Q: What is Shariah law?
Shariah is a
system of devising laws, based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet
The Qur'an is the direct
word of Allah and is the first most important source of guidance and rulings.
The Sunnah of
the Prophet (pbuh) is the second source of guidance and rulings. The Sunnah are
the words and actions of the Prophet (pbuh).
confirmed the rulings of the Qur'an by detailing some of its concepts, and
expanding on laws and practical matters
It deals with many aspects of day-to-day life, including politics,
and social issues
among you, we have prescribed a law and a clear way.? (Surah Al Maeda, Chapter
5 Verse 48)
Q: What is a fatwa?
A fatwa is an Islamic religious ruling, a scholarly opinion on a matter
of Islamic law. It is not necessarily
"binding" on the faithful. The people who pronounce these rulings are
supposed to be knowledgeable, and base their rulings in knowledge and wisdom.
They need to supply the evidence from Islamic sources for their opinions, and
it is not uncommon for scholars to come to different conclusions regarding the
As Muslims, we look at the
opinion, the reputation of the person giving it, the evidence given to support
it, and then decide whether to follow it or not. When there are conflicting
opinions issued by different scholars, we compare the evidence and then choose
the opinion to which our God-given conscience guides us.
Q: Why do people
not know exactly what day Eid is on?
To understand this you will need to know how the Islamic calendar
It is essentially a
lunar calendar. It contains 12 months that are based on the motion of the moon,
and because 12 lunar months is 12 x 29.53=354.36 days, the Islamic calendar is
consistently shorter (11 Days) than a solar year. As a result it shifts with
respect to the Gregorian calendar i.e. if the month of Ramadhan starts on the
13th September this year, it will start on the 2nd
September next year.
calendar is the official calendar in countries around the Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia. However
other Muslim countries use the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes and turn
to the Islamic calendar for religious purposes.
How is an Islamic month determined?
Each month starts
when the lunar crescent is first seen after a new moon.
Although new moons
may be calculated quite precisely, the actual visibility of the crescent is
difficult to predict. It depends on several factors including the weather and
the location of the observer. Therefore in some cases it may be difficult to
give accurate information in advance about when a new month will start.
some areas Muslims depend on a local sighting of the moon, whereas in other
areas a universal sighting is accepted (i.e. if a new crescent is seen anywhere
in the world it is accepted for communities the world over). Both are valid
Islamic practices, but they may lead to different starting days for the months.
This is why there can be variations and uncertainty regarding the exact day of
Eid al Fitr, which is celebrated after the month of Ramadhan on the first day
of the next month, on sighting the new moon.
Q: What is the Ummah?
The linguistic meaning of the Arabic word Ummah (also spelt Umma in English) is
community, group or nation, and can be applied to any community on any basis; in
fact in the Qur?an animals and birds are also referred to as Umam (plural of
ummah). The term is often used to refer to the world-wide community of Muslims.
In Islamic history the concept of Ummah also included people of other faiths.
At the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) a constitution was developed for the
community in Medina; the first Islamic State which detailed the concept of
belonging to an Ummah. This included the Jewish and pagan tribes of Medina as
members of the Ummah in association with the Muslims. This established the
concept of citizenship based on recognition of the new state and its authority.
Q: What is the Hijra?
This refers to the migration of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his followers from
Makkah to Medina in the year 622 CE, after years of persecution at the hands of
the leaders of Makkah. Since it marks the birth of a stable and secure society
based on the values of Islam, it is the event from which the Islamic calendar
Q: What is the Sunnah/Hadith?
This refers to the practice and example of the Prophet (pbuh), the second source
of inspiration and instruction for Muslims. A few examples of the Prophet's
"God has no mercy on one who has no mercy for others."
"None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for
"He who eats his fill while his neighbour goes without food is not a believer."
"God does not judge you according to your bodies and appearances but He looks
into your hearts and observes your deeds."
"A man walking along a path felt very thirsty. Reaching a well he descended into
it, drank his fill and came up. Then he saw a dog with its tongue hanging out,
trying to lick up mud to quench its thirst. The man saw that the dog was feeling
the same thirst as he had felt, so he went down into the well again and filled
his shoe with water and gave the dog a drink. God forgave his sins for this
action. The Prophet was asked: 'Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness
towards animals?' He said, 'There is a reward for kindness to every living