Letters to the Editor
Abdul Sameer, via email
Is Du`a Qunut compulsory to recite in witr?
Qunut means to stand. The Qunut Du`a is so named because it is done at the standing position. This supplication is, according to the Hanafiyyah, wajib in witr. However, no specific du`a is wajib. If someone just said, for example,
رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَاحَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً
it should be sufficient.
However, it is reported of `Umar b. al-Khattab and `Ali ibn Abi Talib that they used to recite the supplicatory words in their qunut that are normally quoted in Hanafiyy books of Fiqh, and which begin with the words,
اَللهم إنا نَسْتَعينُكَ …
Therefore, it is desirable that one uses this supplicatory formula in the witr Prayers.
Can we do `isha and witr prayer without it?
According to the Hanafiyyah, witr after Salah al-`Isah is wajib, so, you cannot do without it. And, qunut is wajib in witr prayers.
What is your advice for people who have forgotten it?
Until the longer version is memorized, one could say the Qur’anic prayer-words we have quoted above, adding whatever else he knows of the prayer-words of the Qur’an, or proven hadith.
Yasser Abdul Aziz, via email
The first question is about the Hadith in Sunan Abu Dawood, Chapter 38, Hadith # 4348. Please comment on this hadith. Does it not sound cruel?
This was referred to me by one of my non-Muslim colleague. I know he might have got this from a Christian apologetic because he is not very much interested in Islam in terms of understanding it, but to put across the flaws in it. My own comment to him was that this hadith “does not make a law.”
You were both correct as well as incorrect in saying that this hadith does not make the law. It does not because the one you have quoted was the action of a Companion. It is not hadith per se. A Companion does not make the law. But you were incorrect in saying that the hadith does not make the law. It very much makes the law. The Prophet was a Messenger, and a law-maker. What he declared lawful is lawful. What he declared unlawful is unlawful. The humankind has accepted him on this condition: “Your word will be the final word. If it is not, we cannot accept you as a Messenger of God.” For further explanation, please see this month’s editorial.
As for the hadith itself, (or rather, the athar), its Arabic text is as follows:
عن أبي مُوسَى قالَ: “قَدِمَ عَلَيّ مُعَاذُ وَأَنَا بالْيَمَنِ وَرَجُلٌ كَانَ يَهُودِيّا فأَسْلَمَ فَارْتَدّ عن الإسْلاَمِ، فَلمّا قَدِمَ مُعَاذٌ قالَ: لا أنْزِلُ عنْ دابّتِي حَتّى يُقْتَلَ فَقُتِلَ. قالَ أحَدُهُمَا: وكَانَ قَدِ اسْتُتِيبَ قَبْلَ ذَلِكَ”. (أبو داؤد)
Abu Musa (Ash`ari) said, “Mu`aadh arrived upon me while I was in Yemen; and, a man (happened to be there) who was formerly a Jew who became Muslim and then turned renegade on Islam. When Mu`aadh arrived he said, ‘I will not get down my animal until he is killed.’” One of the transmitters said, “He had been encouraged to repent (but he refused).”
Other reports give us details such as: the Jew had in fact to be killed before Mu`aadh would dismount, that Abu Musa Ash`ari was the Governor of Yemen appointed by the Prophet, and Muaadh was to assist him.
Mu`aadh ibn Jabal was not acting on his own. He had the Prophetic authority behind him. He was a man of such strong faith that he did not like to place his foot on a ground where Islam prevailed but its law was not applied. (One might wonder whether the Companions, if they were here today, would like to alight into any of the so-called Islamic countries)!
For further discussion, kindly see this month’s editorial.
The Spirits or Souls are going to be eternal in future with no end either in Hell or Heaven. So that also means that they existed in past eternally?
We do not see how eternal existence in future demands eternal existence in the past.
Eternal existence does not require a beginning.
By what logic is this?
So are spirits without a beginning or an end? Can you please comment on this?
The inference is incorrect. Setting aside logic, which does not support the above argument, Revelation tells us that Allah created the spirits at a point in time.
Science also tell us that there was a point in time when matter did not exist. Then they came into existence; and that, if the present findings are final, the universe will, according to science, will be in existence for ever; although, we who have Revelational knowledge informs us that Allah will destroy the created world to annihilation.
In Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 30 has angels surprisingly asking about the vicegerent: “Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?” Please let me know what made the angels comment that way? Were there any creatures created prior to Adam (peace be upon him) or similar beings who shed blood or were the angels aware of the nature of man, although Allah says “I know what ye know not.”
A Revelation-based answer is that out of numerous surrounding events referred to above, we know only a few. Neither the Qur’an nor hadith literature, the only two reliable sources, have given us other details. We cannot therefore, guess the countless unknown, with the help of a few known. From this particular verse we draw the meaning and the lesson intended: “Humans are prone to corruption, violence and bloodshed, and not much inclined to chanting their Creator’s praises and glory; which – if they did not corrupt themselves – should fill their hours, and which indeed should be their life-purpose – seeing that they have the example of angels who are constantly thus engaged.”
But we could add that among the earliest commentators there have been some who believe, although we do not know their source, that there were Jinn on the earth who fought among themselves, shed much blood, and, as a result, Allah (swt) appointed Iblis to fight them all and drive them away to the seas.
It is also been said that the composition of the first being, and the fact that he will have the power to choose and freedom to act, the angels guessed that the end result would be much blood-shed. They seemed to have been right in their guess. (It is said by historians that the second world war caused the death of 55,000,000 people).
As for Allah’s statement, “I know what you know not,” the general explanation is that Allah was telling them that there were reasons other than what the angels thought for the creation of Man, and that, Allah knew of the wisdom He had, that the angels did not know.
Khalid Hameed Khan
Please answer the following questions.
Recently a Muslim Scholar on QTV mentioned that our Prophet cast no shadow as he was made of Noor.
It has been supposed that the Prophet was not made of dust; but rather of light. Now, since light cannot have its shadow, they had to invent another lie: his shadow did not fall. Both assumptions have no substance. The Prophet was a human in every respect. He ate and drank and had to relieve his bowels. He was human to such extent that his opponents said (25: 7),
مَالِ هَذَا الرَّسُولِ يَأْكُلُ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشِي فِي الأَسْوَاقِ
I.e., “What’s with this Messenger that he eats food and walks about in the markets?!”
What they meant is, he should have been an angel, or possessed of angelic qualities.
Those who claim that the Prophet did not cast his shadow do not realize that had that been the case, it would have been evidence against his opponents. He could point to them when he was rejected that although he was not an angle, as they demanded he should have been, but he did possess some of the angelic qualities, such as, his shadow did not fall, just as the shadows of the angels do not fall. Since the Prophet stayed in Makkah for 53 years, this single miracle would have convinced the whole of the Arab world of his authenticity. The news of a man who did not cast his shadow, would have emerged out of the Arab world and reached the four corners of the earth. People would have traveled from great distances to see the miracle with their own eyes. And, once they saw the miracle with their eyes, they would have no hesitation to believe that he must be either an angel in human form, or made of light, or maybe, as he claims, a Messenger. But, no such thing happened. On the contrary, time and again the Makkans demanded a sign. The Qur’an tells us (20: 133),
وَقَالُوا لَوْلَا يَأْتِينَا بِآيَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّهِ
“They say, ‘Only if he could bring a miracle,’”
If the Prophet did not cast his shadow, he would have said, “Here is one.” But, instead, his unvarying answer was that he had no power to bring a miracle, except if Allah willed.
Is there in this a sign for those of the Muslims today who hold opinions contrary to the opinion held by the mainstream Muslims throughout the ages? Or, will they remain blind to this truth, just as the Prophet’s enemies remained blind to the Truth that the Prophet brought?
Another scholar on the same channel mentioned that a blind person came to our Prophet and asked that his eye sight be restored. The Prophet asked him to observe patience that will help him in the Hereafter. The blind person however insisted on his eye sight being restored. The Prophet then asked him to pray to Allah using his Wasilah and the eyesight was restored.
There is no reliable report confirming the above incident.
The scholar said that the Prophet himself had allowed wasilah and that we can pray to Allah using the wasilah of Saints and other awliya.
It should have been apparent to you that the man was not a spokesman of Islam, but of a vested group. If he was speaking with Allah’s approval in his sight, he would told his audience to seek Allah’s bounties directly from Him, as it is He who grants and He who withholds.
The topic of waseelah is a complicated one. That which was allowed by the Prophet had a restricted application, which is being expanded and exploited to lead to, and justify, saint-worship. Once legality of the kind of waseelah that they wish to make current, it will automatically lead to the establishment of the “Peer-ziyaarat-`Urs” system on which depends the livelihood of the spokesmen of the assumed saints.
For details on waseelah you may refer to `Aqaa’id of the Ahl Sunnah wa al-Jama`ah, as worked out by Imam Tahawi, al-Hanafiyy of the 3rd century. It has been translated into English and is available with Iqra. You might write to the sales department.
Another scholar said that reciting the Qur’an during the periods is not permissible as a person can encounter an ayah of sajdah leading to delay in offering the sajdah tilawah.
If you heard him properly, then the answer betrays the person’s identity. He is half-`alim. He was half right and half wrong. According to the Hanafiyyah, a woman may not touch the Mus-haf during the periods nor recite it even without looking into it.
But he was wrong when he said that the prohibition has something to do with the delay in Sajdah Tilawah.
We advise Muslims not to watch these programs. They are not run by trustworthy scholars, and, further, education has its methods which cannot be ignored without peril. Religious education is all the more difficult.
Mohd. Faraz, via email
I am 20yr old doing my B.E. I read your magazine at an acquaintance’s office and was quite pleased with answers to some questions. I have a few queries too:
We hope you will have access to your friend’s office to receive these answers.
Since it is not right to touch the Qur’an without wudu, what if someone breaks his wudu while reading it?
He should close it. But the rules of Mushaf do not apply to translations and commentaries. Although recitation is not recommended even from a Tafsir work, one could open the Qur’an for reference purposes, or for reading the commentary, but he or she should take care not to touch any part of the Arabic text.
Also what should one do if he breaks the wudu during prayers?
He should terminate the Prayers if the wudu is nullified. If someone is in congregation, then too he should break off the line, cross through the lines of worshippers in congregation, go out and redo the wudu.
Sadia Khan, via email
I am a law student currently researching on Indian Muslim Law particularly on the subjects of divorce and maintenance. What really bewilders me is the concept of “iddat” in relation to maintenance after divorce.
According to my research on this subject, in none of the ayats has the Qur’an pointed to any specific duration of maintenance. Here are the relevant verses…
We have deleted the verses. To us it sounds like you do not know the Arabic language, nor have access to the larger and original Fiqh works. This is a serious drawback. Fiqh is considered to be the toughest of Islamic disciplines. Only the brightest of the Madrasa students are chosen for Fiqh studies. Yet, despite their specialization, they consider themselves as in no way qualified to deliver a fatwa (legal opinion) of their own. Their studies open their eyes to the complications involved, the depth of learning required, and the high level of intelligence needed to work out the Islamic law. They arrive at the opinion through personal experience – that the early masters must have been geniuses to have been able to work out the law. It is not only the thorough learning of the source book, and a vast amount of Revelational knowledge, along with a few other disciplines, but also a keen intelligence that go to make a man fit for Fiqh.
We advise that either you qualify yourself by mastering a few Islamic disciplines, or, do not take up such a topic for research. Change over to something simpler, such as where books in English will suffice.
Please let me know how the period has been derived. Is it from the Qur’an or hadith?
Both, plus a few other sources, with language and logic as the accessories. This is the reason why logic is taught as a subject for several years in higher classes, starting with Aristotelian logic, and traveling up to higher forms of it.
Moreover I would like to know as to how the Arab countries have interpreted these ayats and what law is prevalent out there. What is the procedure of maintenance in the Arab world?
We have left ayats as written by you to impress on you how premature it is of you to try and work out the Islamic law. A verse is an ayah in Arabic. Its plural is “aayaat.” But to say “ayats” is neither English nor Arabic.
Nonetheless, since the Arabs know the Arabic language, even the commonest of them knows that the Qur’an does not allow for living expenses of a divorced woman after her divorce proceeding is complete, and she is separated from her former husband. They also know that the Qur’an and Sunnah are so evidently clear, that no interpretation can be resorted to.
I would be greatly obliged if you could answer my queries in depth with relevant citation and authority.
There is no need for any further research. The well-researched opinions are already available in Fiqh books. Sayyid Sabiq’s Fiqh as-Sunnah might help you. Also, in their colonial times the British had got the part of Hidayah dealing with transactions translated into English – for their court-purposes. This book will be of greater help.
I am hoping that you would be of great help in broadening my knowledge of Qur’an and Hadith and bring to light as to how well the Qur’an ensures the protection of the rights of women.
Rights of women in Islam are, to make a general statement, so great that recently a Western non-Muslim woman reached the conclusion after a study, conducted among the Muslims themselves, that a woman in Islamic system is truly a queen of the house. This is the opinion of someone who is hardly expected to know how well the ancients treated their women.
The subject is vast, and you are advised to read not one, but several books dealing with rights granted to them.
You should of course, study the Qur’an on your own. Mawlana Mawdudi’s Tafheem is around, and so is Ishraq al-Ma`ani of Syed Iqbal Zaheer. Perhaps on trying you might obtain English version of Ma`arif al-Qur’an of Mawlana Shafi` Deobandi.
A.S., via email
I got married through arranged marriage to someone in whom I see nothing wrong but that he and the whole family are of the well-known Bid`ah group. I have tried to influence my husband to impress that the Prophet was not made of noor; he wasn’t `Aalim al-Ghaib; and it is absolutely wrong to do Fatiha, Urs, Niyaz etc.; but he says that he can never be convinced about it all. In fact he says that I must participate for the sake of happiness of his parents whether I like it or not. Of course he does not force me, but when I do not participate he gets emotional. So my question is can I seek divorce for this reason.
Separation on these grounds is out of the question. That should be resorted to only in case of apostasy. Your husband does not become apostate by practicing what you have enumerated. The things he does will not earn him any reward, in fact, they are sin, but he remains within the fold of Islam.
Nor should you antagonize your husband’s folks. In its consequence, acrimony sets in and living together becomes difficult. More seriously, no room is left for dialogue and the resultant influence. This means you should not openly criticize them for their beliefs or actions. So long as they do not force you to something, you are safe from tribulations.
On your part you have to stay firm. As for them, instead of preaching, you launch an educational program. This program should not be directed against their Bid`ah – whether of belief or action. It should be on general lines. You could, e.g., organize a daily halqah before everybody goes to bed, in which the participants read in turn the translation of Imam Bukhari’s Adab al-Mufrad. It is a book that hardly anyone will disagree with, and never those who believe they love the Prophet.
When finished with the above work, take up life of the Prophet by say Syed Sulayman Nadwi (the shorter version). It is meant for children. When through with it, take up Qasasul Anbiya’ by Hifzur Rahman Sewharwi. Thereafter take up Riyad al-Saleheen of Nawawi. These books will create deep respect for the Prophet and invoke love for him. When love is established, they will want to do things the way he did, and avoid what he did not. They will also become conscious of what is trustworthy and what is not. Gradually, they will cool down on Bid`ah and ultimately give them up.
The important factor of careful observation throughout is that you do not endeavor to correct them, give them your own opinions, or discuss Bid`ah issues. If asked about a Bid`ah practice, answer back that you are not an authority. Ask them to seek someone else’s opinion. Do not even name whom to ask. Let them be on their own. Let them even seek the opinion of their own Bid`ah Mawlawis. On your part, just stay firm on the books and the nightly halqah. It is attendance here that will distance them from their Bid`ah and not your preaching. Truth speaks for itself. You need only to convey as it has come down, in the words it has come down backed by the authority behind it: Allah and His Messenger.
Raza Qureshi, via email
Here in Kuwait, I have an option to work in a American military camp. The work is completely related to ongoing operations in Iraq. I have been offered to join as a supervisor looking after logistics.
I asked a maulana in Kuwait – one Badrul-Qasmi. He told me that it is halal. What is your advice?
We believe you have asked the wrong authority. Someone not involved in the conflict is not qualified to pronounce a fatwa. You need to address your question to the Sunni scholars of Iraq. You may talk to one of them by phone, or contact them through the Internet.
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If a man and woman want to get married but their parents oppose; can the two run away from home and get married. Is this allowed in Islam or not? What does Islam say when parents oppose on the basis of poverty of one of the two or because of a long-standing quarrel between the two families?
Ahmad Sajad, via email
Firstly, about running away: today’s Indian Muslim youth seem to take “running away” as something normal. This is the direct result of TV programs to which they are exposed by their parents and the society in which they are brought up. Elopement is perhaps a common theme in the movies. But in real life, there is no society: Muslim or non-Muslim, eastern or western, conservative or modern, in which running away is approved. You do things the straight-forward way. Running away to get married indicates that the entire society around the couple is opposed to their union. Elopement signifies that some kind of criminality is involved in it. Why should one hide as criminals do from the police? In contrast, honest, honorable men and women do things openly and publicly. The society in which they live congratulates them for what they do and celebrates the occasions of happiness along with them.
The Qur’an has a very specific verse for this phenomenon. It says (2: 189),
“There is no piety in that you should enter houses (during Hajj) from the rear. Rather, piety is (in him) who fears Allah. Therefore, come to the houses by their doors, and fear Allah haply you may prosper.”
Yusuf Ali explains it in the following terms: “This is a Muslim proverb now, and much might be written about its manifold meanings. (For instance) ‘If you want to achieve an object honorably, go about it openly and not “by the back door.'”
The above said, it might be remembered that marriage of two individuals is the marriage of two families. A family is like a tree with say ten branches. Let us assume the other family has also ten branches. Marriage tie between the two leads to the intermingling of the two families, now with 21 branches: twice ten, plus the new one through the marriage. That is how you see in a marriage party, presence of families from both sides.
This new family of 21 branches is in time reduced in size by dropping a few branches at the farthest ends. A new family comes into existence which has maybe 10 branches. Others are dropped out for some reason or the other. It’s quite like the genome of a newly conceived child. He has half the genes from the mother, another half from his father.
But, today’s Muslim youths do not see their marriage as one that will lead to the union of two families. They look into the sky and not at the realities down on the earth. Consequently, they cannot see the branches below them. Under the influence of either selfishness, or lack of Islamic education, or already prevailing poor family relations, they think not but of themselves and imagine that they live in a void.
The union of the two remains visible as a union of the two, but for a short time: the period of the honeymoon. It may last a few months or maybe a year. Thereafter, the branches below them become visible, ties are remembered, the desire to be within them and one among them increases and the natural bonds make their loud call.
But, if the two families are disagreeable over the union, or to each other, for whatever reason, then, when the honey disappears, the moon vanishes, and the pair remember their families, old and new, they see faces that display cold disapproval. Wherever they go together, either to this family or that, there is coldness, uneasiness, and a wish to terminate the meeting as fast as possible.
While this is what they face in the families, at their personal level honeymoon is followed by the days of onion, disagreements, re-assertion of personalities, independence of opinions, refusal to be controlled, wish for the pre-marriage freedom, desire to be left alone once in a while, resurgence of the wish for activities that were temporarily dropped, and so on. This reassertion of respective personalities is the first shock of marriage. And, in cases where the two are not well supported by their respective families, this first shock itself can lead to breakup.
There are other issues involved, but to make it brief, we might terminate here with our advice that under no circumstance should any pair run away from home, for any purpose, all the less for getting married to someone disapproved of by one or both families.
I am a pharmacy diploma holder and wish to open a drug shop. I have heard that Islamic Development Bank provides loans for Muslim youths for self employment without interest. Is there any branch of IDB in India?
Sajid Hussain Jeergal, via email
So far as our knowledge goes, IDB does not provide loans to individuals for businesses.
If a boy and girl love each other but their parents do not agree to the marriage, what should they do?
Hilal Lone, via email
If it is a boy and a girl, they should both wait until they are fully mature. By maturity we mean maturity of the Indians who can be so called only after the boy is above 25 and the girl above 22. If they still feel they should get married to each other, and everything else is normal between them, socially and economically, we do not believe their parents will object at that point.
We as girls come across others who claim to be Lesbian. Does Islam permit this? I think you need to devote an article to this topic.
Aasiya Dafedar, via email
This is a gift from the West. Unable to marry off its daughters and settle them in decent homes, it has had to offer them unnatural solutions to natural urges. It is of course disallowed in Islam. As for an article on it, we may offer one sometime in future, but not immediately as we have other articles waiting for appearance since long.