Translation of Malik’s Muwatta

THE TIMES OF PRAYER – The Angel Jibreel came down five times in one day to teach the Prophet Muhammad the exact prayer times. Prayer times may be judged by the position of the sun, and prayers should be offered on time. If one forgets, he should offer the prayer as soon as he remembers.

PURITY – wudu must be done thoroughly with not even the smallest area missed out, and this will wash away sins as well as physical impurities. Human waste must be thoroughly washed off the body before ritual cleansing, but vomit does not break wudu. It is preferred to use a tooth stick regularly but it is not compulsory.

PRAYER – Iqama must be said before each prayer, although in a congregational prayer, the Imam must recite the adhan. Responding to the adhan and doing prayer on time yields a great reward. if a man is alone outdoors, he should still give adhan for other living beings to hear. When praying alone, one must recite the verses, but praying in congregation, the imam only recites, and the imam’s movements should be followed, and one should not look around.

FORGETFULNESS IN PRAYER – Even the Prophet became distracted in prayer. One must keep on praying as normal if one’s mind becomes distracted and if one forgets how much one has prayed, then two sajdas are to be done from a sitting position.

JUMU’A – One must perform ritual bathing before going to the mosque for the Friday congregational prayer, arrive at the mosque as early as possible and listen silently to the imam. One must arrive early without rushing. Travellers needn’t perform jummah. There is a time in the last period of the Jummah day where all prayers are answered. One may miss jummah due to sickness but if one misses it three times in a row for no reason, a seal is placed on the heart.

PRAYER IN RAMADAN – Night prayer in Ramadan was never ordered as obligatory but it holds a great reward and wrongdoings will be forgiven as a result. One must be mindful to finish the Ramadan night prayer and eat before dawn.

TAHAJJUD – This increases god-consciousness and leads to effortless provisions, and if sleep overcomes a person who intended to perform this prayer, he will still be rewarded. One should not pray while sleepy because one may unintentionally ask for something harmful.

PRAYER IN CONGREGATION – This is 27 times better than prayer alone, for prescribed prayer, and being in the first row yields an extremely great reward. It is better to do other prayers at home. When leading congregational prayers, consider weak/ill people and make it short. A woman may join congregational prayer if she is dressed modestly.

SHORTENING THE PRAYER – Prayers may be shortened or even joined together during travelling or when prayer is difficult, e.g. if praying out in the open in bad weather. This may be done behind an imam and proper form should be observed.

TWO ‚IDS – Ghusl should be performed prior to going to the place of ‚Id prayer. One should eat before going to the Fitr prayer. This is not necessary for the Adha prayer. The ‚Id prayer begins when the imam arrives at the mosque and one should not leave before the imam.

FEAR PRAYER – This is on the battlefield. One group prays with the imam while the other stands between them and the enemy. Then the groups swap positions and the second group prays. If danger is imminent, one may pray either standing or mounted on animals.

ECLIPSE PRAYER – Two extremely long rakas should be performed. Surah Bakara was recited by the Prophet Muhammad in the first raka. The prayer would be completed when the eclipse was over.

ASKING FOR RAIN – The imam must perform two rakas, give a khutbah, turn to the Qibla and then sits down, turning his cloak inside out. The congregation must also turn their cloaks inside out at this point. The imam will then pray for rain.

THE QIBLA – The Prophet’s Mosque itself is the best place to pray. Women of the tribes of Judah were prevented from attending the temples of worship and Muslim women must not be prevented from doing so, but they must be free from adornments/perfume etc. One must not relieve oneself either facing or with one’s back towards the qibla.

THE QURAN – One must not handle the Quran, even if it is covered, without wudu, but one may recite it without being in a state of wudu. It is good to take two weeks to complete a Quranic recitation so that one may reflect on its contents. It is important to keep practising the study of the Quran so as not to forget it.

BURIALS – The corpse should be washed thoroughly and shrouded ideally in three pieces of white cloth. People must walk in front of a funeral bier and not behind it, and they must not carry a burning torch or weep loudly over the death. Prayer must be done and then the body is buried.

ZAKAT – This is paid once one has above a certain quantity of crops, gold, silver (money) and livestock. Debts should be paid before using leftover income to calculate zakat. A man must pay Zakat-al-fitr on behalf of all Muslims whom he supports.

FASTING – This should be done at the sighting of the first new moon, and should end at the sighting of the next new moon. If this cannot be sighted, then fasting should be for 30 days. One should make intention to fast at dawn, and break the fast as soon as possible after sunset.

I’TIKAF IN RAMADAN- This can only be done by one who is fasting, and in Ramadan it is the time to seek Laylat al-Qadr. All marital relations must be avoided including kissing and shows of affection, although a marriage ceremony can be performed at this time.

HAJJ – Ghusl must be performed and the appropriate clothing worn before starting Hajj and performing the obligatory rituals. Animals must be slaughtered at the end. Menstruating women can perform Hajj but the rituals are slightly shortened.

JIHAD – Jihad in Allah’s way is equal to constantly performing religious rituals like prayer and fasting. Allah guarantees either a safe return home or Heaven for one who performs jihad, and there is a great reward for martyrdom. Martyrs should not be washed before burial. It is forbidden to kill women and children. Spoils of war must be divided only among those who were present at that battle.

VOWS AND OATHS – Vows must be kept, and if someone dies before fulfilling a vow, it must be fulfilled by the living. Vows must be broken if they go against Allah’s teachings or if there is a course of action better than the one that one has promised to take.

SACRIFICIAL ANIMALS – Unhealthy/deformed animals must not be sacrificed. Leftover meat from a healthy animal should be stored after three days. A single sacrificial animal should ideally be divided among seven people.

SLAUGHTERING ANIMALS – Blessings must be said and the jugular vein of a slaughter animal cut for it to be permissible. If the animal was pregnant, the unborn animal must be slaughtered.

GAME – If killed using weaponry, such as a spear, one must be certain that the weapon is what killed the animal for it to be halal. One may eat an animal caught by a hunting dog even if the dog has eaten part of it. Game of the sea are halal. Eat carrion only if necessary and avoid it where possible.

‚AQIQA – Sacrifice of a strong, healthy animal, though not obligatory is strongly recommended. Sheep are preferred but any animal can be sacrificed if needed. The weight of the baby’s hair in silver should also be donated.

FARA’ID – There are clear Islamic rules regarding who should receive how much inheritance (if any) upon the death of a relative. These rules must be followed, and males receive more than females. Muslims cannot inherit from kafirs. One must be certain that a person is dead before one can inherit from them.

MARRIAGE – A woman can marry only when both she and her guardians give consent. The husband must provide the bride-price and rules surrounding this must be adhered to. If a man has more than one wife, he must spend equal time with them. Marriage cannot be temporary or secret. A divorced woman may not marry until after her idda period. There are certain people with whom marriage is forbidden e.g. the mother of one’s ex-wife.

DIVORCE – If a man proclaims divorce three times, it becomes irrevocable. If he abstains from intercourse with his wife for four months, he must then either proclaim divorce or revoke his decision and return to her. Divorced women should be compensated. If a divorced woman is pregnant, her ex-husband must provide for her until the birth of the child. Finding a solution through arbitration is preferable to divorce.

SUCKLING – The rules of marriage and interaction are the same for one who was wet nursed by a woman before age 2, as if the woman had given birth to the person.


QIRAD (BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS) – Transactions in which non-returnable deposits are paid are forbidden in Islam. Items must be sold in good condition, e.g. one must not buy or sell fruit before it has started to ripen. Crop damage (i.e. damage of one third or more of a crop) leads to compensation for the buyer. Likewise, there is compensation if other goods are damaged. Sales of any good must be like for like. Beware usury, which may happen unintentionally when bartering gold and silver. Be aware that regulations must be upheld when selling specific animals. There should be no trickery or confusion in selling.

SHARECROPPING – The sharecropper is fully responsible for the land and the cultivation of it, whereas the landowner bears no responsibility. However, the owner must be given an agreed portion of the crop. . If another person cultivates crops on unused land between sharecropping areas, what grows on it belongs to that person. This unused land is not part of the sharecropping contract. Slaves may assist in sharecropping with the owner’s consent but the sharecropper must not employ assistants.

RENTING LAND – Land/fields can be rented out in exchange for gold and silver but not in exchange for a portion of the renter’s crop.

PRE-EMPTION IN PROPERTY – Partners have the right of pre-emption when the property has not been divided. If there are walls or other boundaries, they do not have the right. Right of pre-emption is also not there for a well or male palm trees, or for living beings, e.g. slaves and livestock. Pre-emption is also not practised when it comes to roads, houses or other shared areas. If the price of something is uncertain then the buyer’s word must be taken unless proof is discovered that this is incorrect. A person’s absence for any length of time does not take away his right of pre-emption. If those involved die or forget about any agreements, pre-emption cannot be done.

JUDGEMENTS – Judgements are to be made when the truth is presented either via a human or divine source. One who bears testimony must be reliable, of good character and free from any vested interest. It does not matter whether or not he was previously a criminal. Different situations require different numbers and types of witness, and unless the criteria can be fulfilled, a case cannot stand in court.

WILLS AND TESTAMENTS – One who has been given a bequest must write it into a will before two nights have passed. Bequests in various situations, e.g. those involving orphans, property etc., have differing rules, which must be adhered to depending upon the situation.

SETTING FREE AND WALA‘ – If a slave is owned by more than one person, then one who chooses to free the slave must pay out the full cost owed by all partners. If he does not have the money to do so then the slave is only partly free. If one man owns the slave completely then he should free him completely. A free slave must take all his property with him, but he must leave his children and the mothers of the children. A slave may be freed when the master is cruel. One may buy slaves in order to set them free, which is considered an excellent deed in Islam.

THE MUKATAB – As long as his kitaba still needs to be paid, the mukatab remains a slave. Slaves can help each other to pay kitaba, or a mukatab can pay off his own kitaba by earning money from his own slaves‘ kitaba. People written together in one kitaba may not inherit from each other. However, when a mukatab dies, the money may go to his children or those who wrote his kitaba. When a group of people are together under one kitaba, they must all give their consent before the master frees one of them. When a mukatab is sold, he may buy his own kitaba, thereby purchasing his own freedom.

THE MUDABBAR – (I believe this section and Hudud are mixed up) If a slave woman gives birth then her children will also be considered in the position of slaves. If the slave woman is free then her children will also be considered free. If one sells a pregnant slave woman, one may not place a price on the unborn foetus. If a slave woman performs a crime then her master must pay blood money on her behalf.

THE HUDUD – Stoning to death is the prescribed punishment for adultery, while flogging is the punishment for fornication. These punishments cannot be carried out unless there is clear proof and/or self-confession. Self confession is disliked and it was historically encouraged that those who had committed these acts remain silent and seek forgiveness from God, rather than admit to them in public. Lashing is the punishment for slander. A thief’s hand should be cut off if he steals something worth a quarter of a dinar or more. The hand is not cut off if something is stolen openly in haste, if a servant steals from his master or if dates or date palms are stolen. A thief who is caught before he manages to steal the goods he has gathered also will not have his hand cut.

DRINKS – al-Ghubayra – i.e any intoxicant, such as alcoholic drinks are forbidden. Lashing is the punishment for drunkenness, and the punishment is greater for one who talks confusedly and lies while drunk. Alcoholic drinks are considered impure and the work of Shaytan.

BLOOD MONEY – Desert people must pay this in camels and city people must pay in silver and gold over a 3-4 year instalment. If injuries are unintentional then blood money may not be paid. If murder or intentional injuries occur then blood money must be paid to the victim and their family in accordance to the site and severity of the injury. If a pregnant woman is attacked and miscarries, she must receive blood money for the foetus. If a murderer is pardoned then typically he receives 100 lashes and is jailed for a year, but depending on the situation, all regulations must be adhered to.

THE OATH OF QASAMA – 50 oaths must be sworn against a murderer, either by one or more paternal blood relatives of the dead person. If one of these persons retracts his oath, the murderer cannot be executed. If there is swearing against a group of people, only one will be executed. Female relatives cannot swear in the case of murder, but in the case of manslaughter they can swear and take blood money. Blood money becomes part of the inheritance of male and female heirs of the dead person. If a slave is murdered then swearing leads to blood money being given only.

MADINA – Madina is an extremely blessed city that purifies a person. If one has a chance to go there, one should go there and remain if possible. If someone leaves Madina having lived there, Allah will replace them with a better person. It is a place only for Muslims.

THE DECREE – Every person shall get what Allah has decreed for them. One must not complain or dispute against what is decreed either to them or to the prophets, e.g. Adam, for whom it was decreed to come to earth and be the father of humanity. No one will die until everything that is decreed has happened to them, so one must behave correctly in seeking one’s provision.

GOOD CHARACTER – One should always strive to be of good character. Part of excellent practice of Islam is minding one’s own business, avoid suspicion and eavesdropping. Anger and vengeance should be avoided and doing so is a sign of strength. Modesty equals good character. Enmity between brothers is forbidden and reconciliation should be swiftly made and forgiveness sought. Initiating kindness and giving gifts are recommended means of reconciliation.

DRESS – White is a favoured colour, but one should wear beautiful garments generally, as a sign of gratitude, especially if they are able to own many outfits. Gold and silk are not allowed for men. The colour saffron is not preferable for men’s garments. Women must dress in clothing that does not show the shape of the body, and men must be aware not to expose private areas. Men’s clothing must come above their ankles. Long garments show arrogance.

THE DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPHET, MAY ALLAH BLESS HIM AND GRANT HIM PEACE – He became the Prophet at age 40. He was well-proportioned with hair that was neither straight nor curly, and had fewer than 20 white hairs on his deathbed at age 60. He kept the beard and clipped the moustache, and enjoined this practice on his male followers.

EVIL EYE – Allah afflicts one with this if He wants good for that person. It can be healed with wudu and Quranic incantations. One should visit a sick person, as this assists with the healing process.

HAIR – One must not wear false hair. One should not have disheveled hair, as this is the way of Shaytan, and a man must groom his beard. White hair may be left as it is or dyed in any colour, but black dye is not prefered. Women should cover their hair in front of men unless they have permission to see it.

VISIONS – A good dream of a salih is 1/46th prophecy. Bad dreams are from Shaytan and after having one, the dreamer should seek refuge in Allah, but this is not a major concern.

GREETINGS – One should greet strangers in the street, but it is disliked for a male to greet a female unless she is elderly. One may return the greeting of a Jew or Christian by saying ‚and you‘, and one may initiate a greeting to a Jew or Christian. Pay particular attention to merchants and the needy when greeting strangers.

GENERAL SUBJECTS – One must ask permission before entering an occupied room. One should bless the person who sneezes. Angels do not enter a house in which there are pictures, and one who creates pictures will be punished on the Day of Judgement. Regulations surrounding keeping animals must be adhered to.

OATH OF ALLEGIANCE – This is the pledge to the leader live under Allah’s law. Women’s hands are not shaken by the leader in oath-taking.

SPEECH – Making complaints and accusing others, e.g. of being kafir, are akin to the speaker accusing himself in this way. Be mindful of speech, as one is held accountable for one’s words. Do not backbite or slander. If there is a group of you, do not exclude one person from your conversation. Always speak the truth.

JAHANNAM – A horrific, huge fire, blacker than tar.

SADAQA – One should give as much as one can, even if it is meagre, and let it be halal. Refrain from asking for charity. Do not give sadaqa to the Prophet’s family members.

KNOWLEDGE – Keep close to learned scholars in order for the heart to flourish with Allah’s light and knowledge.

SUPPLICATION OF THE UNJUSTLY WRONGED – Their supplication will be answered, so do not harm people, and be fearful if you do.

THE NAMES OF THE PROPHET, MAY ALLAH BLESS HIM AND GRANT HIM PEACE – He has five names, Muhammad; Ahmad; al-Mahi (the effacer), by whom Allah effaces kufr; al-Hashir (the gatherer), before whom people are gathered; and al-Aqib (the last).“