Letters to the Editor

Experimenting

Q: I did an experiment recently. I requested a non-Muslim male friend of mine to visit a few Islamic Centers in Southern California and ask from the officials to define him Islam. The brother was an African American. This is what he learned. He was not very welcomed in those masajid visited mostly by immigrants. There were five different answers given, all confusing to him. I then requested another non Muslim male friend who was white. He was welcomed with open arms. There were five answers given all confusing to him. I requested a non-Muslim young female to visit the masajid and this is what she found. Everyone was eager to teach her Islam. They asked if she was married. They offered daily classes on Islam to her. They gave her their phone numbers in case she had any question about Islam in the future. But there were five different answers given all confusing. What conclusions should I draw? Or should I draw any?

Tahir,
Canada

YMD

The conclusion is obvious, and ugly. Lacking a deeper understanding of Islam, lacking commitment to what little they know, and lacking any sense of responsibility towards the creations of a Lord they think they believe in – that is the picture of the majority of the so-called committed Muslims of today, all over the continents, which requires no experimentation to discover.

However, conducting tests – to discover the discovered – bemoaning the results, and remaining gummed to the comfort of an easy chair at office, and an easier chair at home, might be a disorder of another order calling for attention.

The little that an individual, aware of the pathetic situation can do is to occupy a stool in an Islamic center, every evening, until wee-hours of the night, the best part of his life, offering guidance to every male, female, white, yellow and dark entering in. That would be doing something which would not invite experiments for its results. Isn’t Islam the other name of melting your fat and losing weight in its cause?

My Hands are Tied, my Priorities Lop-sided

Q: In the beautiful and serene environment of the blessed Masjid al-Nabi, one afternoon, last week, I saw a young person explaining some matters of the religion to two others in Urdu. Wishing to benefit, I took permission and joined in. The speaker was knowledgeable, articulate and came out as a sincere person. But, I was exasperated seeing that a good hour and a half was spent on explaining why it was important to tie your hands in a particular manner during prayer. When I politely asked him why we see most of the Imams of the Ka’aba not tying their hands in the same manner, his answer was, “The criteria for selecting the Imams to lead the prayer in the Harmain is not the level of their knowledge of the Shariah, but their command on the recitation of the Qur’an.”

Small wonder, I told myself, that we have not batted an eyelid when the Houthis took over Sanaa, turned dumb when Western planes bomb innocent people in Syria and Iraq (in the name of fighting ‘terrorism’), watched silently when Gaza was bombed to smithereens, looked on helplessly when Benghazi is being attacked by lackeys of the West, seemed least puzzled when the Nigerian government chose to enter into a cease-fire with Boko Haram, and hardly cared to inform ourselves of what really is happening in Somalia.

But, we will get irked when someone decides to keep his hands tied humbly below the navel, or just let them loose in his conversation with his Creator.

All I can do is raise my hands, and supplicate that wisdom dawns on the Ummah! Say Ameen, please!

Khalid Noor Mohammed,
ICT Consultant

YMD

The person had a grain of truth about the criteria, but his cooking pot was full of sand. The place was not the place for spending an hour and a half on rituals that the Fuqaha’ treated as minor, but rather for some tafakkur which the educated and practicing class (whatever that means) sacrifices over ta`abbud (because this is what the Qur’an voices, and they must always ignore the voice). This has led to imbecility pervading rulers and the ruled, leaders and the led, educated and the uneducated: imbecility of the kind which takes them so far from realities, that they cannot think, and if told, cannot believe, like they refused to believe, when Qaddafi said (to a closed meeting of the Arab leaders) after Saddam was hanged, “If you do not wake up, they will hang you all, one after another.” He was the first to go, and the imbecile celebrated the event.

Those who believe that they can deflect the bullet fired at them, bend the bayonet before it pierces them, and blunt the dagger raised at them, by endlessly refining their rituals, will prostrate instead of standing up, and will annihilate their civilization before even the ‘clash’ begins.

Why Beaten?

Q: It is necessary to wear Muslim crown, yes or no? Why?

YMD

Do you mean a cap or crown? If it is crown, then, firstly, they have lost their crown, and, secondly, it is not permissible to wear it if it is made of gold or silver.

But if you mean cap, then, it is not necessary to wear it; that is, it is neither fard nor wajib. However, if you are in a region of the world where everybody wears a cap during Prayers, then you might better wear it too. It will have two benefits: Firstly, you will not be looked at as one who broke away from the mainstream Muslims; as, when that feeling arises, the Jama`ah loses its solidarity and strength – in some measure. Secondly, if everyone has a cap on, and not you, then you stand out and are noticed. Individual of the Salaf did not like it that they should stand out. Sometimes, when people look at you twice, your ego (the nafs) gets puffed up. So, maintain your humbleness, wear a cap when others have it on in a mosque.

That said, we may repeat that wearing a cap during Prayers is not mandatory.

You have asked about the practice inside the mosques. What about outside it? Well, this is as important as wearing or not wearing within the mosque; and the advice is, especially where Muslims are being persecuted, you do wear it. This will create self-confidence in you, curb your desire to impress others with your clothes and get up, and, frustrate your enemies.

Q: What is the reason that Muslim Ummah is beaten everywhere, what to do for cure? Explain from Qur’an and Hadith.

Sheezz Khan,
On Email

YMD

So, you want to sub-contract the study of the Qur’an and Hadith to someone else?

In any case, let us take the Qur’an. It says,

“Allah does not approve of the transgressors.” (2: 190)
“Allah does not approve of the mischievous.”  (2: 205)
“Say, ‘Obey Allah and the Messenger. But if you turn away, then (know that) Allah does not approve of those who refuse.’” (3: 32)
“Allah does not approve of those who commit wrongs.” (3: 57)
Allah loves not such as him who is proud, boastful. (4: 36)
Allah does not approve of one given to dishonesty and sins. (4: 107)
Allah does not approve of an evil word (spoken) aloud. (4: 148)
“Allah does not approve of the mischief-mongers.” (5: 64)
“Overspend not, surely He does not approve of those who overspend.” (6: 141)
“He (Allah) does not approve of those who break out of bounds.” (7: 55)
“Allah does not approve of the untrustworthy.” (8: 58)
“He does not approve of the arrogant.” (16: 23)
“Allah does not approve of the exultant.” (28: 76)

We suppose the above direct quotes from the Qur’an lead you to some self-examination.

Upside Down Rights

Q: My marriage is in trouble because of our lack of knowledge on Islam. Some people are taking advantage of this and influencing my husband in a wrong way. I’m a 28 year old lady and have a daughter of one year. I am working as a software engineer in a multinational company. What I want to know is what are my husband’s rights on my earnings? Can my husband force me to do savings for my daughter and not help my parents with my earnings? The question I’m being asked by his family is that while I stay in their house and eat out of my husband’s earnings, how can I spend my earnings on my parents? While I also want to save for my daughter, I feel that is not the need of the hour when my parents are in need. Please guide me to what is right according to Islam. My faith says that Allah (swt) will never do such an injustice with me by creating some rules which would stop me from helping my own parents from my earnings. Do I really have to take my husband’s permission before spending my money and allowed to spend only if he agrees? Please let me know the answer as soon as possible.

Mizbha Khanum,
On Email

YMD

Answering the last part first, your dilemma is the result of complete neglect of delivery by the leaders of the community, of the most important aspect of the Islamic religion: in the words of Sufyan Thawri who said, “That you should meet with your Lord with seventy sins committed against Him, is better than that you should meet Him with a single sin against humankind.” This aspect of Islam is so summarily neglected as anything worthy of deliverance by the scholars, khateebs, da`wah workers and da`wah groups, that the community does not consider it as of any importance whatsoever, coldly trampling upon each other’s rights as unceremoniously as hooshing away a fly.

For once in their lives Muslims have not heard that incorrectness of inter-personal dealings will hold them back from progressing on the road to Paradise in the Field of Resurrection. That will not be a day of justice rendered by Allah alone. It will be a day of people seeking justice, the day when a man will flee his parents, his wife and children, because he would have wronged them, out and out, throughout his life. That day a Muslim will realize that having exploited his wife to the last ounce of her patience, the time has finally arrived when compensations are to be made, for, today she has a Guardian-Lord behind her to ensure that payments are made in full – by either side.

As regards your efforts to earn, the first point to be noted is that, it is not necessary that you should work. It is your husband’s duty that he should provide you and meet with all your necessary needs. And you do not have to thank him for that because this is your God-granted right. You have to thank Allah for releasing you from the hardships of life.

However, if your husband cannot earn enough, despite his over-time work, or a part-time job after the regular job, to the extent that his entire earning is not sufficient to run a household, on middle or lower-middle class scale, then alone you might help him out by taking up a job yourself. Your working, in that event, will be Sadaqah on husband and children.

That said, if you wish to earn some money for yourself, or to serve the community, then you might, so long as you do not share the work place or office with males; and so long as little children are not left at home, uncared for by any. A woman’s intermingling with males removes the innocence from her face and soul. Constant staring by males, at her, at the work place, compels her to put up a stony face, which ultimately becomes her characteristic feature. She loses the charm that Allah has placed on her face.

Now, whether the husband has the need or not, whether savings are to be made for a child’s future or not, what a woman earns is entirely hers, with no one having any right on it. Nevertheless, in special conditions a few do deserve to be spent on, if, they are severely restrained from earning themselves; such as those who are related to her by blood viz. her mother, father, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles – and are undergoing life-threatening circumstances. In such severe conditions alone a woman is liable to expend on them, if their own sources fail them. Nonetheless, she is only morally obliged to expend on them, if conditions are so demanding. Otherwise, except for her parents, they have no legal rights on her. And, except for parents, her expending on others would be regarded as returnable loans. In actual fact, the males related to her by blood, are required to expend on her, in the absence of her husband, or the husband being an economic failure. That is, in a case where the husband is either dead, or has divorced her, or is physically handicapped without any material support from his own father, grandfather or others, it is her father, brother, grandfather, or son who are responsible for her maintenance, in its entirety. It is not she who is legally responsible for their needs and demands.

The husband too has absolutely no legal right on his wife’s earning, or wealth acquired in any other way. He cannot even expect her to offer him gifts in return of the gifts he might give her. He is legally responsible for expending on her needs in their entirety. The right remains binding even if she is rich. At no time in her life is she responsible for her own maintenance, even if she has the financial strength and the husband has little.

Your husband then has no right to ask you to save for your children’s future, male or female. It is his responsibility to do that. If he cannot do that with one job, let him take up an additional one. If he is a trader who works 8 hours a day, let him work 12 hours. Let him do whatever is necessary to be able to become a good husband and a good father. To bend to law is a lesson to his children, and the sign of a Muslim worth the name, and to ignore the law is the way of the criminals in every system.

Such are the Islamic laws then which could be the reason why Islam stands rejected by many in practice, while given verbal praises, but without the people realizing that such verbal praises are rejected even before they are uttered.

We have gone into a little detail of the matter, because of the prevalent ignorance, otherwise a fuller discussion requires a volume.

In your particular case, your expending out of your wealth on your parents is, if they are needy, the best way of expending money. Such expending is better than your expending on your own self or on your children, since you are already provided for by your husband. The same does not hold good of your in-laws with reference to your expending priorities. They have no rights on you, whatsoever. They are registered elsewhere in the chart of rights and duties.

Further, these are legal rights and duties (faraa’id wa waajibaat). The extent of moral duties (sadaqaat wa khayraat) are judged by a practicing Muslim community and guided by inner convictions. The extent of expending – by males or females – on charitable works for instance, such as on those who are struggling for the cause of Islam, or good quality Madrasah, or widows, or the orphan, etc. is the judgment of the individual, guided by opinions of worthwhile elders.

In short, your husband might softly mention to you that since he is not in a position to save, you might do it for the sake of your children. But he should not pester you about it. If you spent, it will be a Sadaqah on your husband, but if you overdid it, you will have to answer for it on the Day of Judgment.

Hadith Rejection

Q: I read the September 2012 issue of YMD. One common thing I noticed in this and the last issue is the theme of the Fitna of Rejection of Hadith. I myself had brought one book on this topic last year in Urdu, namely “Tadween-e-Hadith” by Maulana Manaazir Ahsan Geelani. That book was in a decrepit condition in an old bookseller’s shop, bearing testimony to the fact that it failed to be noticed by the customers for a long period. Two factors compelled me to buy that book. One was the name of the author, whose name I have often heard but never got an opportunity to read him. Another reason was the topic related to compilation of Hadith. I instantly reasoned that this will be a scholarly work on this topic and will be an asset for me. But due to some reasons I was not able to study that book. Scholarly works require a particular frame of mind to grasp their meaning.

It requires a single minded dedicated reading, which I was not able to do. Two incidents happened recently which made me read this book seriously. One reason was, while I was watching the video tafseer of Dr. Israr Ahmed on the initial verses of Surah Al-Hadeed, in which he has delved deep into the philosophical meanings of the verses. While doing so, he also discussed about the concepts of “Wahdatul Wujood” and “Wahdatush Shuhood” and how they differ from pantheism. He discusses about Ibn-e-Arabi, his critics, his followers, then Mujaddid Alf-Thaani, Shah Waliullah etc. and offers their quotes and opinions on this topic. And in the end, he mentioned the name of Maulana Manaazir Ahsan Geelani, and he introduced his name in very high words. He said that this particular person was a renowned scholar and his mark of distinction was that he was a master simultaneously in all the four major Islamic disciplines, namely Qur’anic, Hadith, Legal and Spiritual fields. I felt like reading the book of this man seriously as he was not an ordinary man. I started reading this book, but was going at a snail’s pace.

The second reason which made me read this book seriously was the last issue (perhaps Aug’12) of YMD in which this topic was raised in question and answers. I thought this is the burning issue and need to read this book seriously. Now the pace of my reading picked up speed and in few weeks I finished the book. It is a marvelous book. It’s writing pattern and the methodology was new to me but the quality of discussion, intensity of tone, authenticity of references and its scholarly interpretation was simply mind boggling. He proposes theories as explanations for historical events, gives proof and explanation, quotes supporting references from scholars to bring home his point in a beautiful manner. He has discussed at length the reasons behind not compiling Hadith the same way as that of Qur’anic compilation. He has given chronological details from the life-time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) till the time of Hazrat Ali (radiyallahuanhu), discouragement for writing down Hadith, yet at the same time, encouragement to do so for selected and trusted individuals. Wisdom behind doing so… and on and on.

After reading this book (written mostly in 1940s), I realized that this book and such books should be made popular again to ward off the challenges of the Fitna of Rejection of Hadith. It should be translated into English (if not done already) and it should be re-formatted along modern lines. But now after reading this issue of YMD (Sep’12) I was surprised to find many references being repeated in the editorial. It was a pleasant experience overall to read the book in tandem with YMD’s issues.

JazaakAllahuKhair.

Dr Khalid Muqueem,
On Email

YMD

The book Tadween-e-Hadith has not been translated. The style of writing, unique in Urdu literature, and the high level of learning displayed in every sentence, make it difficult to be translated except at the adept hands of a scholar, master in both languages: Urdu and English. To find one person adept in one language is itself so difficult, thanks to the system of education which hands over degrees to those who have learnt how to read and write.

The following books however, are available in English:

  1. Studies in Hadith Literature by Mustafa al-A`zami,
  2. Hadith Literature by Zubayr Siddiqui,
  3. An Introduction to the Conservation of Hadith by Dr. Hamidullah
  4. Hadith Rejection by Syed Iqbal Zaheer