Q. Is an act which is described makrooh tanzeehi permissible? Is it correct to say that makrooh tanzeehi is jaa-is ma-al karaahat?

A. A makrooh tanzeehi act is never permissible. Persistence transforms makrooh tanzeehi into makrooh tahreemi. Makrooh tanzeehi is not jaaiz ma-al karaahat. (a permissible which is makrooh). The latter is a different category.
Jaaiz ma-al karaahat are “haraam”and makrooh tahreemi” acts which become temporarily permissible whilst retaining the attribute of karaahat, e.g. identification photographs, tadaawibil haraam (medication with haram substances), consuming haram food because of lack of halaal food, which situation will lead to death, paying license fees and paying government tax. The principle underlying this class of acts is duress and compulsion. When one is compelled to commit a haram act it becomes jaaiz ma-al karaahat.

Q. Is makrooh tanzeehi the same as khilaaf-e-aula?

A. Makrooh tanzeehi is not khilaaf-e-aula. While the former leads to sin, not so the latter. Khilaaf-e-aula is not sinful nor does it lead to sin with israar (persistence). Examples of khilaaf-e-aula acts not rendered in the best form. Some examples are:
• Engaging in worldly acts before performing ishraaq namaz
• Conversation whilst walking to the musjid for performing salaat
• Filling the stomach with food. This excludes overeating which is sinful.
• Performing Hajj (the five days) in a vehicle instead of walking to Arafaat when one has the strength and ability to walk
• Performing less than 8 raka’ts tahajjud namaaz
• Performing tahyatul musjid after having sat down.
There are innumerable such acts which are permissible, not makrooh tanzeehi. But having lesser thawaab than doing it the aula way.
Makrooh tanzeehi becomes sinful if one intentionally persists in acting in conflict with the sunnah practices which are not of the muakkad class, e.g. entering the musjid with the left leg, putting first the left foot in the shoe, unnecessarily sitting cross-legged when eating, reciting the ruku’ and the sajdah tasbeeh twice or once instead of thrice, etc.