Friday, 18 May 2007

Understanding The True Meaning, Application and Implication of FARDHU KIFAYAH

Some acquaintances have sincerely approached me on the stance which I have orated before in my classes:

- the fact that it is wajib for all mature male Muslims to strive and perform their five time daily solat at a place where the Adhaan is called e.g. the masjid, surau / musolla; and excuse is only given when fourteen conditions come into existence (not mentioned here for brevity).

So many say that this is only applicable for Friday Prayers.

This post aims to clarify the meaning and status of Fardhu Kifayah for the practicality and faith of the Muslim Ummah. InshaAllah. When you have read and understood this, practice it, and teach it to your wife, children, family, friends and the whole Ummah of Rasulullah SAW.


Fardhu 'Ain means - Personally Obligatory.
Fardhu Kifayah means - Communally Obligatory.

A Fardhu 'Ain act is what Allah SWT requires from each and every morally responsible person. It is thus insufficient for someone to perform such an act on another's behalf - such as the solat, zakat, Hajj (except for special conditions), keeping agreements, and avoiding wine or gambling etc.

A Fardhu Kifayah act is what Allah SWT requires from the collectivity of those morally responsible, not from each one of them, such that if someone undertakes it, then the obligation has been fulfilled and the sin and responsibility of non-performance is lifted from the rest; on the other hand - if no one undertakes it, then all are guilty of serious sin for neglecting the obligation. Examples include - praying over the dead, building hospitals, lifesaving, fire fighting, medicine, industries people require, the existence of Islamic courts and judges, issuing formal legal opinions, responding to someone who says "Assalaamu'alaikum" and testifying in court.

Allah requires that these obligatory acts exist in the Islamic Community regardless of who does them. But Allah does not require they be done by each person, or some particular one, since the interests of the Community are realised by the existence of these things through the efforts of some of those morally responsible, and do not entail every particular person's performance of them.

In the fulfilment of Fardhu Kifayah - Someone able through himself or his property to perform the Fardhu Kifayah act is obliged to perform it, and someone unable to do it himself is obliged to urge and have the person do it who can. If the obligatory act is done, all are cleared of the sin, and if neglected all the guilty of serious sin.

The person capable of it is guilty because he neglected a communally obligatory act he could have done, and the rest are guilty because they neglected to urge him and have him perform the obligatory act he was capable of.

When an individual is the only one available who can perform a communally obligatory act, it becomes personally obligatory for him.

Relating to the previous issue discussed with acquaintances - the establishment of five-times daily congregational solat in the mosque does not just get fulfilled with just one Imam and one Muadhin. Instead - true establishment of five-times daily prayer occurs only when the majority of Muslim men perform their solats in the mosque. Establishment means the atmosphere and environment of Friday prayers.

If referring to the Shafi'i school, not even the minimum number of people qualifiable for Friday prayers are seen praying five times a day in the mosque.

Thus - relating to the paragraph above marked in red - those who understand must perform it and exhort others, thus Fardhu Kifayah becomes Fardhu 'Ain for them.

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