Document Title



Joseph Kenny, O.P.


1. Belief

The Qur'n in many places speaks about what a Muslim must believe, but the verse most frequently quoted is 4:136: "O you who believe, believe in God, in his Messenger, and in the Book which he sent down to his Messenger as well as the books he sent down previously. Anyone who disbelieves in God, his angels, his messengers, and the Last Day has gone far astray."

These five elements of belief: 1) God, 2) his angels, 3) his messengers or prophets, 4) his books, and 5) the Last Day, [to which some add 6) God's decree or predestination (qadar)] are summarized by Muslim tradition in the two statements of the shahda, or profession of faith:

L ilha ill llh, Muammadun rasl Allh.

Muslims explain, as does Muammad ibn-Ysuf as-Sans in his little catechism, al-`Aqda a-ughr, that the statement "Muammad is the Messenger of God" includes belief in other prophets and angels and in the Last Day, because Muammad affirmed all these to be true. The following paragraphs are from chapter 1 of the Risla of Ibn-ab-Zayd al-Qayrawn:

1.1 God

Among obligatory matters of religion are faith from the heart and profession from the tongue that: Allh is one God; there is no deity besides Him; there is none like Him and none equal to Him; He has no child nor parent nor woman companion nor associate. There is no beginning to His being first, and no end to His being last. No one can describe what He is like in His inner-being, nor can intellectuals sound out what pertains to Him; they can only speak about His signs, and cannot think of what His Essence is; they grasp His Knowledge only in so far as He wishes.

God's throne embraces the heavens and the earth, and taking care of these cause Him no trouble. He is Exalted, Mighty, Knowing, Aware, Disposing, Powerful, Hearing, Seeing, Exalted and Great. He is upon His glorious throne by His essence, yet is in every place by His knowledge. He created man, knows what he whispers inside himself, and is nearer to him than his jugular vein. He knows whenever a leaf falls, or a grain drops into the dark earth, or a fresh or dried fruit falls down; it is all in a clear book. He mounted the throne and took possession of power. He has the beautiful names and the exalted attributes. He is never without any of his attributes or names it is far beneath Him that any of his attributes should be created or any of his names should have come into being. He spoke to Moses with his Speech which is an attribute of His essence, not something created by Him. He appeared to the mountain, and it was crushed by His majesty.

1.2 The Qur'n

The Qur'n is the Speech of God. It is neither a created thing, such as can perish, nor an attribute of something created, such as can come to an end.

1.3 Determination (qadar)

Also a matter of faith is determination, whether of good things or bad, of sweet things or bitter; God our Lord has determined all this. The measures of things are from Him, and their origin is from His decree. He knows everything before it exists, and it comes into being according to His decree. Every word and every deed of His servants He has decreed and foreknown. "Does He not know, He who created, who is Unfathomable and All-aware?" (Q. 67:14). He makes err whomever he wishes, abandoning him by his justice; He guides whomever He wishes, giving Him success by his favour. He makes everything easily reach the pleasant or unpleasant outcome He knew and willed beforehand it is far beneath Him that there should be anything in His kingdom which He does not will, or that anything should not be in need of Him, or that anything should create something but He, the Lord of his servants, the Lord of their works, the Determiner of their movements and their deaths.

1.4 Messengers and Muammad

God sent messengers to men to take away any excuse from them. He sealed the offices of messenger, warner and prophet with Muammad His prophet, and made him the last of those sent, an announcer of good things, a warner, one calling to God by His permission, and an illuminating torch. He sent down to him His book of wisdom, by which He explained his solid religion and gave guidance onto the right path.

1.5 Resurrection and judgement

The hour is coming, without any doubt. God will raise up those who die, and they will return as he had made them.

For his believing servants, God multiplies their good works, wipes away the big sins they repent of, forgives their small sins if they have avoided big ones, and decides as He wishes the fate of those who do not repent of big sins.

God does not forgive making something an associate with Him in divinity (shirk), but forgives anything less than that to whom He wishes.

Those He will punish by fire God will bring out of it because of their faith, and bring them into Paradise. "Anyone who has done an atom's weight of good will see it" (Q. 99:7). Also because of the intercession of the Prophet God will bring out of the fire anyone of his people who is guilty of a big sin and the Prophet intercedes for him.

1.6 Reward and punishment

God has already created Paradise (janna) and prepared it as an eternal dwelling for his saints. He will honour them in it with the vision of his kind face. This is the Paradise from which God sent Adam, his prophet and vice-gerent, down to the earth, as he foreknew.

God created Hell fire, and prepared it as an eternal dwelling for those who do not believe in Him and are sceptical of His signs, books and messengers. He will screen such people from seeing Himself.

1.7 Concomitants of the resurrection

God will come on the day of resurrection with His angels in array to put peoples on display, together with their accounts, their punishments and their rewards.

The scales will be set up to weigh the works of men; whoever's balance is heavy has done well. Men will also be given sheets (uuf) listing their deeds: Those who are given their scrolls in their right hands will have a light reckoning; those who are given their scrolls behind their backs shall face Hell fire.

The path (sir) is real. Men will pass over it at different speeds, according to the measure of their works, being saved from the fire of Hell. But some will fall into the fire because of their works. Another matter of faith is the basin (aw) of the Messenger of God, from which his people drink. Someone who drinks from it will never thirst. Excluded from it will be anyone who substituted or changed [his beliefs].

1.8 Faith (mn)

Faith is speech on the lips, faithfulness in the heart, and deeds in the bodily organs. It increases with the increase of works, and decreases with a decrease of works; thus there is a decrease or increase in faith according to works. The speech of faith is not perfect without works, and speech and works are not perfect without an intention; and speech, works and intention are not perfect without following the Sunna.

None of the People of the qibla are made unbelievers by committing a sin.

Martyrs are living with their Lord and enjoying blessing.

The spirits of those who possess happiness survive and enjoy delight until the day they are risen. The spirits of those who possess unhappiness are tormented until the day of judgement.

Believers are tested and questioned in their graves; God strengthens those who believe with a solid answer in this life and the next.

1.9 Angels

Men have guardian angels who record their deeds; none of these deeds escapes the knowledge of the Lord.

The angel of death, by the permission of the Lord, takes spirits.

1.10 Authorities

The best century is the century of those who saw the Messenger of God and believed in him. The next best is that of those who followed them, then that of those who followed these.

The best of the Companions are the orthodox, right-guided caliphs, first Ab-Bakr, then `Umar, then `Uthmn, then `Al.

None of the companions of the Messenger are to be mentioned but with the highest respect, avoiding mention of the quarrels between them. They are the men most worthy to have the best explanation sought for what they did and the best opinion thought of their policies.

Obligatory too is obedience to the leaders (imms) of Muslims, that is, those who have charge of their affairs and their learned men. Also obligatory is following the worthy scholars of early times, imitating them and begging pardon for them; also avoiding hypocrisy and argumentation about religion, and avoiding the innovations some people have produced.

2. Salt prayer
2.1 Purification before alt
After defecation

After defecating, a person should wash his private parts with water to remove the offensive matter. This process is called istinj'. If no water is handy, the person may wipe himself with stones. If the third or last stone comes away clean the purification is sufficient. This dry cleansing is called istijmr.

Neither of these cleansing processes is a part of the minor or major ritual purifications, but either of them is obligatorily presupposed to the ritual purifications.

The minor purification (wu')

The minor purification (wu`) is obligatory when one has had a minor impurity (adath). A minor impurity results from the passing from the private parts of urine, excrement, gas, distillation, or menorrhagia. It also results from any sexual activity or pleasure short of orgasm, and from loss of consciousness as happens in a deep sleep, fainting, intoxication, or an attack of insanity.

The water used for purification must be pure, as judged by its colour and smell.

The place for prayer and the person's clothes must also be pure, that is, free from filth (najsa), which includes non-ritually slaughtered animals, their blood and once living by-products, puss, urine, excrement, any sexual liquid, vomited food, a rotten egg, etc. Prayer mats are disapproved of, unless they are necessary to prevent contact with filth or mud. Prayer mats, however, are commonly used for under one's knees, leaving the forehead and palms to touch the ground directly, outside the mat.

To do wu', a person 1) washes his hands, preferably three times, 2) rinses his mouth, preferably three times, 3) takes water in his nose and blows it out, preferably three times, 4) washes his face from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin, and from ear to ear, preferably three times, 5) washes his right, then his left hand and arm up to the elbows, preferably three times, 6) rubs his scalp, running his fingers through his hair from front to back and forward again, 7) cleans his ears, using his index finger and thumb (but avoids the interior of the ear), and 8) washes his right, then his left foot up to his ankles, preferably three times. Note that it is not obligatory (far), but only recommended (sunna) to do any operation three times; also steps 2, 3, and 7 are only sunnas.

In doing the wu', a person is obliged to have the motive of gaining the favour of God, since He commanded him to do it, hoping at the same time that God will receive it, reward him, and purify him thereby from his sins. He should be aware that the wu' he does is to prepare himself and make himself presentable to address his Lord, to stand before him carrying out his precepts, and to show him submission by bowing and prostrating. Therefore he should do wu' with sureness and concern, since the perfection of any work is from the good intention in doing it.

The major purification (ghusl)

The major purification (ghusl) is obligatory after a major sexual defilement (janba = orgasm or even copulation without ejaculation), or menstruation, or child-birth (when the bleeding stops). Ghusl is also obligatory on Fridays and on the two feasts.

To do ghusl, a person preferably begins by cleaning off the sexual material or blood from his body, and then doing wu'. Then he 1) rubs his scalp with his wet hands, 2) pours three handfuls of water onto his head and washes it, 3) washes the right side of his body, then the left, until he has covered his whole body, and 4) washes the spots which may not have been touched, such as inside the navel, under the chin, inside the beard, the armpits, between the buttocks and upper thighs, behind the knees, and between the fingers.

In public bathing a Muslim is supposed to cover his private parts. Any time he does the ghusl he is cautioned to avoid stimulating his sex, since that would invalidate his ghusl and he would have to do it over.

Purification with sand or dust (tayammum)

When there is no water, the wu' may be done by wiping with sand, but only one's face and arms. This same tayammum cleansing of one's face and arms also takes the place of ghusl when there is no water.

Wiping shoes

If someone washed his feet before putting on his shoes, he may, at the time of the next wu', keep his shoes on and simply clean the outside of his shoes.

2.2 Clothing required

For a man to do alt, he must be covered at least between his navel and his knees. Moreover it is disapproved not to have a garment covering the shoulders as well. Yet he must not cover his hands, nose, or forehead.

A woman must wear a moderately thick (not a see-through) garment which reaches and covers the top of her feet, and a shawl over her head. Only her face and hands may and must be uncovered.

2.3 The times of alt, and differences of one to another
ub (morning)

This prayer is also called the prayer of dawn (fajr), or, by the Medinan people, "the middle prayer" (since they considered the day to begin with the maghrib prayer of the evening before). The time for this prayer begins with the moment brightness covers the sky from east to west, and ends with the bright radiance immediately preceding the appearance of the sun. In Nigeria this may take from one half hour to as much as an hour. It is preferable to do the prayer early within this time.

This prayer consists of two rak`as, with the Qur'n recitations done aloud. The second recitation for each rak`a is selected preferably from sras 49-79.

In the second rak`a of the alt of sub, after the Qur'n recitations and before or during the bow (ruk`), the person recites the qunt prayer, which is: "God, we seek your help and your forgiveness. We believe in you and trust in you. We submit ourselves to you and cast off and leave whoever disbelieves in you. O God, we worship you, we do alt and prostrate before you, we come eagerly to serve you, we hope for your mercy and fear your severe punishment; for your punishment certainly lays hold of unbelievers."

uhr (early afternoon)

The time for this prayer begins when the sun passes the middle of the sky, and ends when everything's shadow becomes as long as itself eastwards. If necessary, this prayer may be done during the time of `ar.

This prayer consists of four rak`as (two for a traveller), with silent Qur'n recitations. The second recitation of each rak`a, as at ub, is selected preferably from sras 49-79.

`Ar (late afternoon)

The time of `ar begins with the end of the time of uhr, and ends when everything's shadow is twice as long as itself eastwards. This is before the sun takes on the yellow glow of evening.

This prayer consists of four rak`as (two for a traveller), with silent Qur'n recitations. The second recitation of each rak`a is selected preferably from sras 92-114.

Maghrib (early evening)

The time of maghrib begins with the setting of the sun, and the alt should be done immediately. But for reason of necessity it may be done any time up until dawn.

This prayer consists of three rak`as, with the Qur'n recitations of the first two rak`as done aloud, and the second recitation of each of these rak`as selected preferably from sras 92-114. In the third rak`a only the opening sra of the Qur'n is recited, and that silently.

`Ish` (late evening)

The time of `ish' begins with the disappearance of twilight, or red light of the sun in the sky. This alt should be done during the first third of the night, but for reason of necessity it may be done any time before dawn.

This prayer consists of four rak`as (two for a traveller), with the Qur'n recitations of the first two done aloud, and the others silently. The second recitation of each rak`a is selected preferably from sras 80-92.

"Sleeping before this alt is disapproved; so also is talking after it for no utility."

2.4 The adhn (call for alt) and iqma (call to begin alt)

For mosques and official gatherings the public call for prayer (adhn) by a mu'adhdhin is obligatory. It should be done when the time for prayer begins, except in the case of sub, when it may be done in the last sixth of the night, in order to allow people to get up and prepare.

The text of the adhn is:

Allhu akbar God is greater! (twice)
Ashhadu anna l ilh ill llh I testify that there is no deity but God.
Ashhadu anna Muammadan rasl Allh. I testify that Muammad is the Messenger of God.
ayya `al -alt Come to do alt. (twice)
ayya `al l-fal Come to prosper. (twice)
As-altu khayrun min an-nawm alt is better than sleeping. (in the morning only)
Allhu akbar God is greater! (twice)
L ilha ill llh There is no deity but God.

Whether the adhn is made or not, another call to prayer, the iqma, is made by the mu'adhdhin, or in private alt by every individual, just before the beginning of the prayer. It consists of the same formula as the adhn, but the only phrase said twice is the "Allhu akbar" in nos. 1 and 7, and after no. 5 is said "Qad qmat a-alt" (It is time for prayer).

In the Friday afternoon alt, there is a sermon between the adhn and the iqma; otherwise the iqma follows the adhn as soon the individual or group is ready to pray.

2.5 How to do alt
Each alt consists of a number of rak`as; we will describe a single rak`a:
1) The person stands, with hands raised, facing the qibla (direction of the Ka'ba in Mecca), and places himself in a state of consecration (irm) by saying "Allhu akbar".
2) He stands with arms lowered, and hands clasped (qab) according to some, or hanging loose (sadl) according to others, and RECITES the opening sra of the Qur'n, without "Bi-smi llhi r-ramn ir-ram" at the beginning, but with "mn" at the end. If there is an imm, he alone recites the sra, and the others answer "mn". Then he RECITES another sra.
3) He bows down (ruk`), holding his hands on his knees, with his back level, SAYING "Allhu akbar" while going down; he MAY SAY, while bent down, "Subhna rabb l-`am wa-bi-amdi-hi" (With honour and praise to my great Lord).
4) While returning to a standing position, he SAYS "Sami`a llhu li-man amida-hu" (God hears those who praise him), and "Allhumma rabba-n la-ka l-amd" (God our Lord, praise is yours). If there is an imn, he says the first part, and those following him answer the second part.
5) From a standing position, he lowers himself for the prostration (sujd), while SAYING "Allhu akbar". For the prostration he places his forehead, nose, and palms against the ground. The palms should be opposite the ears, facing the qibla. The feet should be up, with the bottoms of the toes touching the ground. During the prostration he MAY SAY: "Subna-ka Rabb alamtu nafs wa-`amaltu s'an, fa-ghfir l" (You are praiseworthy, my Lord; I have wronged myself and done evil; forgive me), or any other prayer for any length of time.
6) Moving to a sitting position (juls), he SAYS "Allhu akbar". He sits with his left thigh on the ground, and his left leg flattened, but with his right foot up and the bottoms of its toes against the ground. He puts his hands on his knees.
7) He immediately bends over for a second prostration (sujd), while saying "Allhu akbar". The second prostration is done as the first (n. 5). This action terminates the rak`a.
After the final prostration of the first rak`a, the person stands up straightaway, without sitting, to do the second rak`a. The second rak`a is done exactly as the first, except that:
1) The second Qur'n recitation is a different sra from that recited in the first rak`a, but of the same length or shorter.
2) After the second prostration (sujd - n.7), the person sits as before (n.6) for another juls, and SAYS the tashahhud prayer. During this prayer he clenches the fingers of his right hand except for the index finger, which he keeps extended and waving.
The tashahhud prayer is: "Salutations to God, pure works to God, performances of alt to God! Peace and the kindness and blessings of God be upon you, O Prophet; peace be upon us and on the worthy servants of God. I testify that there is no deity but God, him alone without associate. I testify that Muammad is his servant and Messenger."

After the final rak`a (the second of sub, the fourth of uhr, `ar and `ish', the third of maghrib), the person sits for a final juls, and SAYS the tashahhud as before, but may add to it a longer paragraph, not reproduced here. He concludes this juls by turning his head to the right and SAYING "as-salmu `alay-kum". If he is praying with others, he repeats this greeting facing forward to the imm, and again facing left if there is anyone to his left.
2.6 Supererogatory prayer and alt

After each alt, while the person is sitting, he is recommended to practice a form of recollection (dhikr), usually using his rosary (suba or tasb), saying "Subna llh" (God is praiseworthy) thirty-three times, "al-amdu li-llhi" thirty-three times, and "Allhu akbar" thirty-three times, rounding off the number to one hundred by saying "L ilha ill llh, wada-hu, l sharka la-hu, la-hu l-mulku, wa-la-hu l-amdu, wa-huwa `al kulli shay'in qadr" (There is no deity but God, him alone without associate; his is the kingdom and the praise, and he is all powerful).

After the alt of ub it is desirable to prolong the recollection asking for pardon, praising and petitioning until sunrise or near to it; but this is not obligatory.

Besides the dhikr, certain additional rak`as are recommended two before the alt of ub (with the silent recitation of the opening sra of the Qur'n in each rak`a), four after the alt of uhr, four before the alt of `ar, and two or more, up to six, after the alt of maghrib.

In the night, between the alt of `ish' and dawn, but preferably towards the end of the night before dawn, it is recommended to do:

1) the shaf` (= "even number") rak`as, reciting in the first rak`a the opening sra of the Qur'n and, preferably, sra 87, and in the second rak`a the opening sra and, preferably, sra 109. Any even number of rak`as may be added to these two for the shaf`.

2) the witr (= "uneven number"), which is one rak`a, in which are recited the opening sra of the Qur'n and sras 112, 113, and 114.

Besides these rak`as, it is also recommended to do two rak`as any time one enters a mosque, before sitting down or doing the prescribed alt.

2.7 Miscellaneous questions

There are various provisions for what to do if someone has made a mistake in, or missed part of his purifications or alt, and what to do when one comes late for communal alt. It is permitted to join the alts of uhr and `ar and of maghrib and `ish' in certain circumstances (sometimes it is even obligatory), and to make a simplified type of alt when one is sick in bed. There is a way of dividing the alt between two groups when there is danger of an enemy attack. Also, in the recitation of the Qur'n there are eleven different verses at which a prostration should be made.

2.8 Friday afternoon

The alt of jumu`a or Friday afternoon communal alt, takes the place of uhr for that day. From the time the mu'adhdhins call the adhn it is obligatory to stop work or marketing and go to the mosque. The service begins with a sermon (khuba) by the imm, who at the end of the adhn rises from his seat on the elevated minbar, delivers the first part of the khuba, sits to pause in the middle, and stands to deliver the second part. The khuba traditionally must be in Arabic. In some places the imm speaks in the vernacular after reading an Arabic khuba, or even in place of an Arabic khuba.

After the khuba, the imm leads the alt, standing facing the mirb, or niche at the centre of the qibla wall of the mosque. He says the iqma and does two rak`as, reciting aloud in the first one sras 1 and 2 (or a similar one and in the second one sras 1 and 88 (or a similar one).

The obligation of taking part in the jumu`a alt binds those within the town or within three miles of it. Woman are not obliged, but if they take part they should stand behind the rows of men. Young women should not go out of their houses in order to attend the jumu`a alt.

The people should arrive early for the alt, after bathing and putting on perfume and their best clothes. They should leave the mosque after the alt, and not stay to do supererogatory alt.

2.9 Feast day alt at the prayer grounds

On both the minor feast (`d al-fir, at the end of Raman) and the major feast (`d al-a, at the time of the pilgrimage), the people should bathe, put on perfume and good clothes and leave after dawn to go to the prayer ground (mualla). The alt often starts around 8:00. On the way they should praise God aloud, saying "Allhu akbar" and similar formulas. When the imm enters to begin the alt, they should be silent.

For the alt, the imm begins with saying "Allhu akbar" seven times, then recites aloud sra 1, and another, preferably 91, and completes the rak`a. He begins the second rak`a by saying "Allhu akbar" six times (including the one for rising up), and recites sra 1 and another, preferably 91. He ends the second rak`a with the tashahhud and "as-salmu `alay-Kum".

Following the alt (the opposite to the procedure on Friday afternoon), the imm mounts the minbar, sits down, then stands to address the people. As on Friday, he delivers the khuba in two parts, and sits for the pause between them. When leaving, the people should follow a different road from that by which they came.

A peculiarity of the ordinary alt done on the major feast and the two days following, including the morning of the third day after the feast, is the addition of a praise formula said three times after each alt. The formula is "Allhu akbar", to which may be added "l ilha ill llh; Allhu akbar, Allhu akbar, li-l-lhi l-amd". The last phrase means "Praise be to God".

2.10 On an eclipse (khusf)

For an eclipse of the sun, the people gather in the mosque, and do two rak`as with the imm, without an adhn or iqma. The rak`as are done differently from usual, in that after the Qur'n recitation and the bow (ruk`) there follows another Qur'n recitation and bow before the prostrations. The Qur'n recitations in each case are done silently, and consist of sra 1 and a very long sra, such as sra 2. The ruk` which follows should be for as long a time as the recitation took. The tashahhud and "as-saImu `alay-kum" are said at the end of the second rak`a. After this alt an informal sermon is recommended. The alt for an eclipse of the sun may also be done at home.

For an eclipse of the moon there is no community alt, but only private alt, with the recitations done aloud, as is the rule for night alt. In each rak`a there is only one recitation and ruk`. The person may add pairs of rak`as until the eclipse has passed.

2.11 alt to request water (istisq')

In time of draught, special alt may be held at the prayer ground to request water. The imm goes there after sunrise, as on the two feasts, and does two rak`as with the people, reciting in the first rak`a sras 1 and 87, and in the second sras 1 and 91.

After the alt, the imm delivers a khuba and afterwards turns to the qibla and rearranges his outer garment All attend this alt in work clothes placing what was on his right shoulder on his left, and what was on his left shoulder on his right. After this action, which the people imitate while sitting down, he stays a while to pray.

2.12 alt for burial (janza):
Attendance at death and care for the dead body

It is recommended to say to the dying person "L ilha ill llh" so that he can repeat it and be assured of entering heaven on the day of resurrection. When he dies his eyes should be closed and his body turned on its right side facing the qibla. Shrieking and noisy manifestations of sorrow are forbidden.

The dead man should then be washed according to the procedure of wu`, and ghusl, but without uncovering his private parts. The washing is done preferably by the dead person's spouse or close relative. If none of these is present, the washing must be done by someone of the same sex, unless the dead person is a small child. The body is then shrouded in an uneven number of cloths. Both in the washing and in the shrouding sweet smelling substances, like camphor and balm, are used. A martyr (shahd) who died in battle, however, is neither washed nor shrouded, but buried as he is, since the blood he shed is an honour to him.

The alt over the bier

When the body is ready to be buried, it is brought to a convenient place and laid before the imm, who, -with the others who are present, stands facing the qibla and begins the alt. This alt does not consist of any rak`as, but of saying four times "Allhu akbar", with the hands raised as at the "Allhu akbar" of ihrm at the beginning of ordinary alt. After each "Allhu akbar" the imm says intercessory prayers (du`'). In these intercessions he asks God to forgive the dead man his sins, and to make him happy until the day of resurrection, and afterwards in heaven. He also prays for the living relatives and those who are present at the funeral. After the fourth intercession he says "as-saImu `alay-kum".


The body is then brought to the grave, but is not to be followed with a censor, the way Christians do. It is better to walk in front of the bier in procession.

The grave trench should be dug perpendicular to the qibla. Preferably a niche should be dug out for the body under the rim of the grave on the qibla side wall of the trench. But if the ground is loose and likely to cave in, a crevice should be dug at the bottom of the trench to contain the body. The body should be put in lying on its right side, facing the qibla. Coffins are not used, but the crevice is covered with mats or shards before the dirt is poured in. Building monuments or plastering over graves is disapproved.

When the body is put in the grave, olibanum is poured on it, and the following prayer is said: "O God, our companion has taken his dwelling with you; he has left the world behind his back and needs what you have for him. O God, steady his speech when he answers the question of the two angels, and do not afflict him in the grave with what he cannot bear. Let him join his prophet Muammad."

3. Fasting

3.1 Time of obligatory fast

Fasting (iym = the religious practice; awm the physical act) is obligatory during the month of Raman. When the new moon of this month is sighted, the fast begins the next day. The evening the next new moon is sighted means that the fast is terminated, and the next day is the Feast of Breaking Fast (`d al-fir). Note that the actual sighting of the moon, not the calendar, sets the day for beginning and ending the fast. There is often disagreement about sighting the moon but in any case no one should fast more than thirty days.

The fasting begins with dawn (fajr, or saar), that is, the beginning of the time for the prayer of sub, and ends with the setting of the sun, that is, the beginning of the time for the prayer of maghrib. One must make an intention (niyya) of fasting for the fast to be valid, but one intention made at the beginning of Raman suffices. As for breaking the fast, it is recommended to take a small amount to eat and drink immediately after the sun sets, before doing the alt of maghrib, and to have a full meal after the alt. It is also recommended to have another meal (sar) before dawn, or sometime late in the night.

3.2 What the fast consists of

The fast means refraining from: 1) taking any food or drink. [Modern authors generalize this prohibition to include taking anything into the internal parts of the body; thus they prohibit taking medicine, even by way of injection, receiving blood transfusions, inhaling by smoking, putting snuff in the nose, and putting the finger or any object into the rectum or vagina.] 2) having any sex, even by thinking if it results in so much as distillation.

Muslims are also urged to strive to avoid sins of every kind during Ramadn.

3.3 Who must fast, and what to do for breaking the fast
Those who need not fast or do anything in its place

Menstruating women, or those bleeding after childbirth are forbidden to fast (as well as to do alt). There is no obligation for a pregnant woman to fast when she needs to eat for the sake of the child she is carrying, nor for the sick, those engaged in jihd or some necessary strenuous task, children under the age of puberty, and the insane.

Those who need not fast, but must simply make it up

Those travelling (up to 48 miles, according to the ancient interpretation, the same distance required for shortening alt) are excused from fasting, but must make up the fast after Raman, fasting a day for each day they missed. If they can keep the fast while travelling, this is preferable.

Those who need not fast, but may make the minor atonement instead A nursing mother and a very old person are not obliged to fast, and in place of fasting are urged to give a food alms of one muddu of grain for each day they do not fast.

Those who must fast

A healthy adult Muslim with none of the above-mentioned excuses must fast during Raman. If he breaks his fast by mistake or forgetfulness, he must make up that day after Raman. If he breaks his fast deliberately, he must make up the fast and also make the major atonement (kaffra) of giving a food alms of a muddu of grain to each of sixty destitute people. It he cannot do this, he may free a slave or fast two consecutive months.

Someone who breaks his fast deliberately or by mistake must continue fasting the rest of that day, even though he must make up the day. If after eating by mistake he eats again deliberately, he must make the major atonement as well as make up the fast. Yet someone who deliberately eats while making up his fast need not make an atonement.

3.4 Special Raman devotions
The tarw alt

"Whoever rises for the tarw alt on the nights of Raman with faith and in view of God's favour has all the sins he has committed forgiven, Moreover, someone who does only as much of this alt as is convenient for him can hope for God's favour and the atonement of his sins thereby."

This alt is done in the night any time after the alt of `ish', privately or in common, and consists of an unspecified number (usually ten to twenty) of rak`as done in pairs (shaf`), with the final "as-salmu `alay-kum" said after each pair, and concluded by a single (witr) rak`a. (See above, 2.6.)

The i`tikf retreat

A retreat may be done any time of the year, except on either of the major feast days, but it is particularly recommended during Raman, and especially on the last ten days of that month. This is because it is believed that one of the last ten nights of Raman (no knows exactly which) is the Laylat al-qadar, the night of the divine decree (cf. Qur'n, sra 97), when the Qur'n is supposed to have been revealed in one of its stages among the angels (It is supposed to have reached Muammad on the night before the 15th of Sha`bn, the eighth Arabic month); at this time God is believed to show particular favour to devout.

One may make a retreat for fewer than ten days, even for one day, but the days must be consecutive, and he must stay in the mosque night and day for the whole period, and not go out to visit the sick, to do alt over the dead, or to trade. He may go out only to take care of nature. He must fast during each day, and even at night must abstain from sex.

If the person breaks his fast or has sexual intercourse during a retreat which he has vowed, he must begin the retreat over. If, however, he gets sick, or if a woman begins menstruating during the retreat, they should go home, and when they get well resume the retreat where they left off.

The person should enter the mosque for retreat before sunset of the night he wishes to begin, and he may go off retreat after sunset on the last day of the retreat. But if the retreat is to end the evening before the Feast of Breaking Fast (`d al-fir), he should continue his retreat in the mosque until the time of the morning comes for him to go to the prayer grounds.

3.5 `d al-fitr observances

On the Feast of Breaking Fast the Muslim first does the alt of ub, then at sunrise he should distribute a special zakt, or religious alms, to the Muslim poor. This alms is obligatory for every Muslim, young or old, male or female, free or slave, but a master or of a household pays for his dependents. The alms consists of 4 muddus) of grain or the usual food staple of the place.

After distributing this head zakt and having his breakfast, the Muslim goes to the prayer grounds for the alt of the feast, as is described in 2.9.

3.6 Expiatory fasts

Fasting for a certain length of time is one of the expiatory practices imposed for certain sins or mistakes. Some of these fasts are connected with the pilgrimage, and will be mentioned later on. Others have to do with breaking an oath, swearing not to intercourse with one's wife, and killing another Muslim by mistake.

3.7 Voluntary fasts

Both voluntary and expiatory fasts are forbidden on the two feasts. Otherwise, fasting is recommended during the whole months of Rajab (7th month) and Sha`bn (8th), which precede Ramadn (9th), for six days during Shawwl (10th), on the 8th and 9th of Dh-l-ijja (12th) for those who do not go on pilgrimage, or the 8th for those who are on pilgrimage (The 10th of this month is the Feast of Immolation), on the 10th day of Muarram (1st month), which is the fast of `Ashr, and three days of every other month.

4. Zakt (religious tax or alms)

4.1 General distinctions

The head zakt, which is given on the Feast of Breaking Fast, has been described above, 3.5. It is an undisputed sunna, whereas the zakt paid by Muslims on their farm produce, livestock and money is obligatory (far), and if not paid voluntarily it may be collected by force by the Muslim ruler. Not all Muslims must pay zakt, but only those (whether adults or minors) who own the minimum taxable amount of each item; this is called the nib.

Zakt is to be paid (either directly or through the ruler who collects it) to eight categories of recipients (dependents of the giver are excluded), as listed in Qur'n 9:60:

  1. the poor (faqr), interpreted as Muslims who own less than the nib.
  2. the destitute (miskn), interpreted as Muslims who have not enough to feed themselves for one day;
  3. those who work in collecting, registering, or distributing zakt;
  4. those whose hearts are to be won over", interpreted as non-Muslims who can be led to enter Islam as a result of this kindness, or recent converts who are not yet settled in their sense of belonging to the community;
  5. towards freeing a slave, interpreted as buying the freedom of a Muslim held as a slave;
  6. those who owe debts, interpreted as Muslims who owe legitimate debts which they cannot pay;
  7. towards the cause of God" (f sabl llhi), interpreted as giving to those fighting in jihd, or for buying arms, and giving to mallams, imms, and judges who do not receive a salary from the public treasury.
  8. travellers (ibn as-sabl), interpreted as people who are stranded and have no means to get home, provided they cannot get a loan which they are able to repay when they reach home.

The interpretation of all these categories is the traditional one. Some modern Muslims stress contributing to Muslim education and social welfare.

According to early Muslim law, zakt was the only tax which could justly be demanded from Muslims, since the ruler or the state had other sources of revenue, namely, a fifth of the spoils of jihd war (ghanma), all abandoned land and properties (fay') confiscated through jihd, a fifth of the spoils taken from raids on the enemy outside (mukhta), tribute paid by the enemy under truce, and revenues from non-Muslim subjects (jizya and kharj, to be discussed below). Because these revenues were not always forthcoming, Muslim governments later introduced other taxes on Muslims, relegating zakt to the place a religious alms.

The term adaqa is often used in the Qur'n as a synonym with zakt, but now its meaning is restricted to voluntary alms distinct from zakt, and may be given to anyone in any amount or form.

4.2 Zakt on farm produce

The nib, or taxable amount, for any kind of farm produce is "five wasqs", which equals 1200 muddus, or approximately 150 kilograms. Most cereals are counted separately; if a man has not harvested the amount of a particular cereal he pays no zakt on it. All kinds of beans are taken together as one crop. Most other crops are counted separately. There is no zakt, however, on perishable fruits and vegetables.

4.3 Zakt on livestock

The nib for camels is five camels (or twenty-five, according another interpretation). For this number one sheep or goat in its second year is to be paid each year, The nib for cattle is thirty, for which a zakt of a calf of over two years old must be paid.

Sheep and goats are counted together, and the nib is forty animals, for which the zakt is one sheep or goat in its second year.

Those who own more animals than the nib of any of these animals must pay a proportionately higher zakt, which is worked out detail in law books.

4.4 Zakt on money

The nib for money is twenty dnrs of gold or two hundred dirhams of silver. One dnr is reckoned at about $30. The zakt is two and one half percent yearly, and is levied on all the money a man possesses (not just his income), minus the amount of debts he owes. If he owes a money debt which, if paid, would reduce possessions below the level of the nib he is not obliged to pay any zakt. (Debts are considered only for the nib of money, not for that of farm produce or livestock. Some authors consider money set aside for one's first pilgrimage exempt from zakt.)

Other properties are not taxed, unless they are held as trading stock for immediate sale. In that case their value is computed with the money a person owns.

4.5 Jizya

Jizya is the tax paid by members of tolerated religions who are subject to Muslim rule. If they submitted peacefully to Muslim expansion, the peace treaty determines the amount, however small, they should nay. But if they were conquered by force, Mlik law holds that each free adult male must pay annually four dnrs of gold or forty dirhams of silver, while this amount should be reduced for poor men. [A-ursh (d. 1126) gives variant estimates of this amount.]

Besides the head tax, members of tolerated religions who travel from one Muslim province to another for trading must pay 10% of their profits. So also, traders coming from non-Muslim lands must pay 10% of their profits, or even a greater amount if this agreed upon.

4.6 Kharj

The word kharj historically was sometimes used interchangeably with jizya. But it was soon used technically to mean a tax on lands taken over by Muslim expansion. These lands are considered in Mlik law to be public domain (fay'), held in trust (waqf) by the state for the profit of the Muslim community, or specifically, the enrichment of its public treasury (bayt al-ml). The land was leased out to be farmed either by Muslims or by the non-Muslim former owners, either of whom had to pay a kharj tax on the land to the public treasury.

In the beginning, Muslims were exempt from this tax, but with so many people becoming Muslim to escape having to pay it, and the state revenues greatly decreasing, the kharj was extended to include Muslims on the basis that the land was public domain.

The amount of kharj to be paid has been left to some discretion. It can be an amount of money determined by the ruler, proportionate to the size of the plot of land, or a certain percentage of the harvest (sometimes between one half and one quarter), or a fixed amount of money, goods or produce to be paid by a certain district.

In Nigeria the areas conquered Usman Dan Fodio were regarded by the Sokoto rulers is lands belonging to the Muslim state, and therefore all the inhabitants, Muslim or not, had to pay kharj. At present, this is the chief government revenue in the north, while the giving of zakt is left to the individual, and jizya does not exist.

4.7 Expiatory alms

To make expiation for certain crimes or mistakes, paying a certain alms is one of the practices a man may choose. See above, 3.6.

4.8 Voluntary alms

On adaqa, see above, 4.1.

5. Pilgrimage
5.1 The obligation

There are two pilgrimages in Islm, the ajj and the `umra. The `umra follows the same rites as the ajj up to a certain point, where it terminates, but it is only a sunna, whereas the ajj is one of the pillars of Islam.

To make the ajj to the sacred house of God in Mecca in one's lifetime is an obligation binding every free adult Muslim who is able to get there. Being able to get there includes having a route open, provisions to reach Mecca, the power to arrive there, whether riding or on foot, and bodily health (al-Qayrawn).

5.2 The shrine at Mecca

The Ka`ba was an ancient traditional shrine and pilgrimage centre of the Arabs who had contact with Mecca. It was a kind of pantheon dedicated to all the gods, but in particular to Allh, the supreme God. The Qur'n and Muslim historical adth, likely building upon a pre-Islamic legend of the Arabian Jews, give a special history of the Ka`ba in order to show how Islam is the heir to the religion of Abraham. The story which the Qur'n proposes, and rarely a Muslim ever questions, is that Abraham and his son Ishmael built the original Ka`ba as a shrine to God (Qur'n 2:125,127), but that subsequent people forgot the religion of Abraham and introduced idols. Thus, when Muammad changed the Ka`ba into a shrine to God alone, he did not say he was adapting pagan customs to fit his new religion, but said he was restoring the ancient religion of Abraham.

5.3 The ritual of pilgrimage
5.3.1 The irm (the first indispensable element)

Pilgrims must put themselves in a state of consecration (irm) before entering the sacred territory marked around Mecca. Often they will do this before getting on the plane, or after getting off in Jedda. The time limits for putting oneself in the state of consecration are from the beginning of the month of Shawwl through the month of Dh-l-qa`da until dawn of the day of Immolation, 10 Dh-l-ijja.

A person in the state of consecration is required to abstain from sex, perfume, wearing tailored clothes (his dress is described below), hunting, slaughtering animals, covering his head and shaving his hair. To put himself in a state of consecration the pilgrim does the ghusl bathing, changes his tailored clothes for two lengths f plain cloth, one of which goes around his waist and the other over one shoulder (a woman wears ordinary modest clothing), and makes the intention (niyya) of performing the ajj or `umra pilgrimage.

When making the intention and frequently throughout the voyage, the pilgrims says the Labbay-ka prayer: "At your service (labbay-ka), O God, at your service. At your service; you have no associate; at your service. Praise, granting favours and authority belong to you; you have no associate." This prayer is not said while in Mecca, but is resumed during the trip from Mecca to `Araft.

The pilgrim should repeat the ghusl before entering Mecca.

5.3.2 The awf al-qudm, circumambulating on arriving

After entering the Sacred Mosque, the pilgrim kisses the black stone with his mouth if he can; otherwise he touches it with his hand and puts his hand to his mouth without kissing it.

The pilgrim then goes around (awf) the Ka`ba counterclockwise seven times, three times jogging and four times walking. He kisses the black stone each time he passes around it, or, if he cannot kiss it, says "Allhu akbar." When going around he also touches the Yamn corner (SW), and then touches his hand to his mouth.

When the pilgrim has finished the awf, he makes two rak`as at the station of Abraham (maqm Ibrhm), and kisses the black stone again if he can.

5.3.3 Jogging between a-af and al-Marwa (the second indispensable element

Next the pilgrim goes out to the mound a-af and stands on it to make prayers of request (du`'). Then he jogs to the mound al-Marwa and does the same. He makes seven trips, stopping four times on top of a-af and four times on top of al-Marwa. Today the route is covered to protect the pilgrims from the sun.

5.3.4 At Min, 8 Dh-l-ijja

On the 8th of the month the pilgrim goes to Min, where he does the alts of uhr, `ar, maghrib and `ish'.

5.3.5 Stopping at 'Araft, 9 Dh-l-ijja (the third indispensable element)

The next morning, after doing the alt of ub, the pilgrim continues on his way to `Araft, saying the Labbay-ka prayer along the way. Before entering `Araft he should do the ghusl. In `Araft, at the Namira mosque, he combines the alts of uhr and `ar, making only two rak`as for each.

Then he goes with the imm to the `Araft hill, Jabal ar-rama, and stays there until sunset.

5.3.6 At Muzdalifa

After sunset of the 9th, the pilgrim goes to Muzdalifa, where he combines the alts of maghrib and `ish'.

5.3.7 Back to Min, 10 Dh-l-ijja

After the alt of ub, the pilgrim goes to Min, where he stones the `Aqaba rock, shooting with his fingers seven pebbles. This ritual is interpreted as stoning Satan.

Then, alone or joining with other pilgrims, he slaughters an animal as an offering (hady). If he has no animal to sacrifice he fasts for three days, and when he returns home fasts seven more days.

After making the immolation, the pilgrim shaves his head, thereby coming out of his state of consecration.

5.3.8 Back to Mecca for the awf al-ifa (the fourth indispensable element)

The pilgrim then returns to Mecca to march around times and to do two rak`as at the station of Abraham. This circumambulating is called the awf al-ifa, or of pressing on to Mecca.

5.3.9 To Min again, 11-13 Dh-l-ijja

The pilgrims usually spend three days of festivity in Min. After sunset of each day they throw seven pebbles first at the easterly Jamra rock, then at the middle one, then at the westerly one of al-`Aqaba. After the first two stonings they stop to make prayers of request.

5.3.10 Leaving Mecca

When leaving Mecca the pilgrim should do the circumambulating of taking leave (awf-al-wad`), do two rak`as, and depart. Usually a pilgrim will visit the tomb of Muammad in Medina before going home.

While departing from Mecca the pilgrim is recommended to pray, "We are returning to God repentant, serving our Lord and praising him. God was true to his promise, gave victory to his servant, and defeated the confederate enemies himself alone."

5.3.11 The `umra pilgrimage

Any pilgrimage made outside the times mentioned above does not count as a pilgrimage, but is called an `umra. Its rites are simpler: It consists only of the irm, the awf al-qudm and the jogging between a-af and al-Marwa, described in sections 5.3.1-3 above.

After these rites the pilgrim shaves his head and his `umra is completed.

5.3.12 Combining the `umra and the ajj pilgrimages

To gain the merit of both kinds of pilgrimage, many people combine the `umra and the ajj. There are two ways of doing so. The first way is by tamattu`, or by doing first the `umra, then coming out of the state of consecration and re-entering it to do the ajj at the proper time.

The second way is by qirn, which is to make a double intention (niyya) of fulfilling both the `umra and the ajj at the same time, and simply to follow the rites of the ajj.

Those who combine the `umra and the ajj by either way are suppose to make an offering (hady) at Min or fast in its place.

5.4 Regulations for the `d al-a immolation
5.4.1 Choice of animal

The order of preference for the kind of animal is: a ram, a ewe, a male goat, a female goat, a camel, a bull or cow. The animal must be in good condition and have begun to mature. For sheep this means an age of at least eight months for goats one year, for cattle three years, and for camels five years.

5.4.2 Ritual of immolation

For validity of the immolation, everyone must wait until the imm has slaughtered his animal before doing his own. The immolation may be performed during the days of 10, 11 and 12 Dh-l-ijja, but not after sunset.

During the slaughtering the animal should be faced toward the qibla. The person slaughtering should say "Bi-smi-llhi" and "Allhu akbar". He may also add "Rabba-n taqabbal min-n" (Lord, receive this from us).

No part of the sacrificial animal may be sold. The owner may keep it for himself, but to give the meat out in alms is preferred. He may even give to a non Muslim who visits him, but not send meat to the non-Muslim's house.

5.4.3 Ritual slaughtering (dhakt)

For immolation and for killing animals to be eaten on any occasion the words "Bi-smi llhi" must be said. If they are deliberately omitted the animal may not be eaten, but if the slaughterer forgot to say them the animal may be eaten.

The ordinary way to slaughter an animal is to cut its throat by one continuous action. Camels, however, should be killed by piercing their throats.

Animals which die by strangling, falling, being struck, or being attacked by predatory animals may not be eaten. If an animal is mortally wounded in any of these ways it may not be eaten, even if it is ritually slaughtered.

Ritual slaughtering, however, is not required in the case of hunting, either by arrows or bullets or sending falcons or dogs to catch and kill the animal.

It is forbidden to eat the blood of any animal and to eat pigs or predatory animals with fangs. Also forbidden are domestic donkeys, horses and mules, according to an interpretation of Qur'n 16:8: "He made, horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride on and for ornamental use." In case of "necessity", however, any of these and non-slaughtered animals may be eaten.

Muslims may eat meat slaughtered by Jews or Christians, but not that slaughtered by pagans.

5.5 `Aqqa sacrifices

When a child is eight days old, it is a sunna practice to slaughter a sheep at mid-morning. Part of the animal is eaten and part is given in alms.

The child is given a name at this time. At this time also his head may be shaven, and the weight of the hair in silver or gold be given in alms.

6. Marriage
6.1 The three constituent elements of a marriage contract
6.1.1 The matrimonial guardian (wal)

The ordinary matrimonial guardian is the father of the girl. The father has the right to compel (jabr) his unmarried daughter or one who was divorced before a full year of marriage (bikr) to someone, even if she has passed the age of puberty (He can give her in marriage also before puberty), but he may consult her if he wishes. If the daughter was married before (thayyib), the father has no right to compel her to marry anyone else. Moreover, if such a woman has a son, her son takes precedence over her father as her matrimonial guardian for any future marriage.

If the father is dead, he may have appointed a testamentary guardian (wa) for the girl. It there is no testamentary guardian, then her brother becomes her guardian, and thereafter whoever is nearest among her agnate relations (on her father's side). If she has no relatives, any judicious man from her tribe or people may serve. As a last resort the sultan or chief may act as her guardian.

No guardian besides the father may force an unmarried girl into a marriage or give her in marriage before puberty. A testamentary guardian, however, may give in marriage a minor boy in his charge.

6.1.2 The dower (adq)

The minimum amount a dower can be is one quarter of a dnr $7.50; cf. above, 4.4). The dower belongs to the woman, not to her guardian.

A marriage is invalid if there is no dower, or if two matrimonial guardians simply give each other in marriage the girls in their charge, or if the dower consists of goods which are not certainly owned (like future crops) or which are illicit to sell.

6.1.3 The witnesses:

Two witnesses of good character are required for validity.

6.2 Other provisos
6.2.1 Forbidden times

Marriage may not be contracted by someone who is in the state of consecration for pilgrimage (but he may do so during the consecration of an i`tikf retreat). Nor may someone who is terminally ill contract a marriage.

Moreover, a woman may not be married during the period of `idda after a previous marriage. This `idda, or waiting period, for divorcees is three menstrual periods, or three months if she is not menstruating. The `idda for widows is four months and ten days. If the divorcee or widow is pregnant her `idda lasts until the delivery of her child. The reason for the `idda period is to remove any doubt as to who is the father of the child she bears after her second marriage.

6.2.2 Forbidden degrees of relationship

Seven classes of women are forbidden because of blood relationship (qarba). These are "1) your mothers, 2) your daughters 3) your sisters, 4) your paternal aunts, 5) your maternal aunts, 6) your brother's daughters, and 7) your sister's daughters" (Qur'n 4:23)

Seven other classes of women are forbidden because of relationship by wet-nursing or marriage. These are "1) your mothers by wet-nursing, 2) your sisters by having had the same wet-nurse (interpreted as any daughter of the nursing woman and any other female child nursed by her during a two year period from the time of nursing the boy, even if he was given only one suck), 3) your mothers in law, 4) your stepdaughters living in your house with whose mothers you have had sexual relations; but if you have not had relations with their mothers, the daughters are not forbidden to you. Also forbidden are: 5) your daughters-in-law, that is, wives of your physical (not adopted) sons, and 6) your wife's sister, unless you married her before you became a Muslim, and finally, 7) the former wives of your fathers, unless you married them before you became a Muslim" (Q 4:23 and 22).

Moreover a adth records Muammad to have prohibited marriage with women of any blood relationship to one's wet-nurse which would be forbidden if the wet-nurse were the person's real mother. He also forbade marriage with a woman together with her paternal or maternal aunt.

Observe that first cousins are not forbidden to marry each other.

6.2.3 Forbidden persons because of religion

A Muslim man is forbidden to have sexual intercourse with unbelieving women, except for Jews and Christians. He may have intercourse with these by right of owning them as slaves or by marrying them if they are free.

A Muslim woman may be married only to a Muslin man. If both parties to the marriage are Muslim and one of them abandons Islam the marriage is dissolved.

Likewise, if one of two non-Muslim parties to a marriage becomes a Muslim the marriage is dissolved, unless the wife is a Jew or a Christian.

6.3 Number of wives and mutual duties

A man may have four wives, whether Muslim, Jewish or Christian. He is not limited as to the number of slave women he may own and have intercourse with.

A man must practice equality with his wives. If he cannot do this he should keep to one wife (Qur'n 4:3). Treating them equal includes sleeping with them in turn. However someone who marries a previously unmarried woman (bikr) may spend seven nights with her to the exclusion of his other wives. If she was married before (thayyib), he may spend three continuous nights with her.

A man owes his wife both support (nafaqa) and lodging (sukn), whether she is rich or poor. He also owes support to his parents if they are poor and to his minor children if they have no wealth of their own. His obligation to his sons lasts until they reach puberty, if they have no perduring disability, and to his daughters until they marry. He does not owe support to any relatives besides these. [A result of no extended family obligations is that disabled people must be taken care of by zakt or, in practice, go begging.]

A woman is required to nurse her child unless women of her position do not do so. She must do the housework, but her husband should provide her with help according to his means.

6.4. Divorce
6.4.1 By dissolution

If the dower was defective or not paid, the marriage is to be dissolved if it has not yet been consummated. If it has been consummated the marriage holds, but the man must pay her a fitting dower. If the contract is defective, for example because of lack of two witnesses, the marriage is to be dissolved even after consummation and the woman must be paid the dower which had been fixed. Moreover, the man may not marry the woman unless she subsequently has been married to and divorced from someone else.

A woman who is found to be demented, leprous, or with venereal disease may be returned and the dower recovered.

If a man is impotent he should be given a year to prove himself. If he succeeds in having intercourse with his wife in this time she must remain with him; otherwise she may have a divorce.

If the husband is missing (mafqd) he should be given four years to reappear, beginning after his wife reports the matter and the search for him ends. Then she enters an `idda period the same as for a dead husband, and afterwards may marry if she wishes. But his estate is not given in inheritance until his presumed life span has elapsed.

6.4.2 By repudiation (alq)

To repudiate one's wife is allowed (mub), but there is a adth that "Of things allowed the most detestable before God is repudiation."

The requirements for repudiation are:

  1. that it be done at a time when the wife is not menstruating,
  2. that since her last menstruation the man has not had sexual intercourse with her,
  3. that the declaration "You are repudiated" be said only once, and
  4. that a second declaration be made only after the `idda period (cf. 6.2 above) following the first declaration has transpired. A third declaration must wait until after another `idda period.

A man may revoke his first repudiation of his wife any time before her `idda period (or third menstruation) has transpired, or, if she is pregnant, any time before her delivery. The wife is then obliged to come back and continue her marriage with her husband.

If the first `idda period has elapsed without a declaration of revocation (raj`a), the marriage is dissolved and the woman is free to marry again, even to the same man. But if he wants more time to consider, he may repeat his repudiation and oblige the woman to wait for another `idda period. After the second `idda period he must choose either to marry her again or repudiate her a third time, which makes the divorce irrevocable. Then he may not marry her again unless she was subsequently married to and divorced from another man.

Note that a triple declaration of repudiation made at one time is not allowed but it is valid and constitutes an irrevocable divorce.

During her `idda period a repudiated woman has the right to support and lodging. When she finally leaves her husband she should be given a severance award, and if she is nursing a child she may take pay for this.

Note that repudiation is a man's right; a woman cannot similarly repudiate her husband.

6.4.3 By release (khul`)

Release is a process of divorce initiated by the wife. She returns part or the whole of her dower to her husband. If he accepts, she is released definitively and may not remarry him unless she was subsequently married to and divorced from another man. (Cf. Qur'n 2:229; 4:4.)

6.4.4 By an oath of abstinence

A husband who swears to abstain from having intercourse with his wife for four months has the choice of 1) returning to his marital life any time before the four months have elapsed, and 2) being required to repudiate his wife after the four months. If he does not repudiate her the judge will declare her repudiated. (Cf. Qur'n 2:226.)

6.4.5 By declaring his wife forbidden (ihr)

The Qur'n 33:4 and 58:2-4 condemns a pre-Islamic practice of a man's declaring his wife absolutely forbidden to himself in the same way as is his mother. The Qur'n says that such a declaration has no irrevocable effect, but someone who makes such a reprehensible declaration must make an expiation of freeing a female slave or fasting two consecutive months or feeding sixty destitute people before he may resume marital life with his wife. If he does not make expiation and resume intercourse with her before four months, the marriage must be judged dissolved.

6.4.6 By cursing a wife for adultery (li`n)

If a man denied that he is the author of his wife's pregnancy, or if he catches her in the act of adultery and does not have the four eye witnesses required for an ordinary judicial procedure, he may resort to a public curse. He does so by testifying in the name of God against his wife four times; the fifth time he curses himself if he does not speak the truth.

If the wife does not counter-testify she is punished by stoning. (The Qur'n provides only for one hundred lashes.) But she escapes punishment if she testifies to the contrary four times, and the fifth time invokes the anger of God against herself if the accusation is true. In this case no further procedure is made against her or her husband, and they are automatically divorced forever. On this process, see Qur'n 4:2-9.

6.4.7 By the wife's appeal to judicial decision

A woman may win a divorce in court, usually on the basis of the husband's failure to support her or for cruelty. However the process for seeking reconciliation described in Qur'n 4:24-25 should first be followed.

For a good modern interpretation of Islamic marriage and divorce norms, see A. Rahman I. Doi, The Cardinal Principles of Islam (Lagos: Islamic Publications Bureau, 1972), ch. 14, pp. 172-186.