, based on individual efforts.

Subjectively, most of the surrounding Bantu communities had a close-knit religious heritage, requiring strong force to penetrate. The pacification and consolidation by European powers provided the much-needed force to open up the communities for new structures of power and religious expression (Trimingham:1983:58).

Basically, progress in the spread of Islam in Kenya came between 1880 and 1930. This was when most social structures and the African worldviews were shattered, leaving them requiring a new, wider worldview encompassing or addressing the changes experienced.

Consequently, Islam introduced new religious values through external ceremonial and ritualistic expressions, some of which could be followed with no difficulty.

Socio-culturally, Muslims presented themselves with a sense of pride and a feeling of superiority. Islamic civilization was identified with the Arab way of life (Ustaarabu), as opposed to ‘barbarianism’ (Ushenzi) hence the domination of a form of Arabism over the local variety of Islam.

The ease, with which Islam could be adopted, meant adding to the indigenous practices, new religious rites and ceremonies to the African ways, with new ways of defining one’s identity by new forms of expression. Mingling with Muslims led to conversion meaning returning home as Muslims and not aliens. Lacunza-Balda shows that Islam could be adopted easily.

Although most of the conversions were of individuals, there were communities that embraced Islam en-masse. Some of these included the Digo and Pokomo of the Lower Tana region. From these communities Islam slowly penetrated inland.

Organized Missionary Activities

Pioneer Muslim missionaries to the interior were largely Tanganyikans, who coupled their missionary work with trade, along the centres began along the railway line, such as, Kibwezi, Makindu and Nairobi.

Outstanding amongst them was Maalim Mtondo, a Tanganyikan credited with being the first Muslim missionary to Nairobi. Reaching Nairobi at the close of the Nineteenth Century, he led a group of other Muslims, and enthusiastic missionaries from the coast to establish a ‘Swahili village’ in the present day Pumwani.

A small mosque was built to serve as a starting point and he began preaching Islam in earnest. He soon attracted several Kikuyus and Wakambas, who became his disciples.

Local men converted and having learned from their teachers took up the leadership of religious matters. Khamis Ngige was a prominent local convert of the early outreach. Having learned from Maalim Mtondo, he later became the Imam of the Pumwani Mosque. Different preachers scattered in the countryside from 1900 to 1920, introducing Islam to areas around, Mt. Kenya, Murang’a, Embu, Meru, Nyeri and Kitui. This serious missionary move interior was out of personal enthusiasm with the influence being highly localized. Only a few Africans were converted, and the impact was short lived.

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About Wolof the Language of the Wolof People

Wolof (pronounced woo-luf) is a language of Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania, and the native language of the Wolof people.

Senegalese/Mauritanian Wolof and Gambian Wolof are distinct national standards: they use different orthographies and use different languages (French vs. English) as their source for technical loanwords.

In Senegal, the Wolof are the largest ethnic group (~43.3%), while elsewhere they are a minority.[5] They refer to themselves as Wolof and speak the Wolof language, in the West Atlantic branch of the Niger–Congo family of languages.

Wolof is spoken by more than 10 million people and about 40 percent (approximately 5 million people) of Senegal’s population speak Wolof as their native language. Increased mobility, and especially the growth of the capital Dakar, created the need for a common language: today, an additional 40 percent of the population speak Wolof as a second or acquired language. In the whole region from Dakar to Saint-Louis, and also west and southwest of Kaolack, Wolof is spoken by the vast majority of people. Typically when various ethnic groups in Senegal come together in cities and towns, they speak Wolof. It is therefore spoken in almost every regional and departmental capital in Senegal. Nevertheless, the official language of Senegal is French.

In The Gambia, although about 20–25 percent of the population speak Wolof as a first language, it has a disproportionate influence because of its prevalence in Banjul, the Gambian capital, where 75 percent of the population use it as a first language. Furthermore, in Serekunda, The Gambia’s largest town, although only a tiny minority are ethnic Wolofs, approximately 70 percent of the population speaks or understands Wolof.

In Mauritania, about seven percent of the population (approximately 185,000 people) speak Wolof. Most live near or along the Senegal River that Mauritania shares with Senegal.

Wolof dialects vary geographically and between rural and urban areas. “Dakar-Wolof”, for instance, is an urban mixture of Wolof, French, and Arabic.

 Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Fula, it belongs to the Senegambian branch of the Niger–Congo language family. Unlike most other languages of the Niger-Congo family, Wolof is not a tonal language.

“Wolof” is the standard spelling and may refer to the Wolof people or to Wolof culture. Variants include the older French Ouolof and the principally Gambian Wollof, Jolof, jollof, etc., which now typically refers either to the Jolof Empire or to jollof rice, a common West African rice dish. Now-archaic forms include Volof and Olof.

The English language is believed to have adopted some Wolof words, such as banana, via Spanish or Portuguese,[8] and nyam in several Caribbean English Creoles meaning “to eat” (compare Seychellois Creole nyanmnyanm, also meaning “to eat”).

About the Wolof People

The Wolof people are the largest ethnic group in Senegal, particularly concentrated in its northwestern region near the Senegal River and the Gambia River. In the Gambia, about 16% of the population are Wolof. In the Gambia, they are a minority. However, Wolof language and culture have a disproportionate influence because of their prevalence in Banjul, the Gambian capital, where a majority of the population is Wolof. In Mauritania, about 8% of the population are Wolof. Their total population exceeds 6 million in the three countries.

The term Wolof also refers to the Wolof language and to their states, cultures, and traditions. Older French publications frequently employ the spelling Ouolof; up to the 19th century, the spellings Wolluf, Volof, and Olof are also encountered, among rarer variants like Yolof, Dylof, Chelof, Galof, Lolof, and others. In English, Wollof and Woloff are found, particularly in reference to the Gambian Wolof; for English-speakers, the spelling Wollof is closer to the native pronunciation of the name.) The spelling Jolof is also often used, but in particular reference to the Jolof Empire and Jolof Kingdom that existed in central Senegal from the 14th to the 19th centuries. Similarly, a West African rice dish is known in English as Jollof rice.

The Wolof people are a West African ethnic group found in northwestern Senegal, the Gambia, and southwestern coastal Mauritania.

They are also referred to as the Wollof, Jolof, Iolof, Whalof, Ialof, Olof, and Volof, among other spellings. In Senegal, the Wolof are the largest ethnic group (~43.3%), while elsewhere they are a minority. They refer to themselves as Wolof and speak the Wolof language, in the West Atlantic branch of the Niger–Congo family of languages. Their early history is unclear and based on oral traditions that link the Wolof to the Almoravids.

“Wolof” is the standard spelling and may refer to the Wolof people or to Wolof culture. Variants include the older French Ouolof and the principally Gambian Wollof, Jolof, jollof, etc., which now typically refers either to the Jolof Empire or to jollof rice, a common West African rice dish. Now-archaic forms include Volof and Olof.

The vast majority of Wolof people are Sunni Muslims.

The West African jihads that involved the Wolof and other ethnic groups started early and often inspired by militant reformers such as those of the 15th century. The assaults of the 18th and 19th century jihads, states Lapidus, paved the way for massive conversions to Islam, yet not a nearly universal conversion.

In the late 19th century, as the French colonial forces launched a war against the Wolof kingdoms, the Wolof people resisted the French and triggered the start of near-universal conversion of the Wolof people in Senegambia to Islam. Wolofs joined the various competing Sufi Muslim movements in the 20th century, particularly those belonging to the Mouride and Tijaniyyah Islamic brotherhoods.

The Senegalese Sufi Muslim brotherhoods appeared in the Wolof communities in the 19th century and grew in the 20th. The Sufi leaders and marabouts exercise cultural and political influence amongst most Muslim communities, most notably the leader of the Muridiyya also called the Mouride brotherhood.


The Wolof people are traditionally settled, farmers and artisans. Millet has been the typical staple, while rice a secondary staple when rains are plenty. Cassava is also grown, but it has been a source of income for the Wolof farmers. Since the colonial era, peanuts have been the primary cash crop.

Wolof society is patrilineal, and agricultural land is inherited by the landowning caste. The typical farmers in a village pay rent (waref) to the landowner for the right to crop his land. Wolof farmers raise chickens and goats, and dried or smoked fish purchased, both a part of their diet. Cattle are also raised, not for food, but milk, tilling the land, and as a reserve of wealth. Rural Wolof people eat beef rarely, typically as a part of a ceremonial feast. Some villages in contemporary times share agricultural machinery and sell the peanut harvest as a cooperative.

The Jolof or Wolof Empire

The Jolof or Wolof Empire was a medieval West African state that ruled parts of Senegal and the Gambia from approximately 1350 to 1890. While only ever consolidated into a single state structure for part of this time, the tradition of governance, caste, and culture of the Wolof dominate the history of north-central Senegal for much of the last 800 years. Its final demise at the hands of French colonial forces in the 1870s-1890s also marks the beginning of the formation of Senegal as a unified state.

By the end of the 15th century, the Wolof states of Jolof, Kayor, Baol, and Walo had become united in a federation with Jolof as the metropolitan power. The position of king was held by the Burba Wolof, and the rulers of the other component states owed loyalty and tribute payments to him. Before the Wolof people became involved in goods and slave trading with the Portuguese merchants on the coast, they had a long tradition of established trading of goods and slaves with the Western Sudanese empires and with Imamate of Futa Toro and other ethnic groups in North Africa.

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About Yoruba the Language of the Yoruba

Yoruba (pronounced you-ra-ba) is a language spoken in West Africa, most prominently Southwestern Nigeria. It is spoken by the ethnic Yoruba people. The number of Yoruba speakers is estimated at between 45 and 55 million.[4] As a pluricentric language, 

As West African regional language Yoruba it is primarily spoken in various dialects in area spanning like Nigeria, Benin and Togo, and among migrant communities in Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and in  Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador, Bahia, Brazil as a cultural language. In fact, Yoruba vocabulary is used in the Afro-Brazilian religion known as Candomblé, in the Caribbean religion of Santería in the form of the liturgical Lucumí language and various Afro-American religions of North America.

As the principal Yoruboid language, Yoruba is most closely related to the languages Itsekiri (spoken in the Niger Delta) and Igala (spoken in central Nigeria).

Yoruba is classified among the Edekiri languages, which together with Itsekiri and the isolate Igala form the Yoruboid group of languages within the Volta–Niger branch of the Niger–Congo family. The linguistic unity of the Niger–Congo family dates to deep prehistory, estimates ranging around 11,000 years ago (the end of the Upper Paleolithic). In present-day Nigeria, it is estimated that there are over 40 million Yoruba primary and secondary language speakers as well as several other millions of speakers outside Nigeria, making it the most widely spoken African language outside of the continent.

The wide adoption of imported religions and civilizations such as Islam and Christianity has had an impact both on written and spoken Yoruba. In his Arabic-English Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Quran and Sunnah, Yoruba Muslim scholar Abu-Abdullah Adelabu argued Islam has enriched African languages by providing them with technical and cultural augmentations with Swahili and Somali in East Africa and Turanci Hausa and Wolof in West Africa the most beneficiaries. Adelabu, a Ph D graduate from Damascus cited—among many other common usages—the following words to be Yoruba’s derivatives of Arabic vocabularies:[29][better source needed]

Some Loanwords

  • • Sanma: Heaven or sky, from السماء
  • • alubarika: blessing, from البركة
  • • alumaani: wealth, money, resources, from المال

Among commonly Arabic words used in Yoruba are names of the days such as Atalata (الثلاثاء) for Tuesday, Alaruba (الأربعاء) for Wednesday, Alamisi (الخميس) for Thursday, and Jimoh (الجمعة, Jumu’ah) for Friday. By far Ọjọ́ Jimoh is the most favorably used. It is usually referred to as the unpleasant word for Friday, Ẹtì, which means failure, laziness, or abandonment. better source needed] Ultimately, the standard words for the days of the week are Àìkú, Ajé, Ìṣẹ́gun, Ọjọ́rú, Ọjọ́bọ, Ẹtì, Àbámẹ́ta, for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday respectively. Friday remains Eti in the Yoruba language.

In the 17th century, Yoruba was written in the Ajami script, a form of Arabic script.

Yoruba is spoken by both Muslims and Christians.

The Yoruba are predominant in the southwest, and comprise about 21 percent of the population. Approximately half of the Yoruba are Christian and half are Muslim.

The last census that recorded religious identification in south-west Nigeria was carried out in 1963. For the area of the present-day states of Ekiti, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo, covered by the KEO survey, the census data reported roughly similar numbers of Muslims (46.3 percent) and Christians (45.5 percent),

The Yoruba People and Islam

Most Yorubas adhere to Sunni Islam. Islam came into Yorubaland around the 14th century, as a result of trade with Hausa and Wangara (also Wankore) merchants,[citation needed] a mobile caste of the Soninkes from the then Mali Empire who entered Yorubaland (Oyo) from the northwestern flank through the Bariba or Borgu corridor,[78] during the reign of Mansa Kankan Musa.

Due to this, Islam is traditionally known to the Yoruba as Esin Male or simply Imale religion of the Malians. The adherents of the Islamic faith are called Musulumi in Yoruba to correspond to Muslim, the Arabic word for an adherent of Islam having as the active participle of the same verb form, and means “submitter (to Allah)” or a nominal and active participle of Islam derivative of “Salaam” i.e. (Religion of) Peace. Islam was practiced in Yorubaland so early on in history, that a sizable proportion of Yoruba slaves taken to the Americas were already Muslim.[80] Some of these Yoruba Muslims would later stage the Malê Revolt (or The Great Revolt), which was the most significant slave rebellion in Brazil. On a Sunday during Ramadan in January 1835, in the city of Salvador, Bahia, a small group of slaves and freedmen, inspired by Muslim teachers, rose up against the government. Muslims were called Malê in Bahia at this time, from Yoruba Imale that designated a Yoruba Muslim.

The Mosque served the spiritual needs of Muslims living in Ọyọ. Progressively, Islam started to gain a foothold in Yorubaland, and Muslims started building mosques. Iwo led, its first mosque built in 1655,[81] followed by Iseyin in 1760,[81] Eko/Lagos in 1774, Shaki in 1790, and Osogbo in 1889. In time, Islam spread to other towns like Oyo (the first Oyo convert was Solagberu), Ibadan, Abẹokuta, Ijebu Ode, Ikirun, and Ede. All of these cities already had sizable Muslim communities before the 19th century Sokoto jihad. Several factors contributed to the rise of Islam in Yorubaland by the middle of the 19th century. Before the decline of Ọyọ, several towns around it had large Muslim communities, however, when Ọyọ was destroyed, these Muslims (Yorubas and immigrants) relocated to newly formed towns and villages and became Islam evangelists.

Secondly, there was a mass movement of people at this time into Yorubaland, many of these immigrants were Muslims who introduced Islam to their hosts. According to Eades, the religion “differed in attraction” and “better adapted to Yoruba social structure, because it permitted polygamy”, which was already a feature of various African societies; more influential Yorubas (like Seriki Kuku of Ijebuland) soon became Muslims, with a positive impact on the natives. Islam came to Lagos at about the same time as other Yoruba towns, however, it received royal support from Ọba Kosọkọ, after he came back from exile in Ẹpẹ. Islam, like Christianity, also found common ground with the natives who already believed in a Supreme Being Olodumare / Olorun. Without delay, Islamic scholars and local Imams started establishing Koranic centers to teach Arabic and Islamic studies, much later, conventional schools were established to educate new converts and to propagate Islam.

Today, the Yorubas constitute the second largest Muslim group in Nigeria, after the Hausa people of the Northern provinces. Most Yoruba Muslims are Sunni, with small Ahmadiyya communities.

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Published in: Uncategorized on January 1, 2021 at 21:00  Leave a Comment  

Risālah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawaanī – Chapter 5: Ghusl

نظم رسالة ابن أبي زيد القيرواني
Risālah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawaanī

The Risālah : A Treatise on Mālikī Fiqh by ʿAbdullah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī (310/922 -386/996)

Translated by Alhaj Bello Mohammad Daura, MA (London) (Including commentary from ath-Thamr ad-Dānī by al-Azharī)

Risālah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawaanī – Chapter 5: Ghusl

Evidence for it and its preconditions were already mentioned in the chapter on wudū’. The description of ghusl contains obligations, sunnas and meritorious elements. The author did not clarify which are the obligations and so we will make that clear. There are five obligations:

1. Covering the entire body with water;

2. the intention;

3. lack of interruption;

4. rubbing; and

5. making water penetrate the hair, whether it is thick or there are thick plaits.

There are five sunnahs of ghusl:

1. washing the hands to the wrists first:  

2. rinsing the mouth;

3. sniffing water up the nose;

4. blowing water out the nose;

5. and wiping the earholes. He wipes whatever he can wash of them. The description of the washing is to take water in the hands and tilting his head so the water can reach the inside of his ears. He does not pour water into his ears because that would entail harm.

Its meritorious parts are seven:

1. the Basmala;

2. beginning by removing filth from the body;

3. washing all the limbs of wudu’ before the bath;

4. beginning with the upper body before the lower;

5. beginning with the right side before the left;

6. doing the head three times; and

7. using a small amount of water while doing ghusl completely.

There are five disliked things:

1. reversing the order of the actions;

2. pouring a lot of water;

3. repeating the washing after having done it fully;

4. doing ghusl in the lavatory or in a filthy place; and

5. to purify oneself while showing the private parts. Ghusl is washing which covers the entire surface of the body accompanied with rubbing because the reality of ghusl consists of both.

5.1. Things which make ghusl obligatory

5.1a. Janaba

You must do ghusl because of janaba

[Janaba results from two things: ejaculation and the disappearance of the end of the penis in the vagina.]

5.1b. End of Menstruation or Lochia 

or at the end of menstruation and the bleeding after childbirth.

[At the cessation of the bleeding of both states, in both attribute and judgement. Some of them say that it is attribute rather than judgement which was already discussed. You are aware of the similarity in the attribute, but not in the judgement. The attribute is not specific to the obligation.]

5.2 Ghusl With or Without Wudū’

5.2a. Ghusl without wudu’

If, when doing ghusl, you do not include wudū’ it is acceptable

[If the person who is purifying himself orherself from janaba, menstruation and lochia confines himself to ghusl without wuduu’, the ghusl satisfies wudū’ and so he can pray with that ghusl without doing wudū’ if he has not touched his penis since the minor impurity is included in the major impurity. This is when ghusl is obligatory, like the ghusl for janaba. As for the ghusl which is sunna or recommended, it goes not satisfy wudū’.]

5.2b.What to Do First

but it is better to do wudū’, having begun by washing off any impurity from the private parts or the rest of the body.

[ It is better for the one who is purifying himself from janaba and the like to perform two meritorious actions, one of which is to begin by washing the private parts or any filth on his body. If he washes it with the intention of janaba and removes the filth, that is enough for him in the well-known position. He does not have to repeat his ghusl a second time. If he washes with the intention of removing the impurity and then does not wash it afterwards, it is not enough by agreement. The second meritorious action is wudū’ before washing his body to honour the limbs of wudū’.]

5.2c. Doing Wudū’ First

after This You Do wudū’ as you would for the prayer.

[Based on his previous statement that it is better for him to do wudū’, which linguistically is washing the hands to the wrists. So he completes the wudū’ which he would do for the prayer. This would necessitate that he washes off any filth on the body or private parts before washing his hands. That is not the case since washing the hands is put first. So it is better to say that he speaks first about the judgement, and secondly about the actual description.

Another matter remains. It is whether he repeats washing the hands a second time after washing his penis without the intention of janaba or not. The hadith of Maymuna demands that after the filth is removed, the hands are not washed again. That is the definite position of some people, but most of the commentators of Khalil say that he washes them again.]

5.2d. The Question of the Feet

If you want to, you can include your feet, or if you want, you can leave them to the end.

[His words show that he can choose between washing his feet before washing his body or delay that. Some of them therefore say that he can choose between washing his feet before or later. The well-known statement is that he washes his feet before absolutely whether the place where he washing is clean of filth or not. The evidence for the accepted position is in the Muwaṭṭa’ that “whenever the Messenger of Allah performed ghusl for janaba, he would begin by washing his hands, and then did wudū’ as for the prayer. “So it is clear that he did a full wudū’, which is the school of Mālik and ash-Shafi’i. Al-Fakhani said that it is the well-known position. It is said that he can absolutely delay washing them whether the place is clean or not. The position about delaying them is more evident than the well-known position based on what is in the two Sahīh collections that the Prophet used to delay washing his feet to the end of his washing and then he would wash them.]

5.3. Description of Wudū’

5.3a. Putting the Hands in the Vessel

Then you immerse your hands completely in the water container, take them out without holding any water in them, and rub the roots of your hair with your fingertips.

[After he has finished wudū’, he puts his hands in the vessel if it is open. If it is closed, he pours the water on them. He takes them out uncupped without any actual water other than the traces of the water and he rubs the roots of the head, beginning from the back of the skull. There are two benefits in rubbing in fiqh: the speed of making water reach the skin, and medicinal, which is that it prepares the head for the water so that it will not be harmed when the water is poured on it afterwards since the pores of the skin will be closed.]

5.3b.Three handfuls of Water

You then take out three handfuls of water washing your head throughly with each one.

[After finishing rubbing the roots of head, water is scooped on the head three times while rubbing his head with them. The entire head must be covered with each of the three handfuls and there must not be less than three, even if it is all covered with one and does his separate parts with it. If three is not enough, he does more until it is covered.]

5.3c. Women’s Hair

Women do the same as this. They gather up their hair and do not have to undo their plaits.

[The woman washes filth off and does wudū’ first and wets the roots of the hair as a man does. She gathers up and holds her hair and it is neither obligatory or recommended in the ghusl for janaba or menstruation for her to undo her plaits. The evidence for what he said is in Muslim where Umm Salamah said, “Messenger of Allah, I am a woman who keeps her hair closely plaited. Do I have to undo it for ghusl after sexual defilement?” He replied, “It is enough for you to throw three handfuls over your head and then pour the water over yourself. Then you will be purified.” It is an argument for the one who says that rubbing is not a precondition because the pouring washes away. As the woman is not obliged to undo her plaits, she is not obliged to remove her ring, even if it is tight, or her bracelets, nor is it obligatory for a man to remove a permissible ring, even if it is tight.]

5.3d. Pouring Water on the Right Side

You then pour water over your right side, then over the left, rubbing the body with both hands immediately the water has been poured so that the whole body is covered.

[After washing his head, he begins to wash his body by washing the entire right side beginning from the top and then does the same with the left side. It is obligatory to rub it in the well-known position. From what he says it appears that he does not rub after pouring water on the right side until water is poured on the left side. When water is poured on the left side, he rubs both sides. Something similar is stated in Tahqiq al-Mabani. It is clear that he rubs the right side before pouring on the left side. That is how you find it elsewhere. He rubs with both hands if that is possible. It is not possible, he delegates someone else to do to do the rubbing. The area between the navel and knees can only be rubbed by someone who can touch that directly – a wife or slavegirl. If he does not find anyone to do that, it is enough to pour the water over his body without rubbing. If he delegates someone when it is not necessary, that is not allowed in the well known position. The rubbing should be done after the water has been poured, and that is evident.]

5.3e. Covering the Entire Body

If you have any doubt about water reaching any part of your body you pour water over it again,

[The water must cover all the body to discharge the responsibility and it is only satisfied when he is certain. If there is any doubt about whether or not the water has reached the limbs of person performing the bathing, then he is obliged topour water over himself again, and it is not enough to wash it with water still on his body.]

5.3f. Rubbing

rubbing with your hand until you are certain every part of your body has been covered.

[There must be rubbing or whatever takes its place if that is impossible. It is like that when he is unsure about whether or not he has rubbed a place on his body. He takes water again and rubs it until he is certain of that. It is enough that he thinks it probable, differing from those who say that it is not enough. If it is enough to make the water reach the skin, which is agreed upon, it is better to carry out the rubbing which is disputed. He must repeat until he is sure that his entire body has been covered.]

5.3g. Inaccessible Areas

You must make sure that you include the inside of the navel, under your chin, that you put your fingers right through your beard, that you rub under your armpits, between your buttocks and thighs, behind your knees, not forgetting the heels and the soles of your feet. You also make sure you rub between each finger.

[The water and rubbing must include all these areas, the throat and that which is under the beard, putting the fingers through the hair of the beard. The hair of the head is not mentioned because it was already dealt with, and other hair must be washed as well, like the eyebrows, eyelashes, moustache, armpits and pubic region. Inside the navel must be washed, which a place where dirt gathers, between the buttocks which must be relaxed so that water reaches the folds of the anus, but not inside the anus. Also inside the thighs, which is between the anus and penis, behind the knees, and the soles of the feet. It is obligatory to put water between the fingers which would have been covered a prior wuduu’. Otherwise it is done in ghusl. He does not mention things which are far from water, like the lines of the brow and hollows of the outside eyelids and under the nostrils and other places since that was covered in wudū’.]

5.3h.The Feet

If you have delayed washing your feet, you wash them last, thereby completing both your ghusl and your wudū’.

[If they were not washed first, then they are washed, completing the obligatory ghusl and recommended wuduu’. If he delayed washing the feet in wudu’, he washes them with the intention of wudū’ and ghusl.]

5.4. Avoiding Touching the Penis:

5.4a. After the Ghusl

You should be careful not to touch your penis with the inside of your hand when rubbing your body but if you do, having already completed your ghusl, you have to do wudū’ again.

[When he does wudū’ on account of janaba after washing the uncleanness from his private parts with the intention of removing janaba, he should be careful about touching the penis. It is mentioned because it is the most common of several things which break wudū’. Wudū’ is only obliged by touching the penis with the inside of the hand. It appears from this that wudū’ is not obliged for touching the penis unless it is done with the inside of the hand. That is the position of Imam Ash-hab. The school of Ibn al-Qāsim is that wudū’ is obliged for touching the penis with the inside of the hand or the fingers. In the Mukhtaṣar of Shaykh Khalīl, he adds “or by the sides of the fingers”. If you touch the penis deliberately or forgetfully and you have finished wudū’, then wudū’ must be repeated if you want to pray. Otherwise it is not necessary to repeat it until you wish to pray. as is the case with other ritual impurities. It is necessary to have an intention to repeat wudū’ if he wants to pray, because his major impurity has been removed and so some say that the intention for wudū’ must be renewed which is agreed upon.]

5.4b. Touching the Penis Before Ghusl is Completed

But if you touch it at the beginning of your ghusl, after having washed the areas included in wudū’, you should then go over them again with water in the right order and with the intention of doing wudū’.

[All or part, as is transmitted from Abu ‘Imraan. It makes no difference whether he washes them first and then touches or whether he has washed some of them. Following the correct order is recommended. We consider that the correct sequence in wudū’ is sunnah. It is evident that he means that it is not obligatory in the sunnah. It is said that it is referring to the obligations of wudū’, its sunnahs and its meritorious actions. It is said that it refers to making water flow on the limbs and rubbing. On this basis and on the basis of what is before it it must mean that it is obligatory.

There is disagreement about the renewing the intention of wudū’. The author says that it is obliged to renew the intention of wudū’. If he intends to remove the major impurity, that is not enough. He is in the position of someone doing wudū’ who is not in janaba who intends to remove major impurity. Al-Qabisi says that he is not obliged to renew it. The basis of the disagreement is whether each limb which is purifies first or its own is purified without the full completion. If we said the first, then it is obliged to renew it because its purity has gone with the ritual impurity and so it is obliged to make an intention to wash it again. If we state the second, then it is not obliged to renew it because it remains and so we include it in the intention for the greater purity.]

Published in: Uncategorized on December 10, 2020 at 21:57  Leave a Comment  

The Restoration of the Use of Our Money

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The Restoration of the Use of Our Money

Speech of YB Senator Mumtaz binti Md.


1.- Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah, the Lord the World, the King of the Day of Judgement. It is in His Name that we have gathered here today for a great and noble purpose: To restore a Sunnah that had been lost, that is, the payment of Zakat using Shariah currency.

2.- This is a great event that will echo throughout the years to come and throughout all Muslim lands. It is great because anything to do with restoring a Sunnah is great. It is great because the Zakat is an important affair to all the muminun. It is great because the introduction of the Shariah currency into our daily life is the greatest political event of the Muslims of this century.

3.- All this will happen today. Today we start a new chapter in the modern history of Islam. A chapter in which we, the people of Kelantan, have decided to pay Zakat using OUR money. As it was in the past and it will be in the future.

4.- Our Money, indeed, because the Dinar and the Dirham are the currency mentioned by Allah, subhana wa ta’ala, in Qur’an. Our Money, because the gold and silver coins have been “our money” from the beginning of Islam until the fall of the Khalifate. Our Money, because the Dinar and the Dirham are the means to calculate the nisab of Zakat. Our Money, because they are the measurement in Islamic legal issues regarding hudud.

5.- Our Money is clean from inflation. It was one year ago on the last 12th of August, that the Government of Kelantan through its State Company, Kelantan Golden Trade, launched officially the new coins. At that time the Gold Dinar was 581 Malaysian Ringgit. One year later, today’s price of the Gold Dinar is 811 Malaysian Ringgit. The Silver Dirham was 13 Ringgit, now is 25. This means a gain of 40% in Gold and 92% in Silver. As a result the people in Kelantan who bought the Shariah coins last year are richer now. Everyone else holding Malaysian Ringgit has been impoverished. Because the Malaysian Ringgit keeps losing value. The Shariah currency gains value and will continue gaining value against paper currencies.

6.- Gold and Silver are the same in Malaysia, as in Indonesia, as in Thailand, as in any country in the world. Gold and Silver are the historical currency of the world. Their worth is endorsed by 5,000 years of human history. The Dinar and the Dirham will unify the Muslim nation: One Ummah, One currency. This is the motto of those of us who want to see the Shariah currency in circulation amongst the Muslims.

7.- Our gold and silver coins will end the unacceptable supremacy of the US dollar as world currency while returning justice to the world. Unlike with the US dollar, there is no monopoly in the production of gold or silver, and their yearly production (2.6 thousand tons) hardly reaches 1.5% of the present stock in circulation. Gold and silver will eventually replace the present international monetary system, enhance international trading and allow a more just distribution of the wealth in the world. On this basis, we endorse the recent call by the Muslim government of Kazakhstan for the introduction of a gold currency to replace the US dollar as world currency.

8.- Some people question whether there is enough gold in the world to be a world currency. The answer is simple and it was already answered by David Ricardo in the XIX century: “Any commodity can serve as world currency independently of their total amount in circulation. If demand increases at its present price, the price of that commodity will rise to accommodate the total demand however big”. That is to say, as demand continues to increase its value will continue to grow to accommodate demand. It is in this light, that people have calculated that if we return to gold standard it is expected that the price of gold will go anywhere between 10,000 to 30,000 USD per ounce. In addition, silver will also continue to rise in price as a support to gold.

9.- Some people also think that gold is subject to speculative forces and therefore its price could be manipulated. Like every commodity the price of gold and silver fluctuates. This is normal and healthy. We know that the price of Dinar and Dirham fluctuated even in the early days of Islam. This is not a problem. This is how it should be. What those people who are concern with speculators ignore is that the large stocks of gold are not in the hands of large investors or even central banks. By the end of 2010 there were an estimated 165,000 tons of gold in the world of which 50% is in the form of jewelry, 18% is owned by central banks and the IMF, 18% is owned by private investors, 12% is in some form of industrial use (such as dentistry, electronics, etc) and 2% is unaccounted for. In fact the largest holders of gold in the world are… Indian ladies. If we were to be worried about a large fluctuation of gold, we should be worried about the ladies of India selling their gold. Yet, what it seems is that they are buying more, rather than selling.

10 – In the long term, gold is the most stable currency the world has ever seen. A 400 years’ study on the price of gold against a basket of commodities conducted by Prof Roy Jastram in his book “The Golden Constant” reveals that gold is remarkably stable despite wars, crisis and the passing of time. A chicken at the time of the Prophet cost one dirham, today you can buy one chicken in most parts of the  world for approximately one dirham …if not two. But if the comparison is made against any other paper currency, both gold and silver, outperforms any one including the mighty US dollar. We can simply affirm that gold and silver are the most stable currencies that we could have.

11.- Most of the things I have just mentioned can be learned by reading Gold Standard literature. Yet, there are things that we stand for that go beyond the Gold Standard. The Gold Standard is a monetary model that is based on paper money partially backed by gold. Our position is more advanced. We advocate gold and silver coins, freely owned and circulated by people. We advocate absolute freedom: freedom from the monopoly of central banks and also freedom from banking and political systems.

12.- We advocate the freedom that Allah has granted us in the Qur’an: “Trade with mutual consent” Money is part of trading. Money also must be traded according to the rule of mutual consent. Impositions or monopolies are not accepted in Islam. We advocate gold and silver because we advocate freedom. This means that we do not believe that the government has any right to impose, even gold. We believe the government should be the guarantor of freedom. That is the Islamic Way.

13.- But what has gathered here today is more than just the gold and silver coins, it is the payment of Zakat using gold and silver coins. Zakat is one of the pillars of Islam. Zakat must be paid in ‘ayn, and not in dayn. ‘Ayn in Arabic refers to anything tangible, a commodity present. Dayn in Arabic refers to any promissory note, or debt or liability. Zakat must be paid in ‘ayn. This is a fact. ‘Ayn is also the name given to gold and silver coins, what we normally call ‘cash’.

14.- For too long, we have accepted that Zakat could be paid with Ringgit. Yet we do not know what a Ringgit is. If you go to Bank Negara with a bill of “One Ringgit” and you ask the bank, pay me the Ringgit. Bank Negara will respond there is nothing to pay. If there is nothing to pay, what is a Ringgit? The answer is a legal paper which value is entirely based on the compulsion of the State. The Ringgit is a fiat currency. And as such, its only value that can be used for Zakat is its value as ‘ayn, that is, its value as paper.

15.- This judgment is endorsed by Shaykh ‘Illish. Shaykh ‘Illish, was one of the most learned Scholars of Islam from al-Azhar of Egypt during the Khalifate, he was the last Ottoman Scholar in Islam who wrote on the matter of paper money. Someone brought the newly introduced paper money by the British in Egypt and asked him: can you pay zakat with this? He answered: “Yes, you can but only for his value as ‘ayn’. That is, the only thing that has value of paper money regarding the payment of zakat is its value as PAPER.

16.- Those scholars with discrimination today admit that we use paper money as a matter of darurah. Darurah, as you know, means exceptionality in Islam. It is an extreme circumstance by which an exception to what is forbidden must be made. Such as for example, being in danger of losing your life or the impossibility to do what is halal. In those extreme circumstance, the Scholars agree that something is normally not accepted can be accepted, …but only temporarily. Darurah is temporal, it cannot be treated as a continuous exception. Thus, some scholars argue that we have to pay Zakat with paper money because that is the ONLY  currency that there is. And that was true. But not today.

17.- Today, by showing the people that we can use the Dinar and the Dirham…Today we FINISH DARURAH. Today, we the people of Kelantan, we show the Muslim world, that we can use the Dinar and Dirham. Today we show the world that IT CAN BE DONE.

18.- The significance of the act that we celebrate today will echo throughout history and throughout the Muslim world. Today we are going to pay Zakat with Dinar and Dirham. To achieve this, the Government of Kelantan first allowed the minting of the coins, and second, it has encouraged more than 1,000 shops throughout the State to accept Dinars and Dirhams. The coins that we will pay today will not have to be exchanged for paper money they could be used in any of the thousand shops that there is in our State and the other thousand that exist throughout Malaysia with the sticker “We Accept Dinar and Dirham”. It is this network of shops that collaborate with us which are making this event possible.

19.- These are the reasons why we are making history today. We believe that we are opening a new chapter in the history of Islam. We believe the whole of Malaysia will join us in this affair. We believe the whole Muslim world will join us in this affair. The payment of Zakat using the Shariah currency will establish the coins as means of payment. And that is a second achievement.

20.- If we obey Allah, we will succeed. If we follow the way of the kuffar we will fail. Our decision is therefore clear. We will obey Allah. We will establish the Dinar and Dirham as our Shariah currency and we will pay Zakat using Dinar and Dirham. This will in turn be a victory of Islam versus Riba. This will in turn be a victory for the Ummah.

21.- Let us rejoice our religion. Let us pay Zakat using the Shariah currency as it used to be done by the Sahaba. Victory belongs to Allah. He is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth. We are just His servants. In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Magnificent: Let the event began.

Published in: on December 6, 2020 at 18:28  Leave a Comment  

Risālah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawaanī – Chapter 4: On How to do Wudū’ and what is Farḍ and Sunnah in it – How to Clean Yourself after Going to the Lavatory with Water (Istinjā’) or with Stones and Other Things (Istijmār)

Risālah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawaanī

The Risālah : A Treatise on Mālikī Fiqh by ʿAbdullah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī (310/922 -386/996)

Translated by Alhaj Bello Mohammad Daura, MA (London) (Including commentary from ath-Thamr ad-Dānī by al-Azharī)

Chapter 4: On How to do Wudū’ and what is Fard and Sunnah In It (Wudū) – How to Clean Yourself after Going to the Lavatory with Water (Istinjā’) or with Stones and Other Things (Istijmār)

4.1 Istinjā’ (Cleansing With Water in the Lavatory)

[Istinjā‘ is to wash the place of filth with water, It (Istinja) is derived from najaa, to rescue or to deliver from. It is as if the one who does istinjā’ removes something offensive from himself. Istijmār is to use small stones to remove offensive matter on the place].

4.1a. Not Part of Wudū

Cleaning yourself with water after going to the lavatory should not be considered a part of wudu’, being neither one of its sunnah nor its farḍ aspects.

[It is neither obligatory, sunnah or recommended to connect wudu’ to istinjā. It is a separate form of worship which is distinct from wudū’ in time and place. It is not considered one of the sunan nor one of the obligations nor one of the merits of wudū‘. Its aim is to clean the place in particular. It is recommended that it precede wudu‘. If he delays it, then he must be careful about touching his penis which would break his wudū‘.]

4.1b. Its Purpose

However, you have to do it in order that all impurities are removed before doing the prayer. You do not have to make a special intention before doing it.

[Istinjā‘ is to remove impurity and so it is obligatory that it be done with water, as istijmār is done with stones so that he does not pray with impurity on the body. Part of what indicates that it is part of removing impurity is that it is enough that he remove it without intention.]

4.1c. Impurity on Clothes

The same thing applies when washing impurities off clothes.

[Cleaning impurity from clothes does not require an intention.]

4.1d. Description of Istinjā

The way you wash yourself after going to the lavatory (istinjā‘) is first of all wash your hand and then the end of the penis where the urine comes out. You then wipe any impurity from your anus using hard earth or other things or your left hand, which you should then wipe on the ground and wash.

[The full description of istinjā’ is that after he has removed anything by lightly using his fingers, he takes his penis in his left hand with his index finger and thumb and then lightly pulls it from the bottom to the glans. Then he wipes any impurity from his anus with clods or anything which can be used for istijmār. Then he washes his left hand fearing that any unpleasant smell will remain on it. Then he does istinjā‘ with water, but he first washes the place of urine before the place of faeces so that his hand will not be impure. Combining istijmār and istinjā‘ with water is better since the Prophet did that.]

4.1e. Further Cleaning

After this you wash your anus by pouring water over it which you continue to do while at the same time relaxing it a little, rubbing the area thoroughly with the left hand until it is clean.

[ You continue to pour water without letting up because it is more helpful in removing filth. You relax the anus a little because there are folds in it. When water touches it, it contracts. When it is relaxed, it can be washed. The place is rubbed with the hand while the water is being poured until it is cleaned of noxiousness. It is enough that he thinks it probable if he is able to do that. If he is not able to do it because his hand is cut off or short, he delegates someone who is able to touch that place, be it wife or concubine. He does not do wudū’ when he leaves that without washing it.]

4.1f. What is Unnecessary

You do not have to wash the inside of either of the two openings.

[It is not recommended or sunnah to wash inside the openings. For a man, there is only one opening, because the urethra has no opening.]

4.1g. In Case of Breaking Wind

You should not do istinja’ on account having broken wind.

[It is forbidden to do this cleansing on account of wind. The basis for that is the words of the Prophet,”The one who does istinjā‘ on account of wind is not one of us.” There is no text which clarifies whether the prohibition is one of prohibition or one of dislike. The hadīth can imply either.]

4.2 Istijmār (Cleansing with Stones)

4.2a. Number of Stones

When doing istijmār it is sufficient to use only three stones provided that the last one comes out clean,

[Istijmār is done with three stones. When the last one comes out clear of noxiousness, then that is adequate, even if water is available. One might conclude from his words that istijmār using less than three stones is not permissible. But the well-known position is that it is based on cleanness, even if it that is achieved with only one stone.]

[Ibn Juzayy points out that it should be an odd number.]

4.2b. Water is Better

but using water is more purifying, more pleasant and preferred by the men of knowledge (ʿulamā‘).

[It is understood from his words that the stones are enough, even if water exists, out of the fear that someone might imagine that is the same as using water and that they are equally excellent. That possibility is eliminated by his words that water is “more purifying” because neither substance nor trace remains when it is used while the stone only removes the actual thing, and water is better because it removes doubt. It is preferred by scholars, with the exception of Ibn al-Musayyab who said that using water is the action of women and implies that it is part of their obligation, i.e. specific to them and they are not allowed to use stones, as it is specifically necessary in menstruation, lochia and sperm, i.e. in respect of the one obliged to do tayammum because of illness or when he does not have enough water for ghusl, but does have enough water to remove the impurity. Water is also specifically necessary when a lot spreads out from the orifice when it is more than is customary.]

4.3 Washing the Hands Before Wudū’

If someone has neither urinated nor defecated but is doing wudū’ because he has broken it in some other way or has been asleep or has done something else which makes it necessary for him to do wudū‘, he should wash his hands before he puts them into whatever water container he is using.

[If someone has not urinated nor defecated or anything else which would require istinjā‘, like madh-yu and wadiy-yu, and wants to do wudū‘ because he has broken wind or done something else which obliges wudu‘, like apostasy, uncertainty about impurity, becoming a Rafidite [extreme Shi’ite], and other reasons like sleep, intoxication and unconsciousness, in following the sunnah, he must wash his hands first even if there is nothing on them which demands washing them as when they are both clean. Washing the hands to must absolutely be done whether he does istinjā‘ or anything else]

4.4 Sunnahs and obligations of Wudū

4.4a.Washing the hands to the Wrists

The sunnahs of wudū‘ include: washing the hands before putting them into the water container,

[One of the sunnahs of wudū‘ is to wash the hands to the wrists before putting them in the vessel. The sunnah of washing the hands before putting them into the vessel is when there is little water and it is possible that it might be used up. Otherwise it is not sunnah to wash them before putting them in the vessel.]

4.4b. Rinsing the Mouth

rinsing the mouth,

[Rinsing the mouth is a sunnah: it is to move water about in the mouth and spit it out. If he swallows it, it is not the sunnah. Also if he opens his mouth so the water runs into it, it is not the sunnah. The water must be moved about in the mouth and then spat out.]

4.4c. Sniffing up Water

sniffing up water into the nose and blowing it out again,

[One of the sunnahs is to to put water in the nostril by inhaling and if water is put up the nose without sniffing, that is not the sunnah. To blow it out, he puts his forefinger and thumb of his left on his nose and blows out the water from the nostrils using his breath.]

4.4d. Wiping the Ears

and wiping the ears. These are all sunnah actions,

[It is a sunnah of wudu‘ to wipe the outside and inside of the ears. The outside is what is next to the head and the inside is what is beside the face.]

4.5 Obligatory Elements of Wudū

the rest being obligatory (farḍ).

[The rest of wudū‘ is obligatory. This sentence is unclear since the rest of wudū‘ includes aspects which are sunnah, like repeating the wiping of the head, renewing the water for the ears, and the correct sequence, and that which is recommended, like saying the Basmala at the beginning. The answer to that is that his words, ‘the rest being obligatory‘ means the rest of the limbs which are washed and wiped independently since it is obligatory to wipe the head, and repeating it is dependent on it. The rest of the limbs designates independent obligations. Renewing the water and the correct sequence are not limbs. They are not connected to limbs, but to other than limbs because renewal is connected to water and proper sequence is connected to washing.]

4.6 How to Do Wudū’

4.6a. Basmala

Some of the men of knowledge (ʿulamā‘) say that when you go to do wudū‘ because you have been asleep or for any other reason you should begin by saying “Bismillah” (in the name of Allah), whereas others say that this is not part of doing wudū‘ correctly.

[When you go to do wudu‘ for some reason which obliges it, like sleep or something else, some scholars says that one begins with the Basmala. It is said that he says, “In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate,” and it is said that he simply says, “Bismillah.” Some scholars do not think that beginning with the Basmala was part of the known business of the Salaf, and indeed think that it is reprehensible, i.e. disliked. It is evident from the words of the author when he ascribes each position to ‘some’ that Malik did not take any stand regarding the Basmala. There are three transmissions from Mālik about the Basmala. One is that it is recommended, and that is what was stated by Ibn Habib, and is well-known because of the words of the Prophet, “There is no wudū‘ for the one who does not mention Allah.” The hadith appears to imply the obligation, and that is what was said by Imam Ahmad and Ishaq ibn Rahawayh, who was a mujtahid. The second is that it is reprehensible, saying, “Is he slaughtering so that he needs to say the Basmala?” The third is that there is a choice and then the judgement is that it is permitted.]

4.6b. Where to Place the Water Vessel

It is easier to get at the water if the container is on your right hand side.

[It is recommended for the person doing wudū‘ to put the vessel from which he does wudū‘ to his right because it is easier to take water. If the vessel is open, he can scoop from it. If the opening is narrow, it is better to have it on his left because that is easier.]

4.6c. Washing the Hands Three Times

You begin by washing your hands three times before putting them into the water container,

[After putting the open vessel to the right and the narrow one to the left, to follow the sunnah, he begins by washing his hands to the wrists three times before putting them into the vessel with a separate intention.]

4.6d. If You Have Gone to the Lavatory

except if you have just urinated or defecated in which case you wash off any traces of impurity before starting to do wudū’.

[What precedes is about the one who has not urinated or defecated. If he has urinated or defecated, then that person washes off the urine or faeces from himself before doing wudū‘. Then he does wudū‘, meaning the linguistic washing of the hands. Thus his first words about washing the hands before putting them in the vessel is about the one who has not urinated or defecated. If he has urinated or defecated, then he washes the place of urine or other filth and then does wudū‘, i.e, washes his hands, which is the first of the sunnahs of wudū‘.]

4.6f. Rinsing the Mouth

You put your hand into the container, take some water, and rinse your mouth out three times, using either one handful or three as you wish.

[You put your hand in the vessel if it is possible. Otherwise you pour the water and take enough water without being extravagant. You can rinse the mouth three times using one handful of water. The first handful is sunnah and each of the remaining two is recommended. If he wishes, he rinses the mouth three times with three handfuls, and the second form is better than the first form.]

4.6g. Rubbing the Teeth

It is also good to rub your teeth with your finger.

[It is recommended to clean the teeth with the finger before doing wudu‘.]

4.6h. Sniffing Water up the Nose You Then Sniff Up Water into Your Nose

[For the correct sequence only, so after he has rinsed the mouth, he sniffs water up his nose. Note that he says, “into the nose” because there might be sniffing without in going into the nose. Perhaps he mentioned that to seek the blessing of the actual words of the hadīth. Muslim says, “He snuffs water up his nose.”]

4.6i. Blowing Water Out the Nose

and blow it out again three times, holding your nose as you do when you blow it.

[What is accepted is that it is sunnah on its own, and the description of blowing out is to put the finger and thumb of the left hand on the nose and to bring the water with the air of the nose as he does when he blows the nose. Mālik disliked blowing it like a donkey because of the prohibition against that in the hadīth.]

4.6j. Number of Times

It is all right if you do this rinsing and sniffing less than three times. It is also all right to do all of this with only one handful of water but three handfuls is preferable.

[Less than three is adequate for rinsing and sniffing. The minimum is achieved by one or two times. The evidence for what he mentioned is that the Prophet did wudū‘ doing each action once and each action twice. The person doing wudū‘ can also combine rinsing and sniffing in the same handful. It has two forms. One that he only moves to sniffing after he finishes rinsing and the second is that he rinses and sniffs and then rinses and sniffs and then rinses and sniffs. The first is better because it is free of any reversal of order in worship.]

4.6k. Washing the Face: Wetting the Face

Then you take water, either with both hands together or with the right hand bringing the hands together afterwards, and using both hands pour the water unto the face.

[After finishing rinsing the mouth and sniffing, then he takes water with both hands if he wishes, or with the right hand and then puts it onto both hands and brings the water to his face. It appears that moving the water to the face is a precondition. This is according to Ibn Habīb, Ibn Majishūn and Saḥnūn. The well known position is that it is not a precondition to move it. What is desired is to bring water to the surface of the face however that happens, even by a waterspout.]

4.6l. Actual Washing of the Face

Then Using Both Hands You Wash the Face

[He applies water to the face without splashing the face with water as women and most men do it. He washes it with the hands. This means that washing connected to moving the water to the washed limb is a precondition of the recommendation in wudu‘. He also does that himself, even if he entrusts someone else to do the wudū‘ when that is not necessary. It does not satisfy the requirement because that is one of the actions of the arrogant. Rubbing is also obligatory, and the well-known position is that rubbing is obligatory in itself, not simply bringing the water to the face.]

4.6m. Area Covered: from the Top of the Forehead – Which is Marked by the Hairline –

[The sunnah in washing is to begin to wash the limbs from their top. If he begins from the bottom, it is allowed, but what he has done is disliked. He explains that what is meant by forehead is what touches the earth in prostration and the right and left sides of the brow, which is next to the normal roots of the hair. One does not take into consideration thick hair or baldness. He includes the thick hair in washing but not the place of baldness. From ‘hairline’ it is understood that part of the head must be washed to achieve the obligation.]

4.6n. to the End of the Chin,

[The face has both length and width. The beginning of its length is the normal roots of the hair and the end is to the end of the chin, which is the point of the beard, and the hairs on the bottom lip. There is no dispute about it being included in the washing. Its width is from ear to ear.]

4.6o. Covering the Entire Face

covering the whole area of the face from the jawbones to where the ears start, making sure you include the eye sockets, any wrinkles on the forehead and the bottom of the nose.

[He must wash the entire face, rubbing around it, including the temples between the ears and the eyes. The well-known position is that it is included in washing. You run your hand over what is hidden inside the sockets and inside the eyes. That must be washed. Also the hand must pass over the wrinkles on the brow, which is the place of prostration The hand must be passed over the bottom of the nostrils. This refers to the outside out and not the inside. He must wash the outside of his lips if they are not covered while washing the face.]

4.6p. Doing It Three Times

You wash your face in this way three times taking water to it.

[The face is washed in this manner three times from the beginning of the limb to the end and rubbing it.]

4.6q. The Beard

When washing your face you rub the beard with both palms to make sure that water gets into it since hair has a natural tendency to repel water. You do not have to put your fingers through your beard when doing wudū‘ according to Malik. You merely rub your hands over your beard down to the end.

[When the beard is thick, when washing the face, rub the hair of the thick beard with the palms in order to make the water enter it. If he does not do this, he will not do all of the outside of the hair because the hair repels water which gets on it unless it is moved by the hands. The well-known position from Mālik is that one does not have to put your fingers through the hair of a thick beard in when doing wudū’. Indeed the apparent text of the Mudawwana is that it is disliked in the case of a thick beard. As for the sparse beard through which the skin shows, he must put his fingers through it when doing wudū‘. It is absolutely obligatory to make the water penetrate the hair of the thin or thick beard in washing. The hands must move the water to the end of the beard.]

4.6r. The Second Obligation: the Hands

You then wash your right hand and forearm three times, or twice, pouring water over it and rubbing it with the left hand, making the fingers of one hand go between the fingers of the other. Then you wash the left hand and forearm in the same way.

[Then first after finishing washing the face, which is the first obligation, he moves on to the second obligation, which is the hands. He washes the right hand first because it is recommended without dispute to begin with the right in things before the left since it is sound that the Prophet said, “When you do wudū‘ begin with the right.” It is done three or two times. There’s a choice in the number times the hands are washed, but there is no choice in washing the face and feet. The reason for that is that it is established that the Prophet washed his face three times and his hands twice each. He pours water on the right hand and rubs it with the left hand. The rubbing must be connected to pouring the water. He puts the fingers of one hand between those of the other hand. He inserts them through the gaps from the top and not the bottom because otherwise that would entail entwining which is disliked. His words can imply either obligation or recommendation, but the first is the well known position. The basis for that is the words of the Prophet, “When you do wudū‘, put water between your fingers and your toes.” However, the command is obligatory for the hands and recommended for the feet. Then he washes the left hand in the same manner.]

4.6s. Extent of Washing the Hands and Arms

When washing the arms you go right up to the elbow, including it in what you wash. It has also been said that you only wash up to the elbows and that it is not necessary to include them but it is better to include them in order to remain on the safe side.

[When doing wudū‘ you wash up to the elbows and include the elbows in the washing. It is possible to include them or not in the washing. The most famous position is that it is obligatory to include them. He clearly stated that here. This is taking the ayat [“and your hands to the elbows,”] to mean “with”. Those who say that it that the washing ends at the elbows take the ayat to actually mean ” up to”. The third position is that it is recommended to include them in the washing to remove the difficulty of definition because it is difficult to define the end which the washing reaches.

4.6t. The Third Obligation: Wiping the Head

Then you take water with your right hand, pour it onto the left hand and using both hands you wipe over your head, beginning at the hairline at the front of the head. You place fingertips together with the thumbs at the temples then wipe over your head with both hands as far as the hairline at the back of the neck. Then you bring them back to the place you started, bringing your thumbs up behind your ears back to the temples. Whatever way you wipe your head is acceptable as long as the whole head is covered but the way mentioned is better. If you were to put both hands into the container, then lift them out wet, and wipe over your head with them this is also acceptable.

[After finishing the second obligation, he moves to the third obligation, and takes the water with the right hand and pours it onto the left palm and wipes his entire head with his hands. It is recommended to start at the front of the head or the normal hairline whether the hair is thick or he is bald. The fingers are put together except for the thumbs which are put at each of the temples. Then the head is wiped to the back of the neck, which is the bottom of the skull and then it is brought back to the place from where you started. It is recommended to bring the thumbs behind the ears and back to the temples which must be wiped along with the rest of the face including the hair. This manner of wiping is not obligatory, but the basis is to achieve a comprehensive washing and to completely wipe the head and hair. If he put his hands in the vessel, that is another way of taking water for wiping the head. So if he brings his hands out wet after putting them in the water, whether it is in a vessel or not and then wipes his head, that is enough according to Mālik without dislike and it is recommended according to Ibn al-Qāsim.]

4.6u. The Ears

Then you pour water over your index fingers and thumbs or if you like you dip them into the water and with them you wipe the outside and inside of both ears.

[After wiping the head, then the ears are wiped by taking water in the right hand and pouring it over the index finger and thumb of the left hand and the adjoining part of the left palm and he pours it on the same of the right hand. Then he wipes the outside and inside of both ears. If he wishes, he can dip the index fingers and thumbs in the water and then wipe with them. The first manner comes from from Ibn al-Qāsim and the second from Mālik.]

4.6v. Women’s Action in Wiping

Women wipe their heads and ears in the same way but they have to wipe over any hair that is hanging loose and cannot wipe over any head covering.

[The woman wipes her head and ears like the man in amount and description by the words of the Almighty, “Wipe your heads,” and women are the sisters of men. She wipes over any hair hanging loose. What is well-known is the obligation to wipe over any of man’s hair which is hang ing on the two sides since it will fall on the place of the obligation or on the face. As for that which actually extends over the place of the obligation, it is agreed that it is obligatory to wipe it. The ‘head covering’ is a cloth by which a woman binds her hair to protect it from the dust. She also does not wipe over other similar hair coverings when they are put next to the head because all of that is a barrier since it does not let her wipe what must be wiped. Otherwise it is permitted as Mālik said that the Prophet wiped over his turban, which is by necessity. Imam Ahmad disagreed and said that there is choice in that. It is affimed that the Prophet wiped the forelock at the front of the head first and finished by wiping over the turban.]

Wiping under plaits

They should put their hands under their plaits when bringing their hands back to the front.

[After the woman begins the wiping from the front of her head and reaches the back where the hair hangs down, she must put her hands under the plaits of hair to complete it, and it is sunnah to bring the hands back if there is any moisture left on them. It is clear from his words that she does not have to undo her plaits because of the difficulty involved. Some people limit that to what is tied with a thread or two. When there are a lot of threads, it must be undone.]

4.6w. Fourth Obligation: the Feet

[After he finishes wiping the ears, he begins the fourth obligation, i.e. washing the feet. It is said that its obligation is wiping. The reason for the disagreement has to do with how the words of the Almighty are read and whether “your feet” is in the genitive or accusative. If it is accusative, then the feet are added to “face and hands” and there is no doubt that its obligation is washing, and so this judgement is given by the conjunction. If it is genitive, then it is joined to “head” and it has the judgement of what it is joined to, which is wiping, and so they are wiped. They are wiped if he is wearing leather socks. This is deduced from what the Prophet did since it is confirmed that he only wiped his feet when he was wearing leather socks. The multiple transmissions from him is that he always washed them when he was not wearing leather socks.]

4.6x The Manner of Washing the Feet

You then wash both feet pouring water onto your right foot with your right and rubbing it with your left hand little by little. You do this thoroughly three times.

[The description of washing the feet is that water is poured with the right hand onto the right foot which is rubbed with the left hand. Rubbing one foot with the other is not enough. This is the position of Ibn al-Qāsim. Its washing is recommended to be completed by water and rubbing three times and should not be more than that. The washing of the feet is limited to three times, which is one of two well-known positions about whether the fourth is disliked or forbidden. The other statement is that washing the feet has no limitation. What is desired is to cleanse, even that is more than three. It is also well-known.]

4.6y The Toes and Heels

If you want you can put your fingers between your toes. If you do not do this it does not matter, but doing it makes you feel more satisfied. You then rub your heels and ankles and any part which water does not get to easily due to hardening or cracking of the skin. You should make sure you do this well, pouring water on the area with your hand because there is a hadith which says, “Woe to the heels from the Fire.” The “heel” of a thing is its extremity or end. You then do the same thing with the left foot.

[If he wishes, he puts water between his toes while washing them, and if he wishes, he leaves that, but it is better to put them between the toes and no doubt remains when it is done. Rubbing the heels can mean either the obligation or recommendation. What is meant is the first. He must rub all those places where the water does not immediately reach due to hardness or cracks as well as wrinkles in loose skin. The threat regarding “Woe to the heels from the Fire” does not only apply to heels, but to every part of the limbs of wudū’. The Prophet said that about when he saw that the heels had no water on them and had not been wiped with water. The whole process is repeated with the left foot. He did not state the limit of washing, and it extends to the ankles. The best known position is to include them in the washing.]

4.6z Three Times

Washing each of the limbs three times is not an actual command. You can do it less but three is the most you should do. If you can do it thoroughly with less than that it is acceptable as long as you do not leave anything out. Not everyone is the same in the amount of water they require to do wudū‘ thoroughly.

[There is no actual definition that it is not adequate if the limbs are not washed in wudū‘ three times each. Three is the limit of what can be done, and no more than three. Ibn Bashīr transmits the consensus that the fourth time is forbidden. The story of the consensus of its prohibition is not established because of the existence of the statement that it is disliked. However prohibition can include what is disliked. The basis in this is that it is related that a bedouin asked the Messenger of Allah about wudū‘ and he showed him three times each. It is clear that he did wudū‘ in his presence and then said, “This is how wudū‘ is.” Therefore anyone who does more than this has acted badly, transgressed and done wrong. If it is done throroughly with less than that, it is allowed. The maximum is specified, but not the minimum since it is contained in one and two and so its state is known and there is no need to define it. Not all people are the same in doing that washing thoroughly. If someone does not do it thoroughly with one time, then it is not allowed and specified in respect of him that which will achieve it. If that is only complete with two, then he intends the obligation by them, and the third is excellence. If it is only thorough with three, then the obligation is intended by it and the recommendation removes what is more. It is clear that the description of wudū‘ contains obligations, sunnahs and virtues and the person is encouraged to perform them in the manner by which none of them is lacking.]

4.7 The Reward for Performing Wudū

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Anyone who does wudū‘ and does it well and then raises his eyes to the sky and says, ‘I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, without any partner and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger,’ will have the eight gates of the Garden opened for him and he can enter by any of them he chooses.”

47a. What to Say Afterwards

Some of the ‘ulamā‘ recommend saying when you finish wudū‘, “O Allah, make me one of those who turn back to You and make me one of those who purify themselves.” (Allahumma ijʿalnii mina-t-tawwabīna wa-jʿalnii mina-l-mutatahhirīn).

[Ibn Habīb says that it is recommended to say this. The ‘tawwabin‘ are those who have committed wrong actions and then repented and purified themselves of the wrong actions.]

4.8 Purpose of Wudū

4.8a. Aim

You must do wudū‘ realising that you are doing it for Allah as He has ordered you to do, hoping that it will be accepted and that you will get the reward for it and that it will purify you of your wrong actions.

[Scholars say that the shaykh did not speak about the intention (niyyah) for wudū‘ because he did not say that he makes the intention to perform wudū‘ which is an obligation by agreement with Ibn Rushd because he did not recall any disagreement about its being obligatory for wudū‘. That is why the agreement is related about its being obligatory and in the soundest position with Ibn al-Hājib. Opposite it there is a text on wudu‘ from Mālik about it not being obligatory. Then they disagree about whether it can be deduced from his words or not. Some say that he does not speak about intention in the Risālah at all and some of them say that it is deduced from his words “he must”, meaning the person doing wudū‘ must be doing wudū‘ sincerely for Allah, not for showing off or reputation. That is because sincerity is commanded in the words of the Almighty, “They were only commanded to worship Allah making the deen sincerely His.” Sincerity is that a person intend the Worshipped by the act of worship without actual articulation. The focus of the intention is the heart. Part of its precondition is that it accompany the first obligation in wudū‘, which is washing the face. If it precedes it by a lot, then it is agreed that it is not permissible. There are two accepted positions about it preceding by a little. The best known is that it is allowed. They agreed that if he makes the intention after washing the face, then it is not adequate. The basis for the intention is that it accompany it. If it happens that he overlooks it, he is forgiven. When wudū‘ is done sincerely with the intention of obeying Allah’s command and secure in himself that the action is done freely, he should hope that it will be accepted and he will be purified of wrong actions based on what is in (Saḥīh) Muslim where the Prophet said, “When a Muslim (or a believer) does wudū’ and washes his face, then every wrong action at which his eye looked leaves from his face with the water – or with the last drop of water”]

4.8b. Wudu‘ as Preparation

You should feel in yourself that it is a preparation and a cleansing for speaking to your Lord and standing in front of Him to carry out the acts He has made obligatory on you with humility in your bowing and prostration.

[He should know that wudū‘ is a preparation and a cleansing from wrong actions and dirt. When the legally responsible person wants to perform wudū‘, he does it sincerely for Allah Almighty desiring that Allah will accept it because he is purifying himself and this is in order to prepare to converse with his Lord. Conversing with the Lord demands sincerity of heart and devotion of inner consciousness to His remembrance. It is also in order to perform the obligation Allah has imposed on him. Bowing and prostration are specifically mentioned as well as humility in other actions because total humility is meant and because the closest a slave is to his Lord is when he is in prostration.]

4.8c. Having Certainty

You should do wudu‘ with a certainty of this, taking good care to do it properly for no action is complete without the right intention behind it.

[You should be aware that wudū‘ is preparation for intimate conversation with your Lord in order to make reverence and esteem firm in your heart. That will result in doing wudū’ with due humility to your Master. This reverence and esteem will result in doing wudu‘ in a manner which is mindful of avoiding imperfections and whisperings. Actions are only according to intentions. It is enough that the Prophet said, “Every man has what he intends.”]

Published in: on December 6, 2020 at 03:20  Leave a Comment  

الإعْـلاَمُ بِـحُـدُودِ قَـوَائِدِ الإسْـلاَمِ ([Advice Concerning the Boundaries of the Foundational Principles [Pillars] of Islam]) by Qaadī ʿIyaad

The following discussion has been taken from the book الإعْـلاَمُ  بِـحُـدُودِ  قَـوَائِدِ  الإسْـلاَمِ ([Advice Concerning the Boundaries of the Foundational Principles [Pillars] of Islam]) by Qaadī ʿIyaad.

شَرْح الْقاعِـدَةِ  الثَّانِيَةِ

(The Explanation of the Second Foundational Principle [Pillar] of Islam)

وَهِيَ  الصَّلاَة (which is prayer)  وَهِيَ  عَلَى سِتَّةِ  أَقْسَامٍ (It has six divisions):

1 -فَـرضٌ  عَـلَى الأَعْـيَانِ  (The prayers that are placed as an obligation on the individual) – وَهِيَ (are): الصًّلَوَتُ  الْـخَـمْسَةُ (the five daily prayers), وَالْـجُـمُعَةُ (and the Friday Prayer) فَـرضُ  عَـيْنٍ (which is obligatory for the individual to perform) لِأَنَّهَا بَـدَلٌ  مِـنَ  الظَّهْـرِ (because it stands in the place of the Ḍhur prayer), وَلكِنْ  لَهَا أَحْكَامٌ  تُخَالِفُهَا (but it has its own rules).

2 -فَـرضٌ  عَـلَى الْـكِفَايَـةِ  (The prayer that is placed as an obligation on the entire community) وَهِـيَ  الصًّلاَةُ  الْـجَنَازَةِ (and it is the funeral prayer);

3 –  وَسُـنَّةٌ (and Sunnah Prayers) وَهِـيَ  عَشَْـرُ  الصَّلَوَاتٍ (which are also ten):

[1] –  صًّلاَةُ  الْوِتْرِ  (Witr Prayer),

[2] and [3] –  وَالْعِيدينِ  (The Two ʿId Prayers [ʿIdu-l-Fiṭr and Idu-l-Aḍ-ḥaa]),

[4] and [5] – وَكُـسُوفِ  الشَّسِ  وَالقَمَرِ (The Prayer for the Eclipse of the Sun and the Eclipse of the  Moon),

[6] – وَالإسْـتِسقَاءِ (The prayer for Rain),

[7] –  وَرَكَْْتَى الْفَجْرِ (The Two Rakʿahs of the Fajr Prayer), وَقِـيلَ  فَـضِيلَة (and it has been said it is a Meritorious Prayer),

[8] – وَرَكْعَتَى الطَّوَاف (The Two Rakʿahs of the Circumambulation of the Kaʿbah),

[9] – وَرَكْعَتَى الإحْرَامِ (The Two Rakʿahs at the Place of Iḥraam [Mīqātu-l-Iḥraam]),

[10] – وَسُجُودِ  الْـقُرْآنِ (The Prayers in the Eleven Places of Prostration in the Qur’an);

4 – وَفَـضِيلَةٌ (and The Meritorious Prayers); وَهِـيَ  عَشَْـرُ  أَيْـضًا (which are also ten):

[1] وَرَكْـعَتَان بَـعْدَ  الْـوُضُـوءِ (two rakʿahs after performing wuduu’),

[2] وَتَـحِيَّةُ  الْـمَسْجِدِ (the prayer that is performed upon entering the masjid), وَرَكْـعَتَان (it is two rakʿahs),

[3] وَقِـيَامِ  [ شَهْـر ] رَمَـضَانَ (standing for prayer during Ramaḍaan [The Taraawih Prayer]),

[4]  وَقِـيَامُ  اللَّيلِ   (night prayers [Tahajjud]),

[5] وَأَرْبَـعُ  رَكْعَاتٍ  قَـبْلَ  الظُّهْـرِ (four rakʿahs before Ḍhur prayer),

[6] وَإِثنَانِ  بَـعْدَهَـا (two rakʿah after Ḍhur prayer),  وَرُوِيَ  أَرْبَـعُ (while some transmission mention four),

[7] وَإِثنَانِ قَـبْلَ الْـعَصْرِ (two rakʿah before ʿAsr prayer), وَرُوِيَ  أَرْبَـعُ (while some transmission mention four), وَإِثنَانِ  بَـعْدَ  الْـمَغْرِبِ

[8] (two rakʿahs after Magrib prayer, وَرُوِيَ  سِـتٌّ (while some transmission mention six) وَرُوِيَ  عِشْـرُونَ (and others mention twenty),

[9] وَالصَّلاَةُ  الضُّحَى (The Ḍuḥaa Prayer) وَهِـيَ  ثَـمَانُ  رَكْـعَاتٍ (which consist of eight rakʿahs), وَاخْـتَلاَفَـتِ  الرِّوًايَـة فِيهَا (and the transmissions differ concerning it), مِنْ  اثْنَتَيْنِ  إِلَى اثْـنَتِي  عَشْـرَةَ (from two to twelve [rakʿahs]),

[10] وَإِحْـيَاءُ  مَـا بَـيـْنَ  الْـعِشَاءَيْـنِ (Giving attention of what is between the two evening prayers [Maghrib and ʿIshaa’] – [that is to say, the performance of two rakʿahs between them has also been mentioned]).

وَقَـدْ  عَـدَّتْ  هَـاـذِهِ  [ مِـنَ ] السُّنَـنِ (All of above-mentioned can be included among the Sunnah prayers) أَيْـضًا (as well); وَتَـطَوُّعٌ (and a voluntary prayers) كُـلُّ  صَـلاَةٍ (is every prayer) تُـنُقِّلَ بِـهَا  (which has designated for it)  فِي  الأَوْقَاتِ  (times) الَّتِي  أُيِحَتِ  الصَّلاَةُ  فِيهَا (for which the [performance of the] prayer is suggested).

5 -يَـخْتَصُّ  بِـلأَسْـبَابِ  (The Prayers That Have Special Reasons for Their Performance); وَهِـيَ  عَشَْـرُ  أَيْـضًا (which are also ten):

[1] and [2] الصَّلاَةُ  عِـنْدَ  الْـخُـرُوجِ  إِلَى السَّفَرِ (the prayer performed when starting out on a journey) وَعِـنْدَ  قُـدُومِ  مِـنْهَا (and the prayer performed upon arrival),

[3] وَصَّلاَةُ  الإسْـتِخَارَةِ (the prayer for Allah’s guidance in making a decision) رَكْـعَتَانِ  (which is two rakʿaks),

[4] وَصَّلاَةُ حَاجَةِ (the prayer of the one who has a need) رَكْـعَتَانِ (which is two rakʿaks),

[5] وَصَّلاَةُ  تَسْـبِيحِ (the prayer for glorification of Allah), أَرْبَـعُ (which is four rakʿaks),

[6] وَرَكْـعَتَانِ  بَيْـنَ  الأَذَانِ  وَالإقَامَةِ (two rakʿahs performed between the adhān and the iqāmah),

[7] وَرَكْـعَتَانِ  لِـمَنْ  قُـرِّبَ  لِـلْقَتْلِ (two rakʿahs of the one who is about to be killed),

[8] وَرَكْـعَتَانِ  قَـبْلَ  الدُّعَـاءِ (two rakʿahs before the supplication [of repentance from the being on the verge of sin or unlawful action]),

[9] وَرَكْـعَتَانِ  عِـنْدَ  التَّوْبَـةِ  مِنَ  الذَّنْبِ (two rakʿaks after repenting from a sinful action) وَالاسْـتِغٌفَارِ مِـنْهُ (seeking forgiveness for it),

[10]  وَأَرْبَـعُ  رَكْـعَاتٍ (four rakʿahs) بَـعْدَ الزَّوَالِ (after the setting of the sun).

6 – مَـمْنُوعٌ (The Prohibited Prayers); وَهِـيَ  عَشَْـرُ  أَيْـضًا (which are also ten):

[1] عِـنْدَ  طُـلُوعِ  الشَّمْسِ (during the rising of the sun) وعِـنْدَ  غُـرُوبِـهَا (and the setting of it), إِلاَّ لِـمَنْ  تََذَكَّرَ  فَرْضًا (except for the one who remembers an obligatory prayer) أَوْ  نَامَ  عَنْهَا (or was asleep during the time of the prayer) أَوْ  لَـزِمَـهُ  قَـضَاؤُهُ (or he has to perform it [because the time of the prayer has passed]),

[2] وَالصَّلاَة بَـعْدَ  الصّبْحِ   (praying after Ṣubḥ Prayer) حَـتَّى تَشْرِقَ  الشَّمْسُ  (until the sun has fully risen),

[3] بَـعْدَ  الْـعَصْرِ (or after ʿAsr Prayer) حَـتَّى تُغِيبَ (until the sun has disappeared),

[4] وَبَعْدَ  طُـلُوعِ  الْفَجْرِ (after dawn has come in), إِلاَّ  رَكْـعَتَى الْفَجْـرِ   (except for the two rakʿahs of  the Fajr Prayer [Dawn Prayer]), والصّبْحِ (the two rakʿahs Ṣubḥ Prayer), أَوْ  مَـنْ  تَـرَكَ الْـوِتْـرِ (or the one who didn’t perform the Witr prayer) أَوْ  نَـامَ  (or slept) عَـنْ  حِـزْبِـهِ  (during the time he usually performs his portion) مِنَ  اللَّيْلِ (of the Night Prayer [Tahajjud]),  فَـلَهُ صَـلاَةُ  ذَلِـكَ (he [the person who missed] these prayers can perform them), مَـا لَـمْ  يُـصَلِّي الصّبْحَ (as long as he hasn’t prayed the Ṣubḥ Prayer,

[5] وَبَعْدَ  الْـجُمُعَةِ (after Jumuʿah prayer) فِـى الْـمَـسْجِـدِ (in the masjid) فِـي  مُـصَلاَّهُ (in its prayer hall); وَهِيَ  لِلإمَامِ (and for the Imām), أَشَـدُّ  كَـرَاهِـيَةً (it is strongly dislike),

[6] and [7] وَقَبْلَ  الْـعِيدَيْنِ (praying before the two ʿIds) وَبَـعْدَهُـمَا (and praying after them), إِذَا صُـلِّيَا فِـي  الصَحْرَاءِ (if they are prayed in the desert),

[8] وَقَبْلَ  الصًّلاَةِ  الْـمَـغْرِبِ (before the Maghrib Prayer),

[9] وَبَـيـْنَ  الصَّلاَتَـيْـنِ (between the two prayers) لِـمَنْ  جَـمَعَ  بِـعَرَفَـةَ  وَمُزْدَلِفَة (for the one who joins together the prayers when on Mount ʿArafat or Muzdalifah), أَوْ  لِـمَطْرِ (or because of rain); وَتَـنَقُّلُ (while going from one place to another) لِـمَنْ  عَـلَيْْهِ  فَـزْضٌ (by the person who has to perform an obligatory prayer), خَـرَجَ  وَقْـتُهُ (when time for it has gone) أَوْ  ضَـاقَ (or is about to go out) [is also prohibited],

[10] وَصَـلاَةُ  الرَّجُـلِ (the prayer of the man), وَحْـدَهُ (praying alone) أَوْ  فِـي  جَـمَاعَـةٍ (or in congregation) مُخَالِفًا لِلإمَامِ (who is opposed to the Imām).

Click here to link to The First Foundational Principle [Pillar]: Shahaadah

Published in: Uncategorized on December 4, 2020 at 01:33  Leave a Comment  



by Hajj Abdalhaqq Bewley

It is well known to all of us that the there are five absolutely indispensable elements which make up Islam, all of which are absolutely essential to the practice of our deen. We find them clearly delineated in the authentic hadith reported by ‘Abdallah ibn ‘Umar,  and his father, in which he said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah Salla-l-laahsay: ‘Islam is built on five: witnessing that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishment of the prayer, payment of Zakah, Hajj of the House, and the fast of Ramadan.’”

We know from this, and many other Qur’anic and Prophetic references, that Zakah is an absolutely indispensable element of Islam as a whole. Salah and Zakah are explicitly coupled together in the Qur’an at least twenty-nine times and many more times in an implicit way. The phrase “aqimu’s-Salah wa atu’z-Zakah” – “establish the Salah and pay the Zakah”– is a refrain which permeates Allah’s Book from beginning to end. This has been taken by some significant mufassirun to be evidence of the fact that Salah and Zakah are in effect interdependent. What they mean by this is evidence, in a legal sense, that a person’s prayer is not acceptable unless their Zakah has been properly discharged.

The first khalifah of the Muslims, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq Radia-l-laahu anhu confirmed this interpretation by saying that he would fight anyone who made a distinction between Salah and Zakah and, indeed he carried out his threat, since this was the basic cause of the Ridda Wars which took place during his caliphate. Yet, despite this, there is no doubt that the great majority of Muslims definitely consider Salah to be much more important than Zakah.There is no doubt that many of us fail to give Zakah the prime importance it is due as the third indispensable pillar of our deen.

Although it is not our aim on this occasion to go into to the fiqh of Zakah in a detailed way, it is nevertheless important to present a comprehensive overview of the key elements involved. This will help us to begin to recognise its main characteristics and see it clearly as the essential but neglected act of ibadah it is, whose purpose is to serve as a social safety net for the most needy people in every Muslim community.

Perhaps we should first of all briefly mention Zakat-al-Fitr, if only to make it clear that this is not to be confused with the pillar of Zakah that we are talking about here. Zakat-al-Fitr is a legal obligation connected to Sawm, the pillar of fasting in Ramadan. Zakat-al-Fitr is binding on every Muslim and has its own rules and conditions, which connect to the fiqh of fasting and to the Eid. However, discharging the obligation of Zakat-al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan, which every Muslim must do, has nothing whatsoever to do with the pillar of Zakah which we are talking about here.

The payment of Zakah proper, the Zakah which is the third pillar of Islam, becomes obligatory for every Muslim provided they fulfill certain conditions. The first is Islam itself: Zakah is not paid by non-Muslims. Freedom is another condition: Zakah is not paid by slaves. The third condition is possession of the nisab. The nisab is the minimum amount of wealth on which Zakah is due. If a Muslim has less than that no Zakah is owed. A further condition is actual ownership. Zakah is only paid by Muslims on property which actually belongs to them and moreover which is in their possession at the time. Finally there is hawl: a general rule that Zakah is only paid by Muslims on wealth which has been in their possession for a year or more.

Zakah is also subject to certain other factors. As with all our acts of worship, and indeed all our actions in general, a vital element in the payment of Zakah is the niyyah – the intention behind it – which must be made by the person who pays it. They must specifically intend to be fulfilling their obligation of paying Zakah to make it valid. The time of payment is another important factor. In the same way that there is a specific time for the prayer, the fast and the hajj, there is also a correct time for paying Zakah.

Another factor which was always integral to the correct payment of Zakah is its proper collection. Traditionally Zakah has always been collected by officially appointed collectors. The important point to grasp is that, legally speaking, Zakah is not the act of individual voluntary Sadaqah it has now universally become. Another vitally important aspect of Zakah which has largely been abandoned is the matter of its correct distribution, which we will look at in more detail later. There is no doubt, however, that Zakah should basically be distributed locally since its primary purpose is to look after the needs of poor Muslims in the area in which it is paid. Only in the event of there being no eligible Muslims in the local community should it be distributed further afield.

A final factor which it is vital to grasp, if the pillar of Zakah is to be restored to its rightful place at the heart of Islam, is that only the correct elements should be used to pay it. Zakah is only payable on three types of wealth – livestock, agricultural produce and monetary wealth including trade goods – and the precise means by which it may be paid, have been clearly defined from the time of the  Prophet Salla-l-laah onwards and have been confirmed by every generation of ‘ulama since. They are: animals of a precise type and age in the case of the Zakah on livestock; grain, fruit or oil of a precise quantity and quality in the case of agricultural Zakah; and, crucially, gold or silver of a precise weight in the case of the Zakah of monetary wealth and trade goods.

The proof that it was the metal itself – actual gold and silver – rather than any particular type of currency which was required in payment of Zakah on monetary wealth, is shown by the fact that the amount owed is calculated by the precise weight of gold or silver needed to pay it; it was never calculated in purely monetary terms. As we will see, despite the current situation, whereby monetary wealth is now measured in terms of paperand electronic currencies, this requirement to pay the Zakah of monetary wealth and trade goods in actual gold or silver has not changed.

We have already mentioned the importance of the correct distribution of Zakah and this has not been left to personal choice. The people who may receive Zakah are clearly delineated in the Qur’an in ayah 60 of Surat at- Tawba the meaning of which is as follows:

Sadaqah is for the poor,

the destitute,

reconciling people’s hearts,

freeing slaves,

those in debt,

spending in the way of Allah

and travellers.

It is a legal obligation from Allah, Allah is all-Knowing, All-Wise.

The word sadaqah, as used in this ayah, has always been understood by mufassirun and ‘ulama to refer specifically to Zakah. These categories of Zakah recipients which are listed in this ayah have been defined by the scholars of Islam throughout the centuries and are clearly explained in the classical commentary which the Tafsir Jalalayn gives on this ayah. It says:

The word, sadaqah, used here means Zakah so the meaning of the ayah is: Zakah is for and must be distributed to: the poor, – who are those who do not have enough to cover their normal needs; the destitute – they are those without anything at all; those who collect it – they are those whocollect the Zakah and distribute it, and the  scribes who record it; reconciling people’s hearts – this entails, amongst other things, the use of Zakah to encourage other people to become Muslim; freeing slaves – this is by giving them what they need to purchase their freedom; those in debt – that is people who ask for help to pay debts, provided those debts have not been incurred in disobedience to Allah; spending in the Way of Allah – Zakah can be used for helping those who do not have the means to undertake jihad; and travellers – those who are prevented by lack of means from completing their journey. It is a legal obligation from Allah. Allah is All-knowing of His creation, All-Wise in what He does. It is not permitted to give Zakah to people outside these categories or to deny it to any of them if the need exists. So the ruler should divide it among them but can give more to some categories if necessary…”

It can be seen from this that the use of Zakah is very specific and that it acts as a form of safety net for the most needy members of society in any Muslim community. Zakah may not be used in any other way. For instance, people often think that Zakah can be used, under the heading “spending in the way of Allah”, for projects such as building or purchasing a mosque or Islamic centre or school, when in fact, this is not a valid use of Zakah.

We made it clear earlier that officially authorised collection of Zakah was an integral factor in its correct implementation. This was the case from the time of the Prophet Salla-l-laah onwards. He is commanded in the Qur’an, in ayah 103 of Surat at-Tawbah to: “Take sadaqah from their wealth to purify and cleanse them.” As in the previously quoted ayah about the recipients of Zakah, the word “sadaqah” in this context is universally accepted as referring to Zakah. The important point to realise is the fact that this is a command from Allah. The leader of the Muslims is ordered to take  Zakah; it is not left to the choice of the individual donor. The Prophet Salla-l-laah confirmed this in his words of instruction to Mu’adh when sending him to Yemen. He said to him: “Allah has made it obligatory for Zakah to be taken from their property and given to their poor.” Again it is clear from this that Zakah is to be taken by the Muslim authorities; its payment is not to be left to the will of the individual concerned.

This obligation for the leader of the Muslims to actually take Zakah from the Muslims is further vividly illustrated by the words and actions of the first khalifah, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, we referred to earlier. After affirming the inseparable connection between Salah and Zakah, he declared, “If they refuse me even a hobbling rope, which they used to pay to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, I will fight them for it.” And, as we know, he went on to risk the very existence of the fledgling Muslim community by carrying out his threat. This shows that he considered the collection of Zakah to be an absolute duty of the political leader of the Muslim community.

It is clear, therefore, that the collection and distribution of Zakah is an integral function of Muslim governance and history shows that all the schools of fiqh have upheld this organic connection between Zakah and political authority. It was something which was taken for granted throughout all the centuries of Muslim rule up until the present time. Centrally appointed collection and distribution of Zakah is assumed in all the traditional literature on the subject and is the clear position of the four madhabs of Islam. They are all in agreement about the integral connection of Zakah to Muslim governance. For instance, Imam as-Sarakhsi, the famous Hanafi scholar, says in his book al-Mabsut: “Zakah is a right of Allah and is to be collected and distributed by the leader of the Muslims or his appointees. If anyone pays his Zakah to anyone else it does not remove from him the obligation of Zakah.” Imam Malik says in the Muwatta:

“The distribution of Zakah is up to the individual judgment of the man in charge… There is no fixed share for the collector of Zakah except as the leader of the Muslims sees fit.” Imam ash-Shafi’i says in al-Umm about the Qur’anic category, “those who collect it,” that they are those appointed by the khalifah of the Muslims to collect and distribute Zakah.And Imam Ahmad is quoted in the book Ash-sharih ar-rabbani li musnad Ahmad as saying, “The khalifah alone has the authority and responsibility to collect and distribute Zakah whether by himself or through those he appoints and he has the authority and responsibility to fight those who refuse to pay it.”

These are merely four representative examples from literally thousands of other corroborating possibilities, so it is clear that right from the time of its original prescription, the collection and distribution of Zakah was an integral and inseparable function of Muslim governance. The fact that the collection and distribution of Zakah is no longer in the hands of the political leaders of the Muslim community, means in effect that the pillar of Zakah can no longer be said to exist in the way it was prescribed by Allah in His Book and subsequently implemented by His Messenger. The payment and distribution of Zakah by isolated individuals, which is what Zakah has at best been reduced to at the present time, does not in fact properly fulfill the legal obligation of Zakah, because, as we have seen, the active involvement of established Muslim political leadership is essential if it is to be implemented correctly. Lack of this organic connection between Zakah and Muslim leadership necessarily means that the nature of Zakah has been altered beyond any recognition from its original function and practice.

Plainly said: unless it is collected and distributed according to the Shari’ah by a recognized Muslim political authority, it is, properly speaking, not really Zakah. So a first priority for us, if we really desire to see the pillar of Zakah restored to its pivotal place at the heart of Islam, must be to ensure politically effective Muslim leadership, at least at the local level of every Muslim community. Without this it is impossible for the collection and distribution of Zakah to be correctly implemented according to the Shari’ah.

Another factor which has played a major role in undermining Zakah and which has gone hand in hand with the loss of political authority we have noted, has been the change in the nature of wealth and money over the last two centuries or so. Until the end of the eighteenth century the chief measures of wealth in human society were land, and the animals and agricultural produce produced on it, and mercantile wealth, which was exclusively measured in terms of gold and silver coinage. These natural components of human prosperity are highlighted by Allah ta’ala in the Qur’an in Sura Ali ʿImran when He mentions:

…heaped-up mounds of gold and silver, and horses with markings, and livestock and fertile farmland. 3:14.

And, as we have seen, these are the very things on which Zakah, as a tax on superfluous wealth, is levied: particular types of agricultural produce, livestock, and monetary wealth, when any of these reaches the level of the nisab, in other words a level which is over and above the legitimate immediate needs of the individual concerned.

The problem is that the urban existence of the vast majority of Muslims in the world today means that Zakah on livestock and agricultural produce has basically no relevance at all to their lives. It is also the case that gold and silver have long ceased to be used as currency and this has meant that Muslims no longer recognise the need to pay Zakah on their monetary wealth and trade goods in these two metals, in spite of the fact that, as we have seen, this is the way that the Shari’ah demands that it should be paid.

The rise of the banking industry, which brought paper money into general use and has made it, in most cases, the only legal medium of exchange, has made it very difficult to measure, or even establish the monetary wealth owned by a Muslim on which Zakah must be paid. What is at issue here, where Zakah is concerned, is the relationship between gold and silver – on which, and with which, Zakah must be paid – and the paper money, and now increasingly the  electronic currencies, which today make up most people’s monetary wealth.

Although many Muslims are not aware of it, this whole matter has been much discussed by the scholars of Islam. The use of paper money, which we now take for granted and which is the only money we know, is in many ways contrary to the Shari’ah and many ‘ulama fought a strong rearguard action against its introduction into Muslim lands. One reason for this was because of the difficulties it placed in the way of Zakah and the consequent threat it posed to Islam as a whole. Although some modernist Muslims have tried to adapt and compromise the Shari’ah to make it fit in with the present economic system, the truth is, as many ‘ulama have made indisputably plain, that the deen cannot be fudged in this way. The Shari’ah on this matter is clear: Zakah on monetary wealth and trade goods may only be paid in actual gold or silver.

A number of fatwahs about this matter have been issued by Islamic scholars, including the landmark fatwa of Shaykh ‘Illish, the great Shaykh of al- Azhar of the late 19th century. A translation of the full text of this fatwa can be found in the book Zakah – The Fallen Pillar of Islam. Paper money had just been introduced for the first time as currency within the Ottoman Empire and Shaykh ‘Illish was asked whether Zakah should be paid on it or not. In summary his answer was that Zakah should not be paid on it because, unlike gold and silver on which Zakah must be paid, the paper which was acting as currency had no intrinsic value. Zakah would only be owed on it if there was sufficient weight of it for its value as scrap paper to reach the amount of the nisab on which Zakah would be payable on it as merchandise.

This makes the principle involved extremely clear: Zakah can only be paid using those means, which are clearly defined in the Book and Sunnah, namely livestock, agricultural produce and actual gold and silver. Unlike paper money, these are all things which have value in themselves as commodities. If you deface a gold coin it is still worth its weight in gold, whereas if you deface a hundred Pula note it is worth virtually nothing at all.

 It might be said, going strictly by this understanding, that no Zakah is owed on wealth held in bank accounts and other modern forms of saving and investment because no actual gold or silver is involved. However, going by the fact that the original intention of paper money was to represent particular amounts of gold and silver, it has been argued that, for Zakah purposes, monetary wealth held in these forms should be valued in terms of the amount of gold or silver that can be bought with it. If this amount exceeds the nisab, Zakah is owed. Certainly, if Zakah is to be paid at all in the present circumstances, and this is something which must be done both to re-establish Allah’s deen in its entirety and to look after the needs of millions of Muslims who are legally entitled to it, then this is the position which needs to be adopted by Muslims everywhere. What must be emphasised, however, is that this in no way removes the obligation for Muslims to pay Zakah in the actual gold or silver categorically demanded by the Shari’ah.

Since the Zakah on monetary wealth has to be paid in gold or silver, it is essential to know exactly what amount of gold and silver constitutes the nisab, the minimum amount on which Zakah is owed. The nisab in the case of gold is 20 dinars by weight and in the case of silver it is 200 dirhams by weight, so we need to know the exact weight of both the dinar and the dirham to find out whether or not we owe Zakah and if we do, how much we have to pay.

Both dinars and dirhams are mentioned in the Qur’an and were in use during the lifetime of the Prophet Salla-l-laah. The exact weight and purity of those coins were carefully recorded at the time and have been passed down through the centuries. The dinar weighed 72 grains of pure gold whose equivalent in modern terms is 4.25 grams. The modern equivalent of the dirham is 3 grams of silver. On this basis, as far as Zakah is concerned, the nisab for gold is 4.25 x 20 which works out at 85 grams, and for silver 3 x 200 which comes to 600 grams. The exact value of these amounts of gold and silver in whatever currency is in use in the place where a person’s Zakah is being assessed, will, of course, depend on their market value at the time and will need to be calculated at the time and place that the Zakah is being assessed.

In the modern context gold dinars and silver dirhams, conforming exactly to the traditional dimensions, were minted in 1992 by Muslim communities in both Britain and Spain and since then have also been produced in considerable quantities in Indonesia, South Africa, Malaysia and Dubai. This has resulted in their availability for the payment of Zakah in various places throughout the world. However, because it is the actual weight of gold and silver which are the vital factor where Zakah is concerned, there is no reason why Krugerrands or gold sovereigns or indeed any other form of gold and silver should not also be used to pay Zakah, provided of course they are of the right weight and purity. The important points, which must again be stressed, are that firstly, according to the Shari’ah, the Zakah owed on monetary wealth may only be paid in actual gold and silver and secondly that there is in fact no difficulty in obtaining the gold and silver necessary to accomplish this.

In conclusion we have seen that a combination of factors – namely thefact that Zakah is no longer collected and distributed under Muslim political authority and the fact that there has been a total change in the nature of wealth in recent times – has meant that Zakah, the pivotal third pillar of the deen, has, to all intents and purposes, ceased to exist in anything like its original form and is certainly not being implemented in the way demanded by all sound Muslim legal authorities throughout Islamic history.At best it has now been left to individual choice and relegated to the realms of private sadaqah, which is very different from the pillar of Zakah commanded by Allah and instituted by His Messenger, and the rightly guided khalifahs who succeeded him,  ajma‘in.

This being the case it is clearly the duty of all Muslims to do everything within their power to put this right and restore the pillar of Zakah to its rightful place as one of the essential mainstays of Islam. As we have seen, to make this possible certain steps need to be taken, which can be summarised under four main headings.

POLITICAL LEADERSHIP: – As we have seen, recognised and active political leadership within each Muslim community is absolutely indispensable for the correct collection and distribution of Zakah. Therefore, we should either appoint new leaders from amongst ourselves who we then empower to organise the proper implementation of the pillar of Zakah, or we should approach and empower existing leadership to take it on.

ASSESSMENT & COLLECTION: – One of the first tasks of such leadership will be to appoint Zakah assessors and collectors. Not only will they have to be trustworthy and discrete, but they will also have to have the requisite knowledge of the fiqh of Zakah needed to calculate a person’s Zakah in the present situation and be able to deal with any special circumstances. So even if they are well versed in the traditional fiqh of Zakah they will also need to be clear on how to address the many new matters that the current financial system has thrown up.

GOLD AND SILVER COINAGE: – As we have seen access to gold and silvercoinage is essential for the correct payment of Zakah. Dinars and dirhams of the correct weight and purity of gold and silver are now available from a number of sources. As well as this other types of gold and silver coinage can also be easily obtained. It will be necessary to value cash and other assets in terms of the amount of gold or silver they can buy at that moment in that particular geographic location so that the exact weight of the metal concerned owed as Zakah can be correctly calculated. It must also be said that although Zakah must be collected and distributed in gold or silver, there is no harm in that gold or silver subsequently being exchanged for other forms of currency if that would make it easier for recipients. It is, however, hoped that within a reasonably short period of time the use of gold and silver coinage by traders and shopkeepers will become more and more commonplace so that such exchanges will cease to be necessary.

DISTRIBUTION: – The matter of the distribution of Zakah must be taken very seriously. Collected Zakah should be given as soon as possible to identified recipients within the Qur’anically defined eight categories. The leader of the community will have to liaise with the collectors and others, firstly to prioritise the categories of people entitled to receive Zakah in their particular location and secondly to decide how much each individual should be given.

I would like to finish by saying that what we have been talking about here is not just a theoretical possibility, some pie in the sky idea, some unrealisable dream about how things might be. This method of collecting and distributing Zakah in gold and silver, according to the original model first demonstrated for us by the Prophet Salla-l-laah and continued down through the centuries of Islam until comparatively recent times, has already been reactivated without difficulty in a number of Muslim communities throughout the world. It is in fact easy to do this and requires nothing more than the will to make it happen. And what greater incentive for us could there be than the words of our beloved Prophet Salla-l-laah himself, who told us: “Anyone who revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, will have a reward equivalent to that of all the people who follow him, without that diminishing their reward in any way.” (At-Tirmidhi) He also said, on the same lines: “Anyone who revives my Sunnah in the time of corruption will receive the reward of a hundred shuhada.” (al-Baihaqi) And in this case Fard and Sunnah combine together because we are talking about the re-establishment of Zakah, one of the fundamental obligations of our deen, and Allah ta’ala assures us on the tongue of His Messenger Salla-l-laah in a famous hadith qudsi: “My slave draws nearer to Me by nothing I love more than what I have made obligatory for him.” What more could we want; what greater reward could there be? Therefore we ask Allah, tabaraka wa ta’ala, to give us success in re-establishing the third pillar of His deen, Zakah, in the way He has prescribed it for us in His Book and the way it was implemented by His Messenger Salla-l-laah and those who have followed him down through the ages and that by doing that we may earn a great reward from Him and contribute significantly to the victory of Islam in our time.

Published in: Uncategorized on December 3, 2020 at 00:56  Leave a Comment  

Chapter Three: On the Purity of Water, Clothing and the Place of Prayer and What Can be Worn When Doing Prayer

Risālah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawaanī

The Risālah : A Treatise on Mālikī Fiqh by ʿAbdullah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī (310/922 -386/996)

Translated by Alhaj Bello Mohammad Daura, MA (London) (Including commentary from ath-Thamr ad-Dani by al-Azhari)

Chapter Three: On the Purity of Water, Clothing and the Place of Prayer and What Can be Worn When Doing Prayer

3.1 Purity of Water

3.1a. Obligation of Purity

When you do the prayer you are talking to your Lord. You must therefore prepare yourself for this by doing wudu’ or ghusl if a ghusl is necessary.

[Purity in the Shari’ah is a legal state which becomes obligatory in order to make the prayer permissible. The one who prays speaks intimately with his Lord. According to the hadith which Malik relates in the Muwaṭṭa, he must prepare for the prayer. The text of the Muwaṭṭa is that the Messenger of Allah came out to his Companions while they were praying and their voices were raised in the recitation. He said, “When you pray, you are speaking confidentially to your Lord. So look to what you confide to Him, and do not say the Qur’an outloud so thatothers hear it.” He must prepare for that conversation by having an attentive heart and humility, and must stand with respect before Him, seeking His protection. When he lacks that, he does not speak to Him and the term “conversation” is not valid for him. Nonetheless, it is true that he prays and must adopt the means for that by being pure of minor and major impurities.]

3.1b. Pure Unchanged Water

This must be done using pure water which is uncontaminated by any impurity.

[Purification from impurities is achieved by pure water, i.e that which is not mixed with what changes any of its three qualities: colour, taste or smell, whether that change in its attributes is due to something either pure or impure. Thus if it is changed by rose water, it is not valid to use it for things like wudū and ghusl.]

3.1c. Change in Colour of Water by Contact with Earth

You cannot use water whose colour has been changed by something mixed in with it whether that thing is pure or impure unless the change of colour has been caused by something in the earth where the water is from such as salt deposits or mud or similar things. [It is a precondition that the water used for things like wudu’ and ghusl has not been changed in its attributes by what is usually separate from it, except for earthwith which it is in direct contact and to which it clings as when it lies in salty earth, sulphurous earth or fetid mud.]

3.1d. Rain Water

Any water coming from the sky or from springs or wells or the sea is all good, pure and purifies impurities.

[These waters which originate from the sky are all pure in themselves and good for any use whatsoever, whether drinking or such things or acts of worship, like wudū’, ghusl and removing impurities as long as the water remains in its original state and is unchanged any anything which is is normally separate from it.]

3. 1e. Change in Colour of Water

If the colour of the water has been changed by something pure which has got into it, it remains pure but cannot be used for purification either in wudu’ or ghusl or for removing impurities.

[Meaning that water whose colour has been changed with something pure, like water from pasta, is pure in itself but does not purify something else, and so it is not used for wudu’ or other things like ghusl.]

3.1f. Change of Water Through Impurity

Water that has been changed by something impure getting into it is not pure and cannot be used for purification purposes.

[Water which has been changed through impurity, whether in colour, taste or smell, and whether the water is little or a lot, it has substance or not, is no longer pure or purifying. It is not used either for normal things or for acts of worship.]

3.1.g A Small Amount of Impurity

A small amount of impurity makes a small amount of water impure even if there is no change in the water.

[If an impurity falls into small amount of water, like the water prepared for wudū’ or ghusl, even if it is something small and the impurity does not change it, it is not permitted to use it. The most famous position is that is pure, but it is disliked to use it when other water exists, provided that it has not been altered. If it has been been changed, its purity absolutely no longer exists.] [Ibn Juzayy states that if there is a lot of water and it is not changed, then it remains pure. There is no specific definition of “a lot” in the Māliki School.]

3.2 Amount of Water Used

3.2a. Using a Small Amount of Water

It is sunna to use a small amount of water when washing provided you do it thoroughly. Using an excessive amount is extremism and innovation.

[A small amount of water should be used as long as washing is done properly. Pouring while rubbing is recommended, i.e. an desirable aspect in the deen. Using a lot of it, pouring it while using it is excess, i.e. increase in the deen and innovation, i.e. something innovated which is contrary to the Sunnah and the Path of the Salaf.]

3.2b. The amount used by the Prophet

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did wudū’ with one mudd of water which is equivalent to (1 1/3 ratls) and he did ghusl with one sa’a which is four mudds measuring by his mudd, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

[He points out that it is established in the sunna that the Messenger of Allah did wudū’ using a mudd, which is 1 1/3 ratls and he did ghusl with a sa’ which is four mudds. So altogether it is 5 1/3 ratls. His aim is to inform us of the the excellence of economy and abandoning profigality and the amount which was enough for the Prophet .]

3.3 Purity of the Place and Clothing

3.3a Purity of Place

It is obligatory for the place where you are going to do the prayer to be pure.

[The purity of the place where the limbs of the one praying will touch is obligatory for the sake of the prayer, i.e. its purity for the sake of the prayer. Purity for other things, like dhikr is recommended.]

3.3b. Purity of Clothing

Your clothing must also be pure. It is said by some that the nature of the obligation referred to here is that of an absolute obligation (fard) and by others that it has the obligation of a confirmed sunnah (sunna ma’akkadah).

[The purity of the garment of the one praying is obligatory provided it is remembered and he has the ability to achieve that. If someone intentionally prays in an impure garment when he is able to remove it, he must always repeat that prayer. If he prays in such a state out of forgetfulness or is unable is remove it, he repeats it if it is still within the time of the prayer. The time of Dhuhr extends until the yellowing of the sky, and Maghrib and ‘Isha’ extend through the entire night. It is said that it is sunnah to remove the impurity, and both positions are known and acceptable. Based on the position that it is sunnah, it is repeated at the time absolutely, whether that was intentional, or he was able to remove it, or out of forgetfulness or ignorance.]

3.3c. Places where it is forbidden to pray:

You should not do the prayer in the following places:

3.3c1. Camel Places

in places where camels congregrate,

[It is disliked to pray in places where camels are kept when they come from water, even if it is safe from impurity and even if something pure is spread out and is prayed on it because the Prophet did not say that the reason was impurity so that it would be negated if it was negated.]

3.3c2. The Middle of the Road

or in the middle of the road,

[It is disliked to pray in the middle of the road where you are unsure whether the ordure of animals and urine will get on you. If you do pray there, it is recommended that you repeat it within the time. When someone prays there because the mosque is too crowded or he spreads something pure and prays on it or he is certain that it is pure, then there is no dislike.]

3.3c3. On top of the Ka’ba

or on top of the Kaʿbah,

[It is prohibited to pray on top on the Kaʿbah, based on the fact that it is necessary to face its building. The one who is above it cannot face the building. So if he prays an obligatory prayer on top of it, he must always repeat it because what is important is to face it.]

3.3c4. Public Baths

or in public baths, a place which you are not certain whether it is pure or not,

[It is disliked to pray in the baths. The reason for the dislike is the likelihood of impurity. If he is certain of its purity, then the dislike is negated and the prayer is permitted.]

3.3c5. Rubbish Dumps

or on a rubbish heap

[It is disliked to pray at a place where rubbish is thrown since one is not safe from impurity. If he is safe from impurity, then it is not disliked.]

3.3c6. Slaughterhouses

or in a slaughter house,

[It is disliked to pray in a place where animals are slaughtered if he is not safe from impurity. Otherwise, it is not disliked.]

3.3c7. Graveyards

or in the graveyards

[When the graveyard is a Muslim one, and there are no disinterred parts of the dead in the place of prayer, then it is permitted to pray there. If there are any parts of those buried in the place of prayer, then the judgement of the prayer there depends on the disagreement about and whether the human being becomes impure by death or not. If the dead person is not impure, and the person prays there deliberately, then it is disliked to pray there since there is uncertainty or certainty that there are parts of the dead person which would involve humiliation or walking on the grave. As for the prayer, it is not disliked initself. Ibn Habīb disliked praying in the graveyards of the unbelievers because they are pits of the Fire, but if someone prays in them and is safe from impurity, his prayeris not invalid, even if he is not actually safe from praying on impurity.]

3.3c8. Non-Muslim Places of Worship

and places of worship of non-Muslims.

[This designates churches, synagogues and fire temples of the Magians. Imam Mālik disliked praying in them because of impurity from their feet, i.e. that is the custom in them. The dislike is inasmuch as he prays in it by choice, not when is compelled to that. Otherwise there is no dislike. There is no difference between the ruined or inhabited place.]

3.3d. Minimum Clothing in the Prayer for a Man

The least clothing a man can do the prayer in is something which covershis ‘awra (everything between his navel and his knees) such as a long shirt or a piece of cloth he can wrap round him.

[This minimum of what does not involve sin and is adequate for what is desiredof the one who prays is a garment is that which covers the private parts, be it a long shirt, cloak or trousers. A precondition for the cloak is that it is thick and not thin or transparent, i.e the private parts should not be outlined or encompassed. If it is like that, it is disliked as long as the definition is not due to wind. Otherwise not. If it is transparent, then sometimes the private parts might appear through it without thinking about and then the prayer would be invalid. Sometimes it only appears by thinking about it, and it is judgement is like the person whose is doing something disliked and the prayer is valid.]

3.3e. Uncovered Shoulders

However, it is disliked to do the prayer wearing something that does not cover the shoulders, but if this does happen the prayer need not be repeated.

[It is disliked for a man to pray in a garment which leaves his shoulders completely uncovered when something else is available. If he prays and his shoulder-blades show when he is able to cover them, he does not have to repeat the prayer either in the time or after it.]

3.4. Women’s Dress and Prostration

3.4a. A Woman’s Minimum Dress

The least clothing a woman can do the prayer in is a thick full-length garment covering her whole body including the top of the feet and something covering her head.

[The minimum of adequate clothing for a free adult women in the prayer consists of two things: one is a thick or ample full-length garment which does not define the figure nor is transparent. This is either hasif, which means thick, or khasif, which a full complete covering which covers the top of the feet. It also means what does not define figure nor is transparent because what he means by the minimum is that the prayer is that with which the prayer does not have to repeated in the time or outside of it. The second item is a head-covering which covers her hair and her neck. Part of its precondition is that it is thick. In short, the fiqh is it is obliged for a woman to cover all her body in the prayer, even the soles of her feet based on the statement of Mālik, “It is not permitted for a woman to show anything in the prayer except her face and palms.”]

3.4b. A Woman’s Prostration

A woman should touch the ground with the palms of her hands in sujūd just as a man does.

[The woman touches the earth with her palms in prostration. It is mentioned here here because it might be imagined from his words about covering the top and soles of her feet that she covers her palms because each of them are part of the person who prays who is obliged to cover the entire body. Therefore this idea which is mentioned here must be eliminated.

Published in: on December 2, 2020 at 19:57  Leave a Comment  

Risālah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawaanī – Chapter Two: What Necessitates Wudū’ and Ghusl

Risālah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawaanī

The Risālah : A Treatise on Mālikī Fiqh by ʿAbdullah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī (310/922 -386/996) 

Translated by Alhaj Bello Mohammad Daura of Nigeria, MA (London) (Including commentary from ath-Thamr ad-Dānī by al-Azharī)

Chapter Two: What Necessitates Wudu‘ and Ghusl

[This chapter deals with those things which render necessary wudū‘ and ghusl. Wudu’ designates the action and wadu’ designates the water. Linguistically, it means cleanliness and excellence, and in the Sharīʿah it means to purify certain parts of the body with water to make them clean and to remove the judgement of ‘minor impurity” (ḥadath) from them to permit acts of worship which are forbidden by lack of purity. Qadi Ibn al-ʿArabi says that there is known dispute about whether ghasl means the action and ghusl the water. However, in adh-Dhakira, ghusl designates the action and ghusl the water. This is the most common position.

The obligation of wudū‘ and ghusl [Evidence for the obligatory nature of wudū‘ and ghusl is found in the Qur’an and Sunnah and consensus. The Almighty says, “O you who believe! When you you get up intending to do the prayer, wash your faces” (5:6) and “Do not approach the prayer when you are drunk until you know what you are saying, nor in a state of major impurity – unless you are travelling – until you have washed yourselves completely.” (4:43) The Messenger of Allah said, “Allah does not accept the prayer of anyone in a state of impurity until he does wudū‘. ” There is no disagreement between the Imams that it is obligatory.]

2.1 Wudū

2.1a. Preconditions for wudū‘:

[There are certain preconditions for the validity of wudū‘:

1. Islam

2. Adulthood

3. Sanity

4. Absence of menstrual blood or bleeding after childbirth

5. The arrival of the time of the prayer,

6. That the legally responsible person is not forgetful, asleep or insensible

7. The existence of adequate water to perform it

8. The possibility of doing it with due care to achieve what is desired, which may preclude the sick and the person who is compelled.]

2.1b. What Makes Wudu‘ Necessary

[Two things oblige wudu‘: ritual impurity and certain causes. [Khalīl says three ritual impurity is what breaks wudu’ in itself, like urine, and causes are things which do not break wudu’ in themselves but leads to ritual impurity, like loss of sanity, touching someone with desire and touching the penis. [Ibn Juzayy states that apostasy also breaks wudu‘.]]

2.1c. The Nature of the Obligation

[The duty of wudū‘ is a one of an obligatory nature, not merely an obligation inasmuch as it is sunna and thus strongly recommended.]

2.1d Urination and Defecation in a Normal Manner

[Wudū‘ must be done when something emerges from one of the two normal passages, the urethra and the anus, in a normal manner. It is limited to what is normal which excludes anything which emerges abnormally, like pebbles and worms. They do not break wudū‘, even if he passes some urine and faeces. Urine and faeces must emerge in a normal manner. So if it emerges for a specific reason, like incontinence in most cases, which is when he does it constantly, most of the time or half of the time, then it does not break wudu’. In the first case, wudū‘ is neither obligatory or recommended. In the last two cases it is recommended unless that is difficult for him.

The ‘passages’ are limited to what emerges normally, which precludes what emerges other than urine and faeces, like blood as a result of leeches and cupping, vomit which is changed from food, and impurity which emerges from a split under the intestines which is not due to the passages being blocked. When the two passages are blocked and the split is located under the intestines, then it is considered as a normal orifice.]

2.2 Things Which Break Wudū

2.2a. Excreta Which Oblige Wudū’

You have to do wudū‘ after urinating or defecating or passing wind.

[This clarifies what excreta which make wudū‘ necessary: urine from the front orifice and faeces from the rear orifice and passing wind, which designates wind which emerges from the anus, whether or not with a sound. As for wind which emerges from the penis or vagina, it does not require wudū‘ since it is not considered as one of things which break wudū‘.]

2.2b Other Fluids Which Require Wudū‘: Madh-yu

You have to do wudū‘ when the liquid known as madh-yu comes out of the penis, in which case it is necessary to wash to the whole penis as well. Madh-yu is a thin, white liquid which comes out at times of sexual excitement when the penis is erect, either during sexual foreplay or when thinking about it.

[ Wudū‘ is obliged when madhy emerges from the penis. It is also obligatory towash the entire penis with an intention before doing wudū‘. Wudū‘ is specified and using stones in not enough.]


Wad-yu is a thick white liquid which comes out usually after urinating and carries the same judgement regarding cleaning the penis as urine.

[Wad-yu is dense and usually comes out after urination. It may come out on its own or during urination. It makes wudū‘ necessary and it must be completely removed. He should lightly squeeze the place and wash only its place.]

2.2d. Sperm (Maniy-yu)

Sperm – maniy-yu – is the white liquid ejaculated at orgasm during sexual intercourse which smells similar to the pollen of the date-palm.

[The emission of sperm is one of things which obliges ghusl, not wudū‘. The author mentioned it here among the things which oblige wudū‘ as a digression since it does oblige wudu’ in certain cases. It is what issues with pleasure which is not usual, although it is mentioned among the things which oblige ghusl. Here he mentioned the fluids which flow from the front orifice, and maniy is one of them. It is ejaculated in spurts and has a particular odour.]

2. 2e. Women’s Discharge and Menstruation

The liquid which comes from a woman is a thin yellow fluid and necessitates purification, that is purification of the whole body as is the case after menstruation.

[A woman’s liquid which she discharges, which is her maniy, is described as being thin and yellowish when it normally emerges and in health, not on account of illness or incontinence. Ghusl is obliged on account of it. It is not a precondition that it emerge outside. It is based on the sensation, and so the mere sensation obliges her to purify herself, as she is obliged to do when menstruation ends.]

2.2f. False Menstruation

In the case of bleeding which continues beyond the normal period of menstruation (istihādah), only wudu’ is necessary, although in such circumstances it is recommended for a woman to repeat wudū‘ for every prayer.

[The blood of false menstruation is blood which flows outside the days of menstruation and lochia, issuing from a vein which is in the lower part of the uterus. The judgement in such a case is that wudū‘ is obligatory when it stops more than it comes. When it comes more than it stops or the two are equal, then she is not obliged to do wudū‘.]

[ Menstruation according to Khalīl. The normal age of menstruation is considered from the age of adolescence to the age of 50. The individual is consulted from the age of 9 to puberty and from 50 to 70. It can be red, yellow or brown. The minimum is one gush and its maximum is fifteen days. The minimum of purity is fifteen days and it has no maximum. And the maximum length of menstruation for someone with normal periods (even if she has only had one period) is fifteendays. There are three days of using precaution (i.e. above and beyond) her normal maximum. (i.e. if she normally menstruates five days and then menstruates after that and it does not stop after the full five days, she adds three days to it. If it does not stop after that, it is false menstruation.

But if her normal period is 15 days, she does not use precaution at all.) This is as long as it does not exceed half a month. (If it is 14, she uses one, and if 13, she uses 2.) Then she is pure (to fast, prayer and have intercourse even if the blood is flowing, because it is false menstruation and not menstruation.)

The maximum length of menstruation of a pregnant woman after three months (up until five months) is half a month and five days (i.e. twenty days). When she starts the sixth month, it is twenty days and the like (i.e. ten with the twenty and so the maximum is thirty days). Is the judgement of the woman whose has a period before three months the same as the judgement of a woman whose period comes after it ( after three months), or is she like the one with a regular period? There are two statements. If purity is stopped by blood before it is completely finished, even by a hour, she adds only the days of bleeding (i.e. rather than the days it stopped, and it cancels it when it is less than half a month. There must be 15 twenty-four days of continuous purity free of blood by agreement.

Then, after patches and continuous blood, it is false menstruation, not menstruation. So she does ghusl for the end of menstruation. The one who has bleeding patches does the ghusl whenever the blood stops in the patched days unless she thinks that the blood will return before the time she is in finishes. In such a case she is not commanded to do ghusl. She fasts (if it stops at Fajr or before) and prays and has intercourse after ghusl according to the known position as opposed to the author of the Irshād who says that intercourse is not permitted. She can pray in all the days of menstruation when the period comes to her at night and then stops before Fajr. So she might not miss a prayer or a fast.

Blood which is distinct (from false menstrual blood by the change of smell, colour or fineness or thickness) after (the full 15 days of ) purity is menstruation (and prevents prayer and the like). If it is not distinct from false menstruation in any way, it is false menstruation, even if it goes on a long time. It is like that for what is distinct before the end of purity. One does not pay attention to the distinction. If the blood is distinct from the blood of false menstruation by anything above and is judged to be menstruation and it continues until her normal time is complete and more, is changes from the quality of the blood of menstruation to that of false menstuation. So she does not use caution beyond her normal days, but does ghusl by the simple completion of her normal days according to the soundest version (from Mālik and Ibn al-Majishun.)

Purity from menstruation is known by the dryness (of the private parts) from blood, yellowness and brownness when she inserts a bit of cotton, for instance, and brings it out without seeing anything on it. Or it is by a white liquid which issues from the private parts after the end of menstruation. This liquid is more conclusive of the end of menstruation than dryness for the one who usually has it. If she sees the liquid before dryness, it is recommended that she do ghusl at the end of the preferred time [for the prayer]. There is some discussion about the sign of purity of the one whose has her first period. [Al-Bāji says that she is only pure by dryness which she sees, even if the time for the prayer goes by.]

The woman with a period does not have to look for her purity before Fajr. (Indeed, it is disliked because it is not something which the Salaf did.) She should look when she goes to sleep to see whether she can catch Maghrib and ʿIshā‘ and fast. She should look at the beginning of Subh and the other five prayers (allowing time for ghusl).

Menstruation prevents the validity of prayer and fasting and their obligation and divorce (which is prohibited, but is binding if it takes place.) It prevents the start of ʿiddah, which begins with purity. It prevents intercourse or touching under the waist-wrapper (from the waist to knees), even after the end of the period before the ghusl. Tayammum makes the prayer permitted, but does not remove the impurity. It prevents entering the mosque, so there is no iʿtikaf or tawāf. It prevents touching a copy of the Qur’an (except for a teacher or student who has a dispensation) and recitation]

2.2g. Incontinence of Urine

This is also the case for incontinence (salas) of urine.

[It is recommended for someone with incontinence to do wudū‘ for every prayer and for his wudū‘ to be directly before the prayer. There is no special judgement for incontinence of urine. It is a general judgement for everyone with some form of incontinence, be it urine, wind, or maniy-yu. All are the same in that they do do not break wudū‘ by what emerges from them and it constant, even if it is only half the time when he is unable to remove it by medical treatment or marriage. If someone is able to stop it, then it breaks his wudū‘, he is excused for the period of treatment in that it does not break it.]

2.2h. Loss of Consciousness: Deep Sleep

You have to do wudu’ after loss of consciousness caused by either deep sleep,

[Loss of consciousness is one of the reasons which lead to ritual impurity and obliges wudū‘ after it passes. The loss of intellect is when it is completely absent. When it departs completely, as in sleep or fainting, and then is restored to him, the judgement is that wudū‘ is obligatory. A deep sleep, whether long or short, breaks wudū‘ absolutely. A deep sleep that in which the sleeper is not aware of what he or someone else does. What is understood from the word “deep” is that the dozing in which the person is aware of the slightest thing definitely does not break wudū‘, be that short or long based on what is in Muslim, “The Companions of the Messenger of Allah used to sleep and then pray without doing wudū‘.” Nonetheless, it is recommended to do wudū‘ after a long light sleep.]

2.2i. Fainting

or fainting,

[Mālik said that someone who faints has to do wudu’. Fainting is is an illness in the head.]

2.2j. Drunkenness

or intoxication

[The one who loses his senses through drunkenness must do wudū‘. It makes no difference whether he becomes intoxicated by something lawful or unlawful, as when he drinks milk thinking that it is not intoxicating and it intoxicates him.]

2.2k. Insanity

or a bout of madness.

[This even more clearly breaks wudu’ because it removes the senses. It is not in itself a reason for it. Wudu‘ is obliged on account of insanity, intoxication and fainting because it is is obliged by sleep which is less severe than it because it removes a little awareness, and these cause that loss of intellect even more so and so it is more likely that it be obligatory on account of them. That is why there is no difference between long or short, deep or light. They judge that legal responsibility is removed with them which is not the case with sleep. The sleeper is responsible, even if he incurs no wrong action. This discussion concerns about of madness which ends. The one for whom insanity is complete and without end owes nothing.]

2.2l. Wudū‘ on Account Touching a Person

Wudū‘ is also necessary when you touch someone to gain sexual pleasure or have bodily contact with them for the same reason

[One of the causes which results in ritual impurity is touching which is less than intercourse as the Companions, Tabiʿūn, Mālik and his companions have explained it.The Almighty says, “Or if you have touched women.” (4:43) ʿAlī and Ibn ʿAbbās, however, explain this ‘touching’ as referring to intercourse, and say that His words “Or you have touched women” means to have intercourse with them.

Specifying ‘pleasure’ tells us is that if the toucher intends pleasure, he must do wudu’ simply by touching whether or not there is pleasure. So that is even more so if he touches and experiences it. If he did not intend pleasure, but intended totouch to find out whether the body was hard or not, and then experiences pleasure, he must do wudū‘ because of the existence of pleasure, even though it did not come from intention. So the obligation of wudū‘ hinges on intention, even if there was no feeling while touching. If the feeling occurs after touching, then it is like pleasure arising from thinking for which nothing is obliged. If he does not intend pleasure and does not feel it, he does not have to do anything. This is thethe judgement for touching.

As for anyone who is touched, if they are adult and experience pleasure, they must do wudu‘. Otherwise, they do not have to do anything if they did not intend pleasure. Otherwise the judgement regarding the person who is touched is the same as the one who touches.]

2.2m. Wudu’ on Account of Kissing

or for kissing them for sexual pleasure.

[It is clear from his words that kissing is general, whether on the mouth or elsewhere with the intention or arousal. That is not the case. The accepted position is that the kiss on the mouth generally breaks wudū‘ whether or not there is intention and arousal because it is a probable cause of pleasure unless other places give rise to pleasure. [Khalīl says that if it is to bid farewell or out of mercy, as when there is some misfortune, it does not break wudū. Looking at someone, even with pleasure, does not break wudū‘.]

2.2n. Touching the Human Genitals

A man must do wudū‘ if he touches his penis.

[One of the things which lead to ritual impurity is touching the penis because it says in the Muwaṭṭa and elsewhere that the Prophet said, “When one of you touches his penis, he should do wudū‘.” The touching referred to is with the palm or the inside or sides of the fingers. He only mentioned touching one’s own penis. As for the penis of someone else, it follows the judgement regarding touching with respect to intention or arousal. The penis must be connected to the body. As for that which is separate from the body, it does not break wudū‘ when it is touched.

When dealing with the eunuch, one considers the shape or lack it. If there is a shape, then touching it breaks wudū. If it does not have a shape, then one takes into consideration the judgement given to it. If masculinity is adjudged for him, it breaks wudū‘ and otherwise it does not.

There are different considerations regarding touching it through a barrier. If it is thick, that does not break wudū‘ in one position, If it is light, then the most accepted position is that it does break it. Touching the anus or the testicles does not break wudū‘ in the accepted position.]

2.2o. A Woman Touching Her Vagina

But there is difference of opinion about whether a woman has to do wudu’ if she touches her vagina.

[The position of the Mudawwana is that it does not break wudu’ based on what is on the hadith, “When one of you touches his penis, he should do wudū‘.” The position is based on the fact that that is what is understood by the word and when something is understood, a concealed meaning is not considered. The one who says that it does break wudu’ bases it on the hadīth which says, “If someone’s hand touches his private parts he should do wudū‘” because ‘private parts’ and can be applied to the penis or the vagina. Some of them say that wudu’ is not broken it if she touches the outside of it, but it is broken if she presses it or puts her hand inside the labia.]

2.2p. Further Note

[Ibn Juzayy: Things that break wudū‘ in other schools, but not in the Mālikī school are: vomiting, belching, nosebleeds or other bleeding, cupping, the emission of pus, laughing in the prayer (Abū Hanīfa), eating camel meat, eating cooked food, carrying the dead person, slaughtering animals. None of these break wudū‘.

] [Khalīl: It is recommended to wash out the mouth after eating meat or drinking milk.]

2.3 Ghusl (Full Ablution)

2.3a. Ghusl Because of Emission of Sperm

You have to do ghusl when, as has already been mentioned, sperm (maniy-yu) is ejaculated accompanied by sexual pleasure either during sleep or when awake whether from a man or woman.

[One of the things which oblige ghusl is the emission of sperm with normal pleasure, whether while asleep or awake, or man or woman. It is not a precondition for the obligation of ghusl that it emerge with pleasure when it actually takes place. Ghusl is obliged simply by its emerging after pleasure has departed, as when he has pleasure without intercourse and then sperm emerges from him after the pleasure is over.]

2.3b. At the End of Menstruation and Lochia

Ghusl is also necessary at the end of bleeding from menstruation.

[It is more precise to say ‘the blood of menstruation’ because it is more general than simply saying ‘menstrual period’ since that specifically designates that which is preceded by purity and followed by purity. The beginning or end of the blood which emerges is not called ‘a menstrual period’. In the Sharīʿah, the blood of menstruation is that which emerges on its own from the vagina which normally does not exceed 15 days and it emerges without being caused by illness or childbirth. Blood which emerges not by some cause, or which emerges from the anus, or emerges from a child of seven or a woman of 70, or which exceeds 15 days, or which emerges because of illness, or because of childbirth is not menstruation so that its judgements apply to it.]

2.3c. False Menstruation or Menorrhagia

Ghusl is necessary when abnormal bleeding (istihādah) stops

[Then the cessation of the blood of false menstruation was made a cause which obliges ghusl. Mālik’s final position was that ghusl was recommended. He first said that she does not have a ghusl. None of the people of the school say that it is obligatory except for al-Bājī if one takes his transmission literally.]

2.3d. Lochia

Ghusl is necessary at the end of the period of bleeding which follows childbirth (nifas).

[Lochia is one of the causes which makes ghusl obligatory. Lochia (nifas) linguistically means childbirth, whether there is blood with it or not. It designates the blood itself which emerges from the vagina because of childbirth. In the usage of the people of Sharī’ah it designates the blood which emerges from the vagina because of childbirth in a healthy and normal way. The blood which emerges from other than the vagina is not nifas. That which emerges not on account of of childbirth is not considered nifās. That which does not emerge in a healthy manner is not nifās. That would normally be bleeding which occurs is after the period of nifās, which is 60 days.]

2.3e. Penetration of the Vagina

Ghusl must also be done if the head of the penis penetrates the vagina even if no ejaculation takes place.

[One of the things which obliges ghusl is the penetration of the penis of the adult into the vagina, even if there is no ejaculation, whether it is human or animal, or into the anus, wherther female or male, whether or not there is emission, and whether or not there is a covering over it, but that is provided that the barrier is light so that pleasure can be felt with it. As for the thick barrier, ghusl is not obliged with it unless there is ejaculation. Then there is ghusl because of ejaculation, not because of the disappearance of the penis. The basis for that is what is in the Muwatta’ and Muslim from the words of the Prophet , “When he sits between her arms and legs and then presses her, he is obliged to do ghusl. This hadith is abrogated by what Muslim related from the words of the Prophet, “When you are too quick or there is no ejaculation, there is no ghusl,”and by what was related from his words, “Water is needed on account of water [semen].”]

2.4 Legal Consequences of Vaginal Penetration

2.4a. Ghusl is Obligatory

This penetration of the vagina by the head of the penis necessitates ghusl.

2.4b. Legal Consequences in Case of Fornication

It necessitates the hadd punishment (for zinā’u) and the payment of the dowry and gives the married couples the status of being muhsan and makes a woman who has gone through a triple divorce halal for her original husband and invalidates hajj and fasting.

[It obliges the hadd punishment for fornication and obliges the payment of the dower in full because the contract on its own demands half of the dower. It accords the married couple the states of being muhsan provided that they are free, Muslim, sane and adult.

It makes a woman lawful for her prior husband, if he is a free man. As for the woman divorced by a slave, it makes her lawful when he has divorced her twice. However making the divorced woman who has been trebly divorced lawful for her prior husband must involve full penetration. Thus full penetration is not a precondition for requiring ghusl, the hadd punishment and payment of the dowry, but full penetration and lack of barrier are preconditions for making the couple muhsan and making the divorced woman lawful. ]

2.4.c. Invalidation of hajj and fasting

It invalidates hajj and fasting.

[It absolutely invalidates hajj, be it obligatory or voluntary, intentional or by forgetfulness, when it occurs before standing at ‘Arafah or after it before the Tawāfu-l-ʿIfāḍah and stoning the Jamrāhu-l-ʿAqabah on the Day of Sacrifice. He continues with his hajj and makes it up the following year. It invalidates fasting, even without full penetration it, be it obligatory or voluntary, intentional or by forgetfulness. He must make it up and owes kaffārah for the obligatory if it is done it deliberately. Otherwise there is only making up, as is the case with doing it deliberately in a voluntary fast.]

2.5. Ghusl and Menstruation

2.5a. When Ghusl is Done After Menstruation

A woman does ghusl immediately after she sees the white liquid (qassah) which comes at the end of menstruation, or when she notices dryness, even if she notices this after a day or two days or only an hour.

[As the blood of menstruation is mentioned as one of the causes which oblige ghusl, he goes on to clarify the sign which indicates that it has ended and that the womb is free of it. He mentioned that it has two signs: a white liquid and dryness. When the menstruating women sees one of the two signs, then her purity is clear and she is adjudged to be pure from that moment and does not wait for the second sign. There is no minimum length of menstruation. Its minimum amount is one spurt. There is no maximum amount of it, but has a maximum in time, which is fifteen days.]

[Khalīl: Its maximum for someone who is having a first period is half a month (i.e. 15 days. If it stops before that and then she remains pure for half a month and then blood comes, it is a new menstruation.) as half a month is the minimum of purity (which is fifteen days and there is no limit to its maximum).

[And the maximum length of menstruation for someone with normal periods (even if she has only had one period) is fifteen days. There are three days of using precaution (i.e. above and beyond) her normal maximum. (i.e. if she normally menstruates five days and then menstruates after that and it does not stop after the full five days, she adds three days to it. If it does not stop after that, it is false menstruation. But if her normal period is 15 days, she does not use precaution at all.) This is as long as it does not exceed half a month. (If it is 14, she uses one, and if 13, she uses 2.) Then she is pure (to fast, prayer and have intercourse even if the blood is flowing, because it is false menstruation and not menstruation.)]

2.5b. Resumed Bleeding

If bleeding starts again or if she sees any yellowish discharge, she must stop doing the prayer and then when the bleeding stops again she should do ghusl and start the prayer once more.

[If she sees the sign of purity and the judgement is that she is pure immediately, from the moment she sees purity, and then the blood resumes again or there is a yellowish discharge which does not have the colour of blood, she stops praying and reckons that she is still menstruating that day and considers all of it to be the same period. It is one period since it has come before complete purity. Or it may stop before the end of her normal period or extend after its normal length and before looking for purity or before it was complete. When the bleeding comes after complete purity or when it ended after her normal peiod and the days of looking for the end, then it is not menstruation, but abnormal bleeding, When it stops again, then she again does a ghusl and prays, and does not wait to see whether more blood comes again. This question is involves the woman whose purity is interspersed with bleeding to add the days together.]

[Khalil: The one who has bleeding patches has a ghusl whenever the blood stops in the patched days unless she thinks that the blood will return before the time she is in finishes. In such a case she is not commanded to do ghusl. She fasts (if it stops at Fajr or before) and prays and has intercourse after ghusl according to the known position as opposed to the author of the Irshād who says that intercourse is not permitted. She can pray in all the days of menstruation when the period comes to her at night and then stops before Fajr. So she might not miss a prayer or a fast.]

2.5c. Legal Consideration of Such Gaps

When this situation occurs, it is considered as one menstrual period when reckoning the period of ʿiddah (after divorce or being widowed) or the period of istibra (after the death of a husband).

[The intermittent blood is considered as the same period of bleeding in respect of ʿiddah and istibrā‘ and so the days of blood are added together until they reach that at which its judgement normally ends or other than. if it exceeds that it is abnormal bleeding.]

2.5d. Consideration of a Long Gap

If there is a considerable interval between the two periods of bleeding, such as eight or ten days, then the second one is considered a new menstrual period.

]If there is not a long gap between the two periods of bleeding, it is considered as one menstrual period for the purposes of ʿiddah and istibrā‘, but if there is a long interval between them but less than the time of purity, which is eight or ten, even though the accepted interval is 15 days, then the second is a new menstruation, i.e. the beginning of a new one which is counted for purposes of ʿiddah and istibrā‘.]

2.5e. Abnormal Bleeding

If menstrual bleeding continues longer than fifteen days, it is considered as istihādah and the woman should perform a ghusl, fast, pray and her husband can have sexual intercourse with her.

[This means if the bleeding continues for her, then she waits for fifteen days from its beginning because the maximum of menstruation in respect of her is fifteen days. Then she is judged to have abnormal bleeding whether the two periods of bleeding are distinct or not. She has a ghusl and prays and fasts. Her husband can come to her. We mentions that which has a beginning to distinguish it from that which has no beginning because there are certain points regarding that because it is either what is normal for her varies or it does not. If it is not different and the blood continues more for her than it normally does, she looks for purity for three days as long as they do not exceed fifteen days. If it varies, she then looks for purity when it is longer than its norm.]

2.6. Lochia

2.6a. Minimum of Lochia

If the bleeding after childbirth (nifās) stops soon after the birth, a woman should do ghusl straightaway and start doing the prayer.

[If shortly after childbirth a woman sees the sign which indicates that it is ended with white discharge and dryness, then she washes and prays. “Soon after birth” has no minimum limit in relation to time and it has a minimum in relation to what emerges, which is one gush.]

2.6b. Maximum of Lochia

However, if bleeding continues longer than sixty days, then she does ghusl anyway, the bleeding is considered as istihādah, and she does the prayer and fasts and her husband can have sexual intercourse with her.

[If the bleeding continues, she waits for sixty days, which it the maximum of its extent. If it stops after sixty, the matter is clear. If she continues to bleed after sixty, it is abnormal bleeding and she has a ghusl, prays and fasts and her husband can come to her.]

Published in: on December 1, 2020 at 14:39  Leave a Comment  
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