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Saturday, September 03, 2016

What is fard /farz?

This is another commonly misunderstood principle by most people. Some may grasp part of it but neglect it as a whole. This is an addition to what was previously explained about the Sunnah. The root of the main actions of Islam the fard. Primarily, I want to explain this so that others can understand how fard affects their lives.

Fard or farz

Seen, as many cannot escape their background, you will spell the word as fard or farz. However, it does not matter it is the same. It can be translated as obligatory or mandatory. Linguistically it means assign or estimation (hans wehr). Fard is the Arabic pronunciation and farz is the Urdu pronunciation.

Types of obligation

Abu Laith Al-Samarqandi (may Allah show him mercy) wrote in his Initiation/Muqadimah about the two different types of obligation:

"The individual obligation is that which, if some perform it, it does not fall from the remainder, like fasting, prayer, alms, Hajj, ablution for prayer, washing from major impurity, periods, postpartum bleeding..."

"Collective obligation, if performed by some, falls from the remainder. For example, returning a greeting, replying to a sneeze, visiting the sick, attending funeral prayer and prayer on the Prophet (may Allah bestow upon him peace and blessings), commanding good and prohibiting evil...."

P.35 and 37

Here, the Imam explains that there is responsibility for the individual that can only be done by them alone. 

In addition, there are obligations that are to be done by the community and not others. 

These are all the main obligations that you need to concern yourself. The fard of your prayer cannot be done by anyone else other than you. There are situations in which the fard of prayer drops from you. Alternatively, if you are so ill that you cannot make ablution or are unconscious for longer than a day.

The Hanafi's and Shafis disagree about the Hajj, is it fard straight away or cannot it be delayed. The Hanafi's allow people to make the Hajj later even if they have the means to go now. The Shafis say that he must go now. 

There is fard amali and fard itqadi. Fard that one has to perform and fard one has to believe in. Disbelief only occurs when someone denies that the fard applies to him and he believes that. If he denies the fard action out of laziness then it does not mean disbelief. Be careful about this!


"Fard is two types: 1. Fard that which is a decisive (Qati) proof that it is necessary to follow and denial of it is disbelief. The conjectural (dhani) which whose proof is decisive but there is a little doubt in it." Hashiyyah Al-Tahtahwi on Nur Al -Idhah P57.

The fard is based on decisive proofs that are beyond denial. Actually denying things like the prayer is an individual obligation can cause disbelief. This is a serious matter because many Muslims who do not pray try to justify their lack of performance. Just be honest and say you are too lazy to pray. I have more respect for those who are honest rather than he who tries to justify their sins. Each day that someone does not pray is a day of increased sin. Please see missing obligations post for more details, click here.

Ibn Abideen in his Hashiya (1/70) said, "The sacred laws are four: fard, wajib, Sunnah and nafl."

How does it affect me?

Fard is an action that causes a person to be sinful, if he does not perform it. Therefore, a person must understand that he cannot willfully neglect the five prayers. The individual is going to be asked about them on the Day of Judgment.

The fard actions become obligatory when the child reaches maturity. This is between 12-15 for a male or from 9-15 for a female. When signs are maturity of an adult are seen. On the other hand, to put it crudely they have the ability to reproduce.

The parents have a responsibility to teach their children their obligations. This is discharges their responsibility to the children but then, when the children are mature, become responsible. Parents often want their children to be religious. Here is one foolproof way, if you are religious and your children will follow your footsteps, if you teach them with kindness. It is as simple as that. If you teach your child with harshness then do not expect them to be religious!

Once the child reaches maturity then they themselves are reasonable and cannot lay the blame on others except in one instance. If they did not know what was an obligation. There are children who grow up who are not taught and do not know what their obligations are. They have an excuse until they find out and then they are responsible. This applies more to those areas which knowledge of religious is low, like in the west. However, this does not apply in Muslim countries because there are plenty of people to ask about ones obligations.


This is when the performance of a obligatory action causes a danger to ones health or caused extreme hardship. Go through the conditions of performance of the action.

This is a problem which many people ignore. A person who has diabetes or an illness that makes fasting harmful has an an excuse not to fast. Because there is an actual harm to someones health. Maintaining your health is very important. So a person should not fast when there is a danger to ones health and if he fasts he can be sinful for fasting. When the fast is no longer an obligation so a person feeds sixty poor people one meal a day for sixty days. This suffices for his fast and a person should not think he is sinful because he is not.

Like Hajj, if someone is old and in a wheel chair or has a physical disability that does not permit them to go to Hajj without assistance. Then the obligation falls from the person and it is not an obligation anymore. Non performance of the hajj is not sinful in this situation. A lot of parents want to complete Hajj when they are elderly and this can be very difficult. Though it is no longer fard because it is only fard when they have the ability to do without the assistance of another person, the way is safe, they have funds for the trip etc. If people have children and there is no one to look after them, then the parents should not go to hajj. Taking children with one on hajj is a major burden.

If a person does not have the value of wealth to pay zakah, then he does not pay it because it is not an obligation for him. 

If a person cannot pray standing up then they pray sitting down. If their illness increases standing then standing would be a sin. So they should sit down. There is no sin in any of these situations. So do not be the super 'rambo' Muslim who makes his illness worse and endangers his life and he is sinful because he did not take the ease. The ease that was given to him by the founders of the four schools.

If one does not know the rulings of a particular matter then they have dispensation until they find out, in a non-Muslim country. But a person who was born in a Muslim country does not have this excuse. The difference being the access to knowledge is not the same. In any case the excuse is invalid once they are informed. 

Final points

Fard is a not a simple matter rather it's the basis of all your actions. Then the wajib actions and then the Sunnah action are the cream on the cake. Muslims who do not perform their actions must realise that they obligations. However, they are still Muslims even though they do not perform any fard actions.

Aquida Tahawiyyah point 75:

"We do not declare anyone among the people of the qibla a disbeliever for any sin, as long as they do not deem it lawful."

Deeming the unlawful lawful is a major sin and will cause disbelief once they know the seriousness of the matter. Unfortunately, most Muslims are oblivious to possible sins with this. Even accepting opinions of disbelievers can also be sinful when they are sacrilegious.

Point 86

"People of enormities (major sins) among the community of Muhammad (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) will not remain in hell forever, as long as they died monotheists."

So anyone calling someone a disbeliever for missing a prayer, are mistaken, as long as they do not deny it. Only that causes disbelief. Please click here for calling another Muslim a disbeliever. 

As for hadith about the difference between faith and Islam is leaving the prayer then this is ingratitude not disbelief. As the word, kufr means disbelief and ingratitude.

This was written to inform you and not to make you despondent or upset. This was meant to inform you and this is the most important matter. Please find a teacher and study your basics and remove your doubts.

What is Sunnah click here

Responsibility of a normal Muslim click here

Let scholars correct scholars click here

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