Letters to the Editor
Q: My name is Zakariyya Whiteman (Zak). I am a freelance Director/ Producer based in Granada, Spain. We’re in the process of creating a brand, called Barzakh, that specialises in audio-visual production on a variety of Islamic themes. Our aim is to produce quality content for Muslim and non-Muslim viewers alike, that accurately portrays Muslim culture and history.
Our first project is a documentary on the subject of Andalusi calligraphy, which played a vital yet rarely acknowledged role in the evolution of this golden era of Islamic history. It is not only a beautiful, meditative subject, but also a way to tell the extraordinary story of Al-Andalus visually.
In order to finance the production independently, we have recently started a campaign through LaunchGood.com, a platform for crowdfunding Islamic projects. As part of our campaign, we are reaching out to magazines, newspapers and blogs that might publish an article to raise awareness of the project, spreading the initiative to as many people as possible.
We would be immensely grateful if you could run this story in your publication. Attached is a brief text (that could be expanded or abbreviated to suit your needs) as well as a couple of images. Please find a link to our crowdfunding page below, where there are more details on the project. Also a link to the trailer on YouTube.
Just let me know should you need further information.
With best wishes from Granada,
Since it is some time since we received your mail. Hopefully the documentary has been launched.
Q: This is Salma from Sisters Awakening Press. I’m contacting you to tell you about Na’ima B. Robert’s first poetry book, Catch Me, that will be launched [soon]. It is a poetry book about clinging on to hope and faith when faced with inevitable problems that remain unspoken. Every poem is a journey of resilience.
Your readers will be able to relate to this book because they will realize that they’re not alone in the struggles they are faced with on a daily basis. We would be happy to send you a copy to review and also give an interview. You can reach us at email@example.com should you need anything further. Also, feel free to check out our website at www.sistersawakening.com.
It is certainly refreshing to hear about the launch of Na`ima Roberts’ poetry book. Yes, we would be glad to receive a copy.
We have found that your domain is on sale. What could be the matter? Have you moved to another domain?
Q: I am an avid reader of your magazine. I very much enjoy reading the articles, specifically the Letters to the Editor section. In the past, I have sent in some questions so that I may have my doubts clarified and I couldn’t think of anyone more befitting to provide me with the correct answers according to the Qur’an. However, till date, none of them have been answered. I don’t know whether there was anything wrong in them but I would very much like to have them answered. If there is any inconvenience in answering my mails, I would like to know where else I may pose these questions.
We, too, are not sure of the fate of your mails. Could they have been lost on the way? Whatever. Could you resend them?
Q: Sometime I’m feeling that I am not performing Salah as it should be performed because my concentration dwindles as Salah proceeds. I am feeling guilty due to this. What should I do in overcoming such problems?
Mohamed Haadi Dar,
The word “concentration” (in Prayers) misleads people. It expresses only a part of the concept which carries subtlety by its nature.
One of the requirements for the acceptance of Prayers is, in Arabic, Khushu` and Khudu`.
Khushu` is an effort of the heart while Khudu` is related to the body. There are many levels, with several in between. The highest is of “Ihsaan” wherein a devotee stands before his Lord with the entire subjugation of the body and attention of the heart, inattentive to anything else but to his Lord, as if he can see Him.
This is the perfect Khushu` and Khudu`, consisting of devotion with love, hope mingled with fear, resulting in serenity and spiritual satisfaction, a journey from the material world into the spiritual, from physical to metaphysical, from the temporal state to the spiritual domain, accompanied by loss of physical senses to the spirit’s sensitivity which is liberation of the soul from the body to the loss of all physical senses, so that a limb is amputated or an arrow is struck without the devotee being aware of it. The Prayer-moments are the Devil’s defeat and joining a feast with the angels. That is the Khudu` wa Khudu` defectively described.
(‘Concentration’ is a poor substitute that the poverty of English language can offer).
The above, however, is the highest level. At the lowest level is that Prayer which is tossed back at the devotee who was in a state of heedlessness with which he started and with which he ended.
At a lower level, one may seek to improve one’s Prayer by attempting to hear everything that the Imam recites, or he himself recites, and be aware throughout the Prayer of what he says and does, with the body at complete rest. If attempted with consistency, further in-roads could be granted.
But, a more difficult task would be to relinquish love of the world. He who could not achieve this, will not achieve that.
Q: I have not been able to understand the concept and philosophy of martyrdom of Hazrath Hussain. Like who was on the right side – Yazid bin Muawayah or Hazrath Hussain – and whether cursing Yazid bin Muawiyah is right or wrong. Please clarify the issue in detail.
To seek from another to research on a topic, which may require weeks of efforts, is to be wanting to fire a gun from another’s shoulder to hunt a bird. It speaks of lack of seriousness as if saying to oneself: ‘I’ll take it if it comes easy, otherwise, neither do I care for it, nor am I serious about it.’
This applies to most of those who write to us asking us to write in complete detail. We disapprove because that is not the way of a knowledge that would change life or its ideas. One’s own little effort at working out the answers, is more beneficial than another’s big efforts on behalf of him.
Hussain (ra) – living in Madinah, but later in Makkah – was invited to Kufa (in Iraq) by the Shiy`an `Ali (lovers of `Ali, lovers of Ahl al-Bayt) not the Shi`ah, per se, of today, (but those who sowed the seeds of Shi`aism without knowing the tree that it would sprout).
The letters said that they disapproved of Yazid, and were ready to lay down their lives for the holy cause of placing him as the Khalifah. Hussain was strongly discouraged from going to Kufa by many Companions, and warned that his so-called devotees will betray him. But the pressure from Kufa was great. What with two sacks of letters of invitation from there.
When he arrived with a small number of followers, the so-called Shi`ah abandoned him when the forces of Yazid – forces of a legitimate state – surrounded him and his followers, demanding him to go nowhere but to Ibn Ziyad the Governor of Kufa, Basrah and Khurasan and pledge his hand to his obedience. They would not allow him to go back to Makkah nor to any frontline Jihad. He refused, skirmishes broke out in which those who knew him stayed away, but other forces attacked, and he was eventually overwhelmed and martyred. Kufans, as someone said, “had their hearts with Hussain, but their swords were with Yazid.” They betrayed him, one and all, squarely.
Yazid, the Caliph, was away in Damascus, having ordered Ibn Ziyad to handle the situation. As far as Ibn Ziyad was concerned, Hussain (ra) represented a rebellion, and Ibn Ziyad dealt with him as he had been dealing with rebellions throughout his career.
It is hard then to fully blame Yazid, and, therefore, cursing him is disallowed.
This is a brief note that leaves out some details. It also leaves out many unauthentic reports, of especially the Shi`ah which alone seems to have reached the Shi`ah. When those reports reach the Sunni masses – who appear to have vowed to remain ignorant of their past – they become sympathetic to the Shi`ah and aggressive towards some Companions.
Q: I am playing in freerice.com, where you can answer a simple question in each right answer WFP.org will donate the ten grains of rice to poor across the world. Am I doing a right thing playing in freerice.com and indirectly trying to feed the poor? Will this help me to seek Allah’s pleasure? Please reply.
Islam is not a religion of charity as commonly understood and practiced. It requires direct participation in works of welfare directed at the deserving. You must, therefore, feed the poor in the slums, by your own hands, or join a group doing it, not simply by donating for the cause, but also accompanying them at distribution.
If you are too old, you might then donate to a group.
Regarding games, you cannot be expected to be rewarded for them. If there is some charity involved, (although ten grains of rice is a hurtful joke), you could be rewarded provided it goes to the right people, and not to an organization whose handlers get handsome salaries and perks but are derelict of their duties. So, you might expect to be rewarded for a couple of grains that reaches the needy.
Q: My name is Arshad Ali. I am from Srinagar, Kashmir, and I am presently working in a life insurance company. Please tell me whether any Muslim can do this kind of job under any circumstances. Moreover, when I have to persuade my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters to do life insurance, am not I doing something wrong with myself and them also.
Ashraf Ali Najar,
The situation is getting worse for Muslims, which is partly their own making. The least we can say is that you look for another job, and quit this one.
Q: Alhamdulillah, after an overwhelming response, we have decided to go live sooner with simple version of the job portal at http://themuslimahnetwork.com/nisajobs. Insha’Allah, depending on the responses we will migrate to a dedicated domain in the future. This is how it will work:
- The job portal at the website offers the company to register and post their jobs in front-end.
- The company enters their details and in the application email they should mention firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Registered members can apply for the jobs by sending their interest to NisaProjects.
- Once we receive their application, we will forward it to the company for review and schedule a skype session.
- Shortlisted candidates will be notified via email and contact details of both will be exchanged for the final hiring process.
- The job will be on the portal for 60 days from the date of approval.
Insha’Allah, we hope to have a positive response and make a mark in the online Halal industry for this initiative. Please feel free to have any more queries. Looking forward for your reply.
Co-founder, Nisa Project
We wish you well and pray for your consistency, especially after the initial euphoria dies out.
Q: I would like to request for any reading materials for our Islamic school in Istanbul. Hopefully, we can increase the awareness among our students about Islamic lifestyle through reading materials, inshaAllah.
Ihramcizade Islamic School, Istanbul
We do not have much material in stock. For want of funds, we could not reprint our publications. When we do, we shall try to send you some.
Q: I am wondering by any chance if you are connected with Darussalam Publication as I am looking to buy few books only published by them.
Mohammed Zariff/ Miskatul Zariff,
No, we are not. You may seek the services of a book-seller.
Q: My name is Amina and I am a Muslim convert and young entrepreneur. I am currently running a campaign which involves supporting the charity Islamic Relief. Me and my husband make Luxury Halal Certified Marshmallows and we are looking for as much support as possible, we are currently raising money for our kickstarter campaign.
In addition to this we will be donating 10% of all profits to Islamic Relief for the lifetime of this product. If there is any way to gain some support from you, it would be much appreciated as the more help we have the more we can make a difference because we are all one family of brothers and sisters and should help those who are in need of food and water, healthcare, shelter and education.
Thank you for taking the time to read this email and I hope to hear from you soon.
Our good wishes and supplications are with you. We publish the above in hope that some of our readers might respond.
Q: I work in a company which cuts Rs. 500/- from my monthly salary and provides medical insurance. If we are hospitalized, then the amount will be reimbursed. Please let me know if it is halal or haram.
We do not fully understand your question. Whether or not, if the Company mandatorily deducts from your salary as medical insurance, without your consent, then, you may avail the medical services, of whatever value, even exceeding the amount you have paid.
On the other hand, you may or may not consent, but have the freedom to refuse, then, it is your own contribution. Therefore, you have the right to get benefit by way of treatment, or any other, to the limit of your contribution. Let us say you contributed 12,000/- in two years, and face a bill of 12,000/-, you may draw from the insurance company as much as 12,000/-. But if the bill is 15,000/- then you are entitled to only 12,000/- paying 3,000/- from your pocket.
In short, if it is a voluntary scheme, you are entitled to the sum total of what you have contributed, with the length of time that passed over the contribution playing no role.
That said – as a principle – if you are a resident of India, then you might also write to say Deoband, since some rules could change in view of local conditions.