• Start
  • Previous
  • 42 /
  • Next
  • End
  •  
  • Download HTML
  • Download Word
  • Download PDF
  • visits: 1140 / Download: 229
Size Size Size
Jurisprudence Made Easy

Jurisprudence Made Easy

Author:
Publisher: www.al-islam.org
English

www.alhassanain.org/english

Jurisprudence Made Easy

al Fatawa al-Muyyessarah

Author(s): Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Hussaini Sistani

Translator(s): Najim al-Khafaji

Publisher(s): Imam Ali Foundation

www.alhassanain.org/english

The book is in the form of questions and answers based on fatwa of Ayatullah Al-Seestani, on the verses of Jurisprudence, that includes the matters of worship, financial transactions and man's personal status such as matrimonial matter

Miscellaneous information:

Jurisprudence Made Easy English translation of al Fatawa al-Muyyessarah By Ayatullah Ali al-Hussaini as-Seestani Translated by Najim al-Khafaji Published in 1998, London, England: Imam Ali Foundation.

Notice:

This version is published on behalf of www.alhassanain.org/english

The composing errors are not corrected.

Table of Contents

License 7

Translator’s Foreword 8

Preface to the English edition 9

Introduction to the Arabic edition 10

Glossary 12

Preamble 16

Dialogue on Taqleed 21

Dialogue on Najis things 25

Dialogue on ritual purity (Taharah) 28

Dialogue on Janabah 34

Dialogue on Haydh 36

Dialogue on Nifas 39

Dialogue on Istihadha 41

Dialogue on death related matters 44

Dialogue on Wudhu 50

Dialogue on Ghusl 53

Dialogue on Tayamum 56

Dialogue on Jabirah 59

Dialogue on prayer (1) 61

Dialogue on prayer (2) 76

Dialogue on Sawm (fasting) 83

Dialogue on Hajj 89

Dialogue on Zakat 92

Dialogue on Khums 97

Dialogue on economic activity 102

Dialogue on slaughtering and hunting 115

Dialogue on Marriage 122

Dialogue on divorce 129

Dialogue on votive offering, pledge and oath 132

Dialogue on writing a will 135

Dialogue on inheritance 138

Dialogue on religious endowments 141

Dialogue on enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil 143

Dialogue on miscellaneous issues (1) 155

Dialogue on miscellaneous issues (2) 165

License

In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate the Merciful

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds,

and peace be with the best of His creation,

Mohammad and his pure progeny.

This book, Al-Fatawa Al-Muyessarah (Jurisprudence Made Easy), has been written in accordance with our fatawa (edicts). This has been found to be so by a group of trusted people. Thus, whoever, among the faithful, acts upon the edicts contained therein shall be acquitted of their religious obligation. Inshallah (Allah willing)

Sealed

Ali al-Hussaini as-Seestani

25th Thil Hijjah, 1416H.

Religious edicts shown between these [ ] brackets are to be followed as a matter of ihtiyat wujubi (obligatory precaution). Thus, you have the choice of either acting upon them or following another Mujtahid (Jurist: a cleric who has studied sufficiently and achieved the level of competence necessary to interpret shari’a law), taking into account the most erudite among them.

Translator’s Foreword

In undertaking the translation of this book, al-Fatawal Muyessarah (Jurisprudence Made Easy), I did my best to convey the meaning to the English reader in standard English from a pattern of Arabic that is predominantly juridical. I hope I have succeeded in this task. I also hope that this translation may help, in some measure, to make this subject accessible to people, interested in Islamic jurisprudence and in religion, among those who are unable to read and/or understand Arabic.

However, I decided to use the same Arabic terminology - appearing in italic letters - that is, in the main, common to the subject matter, such as halal and haraam (licit and illicit) with their equivalent in English, as a first reference. I have done so to ensure consistency, for the majority of these terms denote specific meanings on which the mukallaf (the person obligated to observe the precepts of religion) rely in acting upon the fatwa (religious edict). Thereafter, I have confined the use to the Arabic term.

To further guide the reader through the maze of this broadly technical terminology, I listed the words and phrases, with their English definitions, in alphabetical order under the “Glossary”. It is noteworthy that the glossary is solely my contribution and does not constitute a section of the book. Where I opted for the English dictum rather than the Arabic, I found it necessary, at certain instances, to put the Arabic words between brackets after the English, such as “free of impurities”: mutlaq. This has been done to reinforce the translated word or phrase and remove any ambiguity; you may not find these in the Glossary.

Where I thought the meaning of the text would be enhanced or rendered more understandable, I put the additional words, which do not constitute part of the original text, between these ( ) brackets.

The use of masculine pronouns, such as he, his, him, and himself, refers to both the sexes, where applicable.

For the translation of Qur’anic verses, I used “Holy Qur’an”, translated by M.H. Shakir, published by Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an Inc. P.O. Box 1115, Elmhurst, New York 11373, U.S.A, although I have made some modifications as I deemed fit. For the benefit of those who would wish to trace the Qur’anic quotations, I have put the numbers of the sura (chapter) first and the ayah (verse) second between these ( ) brackets at the end of the quotation.

Notwithstanding, whatever knowledge and effort put in such work, it remains far from perfect, for perfection is the exclusive preserve of Allah, the Most High. I, therefore, urge the readers to write in, should they find it necessary to raise any point or make any remarks insofar as the translation goes.

In the end, I pray to the Almighty, to forgive me any inadvertent mistake or error of judgement I may have made in the course of the translation. I pray to Him to make this work of mine a step towards attaining His approval and that He accepts it favourably and makes it of use. Amen.

Najim al-Khafaji, B.A.

Preface to the English edition

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

I have pleasure in making available to the English reader my Book, al-Fatawa al-Muyyessarah - Jurisprudence Made Easy, which has also been translated to few other languages. I am glad to say that the Arabic Edition has now been published few times. This is indicative of the need for books of jurisprudence, which is a quite technical subject, in a form of language that is down to earth. This being so as to make the subject matter more accessible to the readers, irrespective of their backgrounds.

I am confident that this novel approach to dealing with the subject will bear fruit, not least in contributing to the spread of religious knowledge among vast sections of the society, especially the up-and-coming generation, who has been starved of gaining any meaningful knowledge of the precepts of religion, because of the way the education system has been geared.

I would like to thank Imam Ali Foundation, London for financing the translation and publishing of the book. I should also thank Mr. Najim al-Khafaji for the efforts he put in translating the book.

Since presenting to the reader a simplified version of jurisprudence and issues of religious connotations is the first attempt of its kind, I should be very grateful for any feedback from you.

In the end, I pray to the Almighty to bestow success upon us for that which pleases Him. For all the mercies vouchsafe us, we are truly grateful to Allah.

Abdul Hadi Mohammad Taqi al-Hakim

Rabi’uth-Thani 1418 H. (August, 1997 C.E.)

Introduction to the Arabic edition

“.. Oh my Lord! Expand my breast for me, Make my affair easy to me, Loosen the knot from my tongue, and (that) they may understand my word”. (20/25-28).

May praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and may peace and benediction be with our Prophet, Mohammad and his Pure Progeny.

In writing this book, I tried to use a style that is simple and familiar. My aim has been to disentangle the complexity of the jurisdical text, making it readily accessible to those who need to be acquainted with and act upon it among the laity.

I have sought to employ a method that aims at encouraging the reader to want to know more about the injunctions of religion. In so doing, I confined myself to discussing those matters of religious dictates that are more important to the mukkalaf (Compos mentis: The person obligated to observe the precepts of religion). For further in-depth details, the reader may consult the books of Islamic jurisprudence and manuals of religious practice.

Every now and then, I have also tried to make the link in the reader’s mind between the science of jurisprudence and that of ethics (akhlaq), and between his actions and the spirit of those actions.

The book has been divided into three main sections. The first deals with acts of worship (ibadaat), making prayer the main axis, for “It is the pillar of religion. If it was accepted, other deeds of the mukallaf would be accepted. If it was rejected, the other deeds would be rejected”.

After the Dialogue on Taqleed (the following, by a lay person of a learned scholar, Mujtahid, in matters of religious practice), the structure of the discussion required me to deal with that which renders the body najis (ceremonially unclean). This has been so for the simple reason that no prayer can be performed without the person performing it being tahir (ceremonially clean). Thus, najis as well as tahir things are discussed, leading to the discussion of prayer itself.

To complete the circle of purity of the heart, the mind and personal hygiene the mukallaf should have when having audience with his Creator in prayer, I have discussed other acts of worship, such as fasting and hajj (pilgrimage to Mekkah).

Section two of the book is dedicated to financial transactions, such as buying and selling, agencies, hiring, companies and others.

Section three deals with man’s personal status, such as matrimonial matters, votive offering (nadhr), covenants, oaths, etc. Discussed in this section too are matters of al amr bil ma’rouf wan nahi anil munkar (enjoining what is good and forbidding what is wrong) and two dialogues on general themes.

According to this plan, the book shall feature the following dialogues:

Taqleed, Najis and Tahir things, Janabah (the state of being najis after a sexual act that may or may not lead to ejaculation), Haydh (menstruation), Wudhu (an act of ablution that is required before the performance of certain acts of worship), Ghusl (obligatory ceremonial bathing that is required after certain acts or occurrences), Tayamum (Dry ablution, i.e. using dust instead of water, as in the cases of wudhu and ghusl when, for specific reasons, these acts are not possible), Jabirah (splint), Prayer, in two parts, Fasting, Hajj, Zakat (the poor rate: A legally prescribed tax), Khums (a type of religious levy, equivalent to one fifth of taxable income), Trade, Slaughtering and Hunting, Marriage, Divorce, Votive Offering, Oath, and Covenant, Making a Will, Inheritance, Waqf (religious endowment), Enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and the two all-round dialogues, covering matters ranging from women issues, reproduction, medical, ethical, science and technology, entertainment to donating human organs.

This edition of the book has been the subject of checking and scrutiny by the Office of Grand Ayatullah as-Sayyid as-Seestani in Holy Najaf to ensure that the contents conform to his edicts. Where necessary modifications have been made to ensure compliance.

I hope that I have succeeded in what I set out to do. I thank all those who lent me their support in the process of writing this book.

Finally, I pray to Allah, the Most High, to make me amongst those,

“..given his book in his right hand, these shall read their book..” (17/71),

make my work pure in His way on,

“The day on which property will not avail, nor sons, except him who comes to Allah with a heart free (of evil)”. (26/88, 89).

“..Oh Lord! do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake..”. (2/286).

“..Oh Lord! Thy forgiveness (do we crave), and to Thee is the eventual course”. (2/285).

May praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds.

The Author

Glossary

Ada’: On time: when prayer, or any other act of worship is performed on its appointed time. (See qadha’).

Adhan: The call for prayer.

Al’amr bil ma’rouf wan nahi anil munkar: Enjoining what is good and forbdding what is evil.

Aqiqah: A sacrificial offering on the seventh day of the newly born child.

(a.s.): An acronym for “Alaihis salaam”: May peace be with him.

Asr: Afternoon prayer.

Aya: (Lit. a sign): verse, or unit, of the Holy Qur’an.

Ayas of Sajdah: The four Qur’anic Verses in the Chapters: Iqra’, an-Najm, as-Sajdah, and Fussilat; it is obligatory to prostrate oneself on hearing them recited.

Ba’adaz zawaal: After the disc of the sun descends towards the West from its emith (noon). (See zawaal)

Basmalah: An acronym for “Bismillahir Rahman ar Rahim”: In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Batil: Null, void, invalid or unlawful, e.g.A contract becomes batil when it does not satisfy the divine practical laws of Islam.

Dhuhr: Noon, or lunchtime, prayer.

Dhikr: Remembrance: The utterances during the third ruku’ and fourth of a prayer.

Eid: Festivities marking the end of the fasting season, or festivities of the sacrifice after hajj.

Farsakh: A unit of distance, equivalent to approx. 5.5 kilometer.

Fatwa: Religious edict, or legal opinion.

Fidya: Redemption (from certain religious obligations by a material donation or ritual act).

Fiqh: Jurisprudence.

Ghusl: Obligatory bathing that is required after certain acts or occurrences.

Hadith: Prophetic tradition: sayings and actions of Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.)

Hady: Sacrificial offering, as part of hajj rituals.

Hajj: The pilgrimage to Mekkah undertaken according to the prescribed ritual during the month of Thil Hijja:

Hajjatul Islam: A Muslim’s maiden pilgrimage to Mekkah, that is obligatory when you can afford the journey.

Halal: Lawful for use, consumption, or to act upon.

Haraam/Muharram: Unlawful or forbidden for use, consumption, or to act upon.

Harakaat: Diacritical marks, such as shaddah, maddah, tanween, hamzatul wasl or qat’, appearing above the Arabic characters or below them that denote and aid the proper pronunciation of the words, both independently and in relation to other words in the sentence.

Haydh: Menstruation.

Heddet-tarakhus: The point at the periphery of a town where, for example, adhan could be heard. This concerns distances to determine whether prayer should be said tamam or qasr.

Ibadaat: Acts of worship.

Ijarah: Hire, rent, lease etc.

Ihram: The special two-piece seamless attire worn by pilgrims. Also, the state of consecration during which the pilgrim should refrain from certain acts, such as not combing, not shaving, and observing sexual continence.

Ihtiyat: Precaution: a level of legal judgement.

Ihtiyat wujubi: Obligatory precaution that must be followed.

Ijtihad: (lit. exertion) - the process of arriving at judgements on points of religious law using reason and the principles of jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh).

Inshallah: God willing.

Iqamah: A shortened form of adhan, heralding the inauguration of prayer.

Isha: Evening prayer.

Istihadhah: Undue menses.

Istihalah: Transformation.

Istikharah: The process of asking Allah for proper guidance in certain matters you are unable to decide on, through, for example, consulting the verses of the Holy Qur’an.

Jabirah: (lit. splint): a generic name used for any form of dressing any part of the body as a result of injury or illness.

Jamarat: Places of the three stone pillars representing the devil, at Mina. (See rami)

Janabah: The state of being ceremonially unclean, especially after a sexual act that may or may not lead to ejaculation.

Kaffarah: Atonement, or expiation: making repayment for some failure to act, harm done to others, etc.

Khums: A type of religious levy, equivalent to one fifth of taxable income.

Kurr: A unit of volume, equivalent to 384 litres.

Madhalim: Material or moral restitution or compensation to people you have wronged.

Maghrib: Sunset prayer.

Maghsoub: Usurped.

Mahaarim: One’s immediate relatives - according to a certain classification detailed in Shari’a law.

Makrouh: Abominable act.

Manasikul Hajj: Pilgrimage rituals.

Marji’: (lit. reference point for emulation, or religious authority) - A jurist who, by virtue of whose knowledge and probity, is qualified to be followed in all points of religious practice and law by the generality of Shia Muslims.

Meeta: Animal carcass.

Mujtahid: A jurist who has studied sufficiently and achieved the level of competence necessary to interpret shari’a law (see Ijtihad).

Mu’amalaat: Transactions.

Mubah: Permissible.

Mukallaf: Comopos mentis (The person obligated to observe the precepts of religion).

Musafir: Traveller.

Mustahab: A voluntary, and meritorious, act of worship. (See wajib - obligatory).

Najasah: A legal term for an impurity of any kind.

Najis: Impure: some things are inherently najis, others can become najis through contact with an inherently najis substances.

Nifas: Bleeding that occurs after childbirth, miscarriage, or abortion.

Niyyah: Intention to designate the prayer, or any other act of worship, one is performing, in that its sole purpose is to seek proximity to, and pleasure of Allah.

Niyyah of qurbal mutlaqah: The intention for prayer, or any other act of worship, made with a view to seeking nearness to Allah, i.e. without designating whether it is ada’ or qadha’.

Qadha’: When prayer, or any other act of worship, is performed at a later time. (See ada’).

Qasr: A shortened form of prayer: A concession for a musafir (traveller) to perform a two-raka’a prayer instead of the full four-raka’a one. (See tamam)

Qiblah: The direction, of the Ka’ba, one must face while praying.

Qiyam: Standing upright during prayer.

Qunoot: The raising of both hands for supplication in prayer.

Raka’a, ruku’: The bowing position in prayer.

Rami: Symbolically stoning of the devil, using seven pebbles or small stones at Jamarat on Eid day, the 11th and the 12th of Thil Hijjah; part of hajj rituals. (See Jamarat).

(s.a.w.) An acronym for “Sallal lahu alaihi wa alihi wasallam”: May peace be with him, i.e. the Prophet, and his pure progeny.

Sadaqa: Almsgiving.

Sajdatay-as-Sahu: The two compensatory prostrations in lieu of any commissions or omissions in prayer due to forgetfulness.

Salah/t: Prayer.

Salatul ayaat: Prayer for signs, or natural phenomena.

Salatul ihtiyat: Precautionary prayer.

Salatul lail: Optional night prayer.

Sawm: Fasting.

Sa’y: Seven laps of brisk walking between the mounds of Safa and Marwah - an obligatory part of hajj rituals.

Shari’a: Percepts of the divine law.

Shari’i: Islamic or legal.

Subh: Dawn prayer.

Sujood: Prostration.

Sunnah: Model practices, customs, and traditions of The Prophet (s.a.w).

Surah: A chapter, or part, of the Holy Qur’an.

Taharah: Ritual purification.

Tahir: The state of ritual purity, the opposite of najis.

Takbiratul Ihram: The utterance, at the start of prayer, of “Allahu Akbar”: God is Great.

Talbiyah: The utterance of: Labbayka Allahuma Labayk, Labbayka La Sharika Laka Labbayk, Innal Hamda Wani’mata Laka Wal Mulk, La Sharika Laka Labbayk. (Here I am! at Your service, O Lord! Here I am! at Your service, You have no partner. Here I am! at Your service. All the praise is Yours, so is the bounty, and to You belongs the dominion; there is no partner to You. Here I am! at Your service).

Tamam: A full four-raka’a prayer. (See qasr).

Taqiyyah: Dissimulation about one’s beliefs in order to protect oneself, family, or property from harm.

Taqleed: The following, by a lay person, of a learned jurist (Mujtahid) in matters of religious practice.

Taqseer: Cutting one’s hair, clipping one’s moustache or beard, or cutting off the nails - hajj rituals that heralds the exit from the state of ihram

Tawaf: Circumambulation - walking seven times around the Ka’ba.

Tawafun Nisa’: (lit., women’s circumambulation) - an integral part of hajj devotion, after which and its prayer, sexual relations between man and wife return to normal.

Tayamum: (lit. intending or proposing to do a thing). Dry ablution, i.e. using dust instead of water, as in the cases of wudhu and ghusl when, for specific reasons, these acts are not possible).

Thawab: Reward from Allah in return for good deeds.

Ulema: Scholars or doctors of religion.

Umma: Islamic community.

Umrah: Lesser hajj, or visitation that can be performed at any time, except on the days of hajj in the month of Thil Hijjah.

Umrah Tamattu’: A visitation ritual that is obligatory before performing hajj.

Urf: Generally accepted practice, custom, or usage.

Wajib: An obligatory act of worship. (See mustahab - a voluntary act).

Wajibun aini: Individual duty: The obligation that falls on every adult Muslim.

Wajibun kifa’i: A collective obligation imposed on the Muslim community. Yet, if any member of the community discharges it, the remaining members would be ubsolved of the responsibility.

Waqf: Religious endowment, or charity.

Wudhu: An act of ablution that is required before the performance of certain actions.

Wuquf: Devotional stay at Arafat, Mash’ar and Mina as part of hajj rituals.

Zakat: The poor rate: purification of wealth by payment of annual welfare due.

Zawaal: The zenith of the sun, just before it declines towards the West.

Preamble

In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Today, I have completed my fifteenth birthday. When I awoke, I had no idea what was in store for me. A day of surprises, conceit, and apprehension that was, nevertheless, tampered with joy, love, and enjoyment of discovery. A day that heralded the closing of one chapter of my life and the beginning of another.

As usual, I woke up early. No sooner had I finished my morning routine between my waking up and sitting to have my breakfast, I saw a different expression on my father’s face. Something made me guess that a matter of a kind that concerns me he needed to address.

His eyes were wide open as if they were gazing in a vacuum. His tight lips indicated that he was about to say something of great importance. His fingers were tapping rhythmically on the dining table. It seemed that his heart was filled with great tidings so much so that it could overflow.

As I sat on the opposite side of the table, he took the initiative, with a glow of joy filling his eyes, and said:

Oh my son! Today, you have rolled up a phase of your life and are on the threshold of a new one. In the eye of Islamic law, you have become a fully-fledged man capable of being obligated to observe the dictates of religion. On this day, Allah, the Exalted, has bestowed upon you the favour of showing to you that which you should obey and that which you should shun.

Until yesterday you were, in the eye of Islamic law, a child. Thus, you were left alone. As of today, everything has changed. You are a man like other men. You are capable of behaving responsibly. That is why Allah has addressed you.

* Sorry, I do not seem to understand what exactly you mean. How can Allah grace me with His bounty by ordering me? Is command a type of grace? How can this be?

- Let me give you an example. You are now a student. Among your class mates, there are those who are bright, diligent, committed, hard working, the conscientious and others. The head teacher sends for you to come to his office. The moment you walk in, with a smile, he breaks the good tidings to you that you have been chosen for a certain task. This is so because what you have achieved sets you in a different league from your peers.

Do you not feel a sense of achievement and self-confidence for the special treatment accorded to you by your head teacher? Would this not fill you with zeal to carry out the task? This may be the case with a head teacher. How would you react if it was someone occupying a higher position within the hierarchy of the borough, the chief inspector, or the minister for education, and so on?

As my father was giving me examples of people in higher positions of responsibility, what he was aiming at started to sink in. The moment he mentioned Allah’s address to me and His obligating me to observe His commands and avoid acts that He forbade, the fact dawned on me.

* God addresses me! And commands me in person!

- Yes, my son. Allah is addressing you. You, the fifteen years old lad. He charges you with the obligations and forbids you from embarking on certain acts.

* Do I deserve all this honour from the Creator of the heavens and the earth. What a sweet day! What a magnificent year! What a splendid manhood!

- Oh my son! You have to obey what your Creator has commanded you to do. It is an honour to do so.

* I shall eagerly do my best to carry out His obligations and commands, but…

- But, what?

* But what are these obligations that He charged me with? And what are His commands that He addressed me with?

- Religious dictates are of five kinds. Wajibat (duties), muharramat (forbidden acts), mustahabbat (voluntary acts of worship), makrouhat (abominable acts), and mubahat (permissible acts).

* What are these wajibat, muharramat, mustahabat, makrouhat, and mubahat?

- Everything that you are obliged to carry out is of the wajibat, such as salah (prayer), sawm (fasting), hajj , zakat, khums, enjoining good and forbidding evil, etc.

Whatever things or acts you are discouraged from doing are of the muharramat, such as drinking alcohol, adultery, theft, spending unwisely, lying, etc.

Any meritorious act that you are encouraged to do to seek closeness to Allah, though not by way of obligation, is of the mustahabat, such as almsgiving, cleanliness, good manners, helping needy people - not necessarily materially, attending congregational prayer, wearing perfume, etc.

Any act that is good to avoid and shun, though not by way of obligation, with the intention of seeking proximity to Allah is of the makrouhat, such as delaying the time of getting married - for both man and woman, asking for exorbitant dowries, and declining to lend money to a needy person, even though you can afford it, etc.

As for the acts you have free choice in doing or leaving are of mubahat, such as eating, drinking, sleep, travel, and tourism, etc.

* How can I differentiate between wajib and mustahab, and muharram and makrouh? How would I know what is wajib so that I can do it and what is haraam (forbidden act) so that I refrain from doing it? How would I know?

With a smile, my father intervened. He then cast a glance of mercy and compassion over me. He was about to say something, but pondered for a short while.

During that time utter silence prevailed. I could not fathom what was going through the mind of my father. I could, however, witness a sort of cloud over his forehead that was descending to cover the rest of his face, reaching out to his lips that opened up with a somewhat feeble voice full of graciousness and affection.

- You should be able to delineate what is wajib and haraam, what is mustahab and makrouh when you read the books of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). You shall find out that some have core acts, parts, and conditions, some have to be performed with certain movements, some have certain norms you should not depart from, and so on.

You will find what you are looking for in those books. You shall find out that this discipline is a vast one. Hundreds of books and volumes have been written. The ulema (scholars or doctors of religion) did not leave any matter undiscussed or unscrutinized in such depth that you rarely find in other human disciplines.

* But, do I have to know all about such books to know what I should or should not do?

- Oh! No, it suffices to read the most concise and manageable. You shall find out that they are classified into two main topics: Ibadaat (acts of worship) and mu’aamalat (transactions).

* What are ibadaat and mu’aamalat?

- Consult the books of Islamic jurisprudence. You will gradually come to know what you are after.

Full of zeal and interest, I hurried to the library in the hope that I could come across the books of Islamic jurisprudence. As soon as I saw them, a kind of joy overwhelmed me.

* So, those were the books. I, finally, found what I was after. I will read them and am confident that I shall find the answers to my questions in them and have peace of mind.

I could not wait to get home. With a sense of achievement, I hurriedly opened the book and started reading it. A feeling of bewilderment crept into my mind. This was translated into facial expression of astonishment, turning into excruciating pain. I found myself reading a lot but understanding nothing of substance. How could I handle this unfamiliar perplexity?

A kind of pride crept into me. I said to myself, “I am going to try again”. Maybe I will understand something. I could imagine that the time was hardly passing. A sort of sluggishness prevailed. My chest was sinking down under some sort of burden, making it unbearable. Yet, I persisted. I read and reread but to no avail. Clouds of disappointment turned into melancholy.

It is time for confession. I read a lot, but did not understand anything worth mentioning. I came across a kind of terminology that was not familiar to me. I could still see floating before my eyes phrases and sentences that seem confined to a certain discipline that I was not aware of. Also, I came across sentences couched in terms I did not know; sentences that discuss matters alien to my everyday life, I do not know why they were mentioned at all. Other linguistic structures appeared so fragmented, deep, and complex that I was left perplexed as to their true meaning.

I wondered if I would ever be able to know what Allah had decreed halal (permissible), so that I could act upon it or what He had decreed haraam, so that I could refrain from doing it!

Thereupon, I lift my head toward the heavens with a twinkle in my eyes, and murmured: O Lord! I know you charged me with a duty. But, I do not know the detail.

O Lord! How am going to know the bounds of what You have ordered me to do, so that I can do it? O Lord! Help me to understand what I read. O Lord! Make the books of jurisprudence spell out what they wanted to state so that I can act upon what they are trying to tell me.

I waited for my father at the dining table in the evening. At the beginning, I looked haggard with tired and rather bewildered eyes. However, this was later turned into silvery shine that combined agony with the determination of forging ahead. No sooner had we sat down , my heart began beating quickly, my cheeks turned pink, and the heat started exuding from the tips of my ears. I succumbed to a feeling of embarrassment, shyness, perplexity, confusion and hesitation. I started saying to myself words that denote inability to understand written material.

However, I plucked my courage determined to admit my weakness and said to my father:

* I read some of the books of jurisprudence, but found them unyielding. I had seldom finished the sentence, my father’s eyes went into deep search, as if he was trying to retrieve something from the past. This journey did not last long. His eyes soon turned towards me and in a whisper, he said:

- I went through a similar experience when I was your age. I read the books of jurisprudence but did not understand anything of importance. However, I did not have the courage you have to admit my incapacity to comprehending the subject matter.

My conservative upbringing and shyness stood between me and asking my father critical questions concerning the transitional period from boyhood to adulthood. I did not realize that puberty could be identified not necessarily by age alone, until… and there I intervened:

* And can puberty be known through other phenomena?

- Yes, my son. Puberty in males could be confirmed if one of three signs was present.

First: Completion of fifteen lunar calendar years of age.

Second: Ejaculation through sexual intercourse, or seminal discharge while awake or asleep.

Third: The presence of pubic hair, of the rough type, similar to head hair.

* Pubic hair?

- The spot where pubic hair can be found is the one below the belly and immediately above the penis.

* These are the signs of male puberty. What about the signs of female puberty?

- Puberty in females could come about when they complete nine lunar calendar years.

* Since I was blunt about my shortcomings in finding it rather difficult to comprehend the subject matter of jurisprudence books, dare I suggest we hold sessions so that you can explain to me all that which I should be aware of. In so doing, I can implement religious injunctions in the manner they were decreed by Allah, the Exalted. If I may add. Can this take the form of dialogue?

- As you like.

* However, with what shall we start our first dialogue?

- We will start it with taqleed, for it is the foundation that will determine the contours and milestones of what we try to apply of our jurisprudence.

* It’s a deal.