The Ahlul Bayt (A.S.) and a Contemporary Muslim
By: Al-Tijani Al-Samawi
The jobs of the present age have occupied most of man’s time and not left for him any free time. In the age of the Mission - the first age of Islam, jobs were limited in that a man was a farmer, a trader or a manufacturer. These three jobs gave man enough free time to practice his worships as he liked and at their specified times. When the time of prayer came even if a Muslim was in the place of his work, he stopped working to offer the prayer with a tranquil soul.
As for today where governments have employed most of people for assured and defined salaries and for several hours, people are not allowed to stop working in order to offer the prayer. A student, teacher, manager, physician, nurse, worker, soldier, policeman, officials in companies, factories, and mines, the guards of borders, officer in a weather station or airport…etc. do not find free time to offer the prayer in its five prescribed times.
I myself suffered this problem when I was a teacher. My soul was upset and my conscience was confused as time did not permit me to offer the prayer in its specified time. I often missed the Dhuhr (midday), Asr (afternoon), and Maghrib (time of sunset) prayers especially during winter. I often offered the four prayers (in addition to Isha - evening Prayer) altogether in the night. Sometimes, I went back home very tired so that I could not offer them, or I offered them in spite of me.
I discovered that many Muslims gave up prayer for the reason that they were psychologically stressed, hoping that chance might permit them to offer this obligation later. Because of this, dislike came to some people who saw that the prayer was like a nightmare, which affected their ease. They began criticizing Islam of being a religion of fatigue, difficulty and hardship, and saying that Christianity had relieved its followers from many ties where they pray only one time a week; on Sunday which is a holiday.
How often the missionaries struck the right cord before a Muslim youth, claiming that their religion (Christianity) would keep pace with civilization at all ages! They say that prayer once a week and fasting (abstaining from eating meat only) for only three days in a year make their religion a religion of love and peace.
How much did these propagandas attract the Muslim youth, who suffered, in their early childhood from the pressure of parents to perform wudhu’ and prayer, to a terrible degree in some families?
You see that some parents, especially unlearned ones, want their children to be exactly like Rabi’ah al-Adawiyyah(An exemplar in faith and piety) if they are females and like Ahmed al-Badawi if they are males. They wake them up before the dawn and tire them with prayers. They watch them day and night, and blame and punish them severely for everything. They beat them sometimes just because they forget something. They send them to government schools and burden them with duties, until they become boring, and then hate the religion while they are not yet adolescent. I do not say except what I have already seen. I saw many children from my relatives, who offered the prayer under pressure; give up the prayer when the authority of parents was no longer over them, or when they were far from the family and its ties.
Many times, I tried to convince some parents from my relatives not to beat or force their children to offer the prayer and that they must treat them kindly and leniently, to endear the prayer to them and not to make it as a nightmare to them, but I often faced their saying that the Prophet (S) had said, “Beat them (children) to offer the prayer when they are seven years old (or ten years in some traditions)”.
In this way, the Muslim youth lose their prayer and give up on their religion, even if they do not follow the missionaries. In addition to that, the television, games and many other things take the youth away from the remembrance of Allah.
The solution is in the Ahlul Bayt’s school
Whoever observes the school of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), concerning the Islamic education, shall find sufficient solutions that Allah the Almighty has legislated for His people to make religion easy for them and within the reach of everyone - young or old.
Allah the Almighty says: He has not laid upon you any hardship in religion. Qur'an, 22:78
Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire for you difficulty. Qur'an, 2:185
Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability. Qur'an, 2:286
To relieve from hardship
This is the general rule in Islam; every hardship is kept away, every difficulty is disliked, and every strait is prohibited. If it is so, then what is the strictness there for, that which we find in the books of jurisprudence among all Muslims?
If a Muslim reads some chapters on wudhu’ or ghusl (ritual wash or bath), he feels that jurisprudents have added difficulty to the easiness, and imposed on man more than his capacity.
It is known in the school of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) through traditions narrated by them from their grandfather the Prophet Muhammad (S) that “Wudhu’ is two washes and two wipes; to wash the face and the hands, and to wipe (with the wet remaining in the hands) the head and the feet.”
This is the wudhu
As we have said before and in order to make it easy for Muslims, Allah the Almighty has imposed wudhu’ on Muslims before offering the prayer. Allah says: O you who believe, when you rise up to prayer, wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles. Qur'an, 5:6
Then, wudhu’ is to wash the face and two hands and to wipe the head and the two feet. As we see, it is easy and accessible with no any difficulty or hardship. If a Muslim is at home or traveling, in an airport or a railway station, this wudhu’ shall not embarrass him at all; he just turns on the tap and washes his face and hands, and then he turns off the tap and wipes his head and feet with the wet of his hands. He may not take off his shoes except in the place of prayer if it is near, and then he wipes his head and feet.
But, if the wudhu’ is as described by (Sunni) jurisprudents who say:
• To wash the hands to the wrists three times
• To rinse out the mouth three times
• To wash the nose three times (by inhaling and ejecting out)
• To wash the face three times
• To wash the right hand three times and the left hand three times
• To wipe all the head
• To wipe the two ears
• To wash the right foot three times and then the left foot three times
This shall be of difficulty and hardship, especially to the youth when they are in travel. It is difficult to wash the feet in winter and then to wait until they dry in order to put on the socks.
What is important in this matter is that the school of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), that do not rely on personal opinions nor on misinterpretation before clear texts, acts according to the Holy Book and the pure Sunna of Prophet. The wudhu’ that the Shia follow is the wudhu’ that Allah has imposed on Muslims in the Holy Qur'an and it is the wudhu’ that the Messenger of Allah (S) and the infallible imams of his progeny did practice.
May Allah have mercy on Abdullah ibn Abbas who often said, “I do not find in the Book of Allah except two washes and two wipes, but you insist on following the rule of al-Hajjaj.”
Muslims today, especially the learned youth, have to go back to the right way of Islam with its simplicity and ease to make people love and wish for the religion. How often the Prophet (S) announced before Muslims, “Make it easy and do not make it difficult! Do not make (people) alienated from the religion!” And he often said, “Do not make it difficult for yourselves, lest Allah makes it more difficult for you as He did for the Children of Israel.”
How many people, who escaped from the prayer because of wudhu’ or they offered the prayer but with tayammum1 for fear of water which caused them prurigo in the hands and toes of the feet,( In the school of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s..), one can practice tayammum even if water is available when he fears from a disease, or what may lead to or complicate a disease as narrated from Imam as-Sadiq, “…soil is one of the two purifying things”) recovered soundness and became tranquil with the wudhu’ of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.)!
This is the prayer
The prayers in the school of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), are offered in three times instead of five times:
• One time for the Fajr (dawn) Prayer
• One time for the Dhuhr (midday) and Asr (afternoon) Prayers
• One time for the Maghrib (time of sunset) and Isha’ (evening) Prayers
We have written a separate chapter in our book “To be with the Truthful” to prove the legality of these three times from the Holy Qur'an and the pure Prophet’s Sunna; therefore, we do not want to expatiate or repeat what we have already said. Let whoever wants to see the details refer to that book.
Anyhow, we want here to explain the wisdom of Allah in gathering between the times of the prayers in this way. As we have said in a previous chapter – (the Ahlul Bayt and modern Muslims) most of whom are employees who form three thirds of a society, do not offer the prayer or offer it lazily and unwillingly, or offer it with difficulty and hardship. This is because they know that it is not permissible for them (in the view of religion) to leave the work during the time of work, for which they receive wages, in order to offer their prayer.
We have nothing to do with those, who cry out in the mosques calling people to leave their jobs at the times of prayers even if it costs them to lose their jobs, because Allah - as they claim - is the One Who provides His servants with sustenance, and not the employer or the owner of the factory.
What is odd is that these very imams, who bear this thought, contradict themselves in the same subject. Once, I heard one of them praising Umar ibn al-Khattab and saying, “One day, our master Umar came into the mosque and saw some man offer the prayer before the coming of people. The second time, he came and found him offering the prayer. In the third, he (Umar) asked him (the man), “Who spends on you?”
The man said, “My brother spends on me.”
Our master Umar said to him, “Get out of the mosque! Surely, your brother is better than you are. The sky does not rain gold or silver.”
When I was alone with the imam (of the mosque) I, said to him, “Did you not say a month ago, ‘Allah is the One Who provides His servants with sustenance, so leave your work in order to offer the prayer’?”
He looked at me with a smile and said, “For every occasion there is a certain saying! My first saying was from the Qur'an, and my second saying was our master Umar al-Farouq’s. My first and second sayings are both true…”
I said, “May Allah reward you with good! I have benefited from you.”
We come back to the subject of the wisdom of Allah behind the gathering of prayers in one time. We say that Allah is the Wise, the All Knowing, the Creator of everything, Who knows the past, the present, and the future; nothing is hidden from His knowledge. He has known that in some certain time people would be confined to their jobs that would limit their freedoms and times, and since Muhammad (S) was the last of prophets, His law would be valid until the Day of Resurrection and be within reach of all human beings. The wisdom of Allah provides for ease and relief for people who abide by religion. Therefore, Allah recommended His messenger to offer the Dhuhr and Asr Prayers in one time either by advancing the Asr Prayer or delaying the Dhuhr Prayer, and offer the Maghrib and Isha’ Prayers together either by advancing the Isha’ Prayer or delaying the Maghrib Prayer1 and to teach his nation this way in order to relieve them from hardship.
The Messenger of Allah (S) did what he was ordered to do. He led congregational prayers in Medina many times in this way, and when he was asked why, he said, “in order not to make it hard for my nation or in order not to embarrass my nation”.2
Ibn Abbas said, “The Messenger of Allah (S) offered in Medina seven (rak’as) and eight (rak’as); the Dhuhr and the Asr prayers (together) and the Maghrib and Isha’ Prayers (together).”3
This is the wisdom of Allah the Almighty and this is the prayer of the Messenger of Allah (S) according to the order of his Lord, in order not to cause the nation any hardship. Then, why do we refrain from this way in offering the prayers, when it is easy and possible for all people; employees, workers, students, soldiers…etc.? There is no job in the world that may disturb these times and there shall be no excuse for any Muslim after that.4
It is well known that the labor law in the world limits the hours of work to eight hours a day into two periods - the first one from eight o’clock AM to the midday, and the second from two o’clock PM to six o’clock PM, where there is a break of two hours for rest at midday. In this case, a Muslim can offer the Dhuhr and Asr prayers during this time of rest before coming back to his work. Thus, he offers the Dhuhr and Asr prayers in their right times and comes back to his work with a tranquil mind and a pleased conscience.
If the work is continuous for all day as in the mines and some other factories - the labor law determines the work in seven continuous hours including a break of half an hour for rest. A company may manage the work by dividing the workers into three groups alternating each other in this way:
• from 7 o’clock AM to 2 PM
• from 2 PM to 9 PM
• from 9 PM to 4 AM
By this Divine wisdom of the times of prayers, all groups can offer their prayers in their right times without any difficulty or embarrassment, and no one after that may say that he cannot find time for the prayer or that he missed the right time of prayer.5
By this, we follow the Holy Qur'an and the Prophet’s Sunna in offering the prayers in their times, for the prayer is a timed ordinance for the believers. At the same time, we keep away from ourselves and from others any hardship and embarrassment. Perhaps, most of the youth who give up the prayer, may return to it when they know that Allah the Almighty has permitted it in this way, and the Messenger of Allah (S) and his progeny (peace be on them all) had offered it in this way.6
This is the Zakat
The school of the Ahlul Bayt a.s. (Shiism) is different from the other Islamic creeds who believe in the obligation of the zakat but not the khums. They see that khums is required only in the booties of war.
As for the Shia, they believe that zakat is obligatory and khums is obligatory too in all what a Muslim gains in a year. According to the Prophetic Sunna, zakat is obligatory on the following things:
i. Gold and silver coins
ii. Livestock - camels, cows, sheep, and goats
iii. Four yields - wheat, barley, date, and raisin
If we ponder on these mentioned articles of zakat, we see that they do not satisfy the need of building an integral Islamic society that looks forward to development, in keeping its pace with modern times, getting rid of poverty and neediness, assuring of safety and good living, building of hospitals, universities, streets and highways, assuring of good abodes, enough salaries for unemployed people or those disabled by diseases, old age or any disability.
It is known among all nations that the wealthy class forms not more than twenty percent of a nation, the middle class that hardly satisfy their needs may form fifty percent, and thirty percent of people are poor and needy, who are in terrible need of any help.
If we rely only on the zakat in those afore mentioned items that the Prophet (S) had mentioned and with the defined value of 2.5%, it shall be not enough to satisfy the needs of people and the requirements of the age.
One, who has thousands of olive trees, shall say: ‘zakat is not obligatory on me, because the Messenger of Allah (S) has not mentioned olive among the yields included in zakat.’ The same can be said about many other yields such as tons of fishes taken out of the sea by modern tools. One, who has thousands of poultry, does not have to pay zakat as well. One, who has many real estates, also does not have to pay zakat. If we suppose that all these people were convinced to pay the zakat, they shall not pay more than 2.5% of their properties, which is a very little amount which neither fattens nor avails against hunger!
As for the khums that Allah the Almighty has imposed on Muslims when saying: And know that whatever thing you gain, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer. Qur'an, 8:41
We have talked about this verse in details in our book “To be with the Truthful”. Whoever wants more details let him refer to this book. We do not want to convince people that the Umayyads misinterpreted and annulled this verse and limited its rulings to the booties of war only, rather we want to show what the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) did in this concern, and the Ahlul Bayt (the people of the house) are more aware of what there is in the house! They did according to the Holy Qur'an and the Prophet’s Sunna and said that Muslims must pay the fifth of whatever they gain within a year.
If we think deeply through a simple mathematical operation, we shall clearly see the great difference between the reality that Muslims live today and the theory that has not been applied except to a very small group of people, and in a disorderly way.
Let us take an example - a Muslim who has ten thousand dinars. If this Muslim follows the rulings of the Sunni, he shall pay the zakat from his wealth at a percentage of 2.5, which is two hundred and fifty dinars, but if he follows the rulings of the Shia, he shall pay the fifth of his ten thousand dinars, which is two thousand dinars. When this Muslim pays the zakat according to the Sunni, nine thousand and seven hundred and fifty dinars shall remain with him, but when he pays the fifth according to the Shia, eight thousand dinars shall remain with him.
On this basis, a poor Muslim among the Sunni gets two hundred and fifty dinars for his living of a year, whereas a poor Muslim among the Shia gets two thousand dinars a year. The difference between the two poor Muslims is too big.
If the zakat of the Sunni suffices for the living of one poor Muslim, the zakat of the Shia suffices for the livings of eight poor Muslims.
If we compare between a rich Muslim and a poor one among the Sunni, we shall find the following account; 9750 in opposite to 250, which is a very weak proportion, forming one of forty. It means that if the poor Muslim has one loaf of bread, the rich one has forty loaves.
In comparison between a rich Muslim and a poor one among the Shia, we shall find the following account; 8000 in opposite to 2000, which is a reasonable and acceptable proportion, forming one of four. It means that if the poor Muslim has one loaf of bread, the rich one has four loaves.
In another word, a poor Sunni Muslim has one share, whereas a rich Sunni Muslim has thirty-nine shares. The difference between the two is too immoderate, and this is what Allah has warned us of when saying: So that it may not be a thing taken by turns among the rich of you. Qur'an, 59:7
Indeed, in this case, the rich who form only twenty percent of the nation possesses ninety-five percent from the general wealth, and the rest of people possess five percent from that wealth. As for a Shia poor Muslim, he has one share from every four shares, and this difference, though it is big, is not so immoderate. The rich here possess seventy-five percent of the wealth, whereas the poor possess twenty-five percent of that wealth.
What confirms this fact is that many Sunni economists say that the proportion of 2.5% of the zakat is no longer sufficient to meet the increasing expenditure where the different needs of man have become much more than his needs in the past. In this concern, they think that they must not follow the very literality of the Qur’anic texts concerning the political and economic affairs!!! Refer to An Introduction to the Islamic Economic, by Dr. Abdul Aziz Fahmi, p. 163.
Instead of accusing the texts of being insufficient - and this is from the daring things that the Sunni are blamed for, where they claim that the Qur'an and the Prophet’s Sunna do not include all rulings, and so they (the Qur'an and the Sunna) need other tools and analogy!!”
And if they had referred it to the Messenger and to those in authority among them, those among them who can search out the knowledge of it would have known it” - these are the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). So, the right solution is to add the khums to the zakat and not limit it to the booties of war only. In this way, Muslims shall be prosperous.
In addition to that, Islam encourages voluntary charities. In fact, Islam imposes on Muslims some other obligatory charities like the zakat al-fitr (after fasting in Ramadan), sacrifices in the hajj, penances and some vows. Islam also gives a legal ruler the right to take from the rich and give to the poor in some necessary circumstances, or put it in the public treasury.
However, the reality is other than what Allah has mentioned in the Qur'an and what the Prophet (S) and his progeny did. You see that the wealth of the Muslim nation is in the hands of the rich who are very few, but they possess everything whereas the poor, who are the great majority, have nothing.
The communist blocs knew this phenomenon in the Muslim world; therefore, they attacked it very easily by attracting its learned youth in the colleges and universities, using the theory of the distribution of wealth among all individuals.
Most of the Muslim youth believed in communism and denied their religion and beliefs. They began blaming and criticizing their fathers and grandfathers. In fact, Islam met a very dangerous affliction from communism that destroyed it from inside at the hands of its own learned youth. These very Muslims fought against Islam when they got the reigns of authority, and then they affected their people too much.
If we were not safe from communism, we have to blame the first Muslims who distorted the rulings of Allah and caused the affairs of the Muslim nation to get to where Muslims are in now with their poverty, underdevelopment, ignorance and blind fanaticism. There is no power save in Allah, the Most High, the Most Powerful!
1. This advancing and delaying is from the beginning of the Dhuhr Prayer’s time to the last of the Asr Prayer’s time, and the same thing is to the Maghrib and Isha’ Prayers. But as for one who has enough free time, it is recommended for him to offer each prayer in its time.
2. Sahih Muslim, the book of Prayer,Chapter - Gathering between two prayers.
3. Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 1 p. 133, Book of Times of Prayers.
4. There is a saying by our ulema, “whenever the conditions of something are too many, the chance of its availability is too little”; therefore, make it easy so that you may get it!
5. Of course, we do not talk about the very special cases that may force workers to work for ten continuous hours or more that is called “overtime”. Such workers, as well, can offer the prayers if they want, for the wudu and the offering of the Midday (Dhuhr) and Afternoon (Asr) prayers take about six minutes. Do these workers not go to the WC? Does this not take time?
6. In many cases, the prayer can be offered according to the conditions of those cases; a traveler in the airplane can offer the prayer while sitting in his chair, a patient, who cannot move, can offer it while lying down, a handicapped person can offer it in the way possible to him, and so on.