What are the acts of a mukallaf? What is the mukallaf in islam? What are the conditions of mukallaf?
Mukallaf means “a legally competent and responsible person.” It refers to an intelligent and adolescent Muslim who is subject to religious orders and prohibitions. The speech, work, deeds, and behaviors of a person who has reached the age to act freely of his own will are subject to certain provisions in Islam. What is meant by the acts called “af‘āl-al-mukallafīn” in the sources of Islamic law are the religious rulings or values of the actions of a legally competent and responsible believer.
A mukallaf’s actions can be classified into eight groups: farḍ, wājib, sunnah, mustaḥab, mubāḥ, ḥarām, makrūḥ, and mufsid. This classification is according to the Ḥanafi jurists. According to the mujtahids of the other schools, the af‘āl-al-mukallafīn are examined under only five categories: wājib, mandūb, ḥarām, makrūḥ, and mubāḥ.
According to the Ḥanafi school, actions evidently ordered to be carried out by Allah or His Messenger that are clear in terms of their authenticity (thubūt) and implications (dalālah) are called “farḍ”. For that reason, farḍ actions are determined through certain proofs such as the verses of the Qur’an, mutawātir or mashhūr hadith, or ijmāʿ, which are improbable to have any other meaning. The five daily prayers, fasting in Ramadan, giving zakāh, and performing hajj, for those who fulfill the necessary conditions, are of this nature. In regards to these acts of worship, there are both clear verses, and the Prophet’s words and practices at the level of mutawātir or famous hadith.
In many verses of the Qur’an, the believers are commanded to “perform the prayer and give zakāt”, and the command in the following verse requiring the recitation in ritual prayer, “Then recite whatever is easy for you from the Qur’an” can be offered as examples of farḍ.
Ruling on farḍ: It is absolutely obligatory to carry out such an action. Those who abandon it are faced with a reprimand in both this world and the hereafter, and one who denies the obligation of a farḍ act is inevitably considered as having left the religion of Islam.
Farḍ actions are divided into two types as farḍ al-ʿayn and farḍ al-kifāī:
1) Farḍ al-ʿayn: This is the type of farḍ that every legally responsible and competent believer must personally fulfill. This means that the fulfillment of such an action by some other people will not mitigate the responsibility of the individual. Such actions include the five daily prayers, fasting in the month of Ramadan, offering the annual zakāt, and the hajj.
2) Farḍ al-kifāī: It is the type of farḍ that is ordered not individually but collectively upon legally responsible and competent believers in Muslim society. When some Muslims fulfill this type of obligation, others are relieved of this responsibility. Obligations such as participating in war, memorizing the Qur’an, providing testimonies as witnesses, commanding right and trying to forbid the wrong, learning the professions that Muslim society needs, and performing funeral prayers are of this nature. When some people or a group from the Muslim society fulfill these actions the responsibility for carrying out such actions on all others is eliminated. Yet, the reward of farḍ al-kifāī extends only to those who perform it. While, if no one in the society fulfills this type of farḍ the whole of society is considered responsible for the sin.
In some cases, a farḍ al-kifāī may turn into a farḍ al-ʿayn. For example; if there is only one doctor in a neighborhood, the duty to treat the patient becomes an individual obligation upon that doctor. In the same vein, if only one person has witnessed an incident, s/he is obliged to serve as a witness.
According to the majority of Muslim jurists, farḍ and wājib are synonymous. Both are subject to the same provisions. Yet, according to the Ḥanafis, farḍ, and wājib have different meanings. Wājib is an act that Allah and His Messenger require from the legally competent believers to do in a binding way, but the proof for this act is based upon a piece of conjectural evidence. For instance, zakāt al-fiṭr, sacrifice, witr, Eid prayers, reciting chapter al-Fatiḥa in prayers, and so on are wājib acts according to the Ḥanafis. This is because they are based on khabar al-wāḥid, that is, upon a hadith transmitted by only one narrator and therefore considered conjectural evidence.
The ruling of wajib according to the Ḥanafis: It is categorically necessary to carry it out, and the one who abandons the wājib action merits a lesser punishment than the one who abandons the farḍ. Yet, the ruling is that a person who denies a wājib act is not considered to have left the faith of Islam. However, such a person is considered to have gone astray. It is makrūḥ, close to ḥarām, to deliberately abandon one of the wājib acts of the prayer. In case of accidental neglect or delay, the prostration of forgetfulness is required whereas if a farḍ act is abandoned like abandoning the rukūʿ in ritual prayer, the prayer becomes invalid.
The proof of wājib can also be a piece of authentic definite evidence, but its implications might be conjectural. This evidence may be in the form of a Qur’anic verse or a hadith. For example, it is commanded in the Qur’an: “Therefore to your Lord turn in Prayer and Sacrifice.” In this verse, the addressee of the order to perform the Eid prayer and sacrifice an animal is the Prophet (saw). In other words, they are farḍ (obligatory) upon the Messenger of Allah (saw). However, it is not certain whether these orders encompass the other Muslims. Yet, the stronger view is that they also include other Muslims. Thus, because the indication in the Qur’anic verse is not certain, a new type of command that is stronger than a sunnah, but does not reach the level of farḍ, emerges, which is called wājib.
For example, not reciting any part from the Qur’an at all during the prayer invalidates the prayer since the following command “read you, therefore, of the Qur’an as much as may be easy for you” denotes an obligation. However, not reciting chapter al-Fatiḥa in a ritual prayer is not a reason in itself for the invalidity of the prayer. When this surah is not recited within a prayer, the prayer is still valid, though disliked because the provision of reciting the chapter al-Fatiḥa in prayer has been established with conjectural evidence. This evidence comes from the Prophet from the following hadith, “There is no prayer for those who do not recite chapter al-Fatiḥa.” This hadith has the quality of khabar al-wāḥid and thus it is conjectural since it can also be construed to mean “a prayer performed without reciting the Fatiḥa will not be a complete and perfect prayer.” As a matter of fact, in a hadith narrated by Aisha, Abu Huraira, and Amr Ibn Shuayb from his father and from his grandfather, it is stated that “every prayer in which the Fatiḥa is not recited is deficient and incomplete.” This narration explains the hadith “There is no prayer without Fatiḥa.”
Sunnah literally means good character, good manners, the way, the law of Allah, condition, and conduct, and the common way. It is possible to observe the meaning of Sunnah as venturing out on a good or bad path through the following hadith: “He who introduced some good practice in Islam, which was followed after him (by people) he would be assured of reward like the ones who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect. And he who introduced some evil practice in Islam, which subsequently was followed (by others), he would be required to bear the burden like the ones who followed this (evil practice) without theirs being diminished in any respect.”
Sunnah, as a term of the methodology of Islamic jurisprudence, refers to the words, actions, and approvals transmitted from the Prophet.
Sunnah is divided into three types as sunnah mu’akkadah, ghayr mu’akkadah and zawāid:
1) Sunnah Mu’akkadah: They are the Prophet’s deeds which he did constantly but occasionally abandoned and which are neither farḍ nor wājib. Whoever fulfills this type of sunnah gains spiritual rewards (thawāb). One who abandons them, on the other hand, does not merit any punishment but warrants reprimand and rebuke.
The sunnah cycles (rakāt) of the dawn, noon, and evening ritual prayers and rinsing the mouth with water while performing the minor ablution (wuḍū) is sunnah mu’akkadah. This type of sunnah is also called “sunnah al-hudā.”
2) Sunnah Ghayr Mu’akkadah: These are the sunnahs that the Prophet often practiced and sometimes abandoned. Like the first sunnah units of the afternoon and the night prayers. Sunnah ghayr mu’akkadah is also called mustaḥab or mandūb.
The one who performs the sunnah acts in this group gains spiritual rewards, and the one who leaves them does not merit any reprimand or rebuke.
3) Sunnah Zawāid: These are the everyday human acts that the Prophet (saw) carried out that are not linked to the status of conveying a message from Allah or explaining Allah’s religion. The way the Messenger of Allah kept his style of eating, drinking, and attire, his personal choice of wearing white-colored clothes, and dyeing his hair and beard with henna are of this nature.
The ruling of sunnah zawāid: If a believer eats, drinks, and dresses like the Prophet (saw), out of love, respect, and devotion to the Messenger of Allah, he will be rewarded for such actions. A person who leaves such acts is not considered to have performed a bad deed.
Except for the Ḥanafis, the majority of Muslim jurists do not use the classification of the sunnahs mentioned above. They instead utilize the term “mandūb” to include all these three types of Sunnahs as well as the provisions that are not strictly ordered and do not possess the characteristics of farḍ or wājib.
It means an act that is liked, preferred, and considered beautiful. Things that the Prophet sometimes did and sometimes left, and that the predecessors loved and valued, are called mustaḥab acts. Some supererogatory prayers and fasts are of this nature. During the performance of the acts of worship, some acts are not farḍ, wājib and sunnah, and fall into the category of mustaḥab.
According to the Ḥanafis, performing the dawn prayer until it gets light, delaying the noon prayer in the hot season until the weather cools, rushing the evening prayer, and buttoning the top garments while praying may be offered as examples of mustaḥab acts.
The ruling of the mustaḥab: There is a reward to those who practice them, and there is no censure in its relinquishment. However, Ibn Abidīn (d. 1252/1836) states that the terms mandūb, mustaḥab, nāfilah, and ṭaṭawwū are synonymous, that abandoning them would mean “abandoning the act which is more suitable”, and in some cases, the person who abandons them can be considered to have done a disliked deed.
The deed that Allah or His Messenger leaves a Muslim free to do or not to do is called “mubāḥ.” The words “ḥalāl”, “permissible” and “muṭlaq” are used synonymously with mubāḥ.
The original ruling in things is permissibility. Things about which there is no ruling are accepted as ḥalāl. The following is stated in the Qur’an: “He who created all that is on earth for you.”, and “Do you not see that Allah has placed all that is in the heavens and the earth under your command and that He has given you abundantly His open and secret blessings?” It is clearly understood from these verses that what is found on earth and in the sky was created for the benefit of people. Things that are not forbidden to be eaten, drunk, or used by the Qurianıc verses or hadiths are consıdered ḥalāl and permissible. These are things that are beneficial to human beings. While ḥarām are those things that are considered harmful.
The fact that something is permissible and ḥalāl are determined in one of the following ways:
1) Existence of nass (Qur’anic verse-hadith) stating that it is ḥalāl. Like eating and drinking pure things. The following is stated in the verse: “This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them.”
The permissibility of something is about determining its time and type. For example, it is permissible to choose the time and type of meal. A person can marry a woman who is ḥalāl to him whenever he wishes. One can have ample entertainment; however, it is not permissible to spend all one’s time having only fun.
2) Existence of a declaration that it is not a sin. The existence of a nass declaring that there is no sin, problem or inconvenience shows that the act is ḥalāl. The following is stated in the verses of the Qur’an: “He has only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name has been invoked besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by necessity, without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, then is he guiltless.”, “There is no sin on you if you implicitly express your desire to marry such women (who are waiting for iddah) or if you keep this desire secret in your heart.”, and “There is no blame on the blind, no blame on the lame, no blame on the sick (they are not sinful because they cannot do it), and there is no problem for you to eat from …your own houses.”
3) The mode of imperative states permissibility, not an obligation. The following verse can be given as an example: “Eat and drink from the sustenance (provided) by Allah.”
4) Absence of any provision regarding an act. According to the proof of iṣtiṣḥāb, “the original ruling in things is permissibility.”
The ruling of mubāḥ: There is no merit or sin in doing or not doing it. The Muslim is left free to decide whether to carry out the mubāḥ action or not.
The deed that is strictly prohibited in Islam is called “ḥarām”. The ḥarām must be determined by a verse, mutawātir, or mashhūr hadith, and must be in the nature of an act that is not required to be carried out in a definite and binding way. According to the majority of Muslim jurists, excluding the Ḥanafis, ḥarām can also be determined by khabar wāhid, which is considered conjectural evidence. Ḥanafis call the deed that is strictly and bindingly prohibited with khabar wāhid as “taḥriman makrūḥ,” and the one prohibited not in a definitive and binding way as “tanzihan makrūḥ.”
The prohibition of something by Allah and His Messenger can be found in the following ways:
1) With a word that expresses prohibition. The following is stated in the Qur’an: “Prohibited to you (For marriage) are: Your mothers, daughters, sisters…”, and “Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah; that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall…” In these and other similar Qur’anic verses, the prohibition of something is explicitly expressed with the word “ḥarām”.
2) By declaring that it is not ḥalāl. “From now on, other women are not ḥalāl for you.” The Prophet (saw) said: “It is not permissible to take the property of a Muslim without his consent.”
3) With words referring to prohibition. Such a prohibition is found in the Qur’anic verse, “Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).”
4) With a word of disapproval. “O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan’s handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.” The word “eschew” in this verse forbids approaching the things that are listed and informs the reader of their ḥarām state in a stronger mode.
Types of ḥarām:
The essence of rendering something ḥarām is that it is harmful. The harm in a ḥarām is either caused by the prohibited act itself or is based on an indirect cause. Accordingly, ḥarām is divided into two as being directly or indirectly ḥarām:
- a) Ḥarām in itself (ḥarām li dhatihī): It is an act that Allah and His Messenger have made ḥarām from the start and in its essence, without a temporal reason. Such as adultery, theft, selling dead animal meat, and marrying those who are prohibited due to absolute marriage impediments. The harm in them is based on the evil of their own nature. Direct ḥarām in general are the actions that are prohibited in order to protect the five elements consisting of life, religion, intellect, lineage, and property.
The ruling of the ḥarām in itself: The act is essentially unlawful. If a legally competent and responsible believer commits such an act, no legal rights arise and there is only criminal sanction. For example, the act of adultery does not constitute a reason for lineage and the establishment of inheritance. Yet, for such an act if it is committed, according to the procedure, a penalty is applied. Also, the act of theft does not give the thief the right to own the stolen property. It is not deemed permissible for a person to steal unless there is a necessity (compulsion) to commit such a ḥarām act.
- b) Indirect ḥarām (ḥarām li ghayrihī): It is an activity related to a temporary situation that necessitates rendering it ḥarām, although it is essentially a legitimate one. For example, it is ḥarām to look at the private parts of a woman because it is likely to lead to adultery. Adultery is ḥarām in itself. Again, the prohibition for men, who are legally responsible for performing the Friday prayer, to go trading during the time of the Friday prayer is an example of an indirect ḥarām. The prohibition here is a prohibition for a limited time due to an external reason, in this case, it prevents people from performing the Friday ritual prayer in a congregation.
Ruling on indirect ḥarām: This type of ḥarām becomes permissible at times of necessity. For example, it is ḥarām to look at a woman’s private parts, but if treatment is needed and there is no possibility to find a female doctor, it becomes permissible for a male doctor to examine the woman.
The terms ma‘ṣiyyah and sin are also used as synonyms of ḥarām. He who denies what is ḥarām inevitably leaves the religion of Islam.
A deed that Allah and His Messenger wish not to be carried out in an indefinite and non-binding manner and style is called makrūḥ. There are some common points between ḥarām and makrūḥ. Both refer to acts that are prohibited or unwelcomed or simply disagreeable. However, the concepts of ḥarām and makrūḥ are expressed with some differences amongst the Ḥanafis compared to other madhhabs.
That is to say while ḥarām refers to the deed that is strictly and bindingly prohibited by a Qur’anic verse, and a mutawātir or mashhūr sunnah, makrūḥ expresses the prohibited actions that are determined by similar evidence, but in a style that does not express a prohibition in a definitive and binding way, or it does so with conjectural evidence such as khabar wāḥid.
According to the Ḥanafis, makrūḥ is divided into two types as taḥriman and tanzihan:
- Makrūḥ Taḥriman (close to ḥarām)
Although it is a deed that Allah and His Messenger strictly and bindingly bid not to be carried out, if this demand is proven by conjectural evidence such as khabar wāḥid, it is called “makrūḥ taḥriman (makrūḥ close to ḥarām)”. We can give the following hadith as an example: “A person should not enter into a transaction when his brother is already making a transaction and he should not make a proposal of marriage when his brother has already made a proposal except when he gives permission.” In this hadith, “entering into a transaction that another has already entered” and “making a marriage proposal to a woman to whom somebody else has already proposed” is strictly prohibited. While the ruling for such actions could have been deemed as ḥarām, this hadith is khabar wāḥid, and therefore the ruling instead is “makrūḥ taḥriman.”
Committing a makrūḥ taḥriman act involves punishment, but the one who repudiates such a ruling is not considered as having left the religion.
- Makrūḥ Tanzihan (near to ḥalāl)
If the prohibition of Allah and His Messenger is not decisive and binding, the ruling of such an act is called “makrūḥ tanzihan.” An example of such a ruling is of a person who goes to the mosque for prayer having consumed onions or garlic. The Prophet (saw) said: “Whoever eats onions and garlic should not come to our mosque, but stay at home.” In this hadith, attention is drawn to a measure so as not to distress the community. It is possible to consider foul odors such as excessive sweat or worn socks, the smell of which makes the wider community uncomfortable and uneasy, within the scope of this hadith.
Committing a makrūḥ tanzihan act does not require any punishment or condemnation. However, committing such deeds is considered contrary to the manner that is superior and virtuous. Therefore, a person who avoids both kinds of makrūḥ is praised. The madhhab imams other than the imams of the Ḥanafis include the acts that the Ḥanafis consider makrūḥ taḥriman within the scope of ḥarām. They use the term “makrūḥ” only for actions clearly defined as not being prohibited in the sense of ḥarām.
According to the Ḥanafis, makrūḥ taḥriman is the counterpart of wājib while makrūḥ tanzihan is the counterpart of mandūb.
An act or defect that invalidates or flaws an act of worship in practice is called a “mufsid”. It is the active participle from the root of fasād. The terms ṣiḥḥa, fasād, and buṭlān are terms related to each other. The division of the terms as ṣaḥiḥ, fāsid, and bāṭil is a characterization made according to whether or not the actions of a person have the essential pillars (rukn pl. arkān) and conditions (sharṭ pl. ashrāṭ) required by the shari’ah. Legitimate acts that are subject to certain provisions are either in the form of acts of worship or daily conduct. Shāri‘ (the Law-maker) determined some essential pillars (arkān) and conditions (ashrāṭ) for these acts and conducts.
The acts of worship or daily conduct performed in accordance with the essential pillars and conditions determined by the Shari’ah, are called “ṣaḥiḥ”. The terms “mu’tabar”, “jāiz”, or “valid” are used interchangeably.
In regards to the acts of worship, fāsid and bāṭil are used for the same meaning. Acts of worship that have a missing essential pillar or condition become fāsid or bāṭil. For this reason, expressions such as “ghayr ṣaḥiḥ”, “not valid”, and “invalid” can also be used in place of them. For example, since an essential pillar would be missing in a prayer performed without the prostration and a condition would be missing in a prayer that is performed without ablution, both prayers are considered fāsid, that is, the prayer must be performed again. In this regard, there is a consensus among all the schools of Islamic law.
According to the majority of Muslim jurists, fāsid and bāṭil are also synonymous with daily conduct just as the acts of worship. For instance, the result does not change whether the flaw is in the essential pillars or the conditions of a contract. For example, a sale on credit to be made without determining the price or the date of payment or a contract concluded by a mentally ill person will not bear any legal effects. Such contracts can be labeled “fāsid” as well as “bāṭil.”
According to the Ḥanafis, fāsid and bāṭil are used in a different sense in matters of daily transaction. While a deficiency in the contract’s main pillars (arkān) such as offer (ijāb), acceptance (qabūl), and the object of the contract renders the contract bāṭil, a contract becomes fāsid only if the deficiency is in one of the conditions, but not in its essential pillars. Since its elements and essential pillars exist, some legal consequences are attached to such a contract. For example, a contract of sale in which the price is unknown to the parties, a contract of sale with an invalid condition, and a marriage contract concluded without witnesses are considered fāsid legal transactions. The Ḥanafis do not call such contracts “bāṭil”, but attach them to some legal effects. For example, if the buyer has received the good, which is the subject to sale with the explicit or implicit consent of the seller in a fāsid contract of sale, the right of ownership on this good in favor of the customer becomes established, but the customer’s use of the goods will not be permissible unless the defect in the contract is corrected and the contract turned into a valid one. In a fāsid marriage contract if the marriage is actually consummated, the woman becomes entitled to mahr (dowry), she is obligated to wait for the ‘iddah when and if she divorces, and the lineage of the child to be born is established. However, unless the marriage contract is transformed into a valid one, it is not lawful for the parties to continue to live as husband and wife with this marriage, alimony is not required, and there is no inheritance between the parties.
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Source: Basic Islamic Principles (ʿilmi ḥāl) According to the Four Sunni Schools With Evidence From The Sources of Islamic Law, Prof. Hamdi Döndüren, Erkam Publications