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Worship issues

Below are a selection of questions that have been answered by Dr Musharraf Hussain, if you have a question, then please use the contact form to get in touch.

Q: My asthma has been troubling me recently and I have had to use my inhaler. I have read that this invalidates the fast but I wanted to confirm it first. Also, will I have to pay fidya for the fast and is there any other compensation for breaking the fast?

A: No fidya is required in this instance, instead make up for the fast you broke, the inhaler does not invalidate the fast, so continue to fast and take the inhaler when necessary.

Q: Is Zakat payable on gold jewellery that is for personal use?

A: Zakat is payable on all jewellery. Jewellery that has been prepared to be worn and used as adornment is something concerning which the fuqaha’ differed as to whether it is obligatory to pay Zakat on it. The Hanafis are of the view that it is obligatory to pay Zakat on it.

Q: Regarding debt, is a mortgage to be considered amongst the deductable debts; whole amount or the immediate mortgage payment due and what about a student loan?

A: Mortgage or students loan do not count as debts for purposes of Zakat calculation because repayment of such debt is not required immediately and because such a deduction may even prevent someone who is relatively wealthy from paying Zakat.

Q: Do children have to fast? At what age should they start to fast?

A: Fasting is compulsory on Muslim adults only, children are exempt from fasting, but teenagers in secondary schools should begin to develop the habit of fasting, primary age children don’t need to fast, however, it is good for them to have a go, fasting is not harmful.

Q: Am I required to fast if I’m travelling?

A: First of all the Quran says if you are ill and travelling, you are exempt from fasting but whoever does choose to fast, that’s good for them, so it’s your choice. We also have to look at modern travelling. It’s sometimes more comfortable to be in your Mercedes and BMW than perhaps sitting in your office or at home, so again the shariah gives you a choice.

Q: If I’m cooking while I’m fasting am I allowed to taste the food?

A: Yes, particularly if you have a nasty husband or wife.

Q: Can I pray if I don’t understand the Arabic verses?

A: Yes, in fact, you have to pray, understanding is not a requirement for the prayer, although it’s highly recommended. If there was more of an effort made to understand Arabic it would certainly transform the quality of the prayer, as there would be more of a focus on the meaning. What we have now is the Quran with English translations but this also needs to be complemented with a greater understanding of the text.