The differences between zakat, sadaqah and lillah

Charity given for the sake of Allah is a pillar of Islam. Around our parts, when collecting for charity, we often see three buckets or categories. They are labelled zakat, sadaqah and lillah. The question many ask, ‘What is the difference between them?’

The answer differs depending on what one intends to do with the definition.

Lillahi literally means ‘for the sake of Allah’ while sadaqah is charity given for the sake of Allah.1 So, technically in the matter of giving property in charity lillah and sadaqah are synonymous. On the other hand, zakat is a type of sadaqah. Zakat is to give ownership of a specific portion of a specific property to specific individuals for the sake of Allah Almighty2. Hence, zakat is specific while lillah and sadaqah are general. The same is the case for zakat al-fitr (sadaqat al-fitr).

So the question arises why have different pots for lillah and sadaqah if they are technically the same?

Around our parts, the differentiation is made for administrative purposes to ensure eligible people receive restricted funds.

Sadaqah is a broad term and is applicable to many types of charity. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has called the removal of harmful items sadaqah3 and more so every good deed as sadaqah4. In terms of financial charity, sadaqah may be nafl, wajib or fard. Nafl sadaqah may be gifts or voluntary grant for the sake of Allah. Wajib sadaqah may be kaffarah, fidya or other mandatory grants besides zakat given to cleanse one’s wealth or expiate for actions. Fard sadaqah may be charity such as zakat.

Accordingly, there may be restrictions to those who may receive sadaqah depending on status. Fard sadaqah such as zakat may only be given to a very particular group which is stated in the Quran such as a presently poor Muslim. Wajib sadaqah such as removing dubious earnings which according to some may be given to causes which are for the common good of the people but not for building places of worship. Nafl sadaqah has no restriction5 unless it contravenes the Shariah or is against the sensibilities of Islam.

While acknowledging the classical meaning but in consideration of points above, some separate charity in three categories; lillah,  sadaqah and zakat. The first for voluntary charity, the second compulsory charity which is not zakat and the third zakat.

Note! Some consider the recipients for sadaqah which is wajib to be same as zakat. This is the more cautious view. Hence, according to them, there will be no need for three groupings.

However, in order to avoid confusion among the laity, the distinction is kept. This is so that they do not accidentally place sadaqah wajibah in the lillah pot due to them considering it non-zakat. This is despite the fact that it is better placed in the zakat pot as it recipients universally may receive any charity funds

In summary, classically lillah and sadaqah are synonymous whilst zakat is one of its types. Around our parts, lillah is deemed as unrestricted funds, sadaqah as partially restricted funds which can be used for public works (رفاه عام) according to some while zakat is fully restricted funds which must be only given to specified categories. Some do not make any distinction between sadaqah wajibah and zakat in terms of recipients. Allah knows best.


Muhammad Saifur Rahman
30 June 2017
Newham, London


1. قال الجرجانيّ: هي العطيّة يبتغى بها المثوبة من الله
2. See al-Lubab. For more detail read, ‘The book of Zakat’. Available online at
3. إماطة الأذي عن الطريق صدقة رواه البخاري
4. كلّ معروف صدقة رواه مسلم و أبو داود
5. Unless the restriction is placed by the giver.

Further reading

Nawhami, Muhammad Saifur Rahman. (2012). The economic classes in IslamIslamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ), Issue 1. Available at

Nawhami, Muhammad Saifur Rahman. (2015). The Book of ZakatIslamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ), Issue 104. Available at


Citekey: 170630501

The price of wheat in Newham, London – Ramadan, 1438 AH (2017 CE)

This report outlines the price of wheat in Newham (London) during Ramadan, 1438 (July, 2017) and the subsequent recommendation for the rate of sadaqat al-fitr and fidya.

The recommended price for sadaqat al-fitr and fidya in Newham is £2.90. It should not be lower than £2.25. This is based on the retail price for 2.32 kilogams of wheat.

This price is specific to Newham. The price is low due to a few big warehouses. The normal price for 2kg starts around £3.00 which is common around London – other localities in London have reported around £3.50. Localities may differ and so one should consult the local ulama in their area. Wifaqul Ulama has set the benchmark price nationally in the UK at £2.00 based on 1.667kg as the standard.

One may give sadaqat al-fitr anytime during Ramadan and if eligible must pay before Eid Salah. The ruling and recommendation are in accordance to the Hanafi fiqh. People following other approaches should consult their respective scholars.


The ahnaf allow for the payment of sadaqat al-fitr in cash.1 This value must be calculated from the retail price of wheat, barley, dates or raisins available in the giver’s locality without incurring added cost. Hence, bulk or stock market pricing will not suffice unless its value is higher than the local price.

In England, wheat is used as the chosen measure as it is often the cheapest. The ahnaf state that half a sa’ be given for wheat or its value in price.  In principle, the pricing may be done using the derivative of wheat such as flour or cereal so long as it is not cheaper than raw wheat. For a detail discussion, read ‘The standard for pricing sadaqat al-fitr‘ by the erudite shaykh, Mufti Umar Faruq Lawharwi (may Allah Almighty protect him and raise his rank).

Research by notable muftiyan have suggested differing weights which form the volume of half a sa’; 1.575, 1.590, 1.636, 1.64 and 2.32 kilograms. The majority of scholars opt between 1.5 and 1.7 kg. This is a barley based measure. Accordingly,  half a sa’ is a volume which can be filled with 1.7 kg of husked barley. Some, citing caution, have chosen 2.32 kg of wheat based on the finding of the Late Mufti A’zam Rashid Ahmad Ludhyanwi (may Allah have mercy upon him). Mufti Umar Faruq Lawharwi recommends 1.75 kilograms of wheat for sadaqat al-fitr . There is ofcourse no restriction to giving more.

Based on the current research, 1.75 kg is a reasonable and objective recommendation which is also relatively cautious.

The reason for opting to choose the higher than 1.6 kg is because barley is denser than wheat. In recent tests, we found the difference to be around 30 to 35 percent. For instance, a container which can hold 1.6kg of husk barley should be able to hold up to 2.1kg of wheat. Mufti Rashid Ahmad Ludhyanwi put the factor closer to 20 percent which is in keeping with Mufti Umar Faruq ‘s suggestion. Hence, when measuring wheat it may be better to use the weight given by Mufti Rashid Ahmad Ludhyanwi which is 2.32 kg. This is the reasonably cautious and in the matter of charity, the Shariah gives that which benefits the poor preference. However, if one chooses to pay with the lower measure it will be permissible.

Currently, the price of wheat flour cannot be used as a measure as it is significantly cheaper than whole wheat in London. One can purchase 1.5kg of wheat flour from Tesco for 55p compared to whole wheat, the retail price of which is stated in the table below.

At present, the price of bulgar wheat can be used as it is generally more expensive than whole wheat. The average price for 1kg is £2.45 compared to £1.58 for whole wheat. The big retailers such as Sainsbury, Tesco, and Morrisons sell 1kg bulgar wheat for £2.30. However, I found one shop, Cost Saver in East Ham, which sells which sells 1kg Bulgar wheat for £1.43, hence, this price will not be allowed.

It is not necessary for the poor to actually buy the wheat but it should be possible for them to buy the wheat if they so chose.

Retail price

I visited most of the groceries in Romford Road, Barking Road, High Street North, High Street South, Plashet Grove, Plashet Road, Katherine Road, Green Street, Upton Lane,  and Woodgrange Road. These major roads intersect the electoral wards in Newham which have a significant Muslim population.

ShopPriceQuantity£ per KG
Mina Store£2.252000g£1.13
Swathi Cash & Carry£1.691500g£1.13
Ali Cash and Carry£1.751500g£1.17
Sakthi Cash & Carry£1.791500g£1.19
Seelans Superstores£1.991500g£1.33
Himalaya Food Store£2.291500g£1.53
Mina Store£0.65500g£1.30
T S B Cash & Carry£0.69500g£1.38
Kapadokya Food Centre£1.391000g£1.39
Roman Express£1.391000g£1.39
Sakthi Cash & Carry£0.79500g£1.58
Madina Store£0.79500g£1.58
Madina Store£2.491500g£1.66
Seelan Superstore£0.99500g£1.98
Swathi Cash & carry£0.99500g£1.98
B B Fatima£0.99500g£1.98
Toor Store£2.291500g£1.99
Holland & Barretts£1.49500g£2.98

I have not found any place in the borough where they sell wheat loosely. Rather they are sold in packages of 500g, 900g, 1000g, 1500g and 2000g.

So irrespective if one chose the measure 1.575, 1.590, 1.636, 1.64 or 1.75 kg, to actually enable purchase, one will have to give either 1.5kg or 2kg as the exact amount is not available locally. In consideration of the poor, I chose to round upwards.

The cheapest I was actually able to purchase 2kg was £2.25.

The cheapest I was actually able to purchase 2.5kg was £2.90

Mina Store sells 2kg for £2.25 and 500g for £0.65.2 This is the cheapest I found. The stores in High Street North and Romford Road (Manor Park) have the best prices.

As a way of comparison. The average price for whole wheat is £1.58

Many choose to extrapolate the price based on the cheapest price of 1 kilogram. Mina store sells 500g for £0.65 so 1 kilogram will be £1.30 which is the cheapest one can actually buy. Then multiply it with 1.75 or 2.32, the cost of 1.75kg of wheat will be £2.28 and the cost of 2.32kg will be £3.02. This is problematic as we have seen that one can purchase 2.5kg for £2.90. To alleviate this problem, it is may be more prudent to extrapolate only when needed as is shown next.

Alternatively, one can take the price of 2kg of wheat which is available for £2.25 and extrapolate the remainder using a 500g bag. To reach 2.32 kilograms we are 320g short which in turn is 64% of a 500g bag. Consequently, 320g of wheat will be £0.42. So the sadaqat al-fitr for 2.32kg with this method will be £2.67.4 Similarly, to calculate using 1.75kg of wheat, one may multiply a 500g bag by 3.5 which is £2.28 as before.

It may be prudent to reconsider as to whether the price should be extrapolated as it is not practical to actually buy it for that price. Allah knows best.

Bulk and market price

The bulk or stock market price will not be used for calculating the price of sadaqat al-fitr or any other financial obligations required as an ibadat. However, for the sake of completeness, I will mention it here.

In the European stock markets, the price of wheat is stated per tonne (1000 kg).

The price for July (2017) is £142.95 per tonne. So, the price for wheat is assumed to be £0.15 per kilogram.

In the United States, the price is given per bushel. A bushel of wheat is 60 pounds (27.2155 kg). A bushel of wheat is expected to yield 42 pounds (19.0509 kg) of flour.5

In terms of buying in bulk, I could not find big bags of wheat in the locality. BuyWholeFoodsOnline Ltd sells a 25kg bag for £28.55 plus £4.99 for postage. Based on this, 1kg will be £0.88. So if one were to extrapolate  1.75 kg or 2.32 kg, it will be £1.53 and £2.03 respectively. When one add the postage it will be £6.52 and £7.02. However, this is a nonsensical calculation as in reality it not possible to get that price unless the poor is given more than £30.


Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
26 Ramadan 1438
21 June 2017



1. This may not be allowed in the other schools of fiqh. Please seek advice from the qualified scholars respectively if you don’t adhere to the Hanafi school.

2. I recently visited Mina Store and they had a discount on whole wheat. They were selling 2kg whole wheat for £1.65. Hence, added with 500g for £0.65, one can purchase 2.5kg for £2.20. If one paid that amount, sadaqat al-fitr or fidya will suffice. It may be wise to check that the discount is continuing before one adopts this price.


4 Calculated 65*0.64

5. An acre, optimally on average, can yield around 60 bushels (3600 pounds or 1632.933kg).  In the middle ages, an acre was the size of land which one man can plough with an ox in a day. In metric units, it is 4046.86 square meters. In layman’s term, it is 60% the size of a football pitch, 16 tennis courts or a car park with a capacity for 150 cars.


Further Reading

Lawharwi, Mft. Umar Faruq. (2015). The standard for pricing sadaqat al-fitr. (Nawhami, Muhammad Saifur Rahman, Trans.). Islamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ), Issue 4. Available at

Shabbir, Mufti Yusuf. (May, 2017). Sadaqah al-Fitr Calculation for Blackburn. Nawadir. Accessed (21 June 2017)

Nawhami, Muhammad Saifur Rahman. (2012). The economic classes in Islam. Islamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ), Issue 1. Available at


Cite: 170621501

Muslims in marginal seats – Election 2015

The United Kingdom is holding its general election on the 8 June 2017. Irrespective of one’s view regarding participating in elections or party politics, it cannot be denied that the Muslim voice matters. The 2011 census reports there to be 2,706,066 Muslims which is 4.8% of the population. Much of this population is concentrated in certain areas, hence, the likely impact on determining a seat in higher.This becomes particularly pertinent when one considers the current government has a thin majority of only six seats although the working majority is around 17. There are 650 seats. One seat belongs to the speaker. So to win a majority, a party requires 325 seats.

The list below is based on the General Election Results 2015. A marginal seat here is a constituency with a majority that is lower than ten percent. The list identifies constituencies where the Muslims outnumber the majority required to win an election in an area. Pay particular attention to the marginal seats where the influence is particularly significant.

Please scroll left if you cannot see all six columns. Click here to download the full data file.

Constituencies with more Muslims than the Electoral majority

ConstituencyPartyMajority %Majority #Muslim #Muslim +/-
Derby NorthCON0.094133143273
City of ChesterLAB0.1893888795
Croydon CentralCON0.3116568216656
Ealing Central and ActonLAB0.542741595915685
Ynys MônLAB0.6622925021
Vale of ClwydCON0.67237396159
Brentford and IsleworthLAB0.814651602515560
Bury NorthCON0.8437871356757
Morley and OutwoodCON0.87422822400
Plymouth, Sutton and DevonportCON1.0952315641041
Ilford NorthLAB1.25891567415085
Brighton, KemptownCON1.5269017031013
Bolton WestCON1.6580124561655
Wolverhampton South WestLAB1.9980157934992
Hampstead and KilburnLAB2.1111381389212754
Enfield NorthLAB2.3510861387912793
Lancaster and FleetwoodLAB3.0312651557292
Carshalton and WallingtonLIB3.17151034131903
Cardiff NorthCON4.1821372651514
Harrow WestLAB4.7422081390011692
Kingston and SurbitonCON4.78283464703636
Westminster NorthLAB519772643124454
Southampton, ItchenCON5.1823422777435
Walsall NorthLAB5.25193730431106
Stoke-on-Trent SouthLAB6.49253937341195
Birmingham, EdgbastonLAB6.55270667654059
Halesowen and Rowley RegisCON7.0330823861779
Coventry SouthLAB7.3318877834595
Sutton and CheamCON7.8639214313392
Bristol EastLAB8.61398051061126
Newport WestLAB8.73510358979
Southampton, TestLAB8.73381054751665
Bermondsey and Old SouthwarkLAB8.734489108086319
Bristol WestLAB8.835673120796406
Colne ValleyCON9.47536876292261
Harrow EastCON9.714757134718714
Northampton SouthCON9.75379350541261
Bolton North EastLAB10.144377111176740
Enfield, SouthgateCON10.384753107746021
Dudley NorthLAB1141554276121
Finchley and Golders GreenCON11.155662113795717
Dagenham and RainhamLAB11.5750155947932
Batley and SpenLAB1260512025714206
Portsmouth SouthCON12.5152415475234
Stoke-on-Trent NorthLAB12.5148365528692
Cardiff CentralLAB12.89498177092728
Reading EastCON12.91652079181398
Oldham East and SaddleworthLAB13.496002144718469
Luton SouthLAB13.5357112787422163
Walsall SouthLAB14.3660071854712540
Chipping BarnetCON14.4476568143487
Birmingham, ErdingtonLAB14.79512975992470
Leeds North EastLAB15.01725089321682
Nottingham SouthLAB15.966936110774141
Cardiff South and PenarthLAB15.97745387001247
Birmingham, YardleyLAB16.0365952199215397
Stoke-on-Trent CentralLAB16.6651795779600
Bradford EastLAB17.1170844205634972
Bradford SouthLAB17.156450125016051
Hornsey and Wood GreenLAB19.141105811486428
Glasgow CentralSNP19.497662117734111
Brent NorthLAB20.74108342243711603
Derby SouthLAB21.638828154616633
Luton NorthLAB22.3395042214212638
Feltham and HestonLAB23.211463196418178
Ealing NorthLAB25.4112326188026476
Cities of London and WestminsterCON26.739671140514380
Bolton South EastLAB26.8210928189127984
Bradford WestLAB27.85114205887247452
Holborn and St PancrasLAB31.0417048191522104
Poplar and LimehouseLAB33.16169244328726363
Nottingham EastLAB33.7811894131021208
Oldham West and RoytonLAB34.17147382522010482
Sheffield, Brightside and HillsboroughLAB34.4713807158392032
Hayes and HarlingtonLAB34.8515700183192619
Birmingham, Perry BarrLAB35.9414828242689440
Leyton and WansteadLAB36.6514919235828663
Ilford SouthLAB38.1197774575725980
Leicester EastLAB38.1818352217053353
Leicester SouthLAB38.84178653315215287
Brent CentralLAB41.7819649291989549
Birmingham, Hall GreenLAB42.12198185399034172
Blackley and BroughtonLAB45.4716874185381664
Bethnal Green and BowLAB45.95243174440920092
West HamLAB53.01279864244814462
Birmingham, Hodge HillLAB56.93233626341740055
Manchester, GortonLAB57.3124079320107931
Birmingham, LadywoodLAB60.89218684462622758
East HamLAB65.5342525600821756

Note! The population data is at best an estimate. Religious affiliation is only collected in the census every 10 years; 2011 is the most current. The data provides a projection; one must factor in eligibility, age and migration for a better fit. The numbers stated are intended to provide a starting point. Furthermore, some details have changed since 2015 due to by-elections.

It is beyond the remit of this report to suggest what should Muslims do other than the fact they have the power to effect change for the betterment of Muslims and society at large.

Bar Northern Ireland, there are 120 constituencies where Muslims numbers are higher than the electoral majority with which a candidate won. 85 of these constituencies are held by Labour, 33 by Conservatives and two by others.

55 of the 120 are marginal seats in that the majority vote was less than  10 percent. 24 of these are held by the Conservatives and 29 by Labour.  If all else remains the same, this is significant as a swing of so many seats can lead to a hung parliament. The other two marginal seats are held by the SNP and the Liberal Democrats respectively.

A swing against the governing party in a marginal seat is not surprising. But, it can happen in safe seats also, as was seen in the wake of major events in the past.

It should be noted that the list focuses on the impact of Muslims unilaterally. However, in practice, even in small numbers, when working in partnership with others, Muslims can still make a difference. In any event, while staying within the boundaries set by Islam, if one has the ability do some good for the Muslims and one’s fellow neighbours irrespective of colour or creed, they should do so.


Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
4 Ramadhan 1438
30 May 2017

Further Reading

British Election Study (2015). 2015 Constituency Results with Census and Candidate Data. Available at:

Clements, B (2015). The 2015 General Election: Religious Affiliation and Party Vote Share Across Constituencies. Available at:

Nawhami, M. S. R (2013). London – Muslim Population 2011. Nawhami Bulletin. Available at:


Citekey: 170530501

Transliterating Arabic

There at times comes a need to convert Arabic scripts to English (Latin) script or vice versa. Depending on the objective, the approach differs and as such there are many standards. Although computer conversion is an important consideration, we more often need the transliteration to be easily readable and convertible to Arabic with the human eye.  Hence, rather than transliteration, we opt for transcription. ISO 233-2 and ALA-LC standards best meet these needs.

Transliteration table

The transliteration table maps the conversion between Arabic and English. Read the ISO 233-2 and ALA-LC for direction on how to apply the transliteration.

Arabic ISO 233 Unicode Capital Unicode ALA-LC
أ a, ā 0101 Ā 0100
ب b b
ت t t
ث 1E6F 1E63 th
ج ǧ 01E7 Ǧ 01E6 j
ح 1E25 1E24
خ 1E2B 1E2A kh
د d d
ذ 1E0F 1E0E dh
ر r r
ز z z
س s s
ش š 0161 Š 0160 sh
ص 1E63 1E62
ض 1E0D 1E0C
ط 1E6D 1E6C
ظ 1E93 1E93
ع ʿ 02BF ʿ
غ ġ 0121 Ġ 0120 gh
ف f f
ق q q
ك k k
ل l l
م m m
ن n n
ه h h
و w, ū 016B Ū 016A w
ي y, ī 012B Ī 012A y
ء ʾ 02BE
ى ā 0101 Ā 0100 á (00E1)
Á (00C1)
ــَـ a a
ــِـ i i
ــُـ u u
ـَـيْـ ai ay
ـَـوْ au aw
ـِـيّـ  iy ī
ـُـوّ ūw  016B Ū 016A ū
ة a, ah, āh, at, āt 0101 Ā 0100

Instruction: To type a letter with a diactric, simply type the unicode in a wordprocessor and then press ALT+X

Choosing a standard: ALA-LC vs ISO 233

ISO 233-2 is used in the French-speaking countries which include the North African territories.  ISSN recommend it when cataloguing serials.

ALA-LC is used in the English-speaking countries. The Library of Congress and British Library use it to catalogue content.

ALA-LC naturally has fewer diacritics as English lacks the symbols as opposed to French which ISO 233-2 follows. So, ALA-LC is easier to write, read and convert for a person without the aid of additional tools while ISO 233-2 is more accurate and easier to process for conversion with a computer.

Hence, one may argue that ALA-LC is better for transliteration in books and reading texts while ISO 233-2 is better for cataloguing and databases.

In books and articles that are printed, most professional publishers use ALA-LC standard in English work. But its usage on the web is less consistent. The use of diacritics when searching is cumbersome. Hence, for example, many choose to write u rather than ū so that their content are easier to find albeit now technology exists to address this issue. Even further, especially when readers are unfamiliar with the standards, some choose a phonetic system such as ACA. For example, writing ‘oo’ instead of ū as it is more intuitive and ensures more can find the content.

Nevertheless, it is good practice to use a formal system such as ALA-LC when writing on the web as most modern web automatically remove the diacritics. Hence the result for searching Būkharī and Bukhari will give the same result. So, your writing will show with better quality results rather than informal writing.

Searching the web: ACA

Arabic Chat Alphabet (ACA)  or Arabish as it is also known is the most common transliteration method used on the web although rarely used in an informal setting. Due to its prevalence, most online providers support this standard including Google and Microsoft.  Use the following tips to get more accurate results.

Tip 1: Rather than typing the whole word, try only inputting the consonants such as ‘A L R H M N’ ‘الرحمن’

Tip 2: To type (ء) use 2; (ع) use 3; (غ) use 3’; (ط) use 6; (ظ) use 6’; (ح) use 7; (خ) use 7’; (ق) use 8; (ص) use 9; (ض) use 9’.

Tip 3: To type the vowels type capital A or aa for (ا); w or oo for (و); y or ee for (ي).


I will be remiss If I did not highlight a particular point concerning transliteration. Note that the Quran is not just the meaning (tafsir), sound (qira’at) but also the form (rasm al-khat). All of it is revealed and preserved. One is not allowed to produce the Quran entirely with only the translation and leave out the Arabic. Similarly, it is not allowed to produce the Quran with only the transliteration without the Arabic. The Arabic text form of the Quran is intrinsically part of the Quran and non-replaceable. While there may be technical restrictions in some cases to write an ayat or two within English texts but one should still strive to include the Arabic to the best of their ability in some way.


There is no right or wrong method for transliteration rather only the most efficient. The ALA-LC is best suited for human reading and ISO 233 is suited for machine reading. The optimal criteria is that which is easily convertible to the Arabic script and fast to read accurately. If reading is more important than conversion, a phonetic system may be more suitable such as ACA. This is also more suitable for web search, especially when browsing informal writing.



Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
2 Ramadhan 1438
28 May 2017

Citekey: 170528001

Library of Congress. ALA-LC Romanisation Tables for Arabic. Access online:

International Organisation of Standards. ISO-233-2. Access online:

OCLC. Worldcat. Access online: Demonstrates use case for the implementation of ALA-LC.

Notes on the Turkish language

The late Mufti Shamim Baggia (may Allah Almighty have mercy upon him) advised me to learn Turkish as he said that there is significant knowledge stored in the language. I presume he was advising about Ottoman Turkish which was in use before the collapse of the khilafat rather than Modern Turkish which is prevalent nowadays.

The Turkish language has gone through significant changes in the last century through the reform of Mustafa Kamal. He had the Arabic script changed to Latin and ordered that the loan words be reduced and changed to native Turkish.

General rule: All the letters have only one sound. All letters are pronounced; there are no silent letters except ğ which is almost silent.

Vowels: The vowels are the same as those in English – a, e, i, o, u. Except there are few additional vowels:
– ı (undotted)
– ö (accented)
– ü (accented)

Consonants: The consonants are the same as those in English except q, x and z which are omitted.
– c is pronounced ج or j in jam e.g. cami is pronounced jami or جامع
– ç is pronounced چ or ch in church e.g. çeşme is pronounced cheshme or چشمے
– g is pronounced گ or g in golf
– ğ is almost silent and prolongs the vowel before it.
– s is pronounced س or s in sit and never as a z.
– ş is pronounced ش or sh in shark e.g. çeşme is pronounced cheshme or چشمے‎

Grammar: a simple Turkish sentence follows the order of subject-object-verb.

Vocabulary: Around 15% of the Modern Turkish vocabulary are loanwords with Arabic, Persian, French, Italian, English and Greek being the most significant contributors. I would imagine that the pre-reform era had more Arabic and Persian words which would have made it easier to understand for an Arabic speaker. For example, the salah times are called sabah, öğle, ikindi, akşam, and yatsı which represent Fajr, Zuhar, Asar, Maghrib, and Isha respectively. Imsak means dawn whilst güneş is Ishraq.

The Turkish language extensively uses agglutination to form new words which is to string multiple words without changing the spelling. For example, göz is eye, lük is glass, çü is doer so gözlük will be spectacles and gözlükçü will be an optician.


Muhammad Saifur Rahman
10 Jumada I 1436
19 February 2016

Citekey: 160219501

How to prepare for a lesson (Mutala)

If you want to understand a subject well and gain depth, you must prepare before going to lesson – this is called mutala. The following is a suggested approach to preparing for a text covered in a lesson.

Firstly, determine the literal meaning (lughat) and form (sayghah) of the words. You may enquire, is the word an ismfi’l or harf? If the word is an ism, what is the gender (muzakkar or mu’annath), number (wahidtathniya or jama’) and type (ma’rifah or nakirah)?  If it is a fi’l, what is the sayghah as per the rules of sarf and perhaps even ascertain what is its masdarIf it is a harf, which group of harf does it belong. Ultimately, you would determine, what does this word literally mean and perhaps it has more than one literal meaning? The primary skill in this step is sarf and vocabulary (esp. masadir).

Secondly, determine the structure (tarkib) of the sentence and the relationship between the words vis status (marfu’mansub and majrur). You may need to identify if the word is mu’rab, mabni (ghayr mutamakkin) (mabni), ghayr munsarif or munsarif to glean how the word will react to a stimuli (‘amil). Ultimately, you should try to read the text and identify its function through the irab. The primary skill in this step is nahw.

Thirdly, translate the text in a meaningful way. You may ask what did the author intend here? If there are different possible meanings, what is the likely meaning here. To this end, you will need to look at the context of the sentence by checking what came prior to and after it as well as read further around the topic.

The objective is not to understand everything rather identify areas where you may need help. The part which you do not understand, mark it and when in class ask the teacher to clarify.

This is a tried and tested method. At first it may seem tedious and time consuming. In fact at first a few lines may take your entire time. But rest assured, it gets easier – after awhile you will get sharper and faster. Then reading will become a joy and you would advance at an accelerated pace so long as you are consistent in mutala daily even if the quantity is little.

If you were to read the dars nizami entirely in this manner, you would have built within yourself a capacity to de-construct any subject in the field.

Extended reading, beyond the dars nizami, is the subject of another note. Suffice it to say, you should read selectively and consult a pious expert alim regarding a book rather than reading any and every book that crosses your path – do not squander your time or cloud your judgement.


Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
1 Rabi II 1437 AH
11 January 2016 CE

Citekey: 160111501

Ml. Saharanpuri on Shami and Badai’

[Mawlana Ashiq Ilahi Mirati writes,]

When writing a fatwa, Hadrat [Ml. Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri] would often check Shami. If [Allm. Shami] would report a view [of an authority], he would consider it evidence but if it was the opinion of the author, he would not consider it evidence [in of itself]. Rather, he would critically analyse and research. He would say, ‘we are of one time –  they are men and we are men. His opinion is not evidence against us until his opinion is not supported by the view of the salaf’.

In his free time, he would often check Badai’. I have heard on many occasions Hadrat [Saharanpuri] make a lot of duas for its author [Allm. Kasani]. He would say, ‘For sure, this man is a faqih and Allah Almighty has created him for fiqh’.

Ml. Zafar Ahmad Sahib once asked, Hadrat [Saharanpuri] to suggest a solution which will create an affinity to fiqh. He responded,

It is the habit of muftis that they revise the book only when a request for a fatwa is made. This is insufficient and results in the answer containing many errors. The reason being, they write an answer in a hurry after checking it in one place despite the fact that in this matter there is more detail in another place which changes the ruling for the given query. Hence, to create an affinity with fiqh one should read Shami and Badai’ comprehensively. Our Hadrat Gangohi read Shami fully multiple times but [then again] at that time Badai’ was not available in print. Now I consider it necessary to review also along with Shami. The reality is that Badai’ is an amazing book. Once he said, although Shami has more derivative edicts but the principles and the why of fiqh is more in Badai’. If one creates a familiarity to [Badai’], they will get to grips with fiqh.


Mawlana Ashiq Ilahi Mirati
Tazkirat al-Rashid. 2003. pp. 351-352
Darul Kitab. Deoband, India.

Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami (Translator)
18 Rabi 1437
28 December 2015

Citekey: 151228501

The different temperaments of the pious

Hadrat Amir Shah Khan Sahib relates that one man invited Shah Wali Allah Sahib (Muhaddith) Dihlawi, Mawlana Fakhr al-Din Sahib and Mirza Mazhar Jani Jana for food. He sat all three of them down and left. The man returned after midday. He placed one paisa (shilling) in each of their hand and said,

Hadrat, I left for some work and absolutely forgot about the invite given to you. Now there is no time to arrange the food, hence, keep this money for food.

Mawlana Fakhr al-Din Sahib thanked him and said,

Brother, even this is a favour because if we were to work from morning to now, we would have got a paisa and here you have sat us in comfort and gave us a paisa.  Shah Wali Allah accepted it silently and said nothing. However, Mirza Muhammad Jani Jana was offended and said,

You wasted the time of this honourable people. Shah Wali Allah Sahib would have taught hadith till now and Mawlana Fakhr al-Din Sahib would have benefited his adherents. (He did not say anything regarding himself as in what he would have done). However, you have stopped them from doing Islamic services. Be warned, never do that again.

Thereafter, the three got up and left. After stating the story, Amir Shah Khan Sahib said, Hadrat Haji Imdad Allah related this story to me as well as Hadrat Mawlana Qasim Sahib Nanotwi and Hadrat Mawlana Gangohi also.

Hadrat Haji Sahib after discussing this story said, Mawlana Rafi al-Din’s case is one of humility – it resonates of chistiyat. Hadrat Mawlana Qasim Sahib said, Shah Wali Allah’s case is higher in that his nafs was unfazed. Hadrat Gangohi used to say that Mirza Mazhar Jani Jana’s case is very high. Justice dictated here what Mirza Sahib said.

This highlights the differences of characters and opinions of our elders.


Hakim al-Ummat Ml. Ashraf Ali ThanwiHikayat Awliyah (Arwah Thalatha). 2013. Deoband, India. Kutub Khanah Ni’immiyah. pp. 16-17

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Hadith Musalsal bil Awwaliyat

الحمد لله رب  العالمين. و الصلاة و السلام علي سيدنا و مولانا محمد خاتم النبيين، و علي اله و أصحابه أجمعين، و علي كل من تبعهم بإحسان إلي يوم الدين. أما بعد: قال النبي صلي الله عليه و سلم:  الراحمون يرحمهم الرحمن – تبارك و تعالي –ارحموا من في الأرض يرحمكم من في السماء. رواه أبو داود  و الترمذي و احمد عن عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص رضي الله عنهما

It is customary that the very first hadith that a teacher teaches be the hadith rahmah which is the following hadith:

الراحمون يرحمهم الرحمن، ارحموا من في الأرض يرحمكم من في السمآء

Trans: The prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Rahman has mercy upon those who show mercy. Have mercy upon those who are on the earth and He who is in the sky will have mercy upon you”.

The custom of starting with this hadith is called musalal bil awwaliyat. It has been done for many generations.

This was the very first hadith which I heard from the pre-eminent muhaddith of our time, Shaykh Yunus Jawnpuri (may Allah almighty raise his rank). The same was for him from his teacher and they from their teachers and so on and so forth. The chart below recounts one of the chains.

Sh. Yunus Jawnpuri الشيخ يونس الجونفوري
Sh. Zakariyyah Kandhalwi شيخ الحديث مولانا محمد زكريا كاندهلوي
Ml. Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri الشيخ مولانا خليل أحمد سهارنفوري
Ml. ‘Abd al-Qayyūm Badanwi مولانا عبد القيوم البدانوي
Sh. Ishaq Dehlawi الشاه اسحاق الدهلوي
Shah ‘Abd al-Aziz Dehlawi الشاه عبد العزيز الدهلوي
Shah Wali Allah Muhaddith Dehlawi الشاه ولي الله المحدث الدهلوي
Sayyid ‘Umar ibn Ahmad al-Saqqaf السيد عمر بن أحمد السقاف
Sh. ‘Abdullah b. Salim al-Basri الشيخ عبد الله بن سالم البصري
Sh. Yahya b. Muhammad al-Shawi الشيخ يحي بن محمد الشاوي
Sh. Sa’id b. Ibrahim al-Jazayiri الشيخ سعيد بن ابراهيم الجزائري
Sh. Sa’id b. Muhammad al-Maqqari الشيخ سعيد بن محمد المقري
Sh. Ahmad Haji al-Wahrani الشيخ أحمد حاجي الوهراني
Sh. Ibrahim al-Tazi الشيخ ابراهيم التازي
Sh. Muhammad b. Abi Bakr al-Maraghi الشيخ محمد بن أبي بكر المراغي
Hafidh Zayn al-Din al-Iraqi حافظ زين الدين العراقي
Sh. Muhammad b. Muhammad al-Bakri al-Maydumi الشيخ محمد بن محمد البكري الميدومي
Sh. ‘Abd al-Latif b. ‘Abd al-Mun’im al-Harrani الشيخ عبد اللطيف بن عبد المنعم الحراني
Hafidh Ibn al-Jawzi الحافظ ابن الجوزي
Sh. Isma’il b. Abi Salih al-Nayshaburi الشيخ إسماعيل بن أبي صالح النيشابوري
Sh. Abu Salih Ahmad b. ‘Abd al-Malik al-Mu’adhdhin الشيخ أبو صالح أحمد بن عبد المالك المؤذن
Sh. Muhammad b. Muhammad Mahmish al-Zabadi الشيخ محمد بن محمد المهمش الزبدي
Shaykh Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Bazzaz الشيخ أحمد بن محمد البزاز
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Bishr ibn al-Hakam الشيخ عبد الرحمن بن بشر بن حكم
Hadrat Sufyan b. ‘Uyaynah حضرت سفيان بن عيينة

This is where the custom terminates whereby the hadith rahmat was the very first hadith which was taught. After this point, the hadith was taught but it was not the very first hadith learned.

Hadrat Amr b. Dinar عمر بن دينار
Hadrat Abu Qabus (the Mawla of Abd Allah b. Amr) أبو قابوس مولي عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص
Hadrat Abdullah b. Amr b. al-‘As (may Allah Almighty be pleased with them) عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص رضي الله عنهما
The final prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم

The total of this chain is 29 generations. May Allah Almighty have mercy on them all. Shaykh Yunus relays this hadith with the same form from other teachers also.

Furthermore, the very first hadith I studied from Mawlana Fazlur Rahman Azami (may Allah Almighty raise his rank) was also this hadith.

I have heard this hadith from Shaykh al-Islam Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Shaykh al-Hadith Mufti Umar Faruq Lawharwi, Shaykh Hadith Ml. Yusuf Koti, Shaykh al-Hadith Ml. Dawud Paryeji, Shaykh al-Hadith Ml. Saleem Nawab Falahi. But it was not the very first hadith I heard from them.

The custom is followed to initiate a bond between the teacher and student. To iterate that the din is acquired and preserved through person to person – it is not merely confined to the text. Allah Almighty sent the Quran and along with it the Prophet (peace be upon him) to explain, expound and demonstrate the Quran. Without the texts, one will be lost and without the person, one will become wretched.

The full explanation of the hadith is the subject of another lesson. Suffice it to say, be kind to others and Allah Almighty will be kind to you. Indeed it is a great kindness that Allah Almighty gave us intellect and knowledge. It is what differentiated Hadrat Adam (peace be upon him) from the others.  Allah Almighty says,

الرَّحْمَـٰنُ – عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ – خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ – عَلَّمَهُ الْبَيَانَ

Trans: al-Rahman. He taught them the Quran. He created man. He taught them expression.



Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
6 Rabi I 1437
18 December 2015

Citekey: 151218501

The class rules of Mufti Muzaffar Husayn

[There are general etiquettes and then there are etiquettes particular to teachers. The following are some classroom rules stated by Mufti Muzaffar Husayn who was the hadith teacher and former principal of Mazahirul Uloom in India. Wait for the lesson to start inside the class; do not loiter outside. Attend class and consistently so. Do not leave the classroom unnecessarily. Focus! Do not doodle, text or distract others during lesson. Do not do anything which is unrelated to the current lesson during lesson time such as grooming or reading a novel. Come prepared; do not leave your books at home.]

[Mufti Muzaffar Husayn Mazahiri (may Allah almighty have mercy upon him) states1,]

It is a story through the year and I do not like fighting over and over either. In a lesson and especially so in a lesson of hadith, there are a few matters which must be given consideration […] The first is the general etiquettes of a lesson and the second is [specific] with each teacher who have particular approaches and some principles which want the students to fulfil.

First etiquette

The very first thing I want from you is that at the very least you are not standing here and there at lesson time. If you stand here and stand there, this is your first fight with me. When you stand here and there, I consider that in other words you have made a complaint about the teacher even if you have not made the complaint verbally […] Meaning complaint can be done with ‘قال’ (statement) as well as through ‘حال’ (conduct). This conduct of yours entails complaint. When the lesson time has started and the teacher has not arrived or came ten minutes late due to which you are standing here and there, you have announced that the teacher is not there yet. Is that not a complaint? When you complain about a teacher, it is apparent you cannot benefit from them. Even if there is not a clear fight, however, it is the ruling of Allah almighty that when bitterness forms inside and the heart becomes constricted then one cannot benefit. Even if there are lots of lectures and everything else but the circumstance will be as I have mentioned that it is difficult to benefit. You should save yourself from this habit. At the very least let me tell you about myself that do not stand around in my lesson time. I should not see you standing. Rather sit for ten minutes and wait. I will send a message that there will be no lesson. It is my habit that if I am unable to teach the lesson, I inform but six or seven minutes late and not before.

Second etiquette

Let me mention to you another thing. In a few days something else starts which not being present in class. There are some who do not even bother to come here and sit in lesson. They are relaxing at lesson time even though it is mandatory upon them to be present and remain in lesson. If you start adopting this approach that you come sometimes and don’t come sometimes, I will start feeling dim and withdrawn, my lectures will become shallow and I would assume what is the point of in-depth speeches.

Let me mention another point. There are those who attend class (Masha-Allah). But the extent of their care is that if there is registration they will be present and if there is no registration they will be absent. Remember! In two or three days I will see your face (I will know who is what). After that I will be able to tell if you are not coming to lesson. Do not assume that if there was no register it is not known as to who did not come. […] This is a form of cheating with the lesson and the teacher […] Many are under the assumption that we have put one over [the teacher]; the teacher did not ask and so did not know. This is an error. This error should be removed as it is nothing and everything is known.

However, let me say that after the first, second or third occurrence, I may say that you are not consistent. Subsequently, after the third time I will assume that come or do not come, if after telling you, still you did not come, I will not ask why you did not come. The reason being, you are not children. Masha-Allah, you have intellect, are mature, have understanding, are able to lead the people, manage an organisation and all other thing. Even then if you are careless about what benefits and harms you, who can inform you. After the third time, as you would have read, even the Quran states, ‘This is a separation between me and you’. So up to three time the apology will be heard but after the third time it is not necessary. This is my personal stance or else the rule of the madrasah is different. Whether they expel you or keep you that is the madrasah’s matter, however, the special relationship that we have will definitely be different. Even if you do not call it a literal separation consider it is a figurative one. A figurative separation is when there is no connection between the teacher and student. So this separation is born. The point being, be consistent in you attendance.

Third etiquette

Some of our friends (viz. students) have adopted another form. Listen regarding it also. They arrive and are present, however, studying is not their objective. Their main purpose is to register their attendance. As soon as they have been marked in, they need to go toilet, they need to urinate, they have an extreme need, they have an illness and so they leave the class. Some will try to adopt this corner or that corner and thereafter when they feel like it, they leave, and when they feel like it, they return. They think we have fooled them and the teacher does not have a clue who left […] To inform or not to inform is a separate issue, however, to assume that it was not known, is not correct. It is definitely known but it is not my habit to say over and over; it is not appropriate either.

Fourth etiquette

There are some of our friends whose mind-set is that let us go to lesson and these poor souls come to lesson also as well as remain in lesson. However, whilst remaining some start doodling, sometimes sending a note here and sometime sending a note there2, or thereafter they start to sign towards each other.

Fifth etiquette

Some fellows have gone to the limit, and this is my experience that someone is doing their moustache3 or reading a novel4. The lesson of hadith is going on and the novel is open. It is a sad case! Think, the novel is open and hadith is being taught. Similarly, a scissors is in front or a pen and with these their exercise is done upon the book. These are experiences which I am telling. I am not merely saying but it is my experience. Now you let me how can such students gain anything.

Sixth etiquette

Similarly, some do not even bring their books such as today where some have come without their books. Meaning they are so well researched that they do not consider it necessary to lift so many books, and even if they pick, it is one or two important books which they will bring from their residence.

Listen! Those who find it burdensome to even carry books, it is clear what burden they will take to carry knowledge. I ask that if it is difficult to bring books for four lessons at once from the room, what would they be able to preserve of the lectures of four lessons? I want to ask to those whose state in regards to the respect of knowledge that they cannot even bring books and sit without books. This is my long experience and you will also see, this is their regular habit that they come without books and they impose on those who have brought their books. Think! What are they studying who cannot even bring books?


All these thing are causes for the deprivation, loss and deficiency in knowledge. Hence, if you want to study and teach properly, it should be learned in the right manner with full consideration of the etiquette of knowledge. The teacher should consider their station and student should realise their obligation. Thereafter, Allah almighty will very easily grant knowledge.


Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami (Translator)
19 Shawwal 1436
5 August 2015


1. In Taqrir Tirmidhi (also known as Durus Muzaffari)
2. The modern day equivalent of that is reading or sending texts or emails.
3. In the case of girls makeup and clothing.
4. Alternatively, some may be browsing a website or doing work other than that which is being covered in class

Citekey: 150805501