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FAQ

Q: What is Shariah law?


Shariah is a system of devising laws, based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).

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).

The Sunnah 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, economics, banking, business, contracts, family, hygiene, and social issues

"To each 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 same issue.

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 works. 

 

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.

The Islamic 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.

Furthermore, in 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 starts.  



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 sayings (Hadith):

"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 himself."
"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 being.'"





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