Determining The Direction Of Qiblah


Contemporary Fatawa, Fiqh / Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Q. 1. Dear Maulana, your lecture on June 6, 1997 at MCA, increased our knowledge and Iman. May Allah give you great reward Ameen! I would like to thank you for visiting MCA Santa Clara. Dear Maulana, we need your Fatwa on the following three Fiqhi issues :

1) The time of Salah al-Zuhr (what is the beginning, the end of the Zuhr time and what is the definition of Zawal?)

2) The Qiblah’s direction (Should the Qiblah be identified by the strict directions West, East, North and South only? Are otherdirections such as north-east and south-west also considered? should the shortest direction to Makkah be considered as a reference to define Qiblah?)

3) The means to measure the Salah time and the direction of Qiblah (Is there any wrong is using Watches, Prayer Calendars and compasses to identify Salah time and Qiblah’s direction?)

your Fatwa attached with opinions of the four Mazhabs and Ijmah is highly appreciated.

A. I received you faxed letter, with certain questions, the answers of which are given below :

1) The time of Zuhr prayer begins immediately after Zawal, Zawal means the decline of the sun towards the west during its
daily orbit.

2)
The Qiblah is not necessarily identified by the strict direction of west, east etc. but it can also be in the north-east or north-west according to the geographical position of each place. We should try to ascertain the exact direction of Qiblah, however, an approximate direction may also serve the purpose of Salah so much so that deviation from the
exact direction of Qiblah upto 45 degree is held to be negligible which means that if somebody offers Salah to a direction which is within 45 degree from the exact direction of Qiblah, Salah will be acceptable.

3) There is no bar against using watches, compasses or calendars to identify Salah time and Qiblah’s direction in so far as they are correctly designed, and accurate.

Q. 2. From the past few months, an issue of cloning arose and it becomes a matter of life and death for our daily life as either it is ethically right or wrong. I am sending a short note which is taken from different magazines and newspapers. Please, tell me what Islamic Shari’ah tells. If possible, explain through Quranic and Hadith verses.
(Naumann Farooq)

A. This issue has been thoroughly discussed in the recent session of the Islamic Fiqh Acadmy at Jeddah and it was unanimously decided that the human coloning through physical cells is not acceptable in the Shari’ah. However, this process can
be availed of in agriculture and animals.

Q. 3. I shall be much obliged if you please provide me answers in the light of Holy Qur’an and Sunnah in respect of some very important matters for the following :

1) In non-Muslim (Kafir) countries of Australia, Canada, Europe, America etc. millions of Muslims from Middle East, Asia etc.Started living as immigrants after the second world war. These new arrivals – Muslims had no independent cemetery (graveyard) of their own in these continents and hence they were allowed to bury (by using a small portion of land) in Christian Cemeteries. I read a Hadith in a Muslim magazine (Published in Surat-India) Al-Islah that our Holy Prophet (S.A.W) saw two persons talking on the road in front of a Nasara cemetery ; he advised the two Muslims to go away 50 Yards- quickly and also told that the dead men in non-Muslim cemeteries are under severe punishment for the sins by Allah (S.N.A.T) and we should avoide going into Kuffars (Nasaras etc.) cemeteries we should not ever go near such cemeteries.”

A) As per above referenc Hadith, I would like to request you to provide the true Islamic point of view for the guidance of millions of Muslims living in America – Canada, Europe etc.

2) If a Muslim’s friend and/or relative, who is a non-Muslim ((Hindu, Shikh, Yahood, Nasara, Ahmadi Quadiani, Lahori) Parsi, Bahai, all known Kafirs Mushriqs etc.) dies is a Muslim allowed to participate to attend funeral services, to go to church service, to go to cemetery or attend cremation, during burial time, to take part in the Prayer service to make
‘dua’ for the dead man/woman, to put flower chaddar (or flower bouquets) etc.

A) As per question No. 1 above : (1) Is a Muslim forbidden or allowed such funeral participation? (2) Is it allowed to put or spread flowers and spend expensive flower bouquets – a forbidden practice – wastage, which is forbidden in Islam?

3) Is it allowed in Islam :

(i)
to shake – hands and embrace and kiss the forehead, cheeks/by a man to woman to each other who are friends, relatives close or distant relatives (Mahram or Na-Mahram), even stranger.

(ii)
Is it allowed to kiss hands of each other – (man and woman) ?

(iii)
Is it allowed to touch and kiss the legs of a saint, old man, Imam, and scholar of Islam as done (by Hindus) and Bangali Muslims too.

(iv) Is it allowed salutation by folded-hands by saying Namaste – A Hindu practice of ‘Salaam’.

If all these practices (traditions) are not allowed in Islam (forbidden), please let us know whether any punishment or sin is committed by Such Muslim?

4) Whether a woman’s Hajj or Umra is permitted without accompanying permissible man relative when that woman has
no such man relative available? What is the remedy for such a woman to perform Hajj or Umra ?

5) Please let us know if the Eid Kurbani-sacrifice of an animal is wajib (essential) to sacrifice for each and every Muslim of any age, even without going for Hajj?

6) Many People go to Hajj and Umra every Year (frequently), is it necessary to do more than one Hajj? If some one is rich person, can he send other poor people to perform Hajj instead of the rich man going every year? Is it allowed Hajj at the expense of Govt. of Pakistan or Govt. of other countries?

7) Are Muslim woman allowed to go to the cemetery along with other Muslim man/woman to attend Janaza Prayer, offer Fatihah and offer flower bouquets and spread flowers on the grave and put oil lamp on the head of the grave?

Is it allowed under Islam to erect cement walls around the grave and put name plate made of marble and photo graphs of dead man or woman? Are these practices forbidden under unnecessary waste of money?

(The above practices are very widely followed by Pakistani, Turkish and Bosnian Muslims, which please note.)

I request you send your reply in English preferably a typed one on your letter-head with your seal and signature.
(M.S. Mohammady, London)

A. 1) It is not permissible for Muslims living in non-Muslim countries to bury their dead in the cemeteries of non-Muslims. However, if the Muslims do not have any cemetary of their own, then it is permissible for them to bury their dead in a non-Muslim cemetery. In such a situation, every effort should be made to secure a portion of the cemetery specially for
Muslims that they may bury their dead together.

With regards to the Hadith mentioned in the question any comment regarding that particular Hadith can only be made if the original text is presented.

2) It is permissible for a Muslim to attend the funeral services of a non-Muslim, to go to the Church service, attend cremation, or to take part in the prayer-service. Likewise, Fatiha, or making ‘dua’ for a non-Muslim is also forbidden. The placing of a flower Sheet on a grave is not permissible for a Muslim (grave) let alone a non-Muslim as it is an innovation and also a practice of the Hindus. Likewise, the Placing of bouquets of flowers is also forbidden for Muslims as well, as it is an unnecessary extravagance.

3) All forms of physical contact between a Balig (major) male and female who do not hold the status of husband and wife should be strictly avoided. In the case of a non-mahram, it is Haram for a man and woman to have any physical contact. Therefore, shaking hands, embracingm, kissing the forehead etc in such a situation is Haram. However if either
party is of a very tender age who do not hold any sexual attraction, then in such a situation shaking hands is permissible. it is also permissible to kiss the child of very tender age who does not hold any sexual attraction. In the case of a mahram, when both parties have reached puberty, although it is not a sin to embrace, shake hands and kiss the forehead etc. as long as either party does not harbour any sexual desire, it is best avoided. However, of either party harbours any sexual desire, or a certain amount of doubt exists that such is the case, then any physical contact is Haram. In all of the above, one who has reached near puberty is also regarded as having reached puberty. Therefore, the same rule will apply.

(ii) For a non-mahram, kissing the hands of the opposite sex is Haram. The same rule applies for a mahram when there is a doubt that either party may harbour sexual desire. If no such doubt exists, it is permissible to kiss the hands, but even then caution should be exercised.

(iii) It is permissible to touch and kiss the legs of an elder, Imam, scholar etc. Out of respect for his piety or his knowledge of Deen as long as it does not resemble prostration. However, this is a practice best avoided as it may lead to corruption of belief as well as pride on the part of the one whose legs are being touched and kissed.

(iv) It is not permissible to adopt the Hindu practice of greeting mentioned. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) has forbidden the copying of other Cultures. In fact, it is a right of a Muslim to be greeted with Salaam at the time of meeting.

4) It is not permissible for a woman, when she has to travel 48 miles or more, to perform Hajj or Umrah without an accompanying permissible mahram. In such a case, when Hajj has also become compulsory on her and she fails to perform it in her lifetime, it is necessary for to appoint someone to perform Hajj on her behalf after she dies.

5) The performance of Hajj is not a prerquisite in order for the Qurbani to become wajib,For Qurbani become wajib, the prerequisites are that one should be a Muslim and a Muqim (resident). One should also have ownership of 612.35 grams silver or 87.479 grams of gold or any of their equivalent in wealth that is in excess of one’s basic necessities and free from any financial claim. Reaching the age of puberty is not a condition. Therefore, if he above mentioned conditions are present, the parents or guardian of a minor should offer Qurbani on behalf of the minor from the minor’s
wealth.

6) It is not necessary to perform more than one Hajj. After performing the Fard Hajj, it is permissible to send other poor people insteed of going oneself every year. It is also permissible to go for Hajj at the expense of the government, provided that it is within legal right.

7) It is not permissible for woman to accompany man to the cemetary for burial and to offer Janazah Prayer and Fatiha. It is also not permissible for a man or woman to place bouquets of flowers on the grave or to put oil lamps at the head of the grave. Likewise, it is forbidden to erect a tomb over the grave and also to place photos (which are Forbidden in
themselves) of the dead person at the grave. However, when there is a need to safeguard the grave from being trampled and disrespected, the erection of a boundary and marble name-plate is permissible.

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