Pillars Of Islam
Tolerance In Prayers
Prayers are the link between a person and God. A person prays to God seeking His Mercy and Forgiveness. Prayer not only is an act of worship but also serves a social function; Muslims from across one community would congregate to pray in the Mosque together. The Prophet s said: “The first thing a person will be held accountable for on the Day of Resurrection is his prayers; if they are complete, then all his deeds will be accepted.” (Tirmidhī)
- A person is to perform the prayers to the best of their ability.
The prayer has many different positions it can be prayed in, taking into consideration one’s general condition. Allah, the Exalted, says: “And if you fear [an enemy, then pray] on foot or riding. But when you are secure, then remember Allah [in prayer], as He has taught you that which you did not [previously] know.” [2:239]
- When a person is traveling, four unit prayers are shortened to two units each and two separate prayers can be combined at the same time.
- When one is sick or there is a heavy downpour two separate prayers may be combined as well.
- The prayers each have a beginning and an ending time. The Prophet s said: “Angel Gabriel led me in prayer at the House of God in Mecca. He prayed the noon prayer with me when the sun had passed the meridian to the extent of the strap of a sandal. He prayed the afternoon prayer with me when the shadow of everything was as long as itself. He prayed the sunset prayer with me when one who is fasting breaks the fast. He prayed the night prayer with me when the twilight had ended. Finally, he prayed the dawn prayer with me when food and drink become forbidden to one who is keeping the fast. On the following day, he prayed the noon prayer with me when his shadow was as long as himself. He prayed the afternoon prayer with me when his shadow was twice as long as himself. He prayed the sunset prayer at the time when one who is fasting breaks the fast. He prayed the night prayer with me when about the third of the night had passed. Finally, he prayed the dawn prayer with me when there was a fair amount of light. Then turning to me he said: Muhammad d this is the time observed by the prophets before you, and the accepted time is anywhere between two times.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)
When a person is in doubt if they have added or taken away from their prayer, they are to build upon what they are sure of (the lesser number) and then perform an extra two prostrations at the end of the prayer as this would suffice for the element of prayer forgotten. The Prophet s said: “If one of you doubts in his prayer and does not know how many units he has performed, let him build upon that which he is sure of, and then prostrate at the end of the prayer two prostrations before the end salutation of the prayer.” (Bukhari)
- When one doesn’t know the direction of the Qiblah,(2) they may perform the prayer to a direction that they think is the Qiblah. Allah says: “And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah. Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” [2:115]
- It is forbidden for an Imam(3) to extend the prayers and lengthen them when he is praying in congregation. Abu Hurairah d said when the Prophet s used to perform the prayers he would shorten them. He rsaid: “If one of you prays, let him shorten the prayer for there is the weak, and sick and the old, and if one prays for himself let him lengthen as he wills.” (Bukhari)
Tolerance Of Islam In Zakah
- One of the wisdoms behind the duty of Zakah being obligated upon the Muslims is to remove poverty from the Muslim society, and to resolve criminal activities that may rise due to an increase in poverty within a society.
One of the signs of tolerance in Zakah is that it is to be taken from a person’s moderate possessions, not the most valuable or least valuable. The Prophet s warned his companion s Muadh saying: “Do not take the most valuable of their wealth as Zakah.” (Muslim)
The amount of money that one must pay is very small, and it is due only once a year if the minimum requirement is met. If someone has less than the minimal requirement, in that case he is not required to pay.
- It fluctuates according to one’s personal effort. To understand this, take into consideration a farmer who has an orchard of vegetables or the like. In charity, he is obliged to give 10%, but if he watered the orchard himself, then he must give only 5%.
- If one cannot pay Zakah, it is no longer due upon him. The Prophet s said: “Only one who is able to pay, shall pay the Zakah.” Allah, the Exalted, says: “Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” [9:60]
- When one gives it out, they are not losing, but gaining in the sight of God. Allah, the Exalted, says: “Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase, and invoke [Allah ‘s blessings] upon them. Indeed, your invocations are reassurance for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” [9:103]
Tolerance In Terms Of Fasting
- When one fasts they would develop discipline in controlling their urges as well as feel the difficulties faced by their less fortunate brothers and sisters around the world. It is also a form of Jihad(5) in which one strives to please Allah.
- It is due to the Mercy of God that only one month in a year is made a time of obligatory fasting upon Muslims. Allah says: “The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So, whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it.” [2:185]
- The time for fasting is set, and does not continue in the night. Fasting is only to be done during the day. Allah says: “It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for intimate relations]. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset. And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah, so do not approach them. Thus does Allah make clear His Command to the people that they may become righteous.” [2:187]
- It is unlawful for one to fast continuously, throughout the day and night, without breaking the fast. The Prophet s forbade this saying: “There is no continuous fasting in Islam.” (Bukhari)
- The reward of fasting is so great in the sight of Allah. The Messenger of Allah y said: “Allah said, ‘All the deeds of Adam’s sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it.’ Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins. If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, ‘I am fasting.’ By Him in Whose Hands my soul is the unpleasant smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. There are two pleasures for the fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord; then he will be pleased because of his fasting.”” (Bukhari)
It is lawful for one who is sick or traveling to break the fast. Allah, the Exalted, says:
“And whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah
intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for
you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has
guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.”
It is forbidden for anyone to burden themselves with more than that which they can bear. Jabir bin Abdullah said: “The Messenger of Allah y was traveling and he saw a man around whom many were gathered. The Prophet s asked, “What is wrong with him?” They told him, “He is fasting.” The Prophet s then said: “It is not of piety for one to fast while they travel.” (Bukhari)
When a woman is pregnant or nursing her newborn, and she is fearful that she would harm herself or her child she may break her fast, but must make up those days afterward when she can or feed the poor and needy. This is the case for the very old person as well; he may break the fast and feed the poor and needy for each day of fasting he missed. Allah, the Exalted, says: “Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity.” [2:286]
Whoever eats or drinks forgetfully or absentmindedly or is forced to do so, his fasting remains intact. The Prophet s said: “Whoever has forgotten and then has eaten or drank (during his fast), let him complete his fast for indeed Allah has blessed that person with food and drink.” (Bukhari)
Tolerance In The Pilgrimage (Hajj)
- One of the goals of Hajj is to uphold the belief in the oneness of Allah. We repeat during the Hajj the phrase: “Lab’baika Al’laahuma Lab’baik,” which means: O Allah, we have come to this place only to respond to your call and so that you may be pleased with us. You are the only one who deserves to be worshipped. In Islam, there is no difference between any two people, whether they are rich and noble, or poor and ignoble.
- It is obligatory upon us only once in a lifetime. It is a very difficult duty, and were it obligated yearly, we would fail in this duty. The Prophet, s said: “O people, Allah has ordained Hajj upon, so perform the Hajj. One of the men there said: “Is it a duty every year?” The Prophet kept quiet. He then repeated himself and said: “Were I to say yes, the Hajj would become due upon you every year, and you would not be able to do this.” (Muslim)
When one is unable to perform this pillar of Islam, it is not due upon him. The inability here goes back to two matters: financial and physical inabilities. If a person is not financially able, he is not required to perform the pilgrimage of Hajj, and if a person does not have the physical but has the financial means, he is not required to perform it himself. In this latter case, someone can perform Hajj on his behalf and this would be sufficient. It is reported that a man came to the Prophet s and said: “My father is a very old man and does not have strength to perform Hajj (pilgrimage) or ‘Umrah or to undertake the journey.” The Prophet s said, “Perform Hajj and ‘Umrah on behalf of your father.”” (Abu Dawud)
- Allah has also given the believer the choice of choosing which of the three rites of Hajj he wants to perform. Although the Prophet performed one specific form, we are not obliged to do exactly this particular one. We can choose the other two forms as well. It would go back to one’s condition and what is more convenient for him.
If one does something that would negatively affect his Hajj, he can make it up with small offerings as mentioned by Allah. He, the Exalted, says: “And complete the Hajj and ‘Umrah for Allah. But if you are prevented, then [offer] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal has reached its place of slaughter. And whoever among you is ill or has an ailment of the head [making shaving necessary must offer] a ransom of fasting [three days] or charity or sacrifice. And when you are secure, then whoever performs ‘Umrah [during the Hajj months] followed by Hajj [offers] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And whoever cannot find [or afford such an animal] - then a fast of three days during Hajj and of seven when you have returned [home]. Those are ten complete [days]. This is for those whose family is not in the area of al-Masjid al-Haram. And fear Allah and know that Allah is severe in penalty.” [2:196]
If one fears that he will not be able to complete the pilgrimage of Hajj, he can place a condition on his entry into the Hajj ritual. If this condition is put upon him, he would be able to break his Hajj ritual without any penalty.
- Performing the Hajj is a cause for the forgiveness of one’s sins. The Prophet s said: “Whoever performs Hajj (pilgrimage) and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commits sin, nor disputes unjustly (during Hajj), then he returns from Hajj as pure and free from sins as on the day on which his mother gave birth to him.” (Bukhari and Muslim)