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Women, donkeys, black dogs, nullification of prayer

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Women, donkeys, black dogs, nullification of prayer

Post by Admin on Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:00 pm

Question
"...Can I also please ask you about a fatwa attributed to Sheikh ibn Baz? You will find the full text here [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] I wanted to know if this is a genuine fatawa on a saheeh hadith and if so
(a) does it mean that ALL black dogs are Shayatains? and
(b) why are women, black dogs and donkeys all in the same category? or are they? Does this mean that the value of a woman equates with black dogs and donkeys? Or is that just a side issue? I'm asking because this involves the Salah which is the difference between muslims and kafirs...."

Answer
As regards the question about the three things that break the prayer, mentioned in a previous email, I'll summarize the answer in the following points:

[1] The hadith about this is authentic without doubt. There are numerous hadiths stating that the (adult) woman, donkey and the black dog break the prayer if they pass in front of the one praying. One of these narrations is in Sahih Muslim.

[2] Scholars have differed as to the meaning of 'break the prayer.' Some scholars have said it means a man's concentration and humility in prayer is broken when any of these things pass in front of him, not that the prayer itself becomes invalid. However, this interpretation is proven incorrect in light of one narration that states 'the prayer is to be repeated if ...,' and then these three things are mentioned. So the correct opinion is that the prayer is actually invalidated by the passing of any of the three in front of a praying person.

[3] 'Passing in front of' means passing immediately in front of a person who is not praying with a sutrah (any object like a pillar, wall, spear, stick) placed in front of him, which is what we have been commanded to do when we pray, or passing between a person and his sutrah. It should be noted that a Muslim who is either the imam or praying on his own should always have a sutrah in front of him when he prays.

[4] The exact reason why the three things mentioned break the prayer may not be known. Accepting a proven Islamic ruling is of course not dependant on whether we understand the wisdom or reason behind the ruling or not. If Allah or His Messenger say something, it is true and to be obeyed regardless of our level of insight into the reasons. In this case, it seems as though the proof for these three breaking the prayer is stronger than the opinion that they do not break the prayer. The legislation of Allah always comes from His infinite wisdom and justice. Not knowing the reason behind something in Islam only reflects our lack of knowledge, but doesn't say anything about the legislation itself.

[5] Since the hadith on this topic is authentic, it should be understood in light of all the other texts and principles of Islam, not in isolation. We know that Islam honours and protects all those who adhere to its teachings, including women, who are honoured and protected in a way that is unparalleled by any other religion, law, culture or world view. The mention of women in the hadith does not mean women are being likened to dogs or donkeys, it is merely a list of things that have one thing in common: they break the prayer. An arbitrary example might help to illustrate the point: If I say, "people can die through murder or accident,' it clearly does not mean I am likening accidents to the negativity of murder, I am just saying that these two things are causes of death, even though the person who causes the death of another through a purely innocent accident is very different from a murderer.

I believe it is important to remind the sisters of these points when discussing the likes of the hadith in question, so as to avoid misunderstanding or having negative ideas about Islamic rules and regulations because of our own lack of knowledge.
And Allah knows best.

Abu Abdillah Owais Al-Hashimi

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