Thursday 17th of June 2021
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The most important acts of 'ibadat are six in number

Fiqh (Jurisprudence)

Fiqh deals with all the orders and commandments which govern the previously mentioned actions. The most important acts of 'ibadat are six in number: two are purely physical ("salat" and "sawm"), two are purely "financial" ("khums" and "zakat"), and two are common to each category ("hajj" and "jihad"). God, the Almighty, says:

"You should perform jihad with your wealth and yourselves." (jahidu bi amwalikum wa anfusikum). Finally, "kaffarat" (penalties) are special kinds of punishments for particular crimes.

1. Salat (prayer)

Like all other Muslims, the Shi'as too regard "salat" as one of the pillars of religion. This prayer is a means of bringing God's servant near to Him. If one does not perform the prayer, the relation between God and His servant is broken. That is why the traditions of Ahlu 'l-bayt (a.s.) say that not offering the prayer even once or twice is the distinguishing mark between infidelity and Islam.
According to the religious code "salat" has great importance. No other act of worship can bear comparison with it. The Imamiyah sect unanimously believe that anyone who does not perform "salat" is a great sinner: moreover he has no place in Islamic society. He is neither credible nor trustworthy- One is even permitted to criticize him behind his back. There are very strict orders about "salat"; five kinds of "salat" are compulsory;

1. The five daily prayers.
2. The "salatu 'l-jum'ah" (the Friday prayers)
3. "Salatu 'l-ayat" (on the occasion of a solar or lunar eclipse, an earthquake, or any frightening natural event). 
4. "Salatu 'l-'idayn" (the salat of 'idu 'l-fitr and 'idu'l-azhar). 
5. "Salatu Ka'bah).

In addition, an adult person may make "salat" compulsory for himself by making a promise or taking an oath to perform a certain number of prayers or by accepting a reward for performing prayers under certain conditions.
Besides these, all other kinds of salat are "nawafil" (supererogatory prayers). The most important "nawafil" am those attached to the five daily prayers, which are twice the number of units of the compulsory prayers (that is thirty four units). The total number of units of both "nawafil" and compulsory prayers is thus fifty one.

Here we remember an interesting incident which Raghib al-Isfahani wrote about in his distinguished book "al-Muhadirat". We learn that during the days of Ahmad ibn 'Abdu 'l-'Aziz there was a man named Kanani in Isfahan. Ahmad was learning the correct way to do the prayers and the basic Shi'a beliefs from Kawani. one day Ahmad's mother happened to see them during a lesson and she said to Kanani: "Oh master, you have made my son a Rafidi! (one of the Rafidah - i.e. a particularly zealous Shi'a). Kanani immediately retorted: "Foolish woman! The Rafidah perform fifty one units of prayer daily, and your son does not perform even one unit out of the fifty one. How can he be one of the Rafidah?"

The "nawafil" of the month of Ramadan are of great blessing and significance. Their number is one thousand. Our Sunni brothers also perform these prayers, but in congregation (jama'ah), and they are known among them as "tarawih" from the Shi'a point of view these prayers are not permissible in congregation (jama'ah), because only the Friday prayer is a compulsory congregational prayer. For details one can refer to the tens of thousands books which contain elaborate and explicit descriptions of the correct way to perform the various compulsory or recommended prayers, and the numerous recitations and invocations which are especially associated with each prayer.

According to the religious code correct "salat" depends upon three things. Firstly, there are certain conditions which have be to be fulfilled before the actual performance of the prayers, although they are not included in the salat itself; these conditions are so important that salat becomes absolutely void if they are not attended to. They are six in number. (1) 'Taharah' (one must be in state of ritual purity); (2) Time (each compulsory prayer, and most ofthe recommended prayers, are to be performed. "at a particular time); (3) Qiblah (that is one should face the'Ka'bah); (4) Covering (dress); (5) Intention (one must make the intention to perform the prayer according to that particular prayer); (6) Place (it must be lawfully occupied; and the place for prostration must be pure and clean).

Secondly, the constituent parts of salat are of two kinds: they are either considered to be a fundamental part of the prayer and thus absolutely compulsory, or not. There are four compulsory actions. (1) Takbiratu 'lihram (that is the initial "allahu akbar"); (2) qiyam (standing to perform the prayer); (3) ruku' (bending for ward) and finally sujud (prostration on the ground). Likewise there are four conditions which are compulsory but do not make the salat void if, for example, one unintentionally does not fulfill them: (1) qira'ah (the reading of Surah al-Hamd and one other complete surah); (2) dhikr, tashahud and the final salam. One must be Still and in a state of remembrance throughout the prayer. Adhan and iqamah before the start of the prayer are both strongly desirable (indeed almost compulsory).

The following invalidate the prayer: anything which breaks one's state of wudu', turning one's back on the qiblah, and excessive movement. Any other action (which is not a fundamental part of the prayer) such as talking, laughing, weeping, looking to the right or left, eating or drinking invalidate the prayer if done intentionally.

To purify oneself, ready for any act of 'ibadat (such as prayer), one must make either wudu' (the minor purification) or ghusl (the major purification). In case of absence of water, or for some other reason like illness, unbearable cold, shortness of time, when it is not possible to do either of these two acts of purification, their substitute is "tayammum" (cf. the Qur'an which indicates this method of purification: fa tayammamu sa'idan tayyiban - so perform tayammum on pure earth - Surah al-Ma'idah). The scholars of jurisprudence and the lexicographers give various meanings for the word "sa'id". Some of them say it only means dust, and some say. that it means all kinds of pound (including sand, fragments of rocks, stones, and mineral substances). We have limited our ascription of salat to fundamentals: more detailed studies may be found in numerous other works.

2. Sawm (Fasting)

According to the Shi'a faith, sawm (plural siyam), fasting, is a pillar of the Islamic code. There are four kinds of siyam: wajib (compulsory), mustahabb (recommended), haram (forbidden) or makruh (undesirable). The fasts made incumbent by the shari'ah (code of religion) are those of the Holy month of Ramadan. Other fasts become incumbent for some specific reason, for instance "sawm kaffarah" (the penalty fast), "badal"(in lieu of sacrificing an animal), in lieu of someone else, "nadr" (as a vow, or oath). The fasts of the months of Rajab and Sha'ban are desirable as well as other fasts too numerous to mention in this brief work. Fasting on the two 'id days and "ayyam at-tashiq" (the three days after hajj) is forbidden; to fast on the days of 'Ashurah and 'Arafat are undesirable (according to many the 'Ashurah day fast is strictly forbidden).

Details concerning the conditions and actual performance of a certain fast, as well as the courtesies (adab) and recitations associated with each, may be found in the large number of books on this topic. The Shi'as are extremely particular about the Ramadan fasts: many of them would rather die of thirst or hunger than not undertake it.

3. Zakat (Taxation)

We may consider salat and sawm as two acts of worship ('ibadat) whose immediate basis is physical rather than spiritual. Zakat is of an entirely different nature. According to the Shi'as, after salat in rank comes "zakat" (taxation); indeed from some of the traditions of the Holy Imams (a.s.) it is understood that if somebody does not give "zakat" his salat also is invalid Like all other Muslims the Imamiyah consider "zakat" compulsory on nine things: Animals - camels, cows, goats; Grains - wheat, barley, dates, raisins; Money - gold, silver coins.

Besides these, zakat on other things, such as all kinds of merchandise, horses and crops is desirable. The precise conditions and regulations can be found in the appropriate books of jurisprudence. It is interesting to note that all the rules are in basic conformity with those of the "fiqh" of the four Sunni schools of thought, Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki and Hanbali. Among those entitled to receive zakat are the poor and the needy, according to God the Almighty's command in Surah at-Tawbah: innama 's-sadiqatu li 'lfuqara' wa 'l-masakin.

Zakatu 'l-fitrah (poor-tax on the day or 'idu 'l-fitr) is compulsory for every adult and sane person who can financially support himself and his wife and children and other members of the household dependent on bun. Its quantity is one "sa'" (approximately 3 kilos) of wheat, barley, or dates on behalf of every individual.

The nature of zakat is basically the same; whether from the point of Shi'a or Sunni fiqh.

4. Khums

"Khums" which is another kind of tax, is compulsory on five things: the booty taken from an enemy in war; the pearls and minerals drawn from the sea; hidden treasures mineral substances extracted from the land; and lawfully gained money which has been mixed with unlawful money, or profits gained from business, or land transferred to a "dhimmi" (a Christian or a Jew, living within the Muslim nation) from a Muslim.

The obligation of "khums" is based on the command of Almighty God : "Know that the one fifth of what you get as booty is the share of God, the Prophet (s.a.w.). the relations, the orphans, the beggars and the wayfarers" (Surah Anal). Moreover, we believe that "khums" is a right which God the Almighty particularly reserved for the descendants of Muhammad (s.a.w.). Since charity is unlawful for the children of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) (they can not receive zakat), "khums" is a kind of compensation from the bounty of God the Almighty.

"Khums" is divided into six parts: three are for God, the Prophet (s.a.w.) and his kith and kin; and the other three parts must be paid to the holy Imam, when he is present. However, "khums" should be handed over to the representative of the Imam, that is the "just mujtahid", when the former is in occultation, The Imam is to use these funds to protect the religion of Islam and to complete the development plans of the Muslim nations. This is the real purpose for which it is to be used; it must be stressed that Sayyid Muhammad Alusi wrote in a rather flippant manner in his commentary on the Qur'an when he said: "In these days the money accumulated from "khums" should be placed in the cellar."

This, in fact, refers to a fictitious story current among certain of our Sunni brothers, which relates that the Shi'as say that their Imam disappeared in a cellar; we need hardly point out that occultation of the Imam had not the slightest connection with the aforementioned cellar.

The Ithna Ashari Shi'as go to visit the cellar at Samarrah, because it was the place where the Holy Imam used to offer "tahajjud" (mustahab night prayers). Also that was the place where the father and the grandfather of the Holy Imam used to offer prayers to God, the Almighty.

The remaining three parts of "khums", as we have said, are the right of the poor people of the Hashimi family (that is the family of the Prophet).

Such were the commandments of "khums" which have been followed from the time of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) until now. After the death of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), the Muslim rulers suppressed this right to "khums" of the Al Hashim (the progeny of the Prophet) and instead collected the money into the baytu 'l-mal in order that they themse1ves could control its use. This family, who had no right to "zakat", were now also deprived of "khums".

It seems that Imam Shafi'i himself, in his book entitled "Am", pointed out that the descendents of the Prophet (s.a.w.), for whom "khums" was set aside in place of charity, can neither be given anything out of the prescribed charities, nor may they take it, and if the giver of charity knowingly gives it to them he will have to forego his heavenly reward. Moreover, he adds: "if they have been deprived of the right of "khums" it does not mean that charity and other such things which are unlawful for them will become lawful." Indeed, since the people in power did away with this "right" altogether the books of jurisprudence of the majority community are quite silent upon this topic and not surprisingly Imam Shafi'i has omitted to mention this topic in his books on "fiqh".

In all Shi'a books of "fiqh", "khums" has been given a special chapter just like "zakat". (we must admit however that the learned scholar Hafiz Abu 'Ubayd al-Qasim ibn Salam (died 224 A.H.), in his great work "Kitab al-amwal", dealt with all the problems of "khums", including the ways in which it should be spent, in a special chapter. Most of the points he discussed are in perfect consonance with Shi'a beliefs (vide pages 303-349).

5. Hajj

According to the Shi'a faith, 'hajj' (the pilgrimage to Makkah) is one of the pillars of Islam. One who abstains from performing this duty when he is able must die the death of a Jew or a Christian as a punishment for his failing. Anyone who refuses to obey this divine command has come close to the threshold of being a "kafir". God refers to such a person in Sural Al 'Imran:"wa man kafara fa in allaha ghani un 'an al 'alamin - anyone who commits "kufr" should know that God is independent of all the worlds."

Hajj is a kind of financial and physical "jihad". Indeed hajj should be called the true jihad, and jihad should be called the true hajj. If we ponder over their relationship a little carefully this hidden meaning and basic harmony between the two will become quite apparent.

Hajj becomes obligatory for a Muslim under the following conditions: he should have reached the age of puberty and be sane of mind; moreover he should have sufficient financial means, be in good health and the route leading to Makkah should be open and safe for travel. Should these conditions be fulfilled, hajj becomes immediately "wajib" (compulsory), but once performed, a person need never go again in his lifetime. Hajj is of various kinds:

(1) "Hajj afrad". The basis of this is the holy verse: "For the sake of God, hajj is compulsory for those who can reach there" (Al 'Imran: 97).

(2) "Hajj Qur'an". It is mentioned in the verse: "Complete hajj and "umrah for the sake of God" (Al Baqarah: 196).

(3) "Hajj tamatu'". This hajj is mentioned in the following verse: "Whoever wishes to continue the 'umrah to hajj should offer the sacrifice which, he can afford" (Al Baqarah: 190).

Each of the above has been the subject of much research. The decisions of the 'ulama' concerning the various conditions for each kind of hajj are recorded in the books of jurisprudence.

After going through a large number of books of the Sunni 'ulama' we have come to the conclusion that in this matter most of their laws are similar to those of ours; of course, there are some differences to be found, but they are not many.

The Shi'as give great importance to hajj and are very particular about the performance of this obligation. Even during the days when they had to journey amongst people who were thirsting for their blood and enemies of their honour and respect, they were unmindful of all the dangers. So devoted were they, and so anxious to reach Makkah, that they arrived in hundreds of thousands to make the "tawwaf" of the Ka'bah ("tawwaf" is the special circumambulation of the hajj). Fears for their life and property did not lower their spirits. The feeling of the obligatory nature of this pillar of Islam continued to move their steps forward. Moreover they often performed hajj at enormous expense. It is regretful that, in spite of this obvious obedience to God's orders, it is still said that the Shi'as seek the destruction of Islam!

6. Jihad

Jihad is the foundation stone of the magnificent building of Islam. In its absence the religion of God would neither have been the cause of mercy for the world, nor would it have proved a source of blessing to mankind.

For jihad means fighting against oppression and oppressors, and sacrificing one's life and wealth in the way of God. for the preservation of peace and tranquility.

In the Shi'a religion it is of two kinds: "Jihad al-akbar" (the greater jihad) and "Jihad al-asghar" (the lesser jihad).

To face that internal enemy called the "nafs" (self), and to fight against its harmful qualities, such as ignorance, cowardice, oppression, tyranny, envy and pride, is the "jihad al-akbar". It was the Prophet of God himself who declared: "your greatest enemy is the self and it is to be found right in your own body." Jihad al-asghar means subduing anyone who is opposed to justice and equity, peace and humanity, and religion and reality. 

source : http://www.islamicecenter.com/e-library/logic_islamic_rules/logic_islamic_rules_makarem_subhani_03.html
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