Letters to the Editor

The Beatific Vision

Q: Allah does not have any image and does not exist in any form according to Islam. Then, in what image, or in what form, do we see Him in heaven, as it is the greatest Neamah in heaven?

Gulzar Bhat,
On Email

YMD
The inhabitants of Paradise will see their Lord in form and shape that He wishes to reveal Himself. We do not know anything beyond this.

Ayah al-Kursiyy

Q: After FarzNamaz, in every Salat, people keep their right hand on their heads and read Aayat-ul-Kursi. I just wanted to know:Is it compulsory to read Aayat-ul-Kursi after every FarzNamaz?

YMD

There are Ahadith that report the Prophet as having said that whosoever recited Ayah al-Kursiyy after every Obligatory Prayer, will have nothing preventing him from entry into Paradise except death. That is, scholars have explained, after someone has recited this Ayah, so very consistently, until death, fulfils one of the many conditions to be fulfilled for entry into Paradise.

However, there is no hadith that instructs placing of the right hand over the head during its recitation. This practise seems to be an addition by pseudo-religious scholars, those for whom the masses are their bread basket.

Yet, it is not Wajib to recite Ayah al-Kursiyy after every obligatory Prayer, but rather, a recommendation by the Prophet.

Q. Whether it can be read after Farz, Sunnat and NafilSalats also?

YMD

Ahadith mention specifically, “after every obligatory Prayer.”

Q. Whether it is a practice or a rule? If it is a rule, where can I find this rule?If you are referring to the practise of placing the right hand on the head, then, this rule will not be found in any Fiqh-book prepared by a Faqih.

M. A. Rahiman,
On Email

Books to Read

Q: I’m an 18-year-old girl who’s just finished the first year of medical school. Each member of our family eagerly waits for every issue of YMD, including the kids, who look forward to the Children’s Column.Apart from the routineNamaz and recitation of Qur’an with Tarjumah and Tafsir in English (by MoulanaMoududi), I would like to read a few essential Islamic books. My mother reads ‘Fiqh‘ by MoulanaMujeebullahNadvi and Sirat-un-Nabi by ShibliNomani in Urdu. I feel more comfortable with English; therefore, I request you to suggest good books in English with their authors for me and also my sister aged twelve.

Safiuddin Iqbal,
On Email

YMD

If you are more comfortable with English, then we recommend that you study the translation and commentary by Mawlana Yusuf Ali. Initially, say first 100 pages, it might sound tough, both from the point of view of language, as well as the meanings and implications of the commentary below. But, reading a page or two every day, will advance you intellectually, and bestow on you the ‘first impression’ of an Islamic spirit which is nearest to being the correct one. First impressions are important. Yusuf Ali remains, till today, a towering figure in imbibing through his translation and Tafseer the rightful spirit of the Islamic religion, and opening the hearts to spiritual bestowals, in comparison to its neglect by those other works which have acquired fame, but which lack this essential quality.

As regards Shibli’sSeerah, it is a good choice. We would recommend that you follow up with lives of the Companions and their Followers. DarulMusannifeen,Azamgarh, has produced a fine series of their lives which runs into some fifteen, independent volumes. The series starts with lives of the four Khulafa,’ then that of the rest of the Ten given glad tiding of Paradise, and so on. You may also read with profit the life of `A’isha (ra) by Syed SulaymanNadwi, one of the finest books ever written.

Fiqh books should be kept in every home for referencepurposes, they are not very useful as Islamic study books.

Diseases and Solutions

Q. I have been a subscriber of YMD since quite a few years.Incidentally, I am interacting for the first time. Your article on Analysis/Naom Chomsky, reminds of a movie I saw: The Reflecting Pool. If you feel that this would help the readers understand better on the subject I request you to publish the link of the movie for your readers in your forth coming issue.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYL142j5a6U&wide=1. Also request you to watch the below documentary: 2002 Gujrat Riots Final Solution_Documentry–youtube. Please keep the good work going. Kudos on the quality of the paper being used now.

Mohammed ZakiHabeeb,
On Email

YMD

We do not believe that solutions to Muslim problems consists in watching documentaries. In fact, these films, documentaries and other electronic products are the diseases among them. Men of action have little time left for these distractions.

As for comment on the good quality of paper, we have learnt that wishing without readiness to pay for it, is not a sustainable project. Thank you anyway.

`Ulama and Journalists

Q: I found the answer to a question on Talaaq on the Islamic Voice website, (link-  http://islamicvoice.com/islamicvoice/validity-of-three-talaq-in-one-go/ ). The answer is bit confusing, Ulema say something different whereas Islamic Voice has answered completely opposite, with Quranic references. Kindly clarify who is correct (AnjumParveen, Allahabad), and the question sent to Islamic Voice and its answer was:“I would like to know if triple talaq given in one sitting makes the marriage (nikah) null and void.”

YMD

We have dropped the answer given by Islamic Voice. If it is confusing to you, so it is to us.

However, what is not confusing is that Islamic Voice admits that they are non-scholarly, non-juristic, so the questioner might be referred to the specialist scholars. With that statement, the questioner, or yourself, should not have read any further, but should have sought to know the Shari`ah rule from someone who specializes in it.

Further, it appears that you already know what the Shari`ah rule in this particular instance is. Why then do you persist in knowing if there is an alternative? Yes, the alternative is there: in Christianity, in many other religions, and, most important for many, in the Western Law. Why Islam is being asked to modify itself? Why not simply opt for the modified versions that we mentioned above?

If the four Fuqaha’ are agreed upon that three pronouncements of Talaq in one sitting entails, three Talaq and the final one, to be followed by separation, then why should any Muslim who cannot pronounce four Arabic letters: alif, baa, taa, thaa, without committing an error, should look for how he can escape?

Q: Secondly, let me know if the woman who is given Talaq can stay with this person who has pronounced Talaq in writing, but is not ready to accept this injunction of Allah.

Abdullah,
Mumbai

YMD

If there is a man who states three talaq in writing, and then says he doesn’t care for what the Shari`ah says about it, then, he is half-hypocrite-half-joker. If he does not accept the Shari`ah rules, then he is a hypocrite, and if he did not mean what he wrote, then he is a joker.

Let us leave these half-hypocrites-half-jokers alone to let them manage their own affairs. Is it also not possible that you rush up to him with a new fatwa favouring his caprice, and he says, “Stupid! Go back! I meant it to be threeTalaq,” and shuts the door on your nose?

Or, he sends a writing to his wife pronouncing three Talaq, and then returns after two years for a one month vacation, and says, “I was only joking,” but when his wife asks, “Why didn’t you follow up during these two years by writing that you were joking, and, secondly, why did you stop sending me and the children’s monthly expenses, will you pay it now so that I can return the loans?” and he answers, “Look, don’t argue with me, if you do that, I will pronounce Talaq, Talaq, Talaq, right now.”

What will be the answer of those who cannot pronounce the first four alphabets of the Arabic language correctly, but wish to abandon the four Fuqaha?

So we say, leave this class of people to themselves.

Qasidah Burdah

Q: I have a query on the Qasida Burda. Why is it controversial? It is said that some lines in it have an element of Shirk. Can you throw some light on this, in detail? This poem seems to be very popular not only in the Indian subcontinent but also among some Arabs. A detailed explanation would be very welcome and clear doubts.

Ayub Khan,

Bombay

YMD

The story behind the poem sung in praise of the Prophet by Ka`b b. Zuhayr is that opposing Islam in early encounter, he went up to the Prophet later, repenting. The Prophet accepted his repentance. On that occasion,Ka`b recited a long poem in his praise. The first verse said,

Su`ad is gone, and today my heart is love-sick,

in thrall to her, unrequited, bound with chains.

Musa b. ‘Uqbah has written in his Maghazi that Ka`b b. Zuhayr recited the poem praising the Prophet inside the mosque. When he reached the lines:

Truly the Messenger is a light whence illumination is sought

A drawn Indian sword, one of the swords of Allah.

Amongst a band of Quraysh, whose spokesman said

When he professed Islam in the valley of Makkah, ‘Depart ye.’

When Ka`b recited these lines, the Prophet signaled to the Companions that they could enter to hear him.Sa’ati wrote: “Abu Bakr b. al-Anbari has said that when Ka`b b. Zuhayr reached the words:

Truly the Messenger is a light whence illumination is sought

A drawn Indian sword, one of the swords of Allah.

…the Prophet cast his own cloak on him. (Hence the name of the poem – QasidahBurdah: Burdah being cloak). He also mentioned that, years later, Mu`awiyyah offered 10,000 to Ka`b for the cloak. But Ka`b said, ‘I will not prefer anyone over myself for the Prophet’s cloak.’ When Ka`b was dead, Mu`awiyyah offered his dependents 20,000 and managed to obtain it.” (Life of the Prophet, Mahdi RizqAllah)

On our part, we have traced the poem, or its mention, in several works, such as Seerah Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Kathir, etc.; prominent among whom is Hakim who declared it Sahih. Also, with regard to what happened to the cloak, historical reports say that it ended with the Abbasi Caliphs who inherited it generation after generation. The Caliphs used to put it on for Barakah in the battlefields. It is said that it got soaked in blood while on the body of MuqtadirBillah. Some say it was lost during the Mongol capture of Baghdad.

As regards there being Shirk in it, none of the scholars, including Ibn Hajr, have mentioned any such thing. If the allegation is true, it might be coming from those who suffer allergy and have more the words “Shirk, Kufr and Bid`ah” on their tongues, rather than the Kalimah La ilahaillaAllah.

Those who are interested in the translation of the Qasidah may look into Seerah Ibn Ishaq as translated by Oxford Professor, Alfred Guillaume.