Various Questions Asked by a former “salafi”: standing back up after sajdah, breaking wudu by touching wife, perfume during fasting

Question:

asalamu’alikum sheikh

I can’t seem to settle my mind so I have been researching and changing thoughts about salafy and madhab for 2 years. I now know that the salafy akeedah is wrong so I want to be shafi’i but some things puzzle me hope you can help…

1st q: why do we get straight back up after the second sajdah instead of sitting back up then standing?
2nd q: why does it break our wudu when we touch our wives skin?

3rd q: why is perfume forbidden when fasting?

If you can help with that for now I will be so happy

jazakallah khairun.

Answer:

The madhahib (sing. madhhab) should not be construed as four walls that surround its adherents, preventing them from any kind of exit.  Rather, it should be looked upon as guidelines which allow an individual to follow the sacred law with consistency under a well revised framework strengthened by the minds of thousands of jurists over the past 14 centuries.  Since the madhāhib – or should I say, the Shāfi‘ī madhhab – is not four walls, departure from the school under certain circumstances has been permitted. The great 7th century scholar, al-Imam an-Nawawī discusses certain instances where departure has been permitted.  He says in his Majmū‘, a masterpiece in Islamic jurisprudence, quoting and affirming ibn as-Salāh, an earlier scholar:

قال الشيخ أبو عمرو: فمن وجد من الشافعية حديثا يخالف مذهبه نظر، إن كملت آلات الاجتهاد فيه مطلقا أو في ذلك الباب أو المسألة كان له الاستقلال بالعمل به، وإن لم يكن وشق عليه مخالفة الحديث بعد أن بحث فلم يجد لمخالفته عنه جوابا شافيا فله العمل به ان كان عمل به إمام مستقل غير الشافعي ويكون هذا عذرا له في ترك مذهب إمامه هنا. اهـ وهذا الذي قاله حسن متعين والله أعلم

Shaykh Abū Amr said: Any adherent of the Shafi‘ī school who comes across a hadīth that contradicts his madhhab should consider [the following:].  He either possesses the tools of ijtihad without restriction; or for that specific chapter [of fiqh]; or for that specific instance. When he possesses the required tools of ijtihad he may, independently, act according to the hadīth; When he does not possess the required tools and finds it difficult to act contrary to the hadith after researching and not finding an adequate convincing solution, he may then act according to the hadith, provided that another independent Imam, other than Shāfi‘ī, has acted done so.  This will constitute a valid excuse for this individual to depart from the madhhab of his Imam.  [Imam Nawawi then affirms and says:] What he (Shaykh Abū Amr) has stated is good and applicable.

Accordingly, the layman who stumbles across a Prophetic tradition which apparently contradicts his madhhab should consult the scholars of the school.  If the scholars provide the layman with an adequate answer – which happens to be the case most of the time – the layman will, consequently, continue following his school.  However, when the answer provided is not convincing enough, the layman may depart from his school provided the purport of the hadith has been acted upon by one of the other major schools.

The reason for this backdrop of the Shāfi‘ī school specifically, is for questioner to appreciate primacy and importance that the school affords to the sunnah.  It obviates the need to adopt the “salafī” approach and abandonment of the madhāhib.  It allows one to benefit from a sound system of thought; from a school based on consistent principles and maxims; and from the dependable contributions of thousands of scholars over the past 13 centuries – while still opening the door and creating leeway for one to depart from the school and follow the hadith of Rasūlullah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam at times of contradiction.  As previously stated, instances of contradiction are minimal and cases where no adequate convincing arguments exist are even less.

In light of the above we now turn to your questions:

1. Why do we get straight back up after the second sajdah instead of sitting back up then standing?

The preponderant view in the Shafi‘ī school, based on a number of authentic traditions, considers the jalsah al-istirāhah (a short sitting after the second sajdah before standing up to the second or fourth raka‘āts respectively) as a highly recommended sunnah.  Adherents of the Shafi‘ī school who does not uphold this sunnah should be advised to practice it.

2. Why does it break our wudu when we touch our wives skin?

Refer to a brilliant piece that also touches on the issues of contradiction, the Shafi‘ī madhhab and hadith; and leaving the bounds of the madhhab by our Shaykh, ash-Shāfi‘ī asSagīr1 Taha Karaan, here.

3. Why is perfume forbidden when fasting?

The Shāfi‘ī school states that it is recommended for the one fasting to refrain from all forms of luxuries and desires.  This would include the application and smelling of perfumes2. They would in all probability be taking their cue from the hadith narrated by Imam al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasallam said:

Fasting is a shield. [Let the person observing fast] not commit rafath (conjugal relations) and let him not behave ignorantly and impudently … [Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā says], ‘He [the fasting person] has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me and I will [personally] reward [the fasting person] for it. And each good deed is multiplied ten times.

In another version of the hadith of Abū Hurayrah narrated by ibn Khuzaymah in his Sahih, Rasulullah sallAllahu alayhi wasallm says, “He [the fasting person] leaves his luxuries (ladhdhatahū) for My sake…”

Consequently in keeping with these traditions, the jurists advised the fasting person to refrain from all sorts of luxuries and desires, even though permissible and encouraged at other times, similar to the muhrim or the one in a state of ihram.

And Allah knows best

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Note: Regarding the nullification of wudu’ by touch, also see the following article.

  1. A title given to Ml. Taha by the renowned Shaykh, Khalil Ibrahim Mula Khatir from Madinah al-Munawwarah []
  2. Accordingly, the application of perfume is not forbidden as suggested by the questioner, rather, its usage is merely not recommended. []