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Technical Terminology

    There are eight classes of injunctions and prohibitions which apply to all deeds and actions of mankind. The various types of prayers which we will be discussing later also fall into one or another of these categories of rulings. Thus, we will first review their definitions here before continuing farther. The eight categories are: (1) Fard (2) Wjib (3) Sunnah (4) Mustahab (5) Mubh (6) Makrh Tanzh (7) Makrh Tahrm, and (8) Harm. [Taken from Kitaabus-Salaat]

    Fard ( ) is a Divine Command which is established by undeniable proof (daleel qati). One who neglects a fard without valid excuse is termed a fsiq (corrupt transgressor) and is liable for punishment in an Islamic government. One who rejects a fard is not a Muslim. There are two types of farid: fard ayn () and fard kifyah ( ). The first is a duty which is compulsory upon every individual Muslim. The second is a duty which is binding upon the community as a whole- if a few individuals perform it, the entire community will be absolved from its performance. If nobody in the community performs it, the entire community will be sinful.

    Wjib ( ) is a Divine Command established by a proof which is not as strong or direct as the previous (daleel zann). However, the proof is strong enough that, practically speaking, this act is also compulsory. One who neglects or rejects such an action is a fsiq but will not be a kfir (disbeliever).

    Sunnah ( ) refers to those deeds which were practiced by the Prophet ( ) or his companions. There are also two levels of these: muakkadah (emphasized- ) and ghayr muakkadah (less emphasized- ). The first refers to an action which was steadfastly upheld by the Prophet ( ) or his companions and was not left out without a valid reason. To constantly neglect such an action is sinful. The second category refers to those acts which were sometimes left off without any excuse. Although its neglect does not warrant punishment, to perform the sunnah ghayr muakkadah brings great reward. (Note, sometimes sunnah is used in a more general sense of being any action which was performed by the Prophet .)

    Mustahab (desirable- ) is also known as nafl (superogatory- ) or mandb (recommended- ). It refers to those actions which the Prophet ( ) and his companions (Allh be pleased with them all) occasionally performed. There is no sin in neglecting such an action. However, there is great reward in engaging in it. Furthermore, the nafl actions are the method in which one grows closer to Allh and also will be used to make up for any shortcomings in the performance of the obligatory acts. Note, performance of nafl has no benefit if the obligatory acts are not being fulfilled.

    Mubh (permissible- ) refers to those actions which merit neither reward nor punishment.

    Makrh Tanzh (reprehensible- ) is that action whose avoidance will bring reward but if it is done, it will not be a punishable offense. Note, however, that engaging constantly in makrh tanzihi will become sinful.

    Makrh Tahrm ( ) is a prohibition established by a proof as strong as daleel zanni, ie. one who engages in such an act or does not view it as being prohibited will be a transgressor.

    Harm ( ) is a prohibition which is established by an undeniable proof. One who engages in such acts will be a fsiq and one who does not regard such an act as being forbidden will not be a Muslim.

                We will now, insha-Allh, mention the various prayers which are fard, wjib, sunnah and mustahab.


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Last modified 08/12/05 09:25 AM - Iqra - ISSN #1062-2756