Letters to the Editor

Different issues

Faisal Ahmed Khan (via email)

Is eating of halwa, sweets etc. on the occasion of shab-e-barat haraam?

YMD

It is not desirable to prepare special dishes, sweets or others, on the occasion of the night of Baraa’ah. This is because Islam has sanctioned only two days of festivities for us: `Eid al-Fitr and `Eid al-Ad-haa. (Some scholars refer to Friday as our day of `Eid. But that is in the spiritual sense).

Nevertheless, so long as the sweets prepared on the occasion of the night of Baraa’ah do not go through any religious ceremony (such as the Qur’an recited before them), nor any sanctity is attached to them, there is no harm in their consumption, whether cooked by one’s own household or received as gifts from others.

Is taking a bath necessary after secretion due to e…tion?

YMD

No. A fresh wudu is necessary for offering Prayers.

I want to study the hadith literature. Kindly recommend some hadith books for a beginner in ascending order?

YMD

You could begin with Imam Nawawi’s forty hadith, move on to Imam Bukhari’s Adab al-Mufrad and then to Kalaam-e-Nubuwwat of Mawlana Farooq Khan.

I read in a book by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi titled “Teachings of Islam” that it is recommended that if a fly falls into our food we should immerse its other wing also and then throw it away. Is this a proper practice?

YMD

Yes. There are ahadith to this effect in Bukhari, Bazzar and others. And the reason given by the Prophet is that one wing of the fly carries disease, while the other its antidote.

However, drinking of such polluted liquids is not a religious requirement. Most people would prefer to throw away whole of the liquid if an insect fell into it. If they did, they would not be sinning.

The hadith advice may be followed if such liquids have to be consumed, such as, for example, large quantities in bakeries, hotels, etc.

Kindly also tell me whether the practice of not giving share to a person in grandfather’s property if the grandfather is alive and the father has died within his lifetime is Islamic or is it an Arabic custom which is being followed in India?

YMD

We had assured ourselves that after this rock had been hurled against Islam, and thrashed to shingles by the Islamic scholars, the enemies of Islam would have buried the hatchet over this issue. But it seems they have not. Your question, picked up from their circles, or, echoing their voices, perhaps asked in every innocence, and, without realizing the significance, is a sign of that. Kindly, see this month’s editorial for a detailed answer.

In love with an old man

M. K. (via email)

I am deeply in love with a person who happens to be much older than me. I love him immensely and intensely. He loves me with the same intensity.

YMD

Intensity? Non-sense. If the man loves you at all, truly, without any intensity, he will advise you to marry a person closer to your age.

Kindly note that (as you always think), it is not just attraction or lust, we love each other for what we are i.e. for our qualities, although he is a non-Muslim, and twice my age.

YMD

You deny lust. But lust is not easy to define and understand. It is shahwah of the Arabic (although normally translated as lust, but not correctly) that helps us understand the English lust better. Shahwah can lie deep in a person. It might be sexually related, or might not be so related. It could be one of those forms that common people do not think as something that could be understood as lust. E.g., love of the musicians, artists, and sportsmen. Many young women love musicians, band, lute or guitar players. He could just be one of a cast – not even a lead person. They adore them, and will easily give themselves up if one of them would condescend to accept them. What do such women see in them? We do not know. They themselves do not know. Many young girls in the West are known to offer themselves up to them without asking anything in return. They feel proud that they spent a night with one of them. Although, the man could be otherwise extremely ordinary, if not horribly ugly, and, worse, on hard drugs under whose influence he plays the music or beats the drum. But all that does not matter to the girls. They just give themselves up to them without knowing why. So, lust is something deep down in the inner layers of mind and body, and is not as directly related to sex as one would find the signs of.

It is apparent that in your case too, it is lust (shahwah) that’s working beneath the outward motives. You imagine that qualities have something to do in your case. But, if asked, you wouldn’t be able to name those qualities except for saying “Oh! Me and he agree on so many things. We are perfect counterparts.” Nor does your love acquire any moral, intellectual or spiritual worth simply because you are not able to define why you love the man: if we call it love; for, it is infatuation rather than love.

He is ready to marry me. He says he has absolutely no problem to myself practicing Islam. He says we remain as we are now with respect to religion.

YMD

Why should the man have any problem with a young girl, less than half his age, who is so madly devoted to him? Anyone of your kind, who comes so cheap, should be welcome to any male facing the prospect of a walking stick in a few years time? That he is so marvelously generous in religious outlook is not any great personal quality. It is a defect. A man of principles cannot be lured by anyone, however young; unless he is indifferent to religion, in which case he is not a human being, but an animal.

In your case, for him it is the question of being lucky. If you poured the same kind of love on another man, equally unprincipled, he too will have no problem in accepting you. Contrast this with Mawlana Mawdudi. When a young white American woman embraced Islam, she went to him and suggested that he marry her. His reply was that the two did not match in age. (Not that he was too old to marry at all).

I cannot tell all this to my parents to seek their guidance because the moment they know that he is a non-Muslim and is more than double my age, they will reject him. But I love him. He loves me too. Can I go ahead and get married to him? I know he will keep me happy.

YMD

As we see it, he need not keep you happy. You will be happy by yourself. For, in this stage, to you it will be a great achievement if he would marry you at all. According to your mind, he will be doing a favor to you by marrying you: the prince that he is. How long this infatuation will last, we cannot predict. But it will go. And the day it happens, it will be a sad day for you. The rest of your life will be long years of regret, misery, low intensity torture and enduring depression.

Please give me a possible solution acceptable to both of us.

YMD

No solution, except one that allows you remain in his trap will be acceptable to the man.

Apart from singers, musicians, artists and sportsmen, there are other kinds of males in every society who are adept at alluring young girls. Nobody understands how they manage to do it, seeing that they lack any quality of notice. But, that once in a while such cases do occur is so well known a phenomenon in a free society, (which India is fast becoming), that Western novelists have used this as a plot. We were personally told by a friend how a young girl was allured by an old man who had cast such magical spell on her that she abandoned her parents to live with him without getting married. The British parents of the girl were somehow able to find out where the two lived, but so powerful was the man’s diabolical influence on her mind that they could not convince her to return. They kept pressing on the girl, who kept refusing to return, while the man sat there watching the drama, swinging his legs and smiling, in complete confidence that despite knowing his own cunning nature the parents wouldn’t be able to tear off the teen-ager’s infatuation from her. Characters of this sort build their webs very well allowing for no intrusion of reason and good sense from any opening.

Malcom X presents discusses the phenomenon of infatuation in his autobiography and cites an example in which a married woman would come driving down all the way from another city, in response to a telephone call, to spend a few hours in a man’s flat she adored, whose excellent qualities at that time were that he was a thief, a drug dealer and financially a pauper. But his alluring quality was that he was a musician. Women’s infatuation with certain types of men might sound mysterious to some, but those who know the nature of shahwah, which lies deep in the physical nature, controlled by Shaytan, are not as mystified.

We are therefore neither surprised by your infatuation, nor impressed by the reasons you give.

We do believe you should give up the mad idea. Get away from his clutches. Slavery is never a good thing. It damages the personality. One of the ways we suggest is as follows. You say you love him for qualities and not for sex. Fine. We accept this and ask, if such is the nature of your love, why should you marry him? You can keep loving him, and he you, while you get married to a man more suitable for you than him for other, more practical, reasons. You can take people’s love of their birth places as example. Although people are deeply in love with their birth places, life’s realities takes them to other cities, even other countries. But they remain loving their birth-places, despite the fact that in many cases, they cannot visit them once again in their life-time. Yet the love lasts to their death. In a similar manner you can keep loving him until you die – without ever visiting him.

There is another suggestion. Since your love is not influenced by lust, as you claim, he will be as good after five years as he is now, or maybe more attractive. So, marry him after five years.

Finally, you say he will allow you to practice Islam. If so, why not practice Islam now? Start praying five times, fast three days every month, spend generously on charity, observe full hijab, read the Qur’an with meaning, and save money for a Hajj or `Umrah that you perform after five years. After the pilgrimage, having advanced in age, education and experience, you will be in a much better position to decide your future course of action.

If the man does not jump at one of the solutions above as something most sensible for you to do, he doesn’t love you. For, a lover is above lust and physical desires. He prefers his beloved to himself. If you fall in a river he will save you at the cost of his life. Right? So, if he is a true lover he should tell you, “Yes, you have come up with some good ideas. You should marry a man matching your age. As for me, however pure our love, I’ll be as dry as a fallen twig in a couple of years. You will soon be nursing me as I pass through my final days. When I am dead, you will still be a young damsel, but left with no one on your side. And my love of you cannot accept that you should be inconvenienced in the least, anytime in your life, far from being one abandoned by your kinsfolk.”

So, test him – and your own sanity.

Hussain(r.a.)'s murder

I am a regular reader of your valuable magazine. I have a question: Is Yazid responsible for Hazrat Husain’s martyrdom? If so then what is your opinion regarding Ibn-Taimiyah’s book “Minhaj al-Sunnah” and “Husain wa Yazid” and Mahmud Ahmad Abbasi’s “Khilafat Muawiyah wa Yazid“?

Fayaz Ahmed (via email)

YMD

The martyrdom of Hussain b. `Ali at Karbala is a complicated issue. The reports that have come to us are of historical nature. They are not of the type of hadith narrations that can be checked for their authenticity. The issue is further complicated because it happened 1400 years ago. Finally, a sect has come into existence created over this issue. Zealots of the sect, its speech-makers, poets, and others have added on to the events fabricated details.

All we can say for definite is that he was martyred, at Karbalah, on 10th of Muharram, along with many of the family members (but not womenfolk), surrounded by a force that had been sent by the local Governor (and not Yezid, who was the Khalifah, and was in Syria) to prevent his entry into Kufah. When the critical moment arrived he was abandoned by the pro-Ahl al-Bayt, pro-`Alids and pro-Hussainis – those very people who had invited him to Kufah, having urged him to come: so most persistently and imploringly, and on promise of full help and support if he came down to them. That influenced Hussain’s decision to go, despite the fact that his followers, family members, and lovers from among the Sunnis in Hejaz, strongly advised him against going.

These are facts that, if they are trusted, it is because the reports about them have come to us from several sources. In other words, if they are treated with trust, it is because of the numerousness of the reports, and not because they have been checked for authenticity in the manner of prophetic Traditions. The surrounding details are also aplenty, but not as numerously quoted, and because of the fabrication of reports, lose the right of serious attention. Some of the reports are quite fabulous e.g. what he said in his prostration while surrounded by the army sent to capture him. How did anyone manage to hear that long supplication?

Now, since all of those who were involved, directly or indirectly, in that unhappy event are dead, and the issue is not religious but political, we believe there is no point in trying to determine the roles played by the various people involved, or to fix the responsibility. Those who committed the crime will answer for them in the Hereafter. We do not hold a grudge against anyone else because of the crime. For example, it was a Persian slave who murdered `Umar ibn al-Khattab. He could well have had political reasons for the murder. Or, maybe it was racial prejudice, or merely envy and anger since it was during `Umar’s reign that the age-old Persian empire was destroyed root and branch. But we Muslims hold nothing against the Persians (today’s Iranians) because of that event. We consider it as an isolated issue.

As a matter of fact, murder of the third and fourth Caliphs `Uthman and `Ali was of greater consequence than that of Hussain. But, once again, the scholars of Islam have not spent much energy in trying to allocate the responsibility of the murder of the two Caliphs. A step further up, in the Prophet’s death, the poison administrated by a Jewish woman had its effect. The Prophet himself complained about it. But we do not curse the Jews today for this reason. We consider it an isolated incident.

The Muslim Ummah is not a political entity, but a religious unit. In religion, politics, although important, is not the core issue. If the scholars of Islam have written at all on the issue of Hussain’s murder, it is because it is part of our history. They have also reminded that those who were distantly responsible, cannot be declared wholly responsible, and cursed for that reason.

This is what we believe is the attitude you should adopt. You should leave issue where it is: buried under 1400 years of history.

Jeans for women

I read in one of your issues where, in answering the question of Naqvi Urooj (‘can girls wear jeans?’), you replied that there is no harm in wearing jeans before maharam and when clad in burqah but as we know, the Prophet, peace be upon him, has disallowed that for men to wear women’s dresses or women to wear men’s dresses. Please reply because I feel confused about it.

Mohammed Mujahid (via email)

YMD

The hadith is true and the ruling it dictates, stands. On our part, we have not recommended that women wear jeans of the type that men wear, if they have to wear at all. We understand that there are different designs of jeans for men and women, just like there are different designs of shirts and shalwar for men and women.

The fact must also not be lost sight of that when we say jeans are allowed, we do not mean any of those kinds that are prohibited in Islam, such as those that bring out the contour of the body because of their narrow fitting styles, or those that are too thin. Indeed, all narrow fitting wears as well as thin ones are disallowed, both for Muslim males as well as females, whether they are jeans, pants, or shirts. The first condition for any dress is that it should cover the body well: give the dress the name you will and the design you will.

Fourth Marriage

Imran (via email)

I would like to know why, according to the shariyat, a divorced woman must necessarily marry another person if she wishes to marry her ex-husband.

YMD

Your information is incorrect. Should you not, before attacking the Shari`ah of Islam, check up on the correctness of your knowledge?

A divorced woman can marry her former husband a second time after the first divorce. She can marry her former husband a third time after receiving another divorce. But, at the fourth time, Islam will not allow her and her former husband to make fun of its laws, and so will not allow the two to come together, without she marrying a person other than the former husband and the new husband divorcing her by free will.

Is that not being unfair?

YMD

Unfair? Why, the two need to be locked up.

Look at it this way. If a secular court is involved, its judgment would be that a pair which marries, separates and remarries a number of times, needs to be medically examined. Is something wrong with the minds of the two? Or, are they playing jokes on the society or with the marriage registration courts? Today they are married, tomorrow they are divorced. On any day the people do not know whether they are husband and wife or a separated gooks. If they go to the court a fourth time, the registration clerk will ask them to push off. If they insist, court authorities might summon the police chief of the area. What sort of record these two have, he will be asked. Have they ever been into the asylum?

Is it not injustice to women in the name of shariyat?

YMD

You seem to be very conscious of women’s rights in Islam. We recommend that you get involved in the welfare of women living in slums. They lead a miserable life, and deserve your kind attention.

As regards injustice, if the Shari`ah does not allow two persons to come together as husband and wife after three previous marriages and separations, how does it become unjust to one of them alone?

Maslaks a uniting factor?

My question is If our Allah is One, our Qur’an is one, our Prophet is one, … then why we have been divided in to maslaks?

Salim Lone Jahangir, Srinagar (via email)

YMD

You are correct. There is no ground for any division in Islam. But is there a division on the grounds of maslaks? Do you see that around you? E.g., 90% of Muslims in India are Hanafis. Are they united or divided? If disunited, is maslak the cause? Isn’t the fact that they are disunited on every front? If they are united anywhere at all, it is over the Hanafiyy maslak. That is, the Hanafiyy maslak unites them: they all claim adherence to it, and never hold an opinion in Shari`ah matters other than that of the Hanafiyy maslak. When you find somebody breaking a Shari`ah rule, all you have to do is to remind him that he is breaking away from the Hanafiyy maslak, and he backs off. If you wish to get people together in India, you better not assemble them in the name of politics, or social problems, or educational or material development, etc. The only time they will respond whole-heartedly is when you assemble them over Hanafiyy maslak. The same applies to the Shafe`iyyah in Egypt, or Malikiyyah in North Africa. So, the masaalik are a uniting factor and not divisionary.

Nor are these countries disunited because of maslaks. For example, the Egyptian and other African countries are not divided because of the differences in maslaks. There are political reasons why they divided themselves after they were one under the `Uthmani Khilafah. Today, although Iraqi Sunnis are mostly Hanafis, during the last Ramadan, Muslims from one end of the world to another – belonging to all four masaaliks – were loudly supplicating for them during Taraweeh.

Those who are trying to introduce a new maslak are basing their propagation strategy on a lie. This is the primary reason why they have failed miserably over the time. And this is not the only lie on which they depend. They depend on a pack of them to which applies what they say in Arabic as:

  كَلِمَةُ الْحِقَِ أُريدَ بها الْبَاطِل

i.e. “A true word with which falsehood is intended.”

The Ummah is not deceived by these lies, and has strongly rejected these fresh efforts to divide it. It stands united over such issues as, for example, the occupation of Iraq where Pakistanis, Afghanis, Turks, Indonesians, Gulf Arabs, Yemenis, Sudanese, Egyptians, Palestinians, Jordanians, Syrians, Kurds and even youths from Europe – of all the four maslaks, plus the Ahl al-Hadith (except the Shi`ah) – are fighting shoulder to shoulder against a common enemy: oil thieves and coward crusaders. If anyone comes to you in tears over division in the Ummah, slap him in the face. It is the face of a man who doesn’t like the unity of the Ummah.

Du`a

Muhammad Umer Shariff (via email)

I am a student studying in Xth C.B.S.E. Many times I have observed that shaytan stops me from doing a good work. This happens not only with me but others also. Can you please tell me a few dua’s (with meaning in English) which can keep one away from shaytan.

YMD

A well-known supplication suggested by the Prophet is quite sufficient if certain other conditions are met. He has instructed us that whenever one of us feels distracted by Shaytan, he could say:

 

أَعوذُ باللهِ مِنَ الشَّيطانِ الرَّجِيم

i.e. “I seek Allah’s refuge from Shaytan the accursed.”

We have another supplication suggested by the Prophet. Although it has some defect in the chain of narration, as Haythami stated, but, it has several other reports of similar nature to strengthen it. According to it, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud is recorded in Ahmed as reporting the Prophet, “Whoever said:

اَللَهُمَّ فاطِرَ السَّماواتِ والأرضِ عالِمَ الغيبِ والشهادةِ إني أعْهَدُ إِليكَ في هذِهِ الحياةِ الدنيا أني أشهَدُ أنْ لا إِلهَ إلا أَنتَ وَحْدَكَ لا شَريكَ لكَ وأنَّ محمداً عبْدُكَ ورَسولُكُ فإِنَّكَ إِنْ تَكِلْني إلى نَفسي تُقَرِّبُني مِن الشَّرِّ وتُباعِدُني مِنَ الخير، وإِني لا أَثِقُ إلا بِرَحْمَتِك فاجْعَلْ لي عِندَكَ عَهْداً تُوَفِّينِيهِ يَومَ القيامَةِ، إِنَّكَ لا تُخْلِفُ الْمِيعاد

 

i.e. O Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, the Knower of the seen and the unseen, I pledge to You in the life of this world that there is no deity except You – alone, You have no associates and that Muhammad is Your slave and Messenger, for, if you abandon me to my own self, You will only take me closer to evil and away from good. I do not place any trust except in Your mercy. Therefore, let there be a pledge remaining with You, which You will fulfill on the Day of Judgment, surely, You do not break the trust,”

.. whoever said that .. “will have Allah say on the Day of Judgment, ‘My slave has a made a compact with me, so fulfill it now.’ Then he will be admitted into Paradise.” Suhayl, one of the narrators of the above hadith says, “I informed Qasim b. `Abdul Rahman that `Awn says such and such a thing.” Qasim b. `Abdul Rahman said, “There isn’t a girl in our household but who says these words in her apartments.” (That is, “You might have recently learnt the hadith. As for us, our little girls have been practicing it since long.”)

We have said in the above lines that certain conditions have to be met to make the supplication effective. One is, you must do your five daily Prayers on time. Second, avoid watching the TV. Third, do some reading on Islam. These things will make your Du`a in one of the two above words powerful enough to break you away from sins, Allah willing.

And I also wanted to know the Muslim population in India in percentage according to the latest findings.

YMD

The issue is quite unclear. It could be anything between 15 to 20% of the total population.

We might also point out that in this-worldly affairs the true weight of the Ummah has its worth in its qualities rather than numbers. As for the Hereafter, and final judgments, of course, there these numbers will count.

Trust needing help

Your magazine is really an interesting and informative one, though I am not regular reader of it but whenever I get one it gives me a good source of information about the basics Islam.

I am running a charitable trust named Muzammil Charitable Trust. Its aim is to provide assistance to the poor and needy, and for this we have established a school and a hospital where education and health assistance are provided almost free of cost.

The fees and other sources of Trust’s income are not enough for the Trust to function smoothly. At the moment our trust is desperately in need of financial assistance. I request you to give us information regarding organizations that could help me in the cause.

Tariq Zargar, Srinagar (via email)

YMD

So far as our information goes, at best there could be, if any, but few organizations in India that help out other Trusts. There used to be in the Gulf, but they are all closed down under American pressure. The situation in India is that most Trusts that open up with the aim of providing financial aid to others, expand their work so much that one day they begin to appeal for funds. We suspect that this could be the case with you. Trusts need to assess their financial strength, and then layout budget in agreement with the expected income. This we believe is what you should do. We are publishing your appeal in hope that people of philanthropic nature might respond.

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