We had a Ramadan Fiqh Q & A class yesterday and it was actually quite lively and interesting. Thought I'd post a few of the Questions and Answers for FYI's sake. Of course, these are just very brief, tiny summaries and ppl should go to their own Imams and Shaikhs for explanations and specific cases. Sorry for any mistakes in conveyance and Allah knows best.
PS If anyone has any relevant good questions on Ramadan, please post them below and I'll try to ask next week iA.
If a sister is used to reading a wird of Quran every day in Ramadan, such as a juzz per day, can she continue to read when she has her menses or no?
One opinion is no, not a word, and this is the majority opinion.
Others have opined that if she feels she's going to forget the Quran she knows then she can recite it from memory.
And others say she can read it as long as she is not touching the Quran.
Can men read the Quran without Wudu?
Majority opinion is that they can READ without wudu, but cannot touch the Mushaf.
What about "electronic Qurans", Quran on ipods, ipads, your mobile phone etc?
An electronic Quran is not considered a Mushaf. There is no Quran inside it and you can't touch the letters. When you turn it off it's not a mushaf either. You can take it to the bathroom, but if it makes you feel better, just turn it off. The only thing inside it is chips and a collection of things. Even if the device is on, there's nothing there until you do certain things and the digital form comes up.
On the topic of mobile phones, it's important to turn it off at the Masjid. Whoever loads music as a ringer, may Allah forgive them. Even an athan, chirping of birds or rustling of leaves would be better!
Are 8 or 20 rakats better?
In Hadith it is a well established Sunnah that Rasulullah (s) used to pray 8 rakats and the companions used to come and pray behind him though he didn't plan it that way. The origin of the 20 started in the time of Umar (ra) in a positive, correct ijtihad he had Muslims come and pray together. He thought it would be a good, new thing to go back to what Rasulullah saw did that already existed before. He then appointed Ubay ibn Kab to lead and they did 20 rakats.
The Sahabah used to read Taraweeh until Suhoor time so about 15/20 minutes/50 ayats before. Some ulema said let's spread this over many more rakats so it's easier for ppl standing. This ijtihad is accepted because it's from the Sahaba. In the time of Imam Malik they did even up to 36 and 40 rakat! Nowadays, it's still khair, they read 20 but sometimes at the speed of light and still ppl complain!
8 is following the Sunnah and that is fine, 20 is following the Sunnah of the Sahabah and that's fine. To say 20 is THE Sunnah however is not right. If you're in a Masjid that prays 8, do that, if 20 do that, if 36 do that, because there's an asl to all these matters. NO one had quarrels about these before.
Is it better for a woman to pray at home?
A Hadith of Rasulullah (s) says the salah of a sister at home is better in general. However, some ulema have opined otherwise. We need to look at this in the proper perspective. The wives of the companions, the tabieen, had Iman so high, they had access to Ilm, were always in ibadah. Nowadays if women don't go to the Masjid in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the United States -- who teaches her? Do husbands have enough Iman and Taqwa to teach her? It's incumbent on her to have this knowledge. Secondly, nowadays in the US the only place to have Ilm is at a Masjid. Our homes are concerts and theaters - big screen tvs etc. Where does she get her ilm? Don't women go out a lot to malls, shopping, picnics, drive cars, etc? but when it comes to Salatul Jumah 'oh it's not obligatory on me' -- if you were the wife of Umar (ra) she does her ibadah and duties. Aisha (ra) in that environment even waited until night to go accompanied, to the bathroom out of haya, humility and choice, but now "I don't go to the masjid because it's not good for me, its not the sunnah???" This does not align itself to the objectives of the Shariah. There is a letter and spirit of the law. To those sisters, tell them to go listen, to listen to the ilm so their children become sons and daughters of the Masjid, not of the Malls. Ibn Hazm for example was of the opinion that those texts were not authentic enough, so said both men and women should pray at the Masjid.
Should we pray witr with the Imam or go home and pray it?
What is preferred is to finish with the Imam because there's a Hadith that it's counted like they stayed in Qiyam al Lail the whole night, but it's jaiz to go home and pray more and then do witr.
You can also pray witr with the Imam and then at home if you have an internal desire to perform more, do some sets of 2s, and at the end add 1 rakat, which removes the oddness and then perform another witr at the end. This is because two witrs is not allowed and you should close your night with the witr prayer and it should be the last thing peformed at night.
At home you can read Quran, be in taubah, dhikr, istighfar, plenty of ibadah can be done besides prayer, it just depends on what your Qalb needs.
What do you do if you came later and missed Isha?
For Malikis you can't pray behind the Imam with a different Niyyah. But others say you can, so continue with 2 more to make Isha. You can then just pray the 6 with the Imam and you don't have to make it up.
What if you prayed Isha at home thinking you don't have enough time, then arriving at the Masjid ppl are about to pray?
This happened at the time of Rasulullah (s) about a different prayer, and Rasulullah (s) asked the man. Are you a Muslim? He said Balaa, then asked Why didn't you pray? So even if you prayed at home you should join in. Some consider this a nafilah, some as a fard, in either case it's khair so one should join in.
Is there a difference between Taraweeh, Qiyaam al Lail and Tahajjud?
All are the same thing except Tahajjid refers specifically to when you're sleeping and force yourself to wake up to pray and Taraweeh has the specific meaning of raha or resting after every 2 or 4 rakats as a short recess.