NOTE: In addition to the alarming results of the survey, Shari’a and Violence in American Mosques- where 81% of mosques in this country contained texts that advocate violent jihad- the survey presents a standard that can give law enforcement a way to monitor or potentially to predict where violent jihad may take root. The mosques surveyed contained a variety of texts, ranging from contemporary printed pamphlets and handouts to classic texts of the Islamic canon. Of these, seven Islamic texts were selected that either ‘moderately’ or ‘severely’ advocated violent jihad. Nearly a decade after 9/11, Americans need more than ever to know what is being read in this country’s mosques. This series will provide a beginning guide to ‘the Islamist bookshelf'; readers will see that, rather than being old, dusty or obsolete religious tracts, the seven books described here are currently in use and, critically, form the basis for how modern Muslims actually understand Islam. In gathering materials and research for the Mapping Sharia website, we assessed the importance of each of the seven books, described their availability- usually, their ubiquity- in print and online. For those curious, we have attached links to PDFs of the complete works. At the end are samples of quotes advocating violent jihad found in the book. Read Part 1 (‘Gardens of the Righteous), Part 2 (‘Tafhim al-Qur’an’), Part 3 (Reliance of the Traveller) and Part 4 (Tafsir Ibn Kathir).
Sayyid Saabiq (d. 2000) began writing the Fiqh-us-Sunnah (also known, in English, as The Book on Acts of Worship) when he was 30 years old.
Saabiq intended the Fiqh-us-Sunna to be, for Muslim readers, both an introduction to fiqh (also known as the system of Islamic jurisprudence, or Shari’a) and a synthesis of Islamic legal rulings from the four Madh’hab, or schools of Sunni jurisprudence- Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali, and Hanafi.
Rather than being an arcane and inaccessible text to its intended audience, Saabiq’s Fiqh-us-Sunna succeeded in becoming a commonly found reference for how Muslims are to live their lives according to the dictates of Shari’a. Indeed, in an extensive review of the book on the website Suhaiweb (which calls itself, “your virtual mosque”), Arif Hussain writes, “An individual may study this text and have a working manual to live their life by.”
The Arab News called the Fiqh As-Sunnah, “a treasure of knowledge that every Muslim needs…. essential reading for anyone who wishes to learn what Islam requires of the individual and the community in matters of faith, worship, family matters and business transactions.”
In the same article, The Arab News describes the genesis of the Fiqh-us-Sunnah, and the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in its creation and promotion in Egypt and, eventually, worldwide:
It all started when Hassan Al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, the main Islamic revivalist movement in the Arab world, recognized Sayyid Sabiq’s strength in this area. Sayyid Sabiq had joined the Brotherhood and was teaching its members Fiqh in a simple way. Hassan Al-Banna asked him to write his lessons and have them typed and copied, so that they could be made available to whoever wanted them. Then he asked him to approach the task more methodically so that he would have a book that simplified the study of Fiqh. That started a series of booklets that were soon to form a large book, published these days in three large volumes, encompassing all areas of Fiqh. The book was subsequently translated into many languages.
Saabiq taught at Al-Azhar in Egypt and also at the Umm Al-Qura Islamic University in Mecca. He was decorated with an Egyptian Note of Honor for his Islamic scholarship in 1992.
Like the other texts surveyed by the Mapping Shari’a Project, the Fiqh-us-Sunnah is available in print and online in many different formats.
In print, Amazon.com lists several versions, including excerpted sections on “Purification and Prayer” and other topics, available as separate books.
Fiqh-us-Sunnah is available, in its original Arabic, at Kitab Klasik Islam, which contains an online library of Islamic reference books. The other texts surveyed by the Mapping Shari’a Project are also available there.
Read It For Yourself
Author: Sayyid Sabbiq
Title: Fiqh-us-Sunnah (PDF, 447 pages, 2.9MB)
Like the Umdat al-Salik- another text assessed by the Mapping Shari’a Project- the Fiqh-us-Sunnah is a commonly-found reference for how Muslims are to live their lives according to the dictates of Shari’a. The quotes below are some examples.
- Ibn ‘Abbas reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, “The ties of Islam and the principles of the religion are three, and whoever leaves one of them becomes an unbeliever, and his blood becomes lawful: testifying that there is no god except Allah, the obligatory prayers, and the fast of Ramadan.” (Related by Abu Ya’la with a hassan chain.) Another narration states, “If anyone leaves one of them, by Allah he becomes an unbeliever and no voluntary deeds or recompense will be accepted from him, and his blood and wealth become lawful.” This is a clear indication that such a person is to be killed. Vol. 1, Page 77b
- Says ash-Shaukani, “The truth of the matter is that he becomes an unbeliever who is to be killed for his unbelief. The hadith authenticates that Islamic law calls one who does not pray an unbeliever. It has also put the performance as the barrier between a believer and an unbeliever. Abandoning prayer means he may be called an unbeliever. Vol. 1, Page 77b
- Abu Hurairah is reported to have said: “When Allah’s Messenger, upon whom be peace, died and Abu Bakr succeeded him as caliph, some Arabs apostasized, causing Abu Bakr to declare war upon them. ‘Umar said to him: ‘Why must you fight these men?’, especially when there is a ruling of the Prophet, upon whom be peace: ‘I have been called to fight men until they say that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and whoever said it has saved his life and property from me except when a right is due in them, and his account will be with Allah.’ Abu Bakr replied: ‘By Allah! I will fight those who differentiate between salah and zakah because zakah is the due on property. By Allah! If they withheld even a young she-goat ( ‘anaq) that they used to pay at the time of Allah’s Messenger, upon whom be peace, I would fight them.’ Then ‘Umar said: ‘By Allah! It was He who gave Abu Bakr the true knowledge to fight, and later I came to know that he was right.’ ” Vol. 3, Page 7
- Ibn ‘Umar related that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said, “I have been ordered to kill the people until they testify that there is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and they establish prayer and pay the zakah. If they do that, their blood and wealth are protected from me save by the rights of Islam. Their reckoning will be with Allah.” Vol. 1, Page 77b
- The Hanafiyyah say that the share [monies paid] of such people [non-Muslims] are cancelled when Islam is strong. For instance, ‘Uyainah ibn Hisn, al-Aqra’ ibn Habis, and al-‘Abbas ibn Mirdas came to Abu Bakr and requested their share. He wrote them a letter, which they took to ‘Umar. He tore the letter and said: “This is something that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, used to give you to reconcile you to Islam. Now, Allah has fortified Islam and it is no longer in need of you. Unless you stay with Islam, the sword will be between you and us. Say: ‘It is the truth from the Lord of you [all]. Then whoever will, let him believe, and whoever will, let him disbelieve’ [al Kahf 29].” Vol. 3, Page 65
- Although it is not obligatory for a child to pray, it is a must that his guardian order him to do so when he is seven, and he should beat him if he does not pray after he reaches the age of ten. A minor should practice praying until he reaches puberty. ‘Amr ibn Shu’aib related from his father on the authority of his grandfather that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Order your children to pray when they reach the age of seven. Beat them (if they don’t pray) when they reach the age of ten. And have them sleep separately.” Vol 1. Page 80
- There is no such dispute over what constitutes a woman’s ‘aurah [private parts/nakedness]. It is stated that her entire body is ‘aurah and must be covered, except her hands and face. Says Allah in the Qur’an, “And to display of their adornment only that which is apparent (do not expose any adornment or beauty save the hands and face).” It has been authentically related from Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn ‘Umar and ‘Aishah that the Prophet said, “Allah does not accept the prayer of an adult woman unless she is wearing a headcovering (khimar, hijab).” This is related by “the five,” except for an-Nasa’i, and by Ibn Khuzaimah and al-Hakim. At-Tirmizhi grades it as hassan. Vol. 1, Page 113
- Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by word of Allah. You too have rights over them, in that they should not allow anyone to sit on your bed whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely. Vol. 5, Page 19
On women and prayer:
- As stated earlier, it is better for women to pray in their houses. Ahmad and at-Tabarani record that Umm Humaid as-Sa’diyah came to the Messenger of Allah and said: “O Messenger of Allah, I love to pray with you.” The Prophet said: “I am aware of that, but your salah in your residence is better for you than your salah in your people’s mosque. And your salah in your people’s mosque is better than your salah in the [larger] congregational Mosque.” Vol.2, Page 50 & 56
- If a woman is present with the group, then she is to stand in a row by herself behind the men and she is not to join them in their rows. If she did not stand in a separate row, her salah will still be valid according to the opinion of majority. Anas said: “An orphan and I prayed behind the Messenger of Allah in our house and my mother prayed behind us.” In another version it is stated: “He put me and the orphan in a row behind him and the woman behind us.” This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Vol. 2, Page 62b
On prayer lines:
- It is preferred for the imam to order the followers to straighten the rows and fill in any gaps before he starts the salah.
- Anas relates: “The Prophet would turn his face to us before he began the salah and he would say: ‘Be close together and straighten your rows.'” This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim. He also reported that the Prophet would say: “Make your rows straight for the straightening of the rows is part of the completion of the salah.” Vol. 2, Page 64a