Chapter 45: Dreams, Yawning, Sneezing, Playing Backgammon and other games, Racing Horses, shooting and the like

45.1. Dreams

45.1a. The good dream

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "A good dream of a righteous man is a forty-sixth portion of prophethood.

[ It is the same for a righteous woman. This means someone who obeys Allah's commands and avoids his prohibitions. It is considered to be part of prophethood because it gives information about what is unseen in a certain way. As for the details connected to that, that is particular to the one who is a Prophet.]

45.1b. The bad dream

If someone has a dream he dislikes, when he wakes up, he should spit three times to his left and say, "O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have seen in my dream lest it harm me in my deen or worldly affairs."

[ One version has, "He should seek refuge with Allah from the Accursed Shaytan three times and then turn onto his other side." The wisdom of changing sides is to move to what is more favourable as it is hoped that Allah will change the disliked to the good.]

45.2. Yawning

If someone yawns, he should put his hand over his mouth.

[ The right hand, either side, or the back of the left hand. When the yawn is over, he spits without spit, even if he is in the prayer.]

45.3. Sneezing

If someone sneezes, he should say, "Praise be to Allah," (al-hamdu lillah) and the one who hears him praise Allah should say, "May Allah have mercy on you" (Yarhamuka'llah). The sneezer then replies, "May Allah forgive us and you" (Yaghfiru'llahu lana wa lakum) or "May Allah guide you and make you thrive" (Yahdikumu'llah wa yuslih).

[ When he sneezes, he can also say, "Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds." ]

Ibn Naji transmitted from al-Bayan that the best known position is that the reply is an individual obligation which is indicated by the hadith of al-Bukhari, "It is a duty for every Muslim when he hears it to say, "May Allah have mercy on you." In the reply of the sneezer, the second reply is better because guidance is better than forgiveness and forgiveness is only on account of a wrong action.

45.4. Games and Betting

45.4a. Backgammon and chess

Playing backgammon and chess is not permitted. There is nothing wrong in greeting someone who is playing them. It is disliked to sit with someone playing them and to watch them.

[ Whether for winnings or not since it is confirmed that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The one who plays backgammon has disobeyed Allah and His Messenger." Ibn 'Amr said, "Backgammon are pieces of ivory or coloured wood which are played with in which there is no skill, but based on chance. It resembles playing with dice."

It is not disliked to greet him while he is not playing. As for while he is playing, it is not permitted because they are involved in disobedience. Malik says that his status as a witness is only revoked if that is habitual. The habitual may violate oaths. If it is rare, then he should abandon it and his status is not cancelled.]

45.4b. Contests

There is nothing wrong in racing horses and camels and in holding archery competitions.

[ For a prize or without a prize. Competition outside these three is not permitted unless it is not for a prize.]

45.4c. Rules of prizes

If two contestants stake a prize, they should put another contestant between them. If the third party wins, he takes the stake. If one of the other two wins, the third party gets nothing of it. This is the opinion of Ibn al-Musayyab.

45.4d. Another view on prizes

Malik said that it is allowed for a man to set a stake. If someone beats him, then that winner takes the prize. If the one who set the stake wins, it goes to the one who came after him. If there is only the one who put the stake and one another and the one who put the stake wins, then the stake goes to the spectators.

45.5. Killing snakes and other creatures

45.5a. Snakes

It is reported that when the snakes of Madina appear they are asked to leave for three days. Doing that in other places is good, but this is not done in the desert and they are killed when they appear.

[ This is reported from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The evidence for asking permission is in the Muwatta' that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There are jinn in Madina who have become Muslim. When you see one of them, call out to it for three days. If it appears after that, then kill it, for it is a shaytan."

The form of asking them to leave to say, "If you believe in Allah and the Last Day and you are Muslim, do not appear to us today. If you appear to us, we will kill you." There is no announcement made in the deserts or roads.]

45.5b. Lice and fleas

Killing lice and fleas by fire is disliked.

[ This includes other such creatures like bedbugs and gnats. If, however, they are causing harm by their numbers, then it is permitted.]

45.5c. Ants

There is nothing wrong, Allah willing, in killing ants when they cause harm and cannot be removed, but it is better not to kill them.

[ If it is possible to remove them, that is better.]

45.5d. Geckos

Geckos are killed.

[Hash: They are killed wherever they are found because the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, commanded killing them.

45.5e. Frogs

It is disliked to kill frogs.

[ As long as they are not harmful.

[Hash: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade killing them." It is said that their croaking is glorification

45.6. Not boasting about ancestors

45.6a. The Boasting of the Jahiliyya

The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said, "Allah has removed from you the stupidity of the Jahiliyya and their boasting of their ancestors. Whether you are godfearing believers or wretched deviant, you are the sons of Adam, and Adam came from dust."

[ Stupidity is arrogance and tyranny. If you obey the commands of Allah and avoid His prohibitions, you are elevated with Allah by taqwa, even if you have no noble lineage. If you are a deviant unbeliever without taqwa, you are base, even if you have noble lineage. Rivalry in ancestors does not bring about anything at all. How can you be arrogant and proud when you are all from dust?]

45.6b. Genealogy

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said about a man who learned the genealogies of people, "A useless knowledge and ignorance of it will not harm one."

[ It is of no use either in this world or the next.]

45.6c. Useful genealogy

'Umar said, "Learn about your lineages enough to be able to maintain ties of kinship."

[ So that you know who your relatives are.]

45.6d. Malik's dislike of tracing ancestors

Malik said, "I dislike of tracing genealogies back to ancestors before Islam."

45.7. Dreams

45.7a. The general ruling

A good dream is a forty-sixth part of prophethood. If someone has a bad dream he should spit to his left and seek the protection of Allah from the evil which he has seen.

[ This is repeated because of the context.]

45.7b. Dream interpretation

Someone who has no knowledge of the science of dreams should not interpret them, nor should he interpret it as indicative of something good when he knows that it indicates something disliked.

[ This is forbidden. To give an interpretation without knowledge is lying and contrary to the words of Allah, "Do not pursue what you have no knowledge of." (17:36) Changing the interpretation is forbidden because it is lying and deceit. If there is good, he mentions it. If it is something bad, he says, "Good, Allah willing."]

45.8. Poetry

There is nothing wrong in reciting poetry, but a small amount is better. One should not spend too much time with reciting or or composing it.

[ This is when it does not criticise someone. One should not spend too much time on it because it is vanity and it is better to be occupied with something better.]

45.9. Religious knowledge

45.9a. The best knowledge

The best and most fitting type of knowledge and the closest to Allah is knowledge of His deen and His laws regarding what He commanded, forbade, summoned to and encouraged in His Book and on the tongue of His Prophet. One must have understanding and a grasp of that and be concerned with observing that and acting according to it.

[ The knowledge which contains the religious dogma, like recognition of the Maker and knowledge of His existence and all His attributes, and knowledge of the laws which is the halal and haram, and other laws which are obligatory and recommended and what is forbidden and disliked. One should know what Allah and His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, encouraged. One should have understanding of the deen of Allah and know its laws. Acting by it is the best of actions and the one which will bring one closer to Allah because the fruit of knowledge is action.]

45.9b. The best action

Knowledge is the best of actions. The closest scholar to Allah and most entitled to Him is the one with the greatest fear of Him and desire for what is with Him. Knowledge directs to good things and guides to them.

[ This is knowledge of the deen and the laws since the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, has said, "The best worship is fiqh and the best of the deen is scrupulousness." The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Whoever travels a path in which he seeks knowledge, Allah will make his path to the Garden easy."]

45.9c. Refuge

Salvation lies in seeking protection in the Book of Allah Almighty and the Sunna of His Prophet and following the path of the believers and that of the best of generations of the best community produced for mankind.

[ The path of the believers means consensus. The best generation are the Companions, may Allah be pleased with all of them.]

45.9d. Deliverance

Reliance on that is protection. Salvation lies in following the righteous Salaf. They are the model with regard to the interpretations which they made and the results of their deductions. Even though they differed in the secondary ruling, no should leave their group.

Praise belongs to Allah who guided us to this and were it not that Allah has guided us, we would not have been guided.

[ The righteous Salaf are the first three generations of the scholars of action and the later ones described with their qualities. Interpretation is moving the expression from its literal meaning, as the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The neighbour of the mosque has no prayer except in the mosque." That would appear that he has no sound prayer. What is indicted by the basic expression negates the reality, which is that it is absolutely invalid. One turns to what is near it, and it means it is not perfect. Because the consensus of the Companions is evidence, it is mandatory to follow it and it is forbidden to oppose it.]


Abu Muhammad 'Abdullah ibn Zayd says: "We have now done what we stipulated on ourselves to do in this book of ours. Allah willing, it will be of use to those children who desire to learn that and adults who are in need of it. What is contains will lead the ignorant to knowledge of what to believe in his deen and what obligations he must perform. It will give him much understanding of the basic principles and secondary rulings of fiqh as well as the sunnas, desirable practices and manners.

I ask Allah Almighty to let us and you benefit by what we know and to help us and you perform what we owe Him in what He obliged on us. There is no power nor strength except by Allah, the All-Knowing, Immense. May Allah bless our master Muhammad, His Prophet, and his family and Companions and grant them much peace.

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