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January 2007:

1.  DEAR ABE: I live in the Middle East with my husband.  I carry my Prayer Dress with me and so; I cover my hair when I make my Salat Prayers, why? --SALMA, MOROCCO

DEAR SALMA :   Prayer garments are not specified in the Quran, so the requirements are the same as the daily dress code of wearing modest clothing, covering the chest, and lengthening the garments. Additionally, one must be clean and dress nicely when going to the mosque [1].  Others should not dictate your prayer clothing; these are your personal Contact Prayers between you and God. On the other hand, prayer dresses or head covers are not forbidden; and breaking from norm in public could cause a disturbance and bring negative attention when you should be concentrating on righteous commemoration of God [2]. In the end, it is left up to you, the individual, to decide what would be the best choice of prayer clothing within the parameters laid out by God in the Scripture.

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 7:31, 24:31, 33:59, 7:26; [2] 2:256, 20:14, 23:1-2, 6:162.


 2. DEAR ABE:  Are you allowed to say thank you to people as only God is the one that can benefit you - so is thank you some kind of shirk or idol-worship? --KANESA, GEORGIA

DEAR KANESA: You are right, we must be thankful to God above all others, it would be wrong to do otherwise.  God advises us in the Scripture to reverence Him, be thankful to Him, and commemorate Him [1].  But, He also advises us to commemorate Him as much as commemorating our own parents, or even better [2].  The commemoration of someone stems from an appreciation of God for providing that person.  So, commemorating or thanking a person still involves the understanding that all things are from God [3].  He chooses to put certain individuals in a position of positive influence in your life; they are doing His work.  Following God’s instructions also involves applying His system of good courtesy and manners [4]. Many times a "thank you" is a very proper response [4].

Relavant Quran Verses:  [1] 4:131, 2:152, 14:7, 2:239; [2] 2:200, 6:151, 4:1, 17:23; [3] 4:78, 85:16; [4] 4:86, 24:61.


3. DEAR ABE: When I observe the second step for water ablution where do I start washing, from the palm of my hands to my elbow, or from my wrist to my elbow? --MIKE

DEAR MIKE:  God’s Quran is complete, fully detailed, and perfect [1].  Since this particular detail is not included, then it is left up to the individual to determine how to fulfill the Quranic requirement of “…Wash your arms to the elbows” [2].  More important for us as worshippers of God alone, is to avoid adding restrictions where there are none. God commands us to not create regulations or follow the fabricated laws of religious leaders or idols [3]. So, when in doubt, if something is not addressed in the Quran, then we must not put restrictions or follow imposed regulations [4]. So, in many cases, such as the second step for water ablution, an individual can rely on their common sense to come with an approach that will be acceptable to God [5].

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1] 6:114, 6:115, 4:82, 2:2; [2] 5:6;  [3] 42:21, 6:119, 10:59-60, 9:31, 33:67, 3:94, 4:50, 16:116, 6:93, 10:17, 12:111, 16:105, 17:46; [4] Appendix 18 of the Quran translation by R. Khalifa; [5] 17:36, 2:269, 16:78, 12:111.

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The answers provided by Abe and friends represent the understanding of the
writers, and should not be taken as the only acceptable approach. The reader is encouraged to research the topics further using the Quran.

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