Current Legal Issues
- YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
- Prayer and Hajj (pilgrimage to Makka)
- (Q.1) The ulema (scholars, or doctors of religion) seem
to disagree as to the qibla (the direction, of the Ka'ba,
one must face while praying) in New York, USA and other places in
North America. Is it possible that you explain to us in some detail
as to which direction we should set our faces to be in line with the
- Determining the qibla in those far flung places, in which the
curve of the earth constitutes an obstruction, could be achieved by
drawing parallel lines from the foothold of the person who is
praying. These lines follow the curve of the earth to the direction
where Ka'ba is situated until these lines go over its position,
albeit on the premise of probability. That is the direction of these
notional lines can be seen aiming correctly, if you extend a string
from the position of the praying person and the position of Ka'ba on
the globe. It is important, though, to making sure that it is
straight and tilting neither to the right nor the left. The
experiment will prove that the direction of this string in New York,
North America, is to the East North by a measure indicated by the
There are those who may say that Holy Mekka is located under the 22
Parallel and New York is above the 40 Parallel, requiring those
setting their face in the direction of the Holy Ka'ba to tilt
towards the South not the North.
We have this to say to them. This may be true if you were looking at
a flat map not a global one. The skewness of the string, used in the
global map, has resulted from the difference between the two points
when it is observed about the North and South Poles. To prove this
experiment, ignore the four static corners of the globe and turn it
around; assume that the position of Holy Mekka is at the top, where
the North Pole is; you will have noticed that the direction of the
string is the same. Thus, he who is standing in New York has to
stand facing the direction of the string without leaning to the
Furthermore, Having more in favour of this argument is that you have
to adhere to the notional straight line that runs through the earth
between the station of the person and the holy Ka'ba. For, since it
is impossible stick to this notional line, you have to resort to the
direction taken by the curved string between the two points, i.e.
from New York to East North.
Nevertheless, he, who faces the East South in his prayer, is bound
by the legal proof he is satisfied with. Allah is All Knowing.
- (Q.2) We have pointed out in the previous question as to the
differences regarding the correct direction of qibla. What is
the ruling on the dead who were buried in a direction that was
prevalent then and, afterwards, a new direction was found to be the
correct one, noting that exhuming the bodies or remains poses untold
- As is apparent from the question, there is no need for change.
- (Q.3) Does performing Jumuah [Friday Congregational]
Prayer make up for Dhuhr (Noon) prayer on Friday? Which one
is preferable to perform?
- Performing Jumuah prayer, according to the conditions
stipulated in Shari'a law, is preferable than saying Dhuhr
prayer. In so doing it makes up for the latter.
- (Q.4) Has any one the right to object to holding Jumuah
prayer under the pretext that Maraj'ul Muslimeen (Muslims
Religious Authorities) in Holy Najaf and Holy Qum do not hold it.
However, residents of the country where the Mukkallaf (compos
mentis, or the person obligated to observe the precepts of religion)
lives hold it in compliance with their juridical school of thought?
- No one has the right. The non-holding of Jumuah prayer by
some Maraji', who maintain that holding it is preferable than
saying Dhuhr prayer and that it makes up for the latter,
might be attributed to personal judgement or excuses of that sort.
It does not, therefore, follow that others can not hold it.
- (Q.5) As a result of expansion some cities, which used to
comprise a number of townships, have become very big ones. Do you
consider such cities as one [physically] or the old demarcations
between its different neighbourhoods should be observed? Say, you
set out on a journey heading to some other destination, from the
eastern most point. The time for prayer was due, while you were
still within its boundaries, that is in the westernmost point. Do
you perform your prayer tamam (in its entirety) or qasr
(shortened form). Also, when you return to such a big city and the
time for prayer was due, while you were in its outskirts, do you say
your prayer qasr or tamam? And what is the ruling on
fasting in such a situation?
- As explained in the question, such a city is considered one, i.e.
the rule of different towns is not applicable. Of course, the
yardstick in calculating the distance is the definition of Musafir
(traveller). If such a city is very big and it fulfils the
definition, when the person embarks on his journey from his
neighbourhood, though it be inside the city, the rule of Musafir
applies here. Thus, the distance is calculated from the approaches
of the neighbourhood of the Mukkallaf. If the definition does
not apply unless he gets out of the city, the end of the city should
be the start of calculating the distance from the edge of tarakhus
(the point at the parameter of a town, when, for instance, adhan
"call for prayer" can be heard).
- (Q.6) Someone brought with him a garment from another country.
He did not pay duty on it because he did not declare it. Is it
considered as maghsoub (usurped) and can he say his prayer
wearing such a garment?
- It is not considered as maghsoub and there is no harm in
saying prayer wearing it.
- (Q.7) Is it permissible for a person to delay saying his prayer
to attend Hussaini commemoration gatherings held during Muharram?
- It is permissible. However, it is preferable to say prayers at
their prescribed times. It is, therefore, incumbent on the people
organising such gatherings to hold them in such manner that they do
not coincide with prayer times.
- (Q.8) A young person, who has the means to perform hajj,
had to sit his exams at the time of hajj. If he were to go
for hajj, this would have affected his results and
consequently his study. What should he do?
- If he was sure of his financial ability to perform hajj at
a later year, it is permissible for him to delay it. Otherwise - as
it happens - performing hajj becomes obligatory in the year
in question. Of course, if in so doing he may fail the exams, for
example, and that this eventuality would pose him with a great
embarrassment, so much so that his position would become untenable,
it would not become obligatory.
- (Q.9) A financially able person did not perform hajj
yet. Is it permissible for him to perform umrah (lesser
pilgrimage) during the month of Rajab? What if he became able
during the month of Ramadhan? Could he do umrah?
- Umrah Mufradah (a type of lesser pilgrimage that can be
performed at any time, except the days of hajj "greater
pilgrimage" during Thil Hijja) would be in order.
However, if his travel for umrah could result in him being
unable to perform hajj later on, it is not permissible for
him to do that.
- (Q.10) A single young man has, rather belatedly, contemplated
getting married. If he were to delay arrangements for his marriage
and embark on the hajj journey, his marriage could be
postponed for a while. Which one takes precedence over the other?
- He should go to hajj and delay the marriage, unless
forbearance with being bachelor would make his position untenable.
Allah is All Knowing.