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THE PRACTICAL DUTIES OF ISLÁM.
THE portion of the creed considered in the last chapter was connected with Imán (faith); the remaining portion is connected with Dín (practical religion). The five principal acts are called Irkán-i-Dín, pillars of religion. They are (1) The recital of the Kalima, or short confession of faith; (2) Sulát, the five stated periods of prayer; (3) Roza, the thirty days' fast of Ramazán; (4) Zakát, legal alms; (5) Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. These are all farz duties, being based on a Nass-i-Záhir, or "obvious," sentence of the Qurán, a proof derived from which is called dalíl-iqata'í. This is the strongest of all kinds of proofs.
The authorities, however, specify other religious duties which good Muslims should perform. Such are the seven duties which are wajib, or duties based on the more obscure texts of the Qurán, called Khafi, or "hidden" sentences, a proof derived from which is called dalíl-i-zaní. These duties are: (1) To make the 'Umra, or Pilgrimage to Mecca in addition to the Hajj; (2) obedience to parents; (3) the obedience of a wife to her husband; (4) the giving of alms after a fast; (5) the offering of sacrifice; (6) the saying of Namáz-i-witr, a term which will be explained later on; (7) the support of relatives. The duties numbered as (4) and (5) are wajib orders to the rich; but only mustahab to the poor: that is, it is meritorious if they perform them, but not sinful if they leave them undone.
The duties next in order as regards authority are the sunnat ones. They are three in number and are based either on the practice of the Prophet, or are fitrat, that is practices of previous prophets, the continuance of which
paring of the nails. which are mustahab. sometimes did and
Muhammad did not forbid. They are (1) circumcision; (2) shaving off the hair from the head and the body; (3) the In addition to these there are actions They are those which Muhammad sometimes omitted. There is a still lower class of action which are mubah. These are works of supererogation. If omitted there is no fear of punishment. It may be mentioned in passing that unlawful actions and things are (1) Harám, actions and food forbidden either in the Qurán or the Traditions; (2) Makrúh, actions the unlawfulness of which is not absolutely certain, but which are generally considered wrong; (3) Mufsid, actions corrupting or pernicious. It is necessary to bear these terms in mind as they will now frequently occur.
1. TASHAHHUD.-This is the recital of a confession of faith. There are several forms of this. A common one is: "I testify that there is no deity but God, I testify to His unity and that He has no partner; I testify that Muhammad is His servant and His messenger." The shorter form is: "There is no deity but God and Muhammad is the apostle of God." The power contained in this latter confession is extraordinary. It embodies the very spirit of Islám. “It has led everywhere the march of its armies, it has rung for twelve centuries in the morning air from its minarets, it has been passed from lip to lip, as no other word has ever been passed, by thousands of millions of the human race." The power of Islám, its proclamation of the Unity, is here seen in the closest contact with what is to Muslim theologians the equally fundamental truth-the apostleship of Muhammad, a dogma which retards the healthy development, explains the narrowness, and causes the prostration of Islám, as the world around grows luminant with the light of science and truth, of faith and reason.
2. STLÁT.-All the books on Fiqh (Law) which treat of
1. The Persian term for this is Namáz, a word in commoner use in India than Sulát. Both terms will henceforth be employed.
these Irkán-i-dín, give in connection with Sulát the rules regarding the necessary purifications. It will be convenient to follow the same order.
Tahárat or legal purification is of three kinds : (1) Wazú, the lesser lustration; (2) Ghusl, the greater lustration; (3) Tayammum, or purification by sand.
(1). Wazú is an ablution made before saying the appointed prayers. Those which are 'farz' are four in number, viz:-to wash (1) the face from the top of the forehead to the chin, and as far as each ear; and (2) the hands and arms up to the elbow; (3) to rub (masah) with the wet hand a fourth part of the head; also (4) the feet to the ankles. The authority for these actions is the text: "O Believers! when ye address yourselves to prayer, wash your hands up to the elbow, and wipe your heads, and your feet to the ankles" (Súra v. 8). The Sunnís wash the feet: the Shía'hs are apparently more correct, for they only wipe, or rather rub, (masah) them. In these ablutions, if the least portion of the specified part is left untouched, the whole act becomes useless and the prayer which follows is vain.
The act of making wazú, however, has not been allowed to remain in this simple form. The Sunnat regulations regarding it are fourteen in number. They are, (1) to make the intention of wazú, thus: I make this wazú for the purpose of putting away impurity; (2) to wash the hand up to the wrist, but care must be taken not to put the hands entirely into the water, until each has been rubbed three times with water poured on it; (3) to say one of the names of God at the commencement of the wazú1 thus : "In the name of the Great God," or "Thanks be to God for the religion of Islám;" (4) to clean the teeth; (5) to rinse the mouth three times; (6) to put water into the
1. There is a Tradition to the effect that "the whole body of him who says the name of God when making wazú will be clean; whereas, if he says it not, only the part washed will be pure."
nostrils three times; (7) to do all the above in proper (8) to do all without any delay between the various acts; (9) each part is to be purified three times; (10) the space between the fingers of one hand must be rubbed with the wet fingers of the other; (11) the beard must be combed with the fingers; (13) the whole head must be rubbed once; (13) the ears must be washed with the water remaining on the fingers after the last operation; (14) to rub under and between the toes with the little finger of the left hand, drawing it from the little toe of the right foot and between each toe in succession. Imám Sháfa'í holds that (1) and (7) are farz duties and that (12) should be done three times. Imám Málik considers (8) to be farz.
The actions may be done in silence, or prayer may be repeated. Such a recital is a mustahab, not a sunnat or farz order. It is not obligatory. A specimen of these prayers is given in a note. 1
(2). Ghusl is an ablution of the whole body after certain legal defilements, and should be made as follows. The person should put on clean clothes and perform the wazú, then he should say: "I make ghusl to put away impurity." All being ready he should wash himself in the following order. He must pour water over the right shoulder three times, then over the left three times and, lastly, on his head
1. Before commencing the wazú, say: "I am going to purify myself from all bodily uncleanness preparatory to commencing prayer, that holy act of duty, which will draw my soul near to the throne of the Most High. In the name of God, the Great and Mighty. Praise be to God who has given us grace to be Muslims. Islám is a truth and infidelity a falsehood.” When cleaning the teeth say: Vouchsafe O God, as I clean my teeth, to purify me from my faults and accept my homage. O Lord, may the purity of my teeth be for me a pledge of the whiteness of my face at the day of judgment."
When washing the nostrils say: "O my God, if I am pleasing in Thy sight, perfume me with the odours of Paradise."
When washing the right hand say: "O my God, on the day of judg ment, place the book of my actions in my right hand, and examine my account with favour."
When washing the left hand, say: "O my God, place not at the resurrection the book of my actions in my left hand." Similar prayers are said at each act.
also the same number of times. The three farz conditions are that (1) the mouth must be rinsed, (2) water be put into the nostrils, and (3) the whole body be washed. If one hair even is left dry the whole act is rendered vain and useless. All other particulars are sunnat or mustahab.
There are obvious reasons why an explanation of the causes which vitiate a purification, or of the cases in which ghusl is required, cannot be given here. Every standard Muslim work on Fikh, or law, deals fully with the subject. Nothing is more calculated to show the student of Islám how much the Sunnat rules in the practical life of Muslims. The Traditions have raised the most trivial ceremonial observances into duties of the greatest importance. That there may be spiritually minded men in Islám is not to be denied; but a system of religion which declares that the virtue of prayer depends practically on an ablution, and that that ablution is useless unless done in the order prescribed, is one well calculated to make men formalists and nothing more. It comes to this, that, if a man when making wazú washes his left hand before his right, or his nose before his teeth, he cannot lawfully say the daily Namáz enjoined on all Muslims. None but those who have studied Muslim treatises on the subject can conceive of the puerile discussions which have taken place on points apparently trivial, but which from their connection with the Sunnat are deemed by learned Muslims of great importance.
(3). Tayammum, or purification by sand, is allowable under the following circumstances. (1) When water cannot be procured except at a distance of one kos (about 2 miles); (2) in case of sickness when the use of water might be injurious; (3) when water cannot be obtained without incurring danger from an enemy, a beast or a reptile; and (4) when on the occasion of the Namáz of a Feast day or the Namáz at a funeral, the worshipper is late and has no time to perform the wazú. On ordinary days this substitution of tayammum for wazú is not allowable.