Hajj Akbar, Qurbani, Taharah and Zakat
Q 1. Many people have mentioned
that Hajj on Friday is considered
Hajj Akbar and it is worth
seven Hajj at another time. Is this
true? What do you say about Hajj
A 1. Among the masses of
Muslims it has become
if the Day of ‘Arafah occurs on Friday, then it is Hajj Akbar (Great Hajj) and it has more blessings. There is no verse in the Qur’an or Hadith of the Prophet - peace upon him - to support this claim. In the Qur’an, Allah called the day of Hajj, every Hajj, Yam al-Hajj al-Akbar (al- Tawbah 9:3). Of course Friday is a great day of blessings and the Day of Hajj is even a greater day, but it is not right to say that the reward of Hajj is seven times more if it occurs on Friday. Only Allah and His Messenger know the amount of reward and blessings in our worship and good deeds, we have no right to speculate and make our own claims in these matters.
Q 2. When does Qurbani become Fard (obligatory) on a person (both male and female) and if it’s not Fard on someone and that someone still wants to have it done in his name then does it become Sadaqa or is it treated as Qurbani in Allah’s eye? A 2. The Qurbani (sacrifice) of animals during the day of Eidul Adha is obligatory (wajib) upon every Muslim male or female who owns the Nisab of Zakat (i.e., about 3 ounces of gold or its equivalent in cash value). It becomes obligatory when a person owns the Nisab. So if a person has in his/her possession about 1200 US dollars beyond his/her personal needs, then he/ she should make a sacrifice. The jurists are unanimous on its obligation on the adults. Allah says in the Qur’an, “So pray unto your Lord and sacrifice,” (al-Kawthar 108:2). It is reported in al-Bukhari (Hadith no. 912) that the Prophet - peace be upon him - said in his Eid Khutbah, “The first thing that we do today is that we pray and then we make sacrifice. So whosoever makes sacrifice after the prayer he followed our Sunnah…” There are many other Ayat and Ahadith on this subject. The jurists differ on the obligation of Zakat on the minors. Some say that like Zakat it is also obligatory on the minors, if they possess the Nisab, but their guardians should perform it. The sacrifice should be done any time after the Eid prayer until before sunset on the 12th of Dhul Hijjah. Those who do not own the Nisab can also perform sacrifice, if they wish.
Q 3. My question is regarding Taharah. Usually I come with Taharah and Wudu from my home, and avoid using the bathroom till Friday Prayer, but sometimes I cannot resist, and I have to use the bathroom, and clean myself with paper instead of water, as there is generally no water available in the toilets in America. Personally, I think no matter how hard you try, you cannot be as clean without using water as you can be with using water. I miss my Friday prayer thinking that I am not with Taharah. Do you think I will be able to attend the prayers after Wudu or I have to take a complete shower and change clothes? A 3. Cleaning oneself after the natural urges is called Istinja in the terminology of Fiqh. The use of water is highly emphasized for Istinja, but it is not compulsory. If one can clean oneself with other absorbents, it also permissible. Thus the use of toilet paper as well as dry clods of earth (Jimar or what we call in Urdu Dhelas), stones, rags or other clean absorbents is permissible. You can use toilet paper or you can wet some toilet paper and use it to cleanse yourself and then use dry paper. You should not miss your Friday prayer or any prayer for this reason. Prayers on times are obligatory and they should not be missed for any excuse. There is also no need for taking a shower or to change clothes after the use of toilet. We should observe cleanliness, but exaggeration (ifrat and ghuluww) in any matter is not in the nature of Islamic teachings.
Q 4. We are involved in projects in the fields of education, health and poverty alleviation. Instead of giving money to people we are interested in long-term solutions like establishing hospitals, schools and training institutions in an integrated manner in rural areas. Can we use Zakat money for establishing such institutions? A4.Majority of Muslim jurists of the past were of the opinion that Zakat money should be given to the poor and needy. They should be made owners of this money (tamlik al-Zakat) and it should not be used in public and social welfare projects. Thus you will find in the books of Fiqh statements emphasizing that the money should not be used to build schools, hospitals, hostels, mosques, etc., because this money belongs to the poor and it should be given to them. There are some jurists who still hold the same opinion in a very strict manner. However, there were some earlier jurists and there are a number of modern jurists, such as Muhammad ‘Abduh, Rashid Rida, Maulana Mawdudi, Amin Ahsan Islahi, Yusuf al-Qaradawi and some Fatwa organizations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt, who are of the opinion that Zakat money can be used to finance public welfare programs in poor areas. They argue that in the past Muslim governments used to finance such projects from ‘Ushr, Ghanimah, Khiraj, etc. Now these sources are not available and also many governments are negligent in this matter. Many Muslims are living in areas where there are no Muslim governments. Furthermore the financial needs of the people have become so enormous and diverse that earlier rules and restrictions cannot be applied and may not be very useful. This issue is controversial but I am inclined to accept the position of modern scholars in this matter. It seems to me that the best way to alleviate poverty among the Muslims is to develop financial institutions. There will be always some need for cash disbursement of Zakat, but some Zakat should be used for the social welfare of Muslims. It is important to keep in mind that Zakat is only for those categories of people who are specified in Surah al-Tawbah, verse 60. One must be very careful that this money is not misused and it should not become a means to enrich the rich and to neglect the poor. The schools and hospitals that are built from this money should be primarily for the poor and in poor areas. The rich people, if they use them, should be charged a reasonable fee and it should go back to such charitable institutions.
Q 5. Since we are administering Zakat donations from donors to recipients, how much can we keep for our expenses? Can we keep a fixed amount (like 5% or 10 %) or has it to be determined RELIGION, P29 RELIGION FROM P27 each time based on total expenses? A5. According to the Qur’an (al-Tawbah 9:60) one of the eight categories of people who can take Zakat are “those who are employed to collect it” (al-’amilin ‘alayha). Those who collect the Zakat are allowed to take their reasonable expenses from the Zakat charity. These expenses may include office expenses, employees’ salaries, travel expenses, postage and bank expenses, etc. However, the expenses have to be actual expenses, you are not allowed to take more than what you spend. However, to make a long-term plan to establish a Zakat agency you may need a sure amount of funds for your annual budget. You have to keep some money for office rent, for the salary of employees and other related expenses. Thus it will be permissible to withdraw from Zakat funds a fixed amount such as 5% or 10% or more for this purpose, but you are only entitled to keep the actual expenses. At the end of a year whatever is left after meeting the expenses should be returned to the Zakat fund and should be disbursed among the recipients of Zakat.