Figure 1A: the place where Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 AH (AD 855) lies in state.

The following is a direct quote (including the relevant end notes) from Imam Mustafa ibn Ahmad Ash-Shatti’s (d. 1348 AH), may Allah be pleased with him, The Divine Texts: Answering Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab’s Movement , pp. 65-71 (1st edition):

Ar. Mashahid (MESHA-HID), sing. Mashhad (MESH-HEAD). Imam Ibn Mandhur defined a mashhad as: “A mashhad is a place where people gather for something.” Lisan ul-`Arab, vol.3, pp.296-297. In general, when the scholars use the term, mashhad, they are referring to the place where a saint or great figure died and people come to visit him or her. It is for that reason that it is sometimes referred to as a mashhad.

A believer reading this may ask why I have chosen to translate mashhad as ‘shrine’ and not choose another term. There are a number of reasons why this is the case. Firstly, the word ‘shrine’ used in English captures adequately the meaning that the Arabic conveys and what the scholars intend. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary, pp.977-978 reads:

Figure 2A: The resting place of the Imam, `Abdul Qadir Al-Jilani (561 AH (AD 1166), may Allah have mercy upon him, the great Hanbali sage.

shrine n. , & v.t. 1. n. casket, esp. one holding sacred relics; tomb (usually sculptured or highly ornamental) of saint, etc; alter or chapel with special associations; Shinto place of worship; place hallowed by some memory. 2. v.t. (poet.) enshrine. [OE scrin, =OHG scrini, ON skrin, Gmc f. L scrinium case for books etc.]

Thus, the Muslim using this expression would intend sentences one and five of the first definition. This would in no way mean that the Muslim holds shrines erected to Buddha, Zoroaster, Confucius or other unbelievers as places to set out to for visitation and reverence.

When using the word ‘saint’, the author, the scholars who preceded him and the translator mean ‘believers’, those who have salvation and have testified to the words of, There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. It is these people who are saints and whom we would take steps to visit.

Figure 3A: the resting place of the great Companion, Az-Zubair ibn Al-`Awwam

Imams Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah (d. 620 AH (AD 1223) and Shams ud-Din Ibn Qudamah (d. 682 AH (AD 1285) (who left the citation in place as tacit approval), may Allah have mercy upon both of them, when discussing visiting graves and shrines, added:

“So it is valid for a traveler to shorten his prayers on visitation of the graves and shrines. Imam Ibn `Aqil, may Allah have mercy upon him, said, ‘It is not permissible to shorten the prayers when visiting these places, as he has been forbidden from visiting them. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him said, You should not set out on a journey except to three masjids, as this hadith is agreed upon by Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim’.

The authentic position is that such visitations are permissible and it is valid to shorten the prayers on these visits. This is because the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, when he came to Quba’, did so walking as well as riding, and he used to visit the graves.

He said, Visit them, for they remind you of the Hereafter. As far as his words, peace and blessings be upon him, ‘You should not set out on a journey except to three masjids…’ the meaning is referring to negating preferring another masjid to these but the ruling is not that it is impermissible. The virtue of the place is not a condition for the permissibility of shortening prayers on travel, so there is no harm in doing so.”  [Al-Mughni wash-Sharh ul-Kabir, vol.2, pp.104-105, mas’alah #1343]

1B: The Umayyad Family Central Masjid in Damascus, Syria

Imam `Ala’ ud-Din Al-Mardawi (d. 885 AH (AD 1481), may Allah have mercy on him, mentioned:

“It is praiseworthy for men to visit the graves and this is the absolute position in the madhhab as narrated from Imam Ahmad, and the clear majority of the school agree with this point. Imam Muhy ud-Din An-Nawawi, may Allah have mercy on him, has even narrated Consensus on the issue. Imam Sham ud-Din said in his Sharh, ‘We know of no difference of opinion between the people of knowledge in it being praiseworthy for men to visit the graves’.

As for Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din in Al-Mughni, he said, ‘We know of no difference of opinion regarding men visiting the graves being praiseworthy’. The author of Majma` Al-Bahrain stated that this was praiseworthy in the most dominant position of the school. Imam Az-Zarkashi (d. 774 AH (AD 1372) said that there are well known and explicit texts about this given from the scholars of the school. The same has been narrated from Imam Al-Kalwadhani in AlHidayah, Al-Madhhab, Imam Muhammad ibn `Abdullah As-Samuri (d. 610 AH (AD 1213) in Al-Mustaw`ib, Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din in Al-Kafi, Imam Muhammad ibn `Abdul Qawi ibn Badran Al-Maqdisi (d. 699 AH (AD 1299) in An-Nazam ul-Mufid, Al-Hasan ibn Yusuf Ad-Dujaili (732 AH (AD 1331) in Al-Wajiz and others besides them.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal has mentioned, ‘There is no harm in men visiting the graves’. This is the dominant understanding of Imam Al-Khiraqi and other companions in the school. His position of permissibility has been taken as evidence by Imams Abul Mu`ali, Majd ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 652 AH (AD 1254), Az-Zarkashi and others. They say that it is reported to be permissible but not praiseworthy and this is the dominant position of Imam Al-Khiraqi. This is due to the fact that the order for visitation had come after its prohibition – but the majority in the school have maintained that it is praiseworthy due to it reminding one of the Hereafter – as that was mentioned in the order.” [Al-Insaf fi Ma`rifat ir-Rajihi min al-Khilafi `ala Madhhab il-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol.2, pp.560-561]

Figure 2B: The resting place of Imam Jalal ud-Din As-Suyuti. (d. 911 AH (AD 1505).

Imam Mansur Al-Buhuti (d. 1051 AH (AD 1656), may Allah be pleased with him, said of setting out to travel to shrines and graves:

“There are different types of travel. There is necessary travel, such as for hajj or a specific jihad. There is the travel established by the sunnah, such as for visiting brother and sisters, the ill and infirm as well as parents. Permissible travel includes recreation, visiting, commerce or attending a shrine or grave of a prophet, or even a masjid besides the three.” [Kash-shaf ul-Qina` `an Matn il-Iqna`, vol.1, pp.476-477]

Imam Mansur Al-Buhuti (d. 1051 AH (AD 1656), may Allah be pleased with him, says in conclusion:

“The traveler may take a dispensation when intending to travel to a shrine, or a masjid, even if it is other than the three. He may attend the grave of a prophet or other than a prophet, as in the case of a friend of Allah. As far as the hadith, ‘Do not set out on a journey except to three masjids. They are my masjid, Masjid ul-Haram and Masjid ul-Aqsa’, (1) there are points to it. It means that this should not be sought out. It is not forbidden from setting out on a journey to them, which is the opposite position to those scholars who oppose this view.

This is because the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, came to the masjid in Quba’, riding and walking. He also used to visit graves, and said to people, ‘Visit them, for they are a reminder of the Hereafter.’ ” [Kash-shaf ul-Qina` `an Matn il-Iqna`, vol.1, pp.478-480. ]

(1) This hadith is collected by Imams al-Bukhari in his Jami` us-Sahih, Book of Reward of Hunting, under the chapter of the Hajj of the Women; Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj in his Jami` us-Sahih, Book of Hajj, under the chapter of The Virtues of the Three Masjids; at-Tirmidhi in his Sunan, Chapters on the Prayer of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him under the chapter of Which masjid is the most virtuous, and classified by them as authentic.

Remarriage for Wife Abandoned by Husband

Figure 1A: What is an abandoned wife to do? (Photo courtesy of )

The following question was put to the marja`. 

In the case where the husband left the wife and the maintenance no longer comes – while the wife for the past five years has known nothing of his whereabouts – is it permitted for the woman to know re-marry as she has not heard from the husband since he left?

The marja`, Imam `Abdur-Rahman Ash-Shami, may Allah preserve him, gave the following reply,

The woman should raise her case to the Qadi of the area, seeking dissolving of the marriage on account of either 1) lack of maintenance or 2) her husband being absent for a long period of time.

It is then for the Qadi to make the decision on whether to dissolve the marriage or not. If he gives the ruling in favour of the dissolving, then she goes into her waiting period (Ar. `iddah) from the moment the marriage was pronounced dissolved. After this point, she may then re-marry.

If the woman in question has not done this, she still remains under the government of her husband, so she may not remarry until the marriage to the first husband is dissolved or ended.

Full or Partial Adoption

Figure 1A: Why is full adoption forbidden in Muslim heartlands?

A question was put to the marja`:

What is the ruling on full adoption, which is adopting a child and giving him or her the last name of the parents and attributing the child to their lineage?


The marja`, Imam Muhammad Sa`id Ramadan Al-Bouti (d. 1434 AH), may Allah be pleased with him, gave the following reply:

Full adoption, i.e. adopting a child and giving him or her the last name of the parents and attributing the child to their lineage is from the ways of the Age of Ignorance which the Revealed Law came to eliminate with a clear, explicit and decisive text in the Book of Allah, Mighty and Majestic,

He has not made your adopted sons to be as your own sons. This is only a word that comes out of your mouths. But Allah speaks the truth and He shows the Right Way. Call these children by their fathers’ names: that is more just in the Sight of Allah.

But if you do not know the names of their fathers, then call them your brothers in faith or your freed or cliented ones. There is no blame upon you if you make a mistake in that regard. What is accounted is the intention in your hearts and Allah is Forgiving, Compassionate.[1]

The wisdom in Allah nullifying this practice from the Age of Ignorance with this clear and decisive text is that full adoption is a form of oppression due to the inheritance being impacted and that this incites the hearts of people towards tribulations.

This in turn also leads to the means of perversions and the corruption of the creation. The child that is fully adopted mixes with the adopted family with the claim that he is one of their own children and both sides – the adoptee and the adopted – fall into slippery affairs.

These affairs are such that there is often no protector of the actual lineage against sexual desires although Allah, the Exalted, has already put into place safeguards. Allah! There are only a few cases that are free from such enormities and where people have controlled themselves.[2]

Indeed in the case of partial adoption, such a matter is permitted. There is no prohibition in one of us accepting a child that was abandoned or that we found or a child that came out of poverty or being an orphan, then we raised the child and spent on it without claiming that child as from our own lineage.

If someone should undertake this type of adoption, then this is a righteous deed and something laudable and deserving of reward.[3]


[1] Surat ul-Ahzab (33), ayat 4-5

[2] Translator’s note: The Imam here is referring to the case where parents fall in love with children or vice versa. As the parents have already claimed them as their actual children (even though they are not), this simulates incest. This form of adoption also leads to inheritance being claimed by adopted children when they have no right to it. This one action then goes on to incite enmity between the actual children and their family and the assumed family, with intrigues and false paperwork often brought about based on the one simple lie from the start.

[3] Ma` An-Nas: Mashurat wa Fatawa, vol.1, pp. 87-88

Are Orthodox Christians and Muslims coming together on the Jerusalem issue?

Latin rite priest Manuel Musallam.

The following is an English gist of an original article in Arabic discussing the current tense and increasingly untenable situation in the Israel/Palestine conflict. Of particular interest is the fact that Muslims and Orthodox Christians in the area find themselves agreeing yet again on a number of topics. Take a look below.


Catholic Leader in Gaza Calls For Revolt Over Trump’s Jerusalem Decision


by ALI WAKED15 Dec 2017

Head of the Catholic community in Gaza Emanuel Mussalm has called for civil disobedience in Jerusalem in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize the city as Israel’s capital.

According to Mussalm, the civil unrest should spread to all the towns around Jerusalem once it’s begun. “All the intifadas, uprisings and marches are a good thing, but they are nothing more than storms, storms that cannot destroy Israel, which has become a house of stone. Only civil revolt is enough to destroy Israel and it must begin from Jerusalem now, not tomorrow,” said Mussalm.

According to the Catholic leader, Trump’s speech should be considered a positive one, “as it woke the Palestinian people and the Arab people and revealed the Oslo Accords as a lie and a scam.”

Trump’s speech also revealed the fact that the Security Council and international law are “lying” institutions, he claimed, “especially after the U.S. has used its veto dozens of times to protect Israel. The U.S. has humiliated Russia, Britain, France, China and the rest of the world just to support Israel and give it something it doesn’t deserve at all.”

Meanwhile, Adeeb al-Husseini, who holds the keys of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, said he is opposed to hosting the American vice president in the church. Al-Husseini is Muslim but according to tradition in Jerusalem, his family has held the keys to the church for over 850 years.

“The al-Husseini family is a Jerusalemite family,” said Adeeb. “It’s been responsible for the keys of the church since the days of Saladin and we’ve performed our duty throughout history and we’ll continue to do so in the future with dedication and devotion. So, in accordance with our religious and moral obligations to the holy places, I’m announcing that I won’t greet Pence at the church as an expression of our complete displeasure with the American president’s decision about the holy city, which is also the capital of Palestine.”


Figure 1A: Dr. Silvana De Mari

Italian Doctor Accused of Defamation for Saying ‘Homosexuality Is a Disease’ Found Not Guilty

by THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.3 Dec 2017

An Italian Public Prosecutor has exonerated Dr. Silvana De Mari of charges of defamation after the physician declared that homosexuality is a pathology.

The LGBT advocacy group Torino Pride brought the accusation of defamation against Dr. De Mari, alleging that she had effectively defamed the character of gays by declaring homosexuality to be an illness.

After months of deliberation, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has ruled that the statements by the 64-year-old doctor and author did not constitute defamation because of the impossibility of identifying the individuals who would have possibly suffered injury from the claim.

In her defense, Dr. De Mari said that homosexuality is clearly not a normal condition, while also citing her own expertise in the matter.

“I have three specialties: psychotherapy, medicine and surgery,” De Mari said. “I have been taking care of homosexual persons for 40 years.”

While De Mari’s thesis on the abnormality of homosexuality has been a matter of public record, she gained further notoriety when interviewed on the Italian radio show La Zanzara, during which she declared that “gays live a tragic condition.”

Pro LGBT groups have denounced Dr. De Mari as “homophobic,” insisting that her statements provoke discrimination and “racial hatred.”

Sigmund Freud was famously ambivalent in his evaluation of homosexuality, at times denying it is a pathology and other times seeming to suggest otherwise.

In Freud’s “Letter to a Mother of a Homosexual,” the founder of psychoanalysis wrote to an American woman that homosexuality “is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation,” and that “it cannot be classified as an illness.” Freud then added that the homosexual condition “is produced by a certain arrest of sexual development.”

While strongly opposed to the social intolerance of homosexuals, Freud considered homosexuality to be a “perversion” in the psychoanalytic sense of the term, meaning a condition that includes self-object limitations, narcissism, and an underdeveloped superego.

“The common characteristic of all perversions,” Freud wrote, “is that they have abandoned reproduction as their aim. We term sexual activity perverse when it has renounced the aim of reproduction and follows the pursuit of pleasure as an independent goal.”

Freud was convinced that homosexuality in males arose as a result of familial circumstances that failed to facilitate normal affective maturity, namely an overly attentive mother figure and a distant father figure, asserting that “all the investigations undertaken so far have yielded the same surprising result.”

“In all our male homosexual cases the subjects had had a very intense erotic attachment to a female person, as a rule their mother,” he wrote. “This attachment was evoked or encouraged by too much tenderness on the part of the mother herself, and further reinforced by the small part played by the father during their childhood.”

The lawyer representing the case of Torino Pride, Nicolò Ferraris, has continued to assert that Doctor De Mari had no right to express an idea that many people find offensive.

“The offenses pronounced publicly by De Mari are aimed at LGBT movements and not only at LGBT people, and they are not opinions but offenses,” he said.