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All praise belongs to Almighty Allah and peace and blessings be upon the last Prophet, his family and companions.

 

This is a brief study of the measuring units contained in some Shari'ah provisions which I have transferred to modern measuring units to make it easy for the reader to know the amount of the unit contained in the Shari'ah provision like the dhira', sa', wasaq, shibr, ba', mud, uqiyah, etc.

 

I have arranged this paper in the form of a table so that the reader would find it easy to reach the amount of each unit. The importance of this paper lies in the application of the measuring unit contained in the shari'ah provision in this age when the old units are no longer available. Shari'ah provisions which have such measuring units include, for example, the ?adith narrated by Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri (ra?iyallahu anhu) that the Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) said, "No ?akah may apply to any amount less than five zauds, no ?akah may apply to any amount less than five uqiyas and no ?akah shall apply to any amount less than five wasaqs." (Reported by At-Tirmidhi)

 

Anas ibn Malik (ra?iyallahu anhu) also said, "The Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) was making ablution with a mud and washing with a sa' to five muds." (Agreed upon).

 

Ibn Umar (ra?iyallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) said, "If the quantity of water reaches two qullas, nothing may make it impure." In another narration: "it will not hold any impurity." (Reported by Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, A?mad, and Al-?akim who graded it ?a?i?).

 

Ka'b ibn Ujrah (ra?iyallahu anhu) also narrated that the Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) said to him, "Or feed six poor persons a farq of raisins."

 

The man who had sexual intercourse with his wife during the day of Rama?an brought a branch of dates to the Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) (fifteen sas) and said, 'take it as a charity.'" (reported by Ahmad).

 

Jabir ibn Abdullah (ra?iyallahu anhu) described the tomb of the Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) thus: "His tomb was raised a shibr over ground level." (Reported by Al-Bayhaqi and is considered authentic by Ibn ?ibban.)

 

Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri (ra?iyallahu anhu) said, "We were giving it (?akah Al-Fi?r) at the time of the Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) as one sa' of

food, dates, barley or raisins." (Agreed upon).

 

In the two ?ahihs it is reported that Abu Hurayrah (ra?iyallahu anhu) said, "The Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) permitted selling dates with their bushes if they are less than five wasaqs."

 

When the above statements are applied these days, one needs to know the amounts of these units as measured by the modern units. Through thoughtful research I have found that these units are either measurements of volumes, weights, lengths or areas. Measures of volume include the sa' and mud. I have found that many studies transfer the sa' to different amounts. As the sa' is a unit to measure the volume, those who transferred it to kilogram have made a mistake because weights and volumes differ with regard to foods. Therefore, I  found it more suitable and sounder to transfer the sa' to the litre. A resolution issued by the Commission of Senior Scholars in the 56th session under No. 207 dated 9.11.1422 AH. States that the sa' used at the Prophet's time is equal to three litres and thirty millimetres. I have adopted this estimation in the table.

 

According to the juristic rules, any trivial difference is neglected for this estimation is not certain with regard to the Prophet's sa'; it is a discretionary estimation and may be closer to the right estimation, and Allah knows best.

 

Had it been obligatory to know the specific amount of the sa' and had it been forbidden to use a discretionary amount, our predecessors would have given specific amounts of these measuring units and such amounts would have reached us through unanimous narrations. As there is no reliable sa' at our present time that the Muslims may take for granted as the Prophet's sa', this paper is meant to estimate these measures.

 

This is the case with volumes, but what about lengths? The basic unit  in measuring lengths is the dhira' which the sources, especially the juristic ones, define as the distance between the end of the elbow and the end of the middle finger of the human arm. This dhira is equal to six handgrips, each handgrip is equal to four fingers, each finger is equal to six barley pieces of a moderate size in a cross position adjacent to each other and each barely piece is equal to six hairs of the mule's tail hair. Muhammad Baig Al-Falaki (died in 1302 AH) used several ways to determine the measure of the dhira'. One of his trials included measuring the dhira's of thirty men of medium built. He found out that the average dhira' equals 48 centimetres. Ibrahim ibn Mu??afa (died in 1328 AH) carried out a similar trial. He measured the diameter of 144 barley grains fifty five times and measured the diameter of the mule's hair eighty one times. The result of his calculations concluded that the legal dhira' is equal to 48.5 centimetres (A Treatise on Determination of Measures and Weights).

 

Some interested researchers measured the sides of the Ka'bah, being the holiest Islamic structure. Muslims have always been interested to know its measures. The measures of the Ka'bah from the time its building was modified by Al-Hajjaj in 74 AH to the time it was rebuilt by Murad IV in 1040 AH were mentioned in several sources such as Al-Azraqi (died in 250 AH) (Akhbar Makkah, 1/95), An-Naqi Al-Fasi (died in 832) (Al-Iqd Ath-Thamin, 1/55) and Ad-Diyar Al-Bakri (died in 966 AH) (Tarikh Al-Khamis). Although the building of the Ka'bah was not modified during that period, the measures contained in the above sources were different from each other. Al-Azraqi states that the eastern side of the Ka'bah is equal to 25 dhira's, the northern side is equal to 21 dhira's , the western side is equal to 25 dhira's and the southern side is equal to 20 dhira's. An-Naqi Al-Fasi states that the sides of the Ka'bah are: 21 1/3, 17 3/4, 21 2/3 and 18 1/4 dhira's respectively. These different measurements can not be reliable.

 

It should be noted that the most accurate measurement of the dhira' is that applied to the pool at the Tubrusiyah School of Al-Azhar Mosque in Egypt, for it was built by the Hanafis who consider the stagnant water is not good for ablution unless the surface area of water is 100 dhira's or more.

 

Muhammad Baig Al-Falaki states that the pool at the Tubrusiyah School annexed to Al-Azhar Mosque which was built for the surface area of water to be 100 dhira's is exactly square. When he measured this pool, he found that its width is equal to 3.95 metres, its length is equal to 6.16 metres which means that its area is 24.332 square metres. By dividing this area by 100, it is found that it is equal to 0.24332 square metres which is the measure of the square dhira'. By calculating the square root of the figure 0.24332, the result will be 0.4932747712989 metres, i.e. 49.32747712989 which is the length of the Shari'ah dhira'. Based on this conclusion, we can say that the dhira' is as stated above and hence can be used to measure other lengths.

 

In weighting units, I have also found that the two basic units of weight are the dinar (mithqal) and the dirham and that the Shari'ah dinar is equal to the weight of the Byzantium dinar (Solidos), i.e. 4.547958 grams and that the dirham is equal to 7/10 mithqal, i.e. 3.183571 grams. Having said that, I have calculated these measures in a table which I ask Allah to be useful and to benefit those who are interested. I would like to ask those who read it to pray for me.

 

Volume Measuring Units

 

Sa

5 1/3 pounds

3.030 litres

Mud

1/4 sa' or 1 1/3 pounds

0.7575 litres

Qullah

250 pounds

142.040 litres

Wasaq

Sixty sa's

181.80 litres

Irq

15 sa's

45.45 litres

Farq

3 sa's

9.09 litres

Qirbah

100 pounds

56.816 litres

Qaffiz

12 sa's

36.36 litres

Qist

1/2 sa'

1.515 litres

Karr

720 sa's

2181.60 litres

Makhtum

1 sa'

3.030 litres

Makkuk

1 1/2 sa's

4.545 litres

Qadah

1/2 sa'

1.515 litres

Rawiyah (Qulainin)

500 pounds

284.08 litres

Qanfal

12 sa's

36.360 litres

Irdab

24 sa's

72.72 litres

Kailaja

1/2 sa'

1.515 litres

Muda

24 sa's

72.720 litres

Mann

2 pounds

1.136 litres

Wabyah

24 muds or 6 sa's

18.180 litres

Kalilah

1/12 irdab

6.06 litres

 

Lengths Measuring Units

 

Dhira'

24 isba' or 6 kabdhas

49.32 cm

Isba'

1/24 dhira'

2.06 cm

Qabdhah

1/6 dihra'

8.22 cm

Sha'irah

1/144 dhira'

0.34 cm

Qasabah

8 dhira's

394.56 cm

Kadam

1/2 dhira'

24.66 cm

Shibr

4/9 dhira's

21.92 cm

Barid

48000 dhira's

23.67 km

Farsakh

12000 dhira's

5.92 km

Mil

4000 dhira's

1.97 km

Ba'

4 dhira's

197.28 cm

Khutwah

1 1/2 dhira's

73.98 cm

Marhala

96000 dhira's

47.34 km

Sha'rah

1/864 dhira'

0.057 cm

 

Wight Measuring Units

 

Mithqal

1 3/7 dirham or

20 qirats

4.55 grams

Dinar

1 3/7 dirhams or

72 grains

4.55 grams

Dirham

50 2/5 small grains or 7/10 dinar

3.185 grams

Uqiyah

40 dirhams

127.34 grams

Ratl

12 4/7, 80 dirhams or 90 mithqals

409.5 grams

Qintar

12000 uqiyahs

(8400 dinars =

8000 dirhams)

1528.1 kg

Qirat

0.5/10 dinar

0.227 grams

Nawah

5 dirhams

15.92 grams

Qamhah

1/72 dinar

0.06317 grams

Nash

20 dirhams or

1/2 uqiyah

63.67 grams

Asqar

4.5 mithqal

20.47 grams

Tasuj

1/2 qirat

0.144 grams

Jarib

6400 square dhira's

1557.24799 m2

Qaffiz

1/10 jarib

155.7248 m2

Faddan

13824 sahtut

(2.5 jarib)

3893.119 m2

Donum

40 architect's square dhira's

919.3024 m2

Daniq

1/144 faddan

27.03555 m2

Ashir

1/10 qaffiz

15.57248 m2

Habbah

1/72 faddan

54.07111 m2

Sahtut

1/13824 faddan

0.282 m2

Qirat

1/24 faddan

162.21333 m2

 

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