Letters to the Editor
Q. Please answer my questions: Which is the profession which women should prefer?
The best profession for a woman is to be a housewife. But if she needs to work, then the answer about the best profession will vary from person to person, community to community, and region to region. Innate abilities are also an important element to assess before deciding on a course of studies. Many women, in the prime of youth, are a different personality by the time they are in their twenties. Interests and inclinations change.
Nevertheless, teaching is one of the best professions both for men as well as women. In higher courses, such as medicine, Gynaecology is the best branch for women. In fact there is a great shortage of female Gynaecologists all over the world.
Trading is, in fact, preferable to jobs. They can open a shop for women within their own homes and do good trading. This is practiced with success in the Middle East.
Q. At what age should a boy marry?
Well, a boy should not marry at all. He should wait for puberty, when he becomes a man. And a man should marry when he is capable of supporting his wife and the children expected thereafter. If poverty prolongs, let him move away from a city to a town, or from a town to a village, to cut down living costs, and then marry.
Q. I used to photocopy articles from your magazine and distribute them among my friends without your permission. Am I allowed to do it?
Mushtaq Ahmed Jan,
This being a religious magazine, it does not retain any copyrights for its materials. Anybody is free to copy or reproduce from it. Permission may only be sought if several articles are to be reprinted in a book form.
Q. I have a query. Can we share our food from the same plate with a non-Muslim particularly with one who drinks (alcohol)?
Yes, you can share food from the same plate with a non-Muslim who drinks alcohol: but obviously not if he is drinking at the same dinner. For, a Muslim should not sit on a dinner table where the unlawful is consumed. He should even avoid the company of someone who drinks on a regular basis.
Q. I would like to know the following: the Qur’an speaks of an Ifreet Jinn during the period of Sulayman (asws). Is he still alive? Does he have the knowledge of the Qur’an?
We did not of course participate in his burial ceremony, but most probably he is dead.
Q. Who and what role did the king of Yemen Abraha had to play in Islamic history? I heard that he built his own Ka’bah. For what reason?
He is remembered for his destruction by the birds when he went up to Makkah to destroy the Ka`bah in the year the Prophet was born. Earlier, he had built a temple in Yemen and wanted to force the Arabs to perform pilgrimage to it rather than to the ancient House of Worship built by Ibrahim. When that scheme failed, he thought he would destroy the Ka`bah, and met with his own destruction.
Q. I am looking for Qur’an CD’s Arabic/ Urdu could you please help me out.
We do not know who supplies them in India, but outside of India they are easily available. You could write to one of your friends overseas.
It is also available on several inter-net sites and can be downloaded. http//www.muhaddith.org/ is one such site where Yusuf Ali’s translation is also available, apart from a wealth of other materials.
Q. I read in one of the issues of this magazine that Prophet Muhammad (saws) used to perform 10 rakats of tahajjud prayers and one rakat of witr. How is one rakat of witr performed?
Syed khadir Ahmed,
There are many narratives about tahajjud, reporting varying number of raka`at. As for one raka`ah of witr, it is performed in the usual way. Tashahhud is said at the end of the first and final raka`ah.
Q. I have few questions in my mind. Hope you will answer soon as they are bothering me. In our Bohra Community we combine the Zuhar and ‘Asr prayers. We also combine Maghrib and Isha Prayers. Though in between we offer Sunnah and Nafil and also we have a deadline for Zuhar and Maghrib. I do my Fajr as I hear the Fajr Azan. My question is, is it necessary to see some light to offer Fajr or can we pray immediately after Fajr Azan?
Our answer is, pray as you like, at any hour of the day and as many times you wish. As regards Fajr prayers, offer them after you have heard the Adhan.
In the meantime, we recommend that you do not discuss religious issues with anyone. Instead, keep studying the Qur’an, through translations. Also, keep reading this magazine. As your learning increases with the passage of time, you will be able to make judgements on your own.
Q. I am taking a loan of Rs. 100,000 on interest and repaying at 12% a year. An Islamic scholar advised me not to pay the interest. I could invest 50,000 in business and deposit 50,000 in a fixed deposit scheme, for 10 years. Then, when I get back my 1 lakh after 10 years the amount I paid for interest would have been gained in this way and the rest of the excess amount can be given to charity. Is this allowed in Islam?
What the deal amounts to, as we understand it is that you will first borrow 100,000 from the Bank. Of this amount you will deposit 50,000 in a fixed deposit scheme for a period ten years. That will earn some interest, which you will withdraw after ten years. The other 50,000 you will use for business and pay bank interest over the original amount of 100,000, until you can pay back their whole amount. But probably you will keep paying the interest over 10 years. In these ten years, your deposited sum of 50,000 would have probably become 100,000 (by virtue of the interest that the bank will give you). This you will withdraw and pay back the principal to the bank. Your expectation is that the amount you will pay as interest over 10 years (unless you can return the principal in quicker time than that), is the amount you will receive as interest over the fixed deposit scheme. So, equal to equal.
Well, our answer is, such an arrangement is Islamically disallowed. You will be both paying and receiving interest, which are both unlawful.
Q. What should we mention after the name of Sayyiduna ‘sh-Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani of Baghdad? Radi-Allahu-Anhu or Rahmat-ullah-Alaihi?
You will not be sinning if you just said, ‘Abdul Qadir Jeelani’ dropping out all that you can add before or after.
If you feel something amiss, a vacancy in your heart, or a feeling of guilt at not being good to him, then you may add the following: “May Allah forgive him his sins.” The Prophet has said that a believer’s supplication for another has a great chance of acceptance.
Q. Is making a Du`a with raised hands after every congregational prayer a Bid’ah?
Syed Muhammad Danish,
The Prophet terminated his Prayer with the Salam after which he turned around, did some dhikr and left the place. He did not offer congregational supplication. This then is the Sunnah.
However, over the ages, the practice of making congregational supplication entered into practice. Initially it was opposed by the scholars. But it caught up with the people and is now widely in practice all over the globe, including the Arab world. The scholars count this as one of those over which the Ummah‘s consensus has been obtained. Therefore, it cannot be called a Bid`ah.
However, it should be remembered that it is not a Sunnah, and that a Prayer is complete without it. If somebody thinks it is a necessary part of the Prayer, or a Sunnah, in the form in which it is practiced today, then it becomes Bid`ah – but for that person alone, and not for others of the congregation who do not hold such opinion, even if they practice it.
Further, since this is not one of those things that bring harm of any kind, it might be tolerated and not opposed, if there is fear that the congregation will split over the issue, leading to bitterness and bickering.
Nonetheless, when the entire congregation is composed of the well-educated people, it might be occasionally dropped off to impress on the people that this is not Sunnah. So also, individuals behind the Imam might sometimes not raise their hands to press the same message. But they should not do that on a regular basis, nor drop off and separate out, because that will give rise to the feeling that the congregation is not united and that particular individual is not part of the Jama`ah. People should remain united, at least in the mosque. Towards this everyone should cooperate. On no account should division be created over issues of this kind. To create a division is outright unlawful and a crime of very great proportions.
Q. I suggest you to introduce innovative ideas to make this magazine more attractive; such as comment on current events particularly politics and science. Another way is to hold essay competition.
The first suggestion has been under consideration for some time. As for the second, we have already tried it several times. We stopped because the response was poor, both in numbers as well as in quality.
Q. In the July 2000 issue, page 33, you have used the words “new religion”. As far as Islam is concerned this is not a new religion. Islam is Allah’s religion right from Adam (as). It is a conspiracy designed by non-Muslims.
At an apparent look, Islam is a new religion. On study, it turns out that it is the religion brought down by all previous Prophets. Now, since a thorough study by non-Muslims is unexpected, their use of the term “a new religion” with reference to Islam is understandable. Occasionally, we Muslims might also use the term, if the context requires.
Q. Another objection is that you have put forth the views of M. K. Gandhi. There are two things I would like to point out. Firstly, Mahatma Gandhi said ‘his mission’ meaning the mission of the Prophet (saw). This is also a mistake. This is Allah’s mission.
Yes, but to those who do not see Allah’s hand behind it, it is but the Prophet’s mission, hence, they must be excused. They can only say what they feel convinced about.
Q. Secondly, Islam is not dependent on the recognition of famous personalities.
Statements from important personalities help gain the hearing of the unimportant personalities. If someone feels that there must be something for someone to issue a favorable statement about Islam, he might turn to studying it himself. If he did that, and is honest to himself, he is likely to turn a Muslim.
Q. If Mahatma Gandhi had accepted the facts of Islam, why did he not embrace the religion?
If Mahatma Gandhi did not feel convinced about the “whole” of Islam, why should he not have spoken out his mind about “a part” of it that appealed to him?
Q. I would also like to remind that it was Mahatma Gandhi who had prevented Dr. Ambedkar from accepting Islam.
Firstly, you have not quoted the authority in support of your statement. Secondly, why should Mahatma Gandhi have not prevented Dr. Ambedkar from accepting a religion that he did not approve of for himself?
Q. I am a software engineer. I have been encountering a problem since a long time. In our industry we have to frequently change jobs or, as consultants we have to go to different client locations. In both cases we have to fake experience, previous projects done, salary drawn earlier, etc. in order to make our resume attractive. This is the most common practice in our line. Almost everyone does it in some way or the other. Without this no one will even look at our resume no matter how good we are.
I have been avoiding this from a long time in the strictest manner, but now I am on the brink of losing my job (I put more efforts than the others and am better in work than them). Please give me broad guidelines as to how to tackle this problem in today’s world when these practices are rampant.
Syed Shahabuddin Quadri,
What we cannot figure out is, if you have managed to remain in job so long, despite your honest ways, are more hardworking, and better in performance than others, then why are you being threatened with the loss of job? Does the present employer want your false credentials or your good services?
Yes, it is possible that your business organization itself fakes up your credential while preparing the company profile in order to win contracts. But, if they do that, the crime is theirs, and there is no sin upon you, provided you protest, at least for the sake of record. Conversely, if you are preparing the company profile, and, as a salesman, bidding for contracts, and are instructed by the company to fake up credentials or lose your job, then also you are not responsible for the crime or the sin, since it does not have your approval.
Coming to finding a new job, there can be two situations. First, you wish to change job for better opportunities but cannot find one unless you fake up credentials. In this situation, Islam does not allow you to do it. You should rather seek barakah from the present earning.
Situation two: you are out of job, and for a considerable period of time, until you conclude that although you are better qualified, you will never find a job unless you fake up certificates. In this situation, you can, if you wish to, fake up credentials. Since, you are simply trying to obtain your right. A strict condition is, you do not find any job, with bright prospects or not. That is, even if it is not a job that you deserve, but lower, you cannot fake up certificates. You will have to offer sacrifice for the sake of your religion which prohibits lying. Yet, if you avoided altogether, and did something else, say business, if it is possible, then, that would be better for you.
We may also point out that many times it is hastily concluded that in this world nothing works but in the crooked way, and that the straightforward, honest man has to fall out. That is not the truth. It is true for those alone who do not believe in Allah and His power to feed. Difficulties do confront a man as he hunts for a job. But, firstly such difficulties are faced up by all: Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Secondly, a believer’s faith is tested every moment of his life. If he fails in the first step, there is no good in him at all. In contrast, if he accepts it as a challenge to his beliefs and faces up the situation with courage and persistence, Allah’s help arrives; maybe not in a grand way, but gradually, little by little, with further proofs of consistency. At the end of a few years, an honest man will find himself more or less on par with the dishonest, if he puts up the same efforts, plus several advantages of body, heart, mind and soul. Allah has said in the Qur’an: “And whoever fears Allah, He will find a way out for him.” And, “And whoever fears Allah, He will feed him from directions he didn’t imagine.” And the Prophet has said, “Ruh al-Quds (Jibril) blew into my soul that no soul will die before it has obtained its share of provision. Therefore, fear Allah, and use honorable means while seeking (your share of provision).”
Q. I am going to be married but I do not know anything about Islamic sex. Will you please write about it in detail?
There is not much to write about Islamic sex, except for the well-known principle that a Muslim ought to seek children from marriage. Yes, there are a few etiquette and rights and duties, which of course will need an article for description.
In the meantime you might read Albani’s book on marriage etiquettes.
Q. I would like to know what Islam has to say about abortion?
Mamnoon Ahmad Bangash,
There has never been any opinion in Islam other than that abortion is disallowed. The only exception is when the doctors advise that a woman’s life is in threat. Otherwise, there is no difference between cold-blooded murder and abortion of a fetus.
Q. I have done my M.B.B.S from Russia. During my stay in Moscow, I was frequently asked by many non-Muslims “Why pork is prohibited in Islam”. Please answer me in such a way that I should be able to convince my friends who are also doctors by profession.
The problem starts not with pork but with pigs themselves. Firstly, it is an animal with the filthiest animals, of filthy characters. It transmits several diseases to man through parasites. It also sends across diseases to other animals from whom they are transmitted to man. Two of its parasitic infestations are Taenia solium, Trichenella spiralis. These and other parasites both viral as well as bacterial cause various diseases such as Japanese encephalitis; vesicular stomatitis and Brucellosis, which happens to be a serious disease. Dr. Muhammad Ali Albar has listed some 23 major diseases coming through pigs.
In addition, a direct connection between consumption of pork fat and cancer rates of the colon, breast, prostate, endometrium, pancreas, and of the biliary system.
Further, it has been determined that kind of microbiological organisms that pork carries, cannot be easily got rid of. It is said that pork will have to be almost burned down, to completely get rid of them.
In any case, and although it is true that rationalism is important in Islam, it shouldn’t be taken too far in religious affairs, especially when a clear commandment is received. If reason is unable to figure out the rationale it is because human reason is not enough to understand the rationale behind religious ordinance. In fact, human reason is not able to understand all that there is in the physical universe. It can only manage a somewhat rough understanding of it. Details always remain hazy.
For example, we know roughly about elements, how they react with each other and so forth. But, how they react in a body when taken in as food, is something impossible to determine. For, the body takes in dozens of them on daily basis. What goes into a cell, in what combination, under what temperature, cannot be fully understood. There are other complications involved. Genetic message recorded in the nucleus varies from person to person. How the genetic message of a particular person will react with the food fed in, to produce what precise results, are things impossible to determine.
The above is the reason why medicine works in “most cases” and never in all the cases, “most of the times” and not all the time, “in most places” and not all the places. A drug that works wonderfully in say Europe may not be effective in Africa. In fact, some medicines can be quite harmful for certain individuals because of a suppressed gene in one, but active in another.
The above applies to the foods prohibited in Islam. Variables being many, it is impossible to determine what effect they will have on the body and character of a man. To illustrate, Japanese immigrants to USA have experienced 40% increase in certain types of cancer than reported in Japan itself. While, the Seventh Day Adventists, originally American, but who do not consume pork register 40% less occurrence of certain types of cancer. (For a detailed and technical analysis, see Albar’s book “Contemporary Topics in Islamic Medicine” published by Saudi Publishing & Distribution House, 6 Al-Zafir Street, Olaya District, P.O. Box 2999, Riyadh 11461).
Also, the Middle East registers much less cancer than the West. We can conclude then that it is impossible to determine what food item has what effects on their consumers, in different parts of the world. That means, even if a way could be found to kill all the germs, bacteria and virus in pork, we can never be sure what effect its consumption will have on human body, mind and character.
Then there is the moral consideration, best known to the Creator. Many people believe that food intake has no moral effects on the humans. That is not correct. A morally sound person will reject what a morally unsound person will consume without a qualm. In fact, a civilized man will be hesitant with certain kinds of meat, say that of rats, while uncivilized men will consume them with relish. And, obviously, such consumption or non-consumption has something to say about the character of a people. Similarly, pork consumption certainly seems to have some moral effects on the people.
Finally, it might be noted that pork has also been prohibited in the Old Testament. Christians should treat it as unlawful, but for the fact that they accept the Old Testament Prophets, but reject their teachings.
Q. I am compiling the directory of social service organizations/educational institutions. In view is the larger interest irrespective of the sectarian or any other minor differences.
Those Muslims who are associated with any organization, or know about them may kindly send the necessary information such as: name of the institution, address, and tel. no. Fax, E-mail/web site, name of key person. Category: Social, Educational, Religious, Charitable, and Political. Date of establishment, registration details, main activity. Membership strength. Financial strength, sources of funds and any other information which you would like to share. Send information to:
Husain Ali. H. Dharamsi
Tel. R: 515 4810,
53/3, Kantharia Mahal, Kamani,
Q. I am a student and would like to know how I could work for Islam? What are my duties towards Islam and how should I give da’wah to my friends?
You are moving a few steps ahead of your age and abilities. Working for Islam is something you do much later in life, especially if you have so far been receiving secular education. At this stage of your life you need to first know about Islam. What does it stand for? The answer will need a sustained study from you over a couple of years. You need to know the high points of Qur’anic message, its main theme, and get a rough idea of what hadith literature contains. A study of the Prophet’s life is another requirement. Subsequent to that you will need to study a few books by contemporary authors to know how to relate the theoretical Islam to the living Islam. It is after acquiring this basic knowledge that you might consider serving Islam, working on Da`wah, etc.
If you are serious, you will have to start now. Find time to read the translation of a few passages of the Qur’an and a few hadith every day. As you continue, over the years, new vistas of knowledge and wisdom will open up, that will guide you to further course of action.
Q. I have been seeing your magazine since ‘89 but being a child at that time I never cared to read it. But now, since last two years, I have begun to read it seriously and I think this is simply an excellent work. Kindly answer this first letter of mine to you: What is jihad and under what circumstances is it allowed? Please give me detailed information in the light of Qur’an and hadith.
Precisely speaking, field Jihad is allowed only when the leader of the Muslim Ummah makes an announcement to that effect. However, the struggle by a group of Muslims opposing the invasion of their country, even if the leadership fails to respond properly, will also be technically called Jihad. Finally, if the Muslims are attacked, then their fight in self-defense is Jihad.
That said, there is a big gap between an armed struggle and Jihad. The latter goes with many conditions. You will need to study a whole book on the subject to understand this little understood topic.
Q. Is what Bin Laden doing true jihad?
Name and address withheld
We cannot say what he is doing is Jihad or not, because we do not know what he is doing. We are pretty sure even the Americans are not sure what are, or have been his activities in post Soviet period. If there was sure proof of his involvement, or of his organization, they wouldn’t have concealed it. They would have displayed it on giant sized screens on the streets of New York as they did with the so-called Bin Laden videotape. As regards Bin Laden’s activities in Afghanistan or Sudan, surely, that was true Jihad since the leader of the Muslim Ummah of those nations, (i.e., the governments of the countries named), had either invited his help, or had no objections to it. What was happening in those countries: Afghanistan or Sudan, was not Bin Laden’s making. Bin Laden only entered to help and they gleefully accepted his help. He neither created the problems they had, nor solved them. He lent a helping hand – in the name of Allah, in the cause of Allah, and left when told to go. In fact, given the same situation in another country, he and his likes will be once again invited to take the bullets on their chests.