Previously Asked Questions

Questions on The Guiding Helper Authenticity:

Questions and concerns of authenticity of the Guiding Helper texts usually issue from students of the din who have learned specific detailed laws that differ slightly from the laws given in the Guiding Helper. This may be from the fact that they are not familiar with Maliki Fiqh or it may be from the fact that they have learned strict opinions in the Maliki school "bedouin-style", which means that they refuse to accept the possibility that something other than what they have heard from their shaykhs or have read in the common books could possibly be correct. These type of people usually back up their attacks with long lists of shaykhs whom they have studied with or references to ancient Arabic books which they have read - refusing the possibility of multiple correct views on a particular subject.

Nevertheless, we would like to remind these people that no matter how much one thinks or claims to know, there are always new things to learn. Just because some of the material in the Guiding Helper seems unfamiliar or contradicts what one has previously learned, it does not necessarily indicate that that material is incorrect.

We at the Guiding Helper Foundation ourselves do not issue such authenticity attacks on others as we realize that no matter how much we know, there are aspects of `aqidah, fiqh, and tasawwuf which remain hidden from us and of which we are ignorant. We also know that often multiple correct and acceptable views exist for any particular subject (especially in fiqh, even within the same school, a fact only the less-learned will deny) and we have simply narrated one simple and straight forward way to practice the din without condemning those who teach or practice differently.

Authenticity Questions

> My name is Muhammad xxxx and I am originally from Country X
> and became interested in studying the sharia through the XYZ Institute
> with Shaykh XYZ Since April of 19XX, I have been in Mauritania
> studying the sharia with the guidance of scholars such as Murabit XXXX
> ould XXXX, Murabit XXXX, Murabit XXXX, Shiekh XXXX, Sheikh XYZ,
> Sheikh ZZZ, and Sheikh XYZ123 (currently a mufti in Such-and-Such City
> of Such-and-Such Country).
>
> I was introduced to your web-site by a friend, since the XYZ
> area has a good number of Malikis, that are interested in studying.
> I was glad to see that someone is working to put out a translated
> work of Maliki fiqh so that others can benefit and may Allah reward
> you for your intentions.
>
> But, as the hadith states "Ad deenu an naseeha" I would like
> to advise about the text. I printed out the guiding helper with
> the commentary you have and went over it by myself and portions
> with one of the shuyookh.  I found a number of things that are not
> in accordance with the mashoor of the Maliki madhab according to
> the Mukhtasar of Khalil and the commentaries of that book. I have
> been studying and memorizing this book since 19XX. One of the most
> obvious thing is that the commentary on the section of taharah
> subject is clearly contradicting the text of Khalil and I could
> find no support of those views in the Risala (along with the
> commentaries) Ibn Ashir (along with the commentaries) and so forth.
> This is just an example and if you like we could go into more detail
> by keeping up a correspondance.

We would first of all say that we are quite aware of the mash-hur
positions in the Maliki school and we are quite aware of the places
in the Guiding Helper where we have strayed from the mash-hur opinions.
For example in taharah:

   a) The mash-hur view of tanned skin from an unslaughtered animal is
      that it is impure and those wearing shoes or jackets made from such
      skin will have incorrect prayers according popular opinion in the Maliki
      school
   b) etc.

You may refer to the Notes of Sources for a more detailed explanation and
if you are unsure about exactly where those positions are taken from.  After
doing more than a cursory review of the text, you will come to the following
conclusions:

    a) The Guiding Helper gives the mash-hur opinion as recorded by Ibn Rushd
    (author of the Muqaddimat (Notes to the Mudawwanah)) in over 90% of
    the issues discussed.
    b) In the places we stray from the mash-hur opinion, you will find that
    opinion we give is easier to practice or is an opinion that is easier to
    learn than the mush-hur opinion.
    c) Overall the entirety of the material in the Guiding Helper is taken
     from recognized Maliki scholars who may have on some occasions
     expressed an opinion that is less than mash-hur.

This approach was taken by us to make the Maliki School "the school for
everybody" - as we believe it will be the last surviving school
of Jurisprudence before the end of the world.

You may disagree with our approach, but please remember that the main
audience of the Guiding Helper is not dedicated and learned people
like you.  The main audience of the Guiding Helper is the layman
(who right now does not even have a madh-hab) who may perhaps even
have much trouble knowing about and practicing the basics of the din.

Additionally, we have made it sufficiently clear that the opinions in the
Guiding Helper are taken from a *section* of the scholars who follow
Imam Malik (see bottom of footnote 254 of the Explanatory Notes).
Additionally, we have presented the text as an *optional* practical means
for the average man to lead a life that will end in eternal bliss and have in
no case forced the text on people or claimed what we narrate is the only
correct way.

> This is just an example and if you like we could go into more detail
> by keeping up a correspondence.

Thank you for your offer, but Abuqanit Hasani has no interest in debating the
topics that are discussed in the Guiding Helper as he himself has sat with and
gone through too many fuqaha' and fiqh books to have interest in such details
anymore.

However in the case that you find an error which you believe is unintentional,
we would be more than happy to receive your "nasihah".




> Thank you for your response. I understand your
> concerns and I realise that you chose your positions
> that are contradictory to some mashhoors. That is not
> the problem. I realise also that you chose those
> positions to be a means of ease for western muslims.
> However, I was especially concerned about the position
> on joining prayers in travel. That you said that it is
> not permissable to join whilst on a plane and you must
> pray on the plane is not ease. It is niether an
> opinion to the best of my knowledge. I consulted many
> teachers in the Qarrayiyyn and they disagree with the
> position. You have given a position that is very hard
> and incorrect wa Allahu A'lam and I feel it needs to
> be reviewed. As for the other opinions they are minor.

Please note that our staff reviewed the Guiding Helper and
its Explanatory Notes at least twenty times in its entirety before
releasing them.  True all people make mistakes, but we
are pretty confident (99.8% confident) that the texts
do not contain major mistakes.

When we were releasing them, we realized that people like
you who have studied the din to some extent
would raise many objections, but we did not care.

Our principles in choosing the opinions narrated
were two-fold:

  a) to strike a balance between following the mash-hur
     (we did this in over 90% of the issues) and (as you
     mention) ease for the Westerner.
  b) maintain strictness in the opinions (by not making it
     too easy) to the extent that it would serve as a sufficient
     guide for those travelling the Path who need the strict
     opinions to overcome their lower-selves and desires.
     [As we realize that many people who use the Guiding
     Helper are not associated with the Path, we have noted
     (and continue to note) many easier opinions
     in the footnotes to the Notes of Sources
     which the common man not travelling the Path can
     take as dispensations].

Now returning to your question above about the validity
of the opinion on joining narrated in the Explanatory
Notes of the Guiding Helper.

[We really did not want to do this as it is very time-consuming
for us to explain every little detail about a ruling to someone
who mistrusts us and claims to know everything
there is to know.  And we will not do this again for you.  You
will just either have to stop using the Guiding Helper
(perhaps write your own book which is better in your opinion) or
wait until the Notes of Sources for the Explanatory Text are out.]

Now we would say :

First of all, we never claimed that this was the only
opinion available in the Maliki school.  Nor did we ever
condemn those that practice different opinions.  Footnote
479 of the *Notes of Sources to the Main Text*
reads:

  [We do not claim that this is the only valid opinion available, but this
   seems to be the predominant view as expressed in the traditional
  books of the Maliki school.]

Now we were aware that the rules of joining practiced in the Maghrib
and taught in Qarawayeen differ from what we narrate and are easier
than what we narrate.  But, it is provable that these
practices are actually not in accordance to the popular opinion
in the Maliki school.

The term "popular" was coined in an age and a place (e.g., Cordoba
in Muslim Spain) that no longer exists (refer to footnote 196 of the
Notes of Sources) and in circumstances that no longer exist.

It was only later that scholars in Morocco, Lybia, and Egypt started
using this term.  Thus, the practices of Qarawayeen and the
legal rulings issued by that institution are *not* the source for
a popular opinion in the Maliki School - whether those affiliated
with that institute (like ourselves) like it or not - and regardless
of what self-proclaimed inheritors to Ibn Rushd have subsequently
claimed.
[As a side note, his like has not been seen in the madh-hab since
he passed away.  The later Maliki scholars (including ourselves)
do not amount to even an ounce of his sea of knowledge (for which
he is not given enough credit unfortunately)].

Ibn Rushd held the view about the subject you ask about that it is not
permissible to join prayers except as a means to save time during a
journey- period (except in the circumstances mentioned in footnote
941 of the Explanatory Notes).  This is the popular opinion.
This is also in accordance with the literal interpretation of the words in
the Mudawwanah and the statements of Imam Malik about this
matter.  Ibn Rushd writes in the Muqaddimat (no translation
needed, since you know Arabic):

  Imam Malik says:  La yajma`u ar-rajulu bayna salatayni fi s-safari
  illa an yujadda bihi s-sayru‚€¶ ["yujadda" which can be transalated
  as "made go fast" is explained by Khurashi and `Adawi as a [pressing]
  need which causes a shortage of time allowed in reaching one's
  destination; see our Notes of Sources for the main text for references.]

  [MK: volume 1: page 111: line(s) 14: {Text of Mudawwanah, chapter
  on jam` al-musafir bayna s-salatayn}]

  Ibn Rushd in explaining says:  wa kh-talafu fi ibahati l-jam`
  li ghayri `udrin.  fa l-mash-huru anna dhalika la yajuz.  [now
  `udhr here was held by Ibn Rushd (in the popular opinion he
   narrated; of course he knew many others) to be a time constraint
   as far as travelling is concerned.] as the next excerpt shows and
   as is clarified in his other works and is clarified in Khurashi's
   commentary which we have used in writing the Guiding Helper
   Explanatory Notes].

[MK: volume 1: page 112: line(s) 26-27: {Ibn Rushd's explanation
 of "jam` bayna s-salatayni l-mushtarikatayni fi l-waqt", near
  beginning of section after listing several ahadith which support jam`}]

  Ibn Rushd (after long digression that shows his depth of knowledge
  (actually his depth of knowledge was far greater than his written
  works hint at)) continues:   [wa] l-musafiru yartahilu minal-manhal ‚€¶
  hadha huwa l-mash-hur.  (Here Ibn Rushd is saying it is also
  permissible for the traveller to join the prayers before leaving
  for his destination according to the popular opinion and we have
  mentioned this in footnote 939 of the Explanatory Notes)
  wa qad qeela annahu la yajma`u illa an yujadda bihi s-sayru (Here
  Ibn Rushd notes that a minority opinion in the Maliki School does
  not allow him to join before actually departing for his destination.
  Thus, the minority opinion says that the traveller may not join
  except during the journey.  In all of this, it is assumed that the
  journey is one in which one is time pressed as the Arabic words
  used in this excerpt indicate and since Imam Malik's statement
  sets that forward in the beginning.

[MK: volume 1: page 114: line(s) 22-24: {Ibn Rushd's explanation
 of "jam` bayna s-salatayni l-mushtarikatayni fi l-waqt", middle
  of section after listing the five types of excused people who can
  pray in the dharuriyy time}]

Now because Ibn Rushd was terse in his writings and took it
for granted that only qualified people would be using his text, the
inexperienced after reading the above may still argue that the
popular opinion is not what we stated.

Thus to clarify, here is what Khurashi and `Adawi say building on
Ibn Rushd's statements:

  Al-Khurashi says:  wa fiha shartu l-jiddi - ayy fi s-sayri - la
  mujarrada qat`i l-masafah - bal li idraki amrin muhimmin min
  malin aw rifqatin aw mubadarati ma yukhafu fawatuha.

[KH: volume 2: page(s) 67: line(s) I8-9:  {explanation of
   Sidi Khalil's statement "wa rukh-khisa lahu jam`u dh-dhuhrayni
  bi barr"}]

  al-`Adawi says:  la nubihu l-jam`a li l-musafiri illa `inda
  jiddi s-sayr khawfa fawati amr.  wa hadha ma`dumun fi
  safari r-rih.

  [KH: volume 2: page(s) 67: line(s) M1:  {explanation of
   Sidi Khalil's statement "bi barr" at start of explanation
   of the rules for joining}]

Now, if you don't believe us yet, then listen to what
Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi says (i.e. the star student of Ibn Rushd
al-Saghir):

   amma s-safaru fa yashtaritu jiddu s-sayri *fi l-mash-hur*

  "As [for joining prayers] when travelling, it is a precondition
   that one be hurried by the journey according to the *popular*
   opinion in the Maliki school"

  [QF: volume 1: page 75: line(s) 6: {book 2, chapter 22 (on joining
   prayers), near beginning}]

Now that settles that the popular opinion in the Maliki school
states that it is not permissible to join prayers except as a means
to save time during a journey on land - period (except in the
circumstances mentioned in footnote 941 of the Explanatory Notes).

Any different opinions that are issued (e.g., by Qarawayeen or any of
its qualified shuyukh) are only considered acceptable minority opinions
(whether we like it or not).

[Now, we mentioned we didn't want to do this because we've already
wasted two hours in re-researching and re-verifying for your sake so that
all the little details could be noted and found.  Now we will not waste
so much time and let you find the references for the usuli principles
we note below yourself (you can use the books listed as UF and IU
to find what we state below)]

That settles the first part of the issue.  The second part of the issue
is whether or not a formal prayer prayed in an airplane is valid.

Please note that airplanes are new to Islamic fiqh (commercial
passenger flights have only gained popularity in the Muslim
world in the last fifty years).  Thus, it is useless to research the
ancient books looking for references to "ta'irah" or "markab al-rih"
:-).

Whenever we are faced with a new issue, we have two choices
(in every madh-hab, not only the Maliki school; BTW, we are learned
in thirteen or more schools of Jurisprudence):  (1) the first
is to perform qiyas from a similar ancient issue and (2) is
to perform the limited type of ijtihad within the madh-hab which
is allowed for highly-qualified muftis within a particular school
of Jurisprudence.

Now the principles state that one should first look for an exact
match from an ancient ruling, and if that is not possible, then
one should look for a analogy match (qiyas match), and if that
is not possible, qualified individuals may perform the limited
type of ijtihad which the madh-hab affords them.

Now from researching the ancient books, we find that the Maliki
scholars have stated that prostration on a surface which is hanging
from above is not valid.  It is only valid to prostrate on a surface
that has some solid or liquid contact with the ground in the downward
direction.  Thus, we find in the old Maliki texts examples such as
a plank hanging by a rope from a tree in that it is not valid to prostrate
on such hanging surfaces.

Thus, we see that the closest thing to an airplane that the
ancient Malikis could think of was a plank hanging from
a tree (or some similar architectural structure).  A plank hanging
from a tree is quite different from an airplane.  The major difference
between the two for our purposes is that one is not normally confined
to a plank hanging from a tree for a period of time that will
make one miss the first and second time of a prayer.
Whereas in an airplane one will likely be confined (if travelling
overseas especially Eastward) in it so that prayer's first time enters
and passes and then prayer's second time enters and also
passes.

Thus if we prohibit formal prayer in an airplane, it would
necessitate us to either pray the prayer whose time passes
before its first time (e.g., Dhuhr before noon or Maghrib
before sunset) or after its second time passes (e.g., Dhuhr
after sunset or Maghrib after dawn).
Now praying Dhuhr and `Asr before noon, praying Maghrib and
`Isha' before sunset, and praying Subh before dawn is absolutely
agreed upon in the Maliki school as invalid (you can refer to our Notes
of Sources for song 11 or another source) in all circumstances.
Now delaying a prayer past its second time while one is
conscious, has access to water or dry ablution material, and is not in
extreme danger/fear is absolutely agreed upon in the
Maliki school as unlawful.  (this is mentioned in the digression
we skipped above that Ibn Rushd took in the Mudawwanah
in explaining this subject).  This is why the scholars of fiqh
have taken so many pains in explaining how a sick or
handicapped person should pray.  For example, if a sick person
cannot perform sujud (e.g., has a large wound on his head), the
fuqaha' state he *must* still pray on time (either in the first time
or the second time of prayer) and cannot delay his prayers until
he gets better (as long as he is conscious of course (Ref: Notes
of Sources for Song 14)).
In other words, even though he cannot fulfill all of the preconditions
of sujud, his prayer is considered correct with his motions for
sujud instead.  And according to the popular opinion, it is not
wajib for such a sick person to repeat his prayers after he gets
better (Ref: Notes of Sources for Song 14).

Thus, Abu Qanit al-Sharif al-Hasani and the scholars under
whom he has studied are of the view that the person in the
airplane is most like the sick person who cannot perform
sujud (since he is restricted by his state for the entire lapse
of the first and second time of prayer) and he is *not* like the
person on a hanging plank who can easily find another place
to pray before prayer's time is up (as is the context in which
such examples are mentioned).

Now returning to the position that you narrate from certain
teachers at Qarawayeen, you must realize that the person who
originally issued it (perhaps 20 years ago) must have
"figured it out" by himself (perhaps after taking counsel
with others) and performed a similar logical
usuli breakdown to give the opinion about this new issue.

As we have mentioned above, the hanging plank example
fails the test of Qiyas as being in an airplane involves being confined
for the entirety of prayer's first and second time,
whereas it is assumed in the hanging plank example that
the person can easily find another place to pray before
prayer's time is up.

Thus, the only other option left for this mufti is that he
perform limited ijtihad.  Thus, his opinion cannot have
issued from qiyas but from limited ijtihad.

But, we have just pointed out that the person confined in
an airplane is strikingly similar to the person who has a
large wound on his head which prevents him from fulfilling
the requirements of sujud.  Thus, according to the principles
above, it is not valid for him to perform limited ijtihad
on this subject which already has a qiyas fit (which is being
confined/restricted by a state for the entirety of prayer's
first and second time).

This all assumes that the mufti accepts the popular opinion
in the Maliki School about joining prayers:  that it
is a precondition to have a hope of reaching one's
destination quicker.  Else, his opinion is far more
complicated than it first appears - as it will involve teaching
people at exactly which times they can join and which times they
cannot.  Additionally, there is another large complication with his
opinion.  The complication is that it forces many people to either
pray the prayers before their accepted times or after their second
time has passed; two acts which are unanimously agreed upon in
the Maliki School as invalid/unlawful for people who fulfill the
ten preconditions listed in footnote 644 of the Explanatory Notes.

We highly suspect that the opinion you note was originally
issued from a Dar al-Ifta' (e.g., the one in Azhar or the one
in Qarawayeen) based upon a specific question addressed
to a mufti.  And the mufti's answer (perhaps taken from cutting
and pasting similar fatwas issued for Shafi`is from Azhar,
who also hold sujud suspended in midair as invalid) was later
circulated and has been treated as fact since then without
further examining the issue.

> Please, I ask you to review that position as a means
> of Naseeha. If you could inform the author I would be
> internally grateful as we do not want to give
> incorrect positions to the public and making their
> lives hard for no reason.

As for making people's lives harder, there is no reason why
they cannot follow a minority opinion in the Maliki School,
such as the one noted by Ibn Rushd after the "wa kh-talafu"
excerpt above, that joining prayers is valid even without a
reason or excuse.

But as far as the popular opinion is concerned, our opinion
narrated in the Explanatory Notes is closer to it on this subject.

> As for your statement:
>
> "Thank you for your offer, but Abuqanit Hasani has no interest in debating the
> topics that are discussed in the Guiding Helper as he himself has sat with and
> gone through too many fuqaha' and fiqh books to have interest in such details
> anymore."
>
> This is not an excuse to review an issue. Everyone makes
> mistakes, and I feel this is a very important. It is not an
> issue of difference of opinion on little matters like the
> other brother brought up.

Maybe someone with a lot of free time like you can spend hours
debating such issues, but Abu Qanit al-Sharif al-Hasani (who has
been working for the din all his life) has more important affairs to tend to
than to explain Advanced Calculus to "know-it-all" kinder-gardeners.

> He also missed out istihada as one of the naaqidaat of wudu
> and there is no differance of opinion on that.

Again you are assuming that you know it all.  Please
refer to footnote 299 of the Notes of Sources of the Main Text
which lists the reference for the minority opinion on this subject.

[As a clarifying side note to our readers and friends, the popular
 opinion in the Maliki school states that istihadah (irregular
 menstrual bleeding) is treated like salas (constant impurity
 emission problem) - unlike what the questioner assumes:  that it
 is a normal naqid.  Ibn Rushd al-Kabir mentions this in his Poem
 for children al-Muqaddimat:

     Ka salasi r-rihi na`am wa l-bawli
     Fa la wudu'a minhu ya dha n-nubli

     Wa yustahabbu qala ba`du l-hadaqah
     In lam yakun fi fi`lihi mashaqqah

     Wal *mustahadatu* `ala dha l-mahya`i
     Idhlaluha `anhu idhan min madfa`i

 We did not narrate the popular opinion on this subject due to
 the hardships and difficulties in keeping track of the irregular
 bleeding imposed upon the woman with such problems].

Sorry.  But, we will not take more time out to answer your
questions since you know it all already.


> I would also like to know about the placing on hands on
> the sides (of body) during the qiyam posture of salah, is there
> any authentic hadith supporting this action?

Please refer to our proofs and footnotes in the Notes of Sources.
for Guiding Helper Line #564.

> The Wahhabis claim that this is wrong and there isn't a
> single hadith (neither da'if, hasan nor sahih) in support of
> this.

Please tell all your Wahabi friends to read the section entitled
"Notes to Those That Trust Scholars Less" in the Introductory
Preface of the Notes of Sources.  It is not very long, perhaps
you can even fit in on one page to make it convenient...

We the authentic scholars of the Maghrib view the Wahabi's
as infants in Islam.  We pay as much attention to their arguments
as normal people do to the cooing and "googoo gaga" of babies.

> and that even the Muwatta of Imam Malik (ra) states
> about placing the hands on the chest. Please kindly comment.

Please refer to footnote 485 of the Notes of Sources.

> Sorry for the trouble. I sincerely look forward to your reply.

Please note that we have explicitly produced a detailed book
of sources for the Guiding Helper to quiet the "wanna be"
scholars present today.

Additionally please note, that we are further proofreading and
adding to these Notes of Sources continuously in an endeavor
that will probably be completed this year.

Nevertheless, the Notes of Sources as they stand right now are
a big deterrent for those who attack the views of the traditional
Maliki scholars.  We are not interested in convincing people;
we are just interested in fending off attacks on the views of the
Maliki scholars so the sincere people can practice their din
without being irritated by "wahabi/salafi"-type pseudo-scholars.


> Could you please explain why your translation does not contain
> the printed version of the 'murshid al-Muin' Fi `aqd il Ashari
> wa......... "

Our answer is stated as follows:

Please note that the vast majority of scholars attached to the
tradition of our din are of the following opinion:

   a) It is not valid to adhere to any Islamic school of Belief
      that does not conform to either the al-Maturidi or al-Ash`ari
      schools of Belief.  In other words, only two valid schools of
      belief really exist:  (1) al-Maturidi and (2) al-Ash`ari.

Please note that Ibn `Ashir's text (as you are aware already) followed
the Ash`ari school.

Please also note that almost all scholars West of `Iraq have followed
the Ash`ari school.  The Maturidi school was basically confined to
Central Asia and the East (i.e. the territory of the Hanafis).

Please note that the official `Aqidah system of Morocco and West Africa
is al-Ash`ari.

Please note that the Guiding Helper fully conforms to the following
Ash`ari texts:

       a) al-Murshid al-Mu`in  by Ibn `Ashir
       b) Umm al-Barahin by Muhammad al-Sunusi
       c) Jawharah al-Tawhid by Ibrahim Laqqani
       d) Risalah fi `Ilm al-Tawhid by Ibrahim al-Bayjuri

Thus, the answer to your question is that the Guiding Helper *is*
an Ash`ari text and "Abu Bishr Ishaq" is another name for
Abul Hasan al-Ash`ari.  This is made clear without a doubt in the
Notes of Sources for Main Text of the Guiding Helper.

So, you may ask, "Why are you trying to hide this fact by never
mentioning "al-Ash`ari" in the Main Text of the Guiding Helper and
associated Explanatory Notes?"

The answer to that is that unfortunately many Muslims alive today
(unlike you) have been brainwashed into rejecting anything that
has an "Ash`ari" label attached to it.  We felt that if we do not
mention the label "al-Ash`ari", the rank-and-file member of our din
would be presented with an opportunity to be exposed to the Ash`ari
system of beliefs without pre-conceived false notions about what it
is.

We have not done the same thing with Imam Malik since there are very
few people around who attack him directly and that the existence
of Schools of Fiqh is common knowledge among the members of the din.
As for Imam al-Junayd, he is reviled in certain circles, but not to
the extent that poor Abul Hasan al-Ash`ari has fallen victim to
(May Allah have mercy upon all of them).






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