Monday, April 2, 2007

Legislating Unholy Gas

I kid you not. Islam has a rule for everything, according to a question/answer session on Arab News.
Q.1. It is reported by Ibn Abbas that the Prophet (peace be upon him) woke up at night, performed ablution and then offered some voluntary prayer, then he slept and snored before rising again and offering prayer, without performing ablution anew. Does not sleep invalidate ablution? If so, how should we understand this Hadith?
Confused? Read on.
A.1. Sleep in itself does not invalidate ablution. If you sleep while sitting on a chair, your ablution remains valid, even though your sleep may take an hour or longer.
This is because while seated, wind cannot be discharged.
In other words, one supposedly can't fart while seated. That statement is obviously completely false.
No other way of invalidating ablution takes place.
Ah, the crux of the dilemma: apparently one's previous ablution is invalidated by the soiling action of farting. Did not know that.
Take the case of a person who lies down and gets to sleep, then wakes up later. If someone tells him that he was close to him throughout and he neither heard nor smelled any discharge of wind...
That's FART in layman's terms.
...from him during his sleep, he can perform prayer without having a fresh ablution. He relies on the information of this person to make sure that his ablution was still valid.
You better hope that the person is telling the truth. This is a good assumption to make because you better believe that if I heard someone fart in the middle of the night, they'd be sure to hear all about it the next day AND for many moons to come.
Some scholars, however, notably Ibn Hazm, maintain that any sleep invalidates ablution and we need to perform ablution after we wake up if we wish to pray.
Better safe than sorry, you know.
The Hadith does not say that the Prophet (peace be upon him) snored, nor has it ever been reported that the Prophet snored when asleep.
Apparently snoring is not apropros for a prophet.
The Hadith mentions that the Prophet lied down, then blew out his breath, then rose and prayed without ablution.
Nope, that definitely doesn't qualify as a "snore".
Ibn Abbas does not mention that the Prophet actually slept.
I'm sure he was just resting his eyes.
The overall impression we get is that the Prophet had a few minutes of rest, and that his breathing was audible at the time.
Maybe he was just pretending in order to raise the issue for future discussion. Who knows?
The fact that he went to prayer without performing ablution suggests one of two possibilities:
Only two? Drumroll please.
either he was certain that he did not get to sleep, but merely relaxed so that his breathing was regular and audible, or he was informed by the angel Gabriel that his ablution remained valid.
There is yet a third possibility not raised: Mohammed (peace be upon him) fell asleep and floated a stanker.

No comments: