Letters to the Editor

Q: My daughter asked me how Shias differ from Sunnis. I avoided telling her the differences pertaining to Aqeedah and ideology because of their complexity but told her the political manifestation of the differences. I told her that about 50 years after the Prophet and 1400 years ago, Husayn (ra) was unjustly killed by a high-headed officer of the ruler of that time. Roughly 5000 generations have passed since then and, to my knowledge, all Sunnis who lived during this entire period unanimously condemn the unjustified killing of Husayn (ra). But Shias use the incident as a tool to arouse their hatred for Sunnis and make a false claim that they love Ahl-e-Bayt more than Sunnis. And that history has shown whenever they come to power, they indiscriminately shed blood of Sunnis. For example, they have killed about five lakh Sunnis in Syria during recent years with the help of outsiders (the actual count is at least 5-10 lakh in Iraq and Syria combined).

As a reflex action, on listening to this, my daughter’s eyes expanded in astonishment and her immediate reaction within a fraction of second was – “How come this happened? They should not be called Muslims. They are not at all Muslims.” This was the judgment of a child who is still on Fitrah. It was not based on any expert analysis of Aqeedah of Shia. Rather, it was simply based on an assessment of their actions.

Nazim Uddin,
On Email

YMD

Since we do not have an officially confirmed and internationally accredited figures from Iraq and Syria, regarding the number of Sunnis killed by the Shi`ah, the reasons why they were killed, and, in retaliation to what, we cannot accept the figures given by you as trustworthy.

Any opinion based on this piece of information is questionable, and, therefore, the opinion of any person, let alone a child, is invalid.

Your figure 5000 is incorrect.

By the standard count, the period 1400 years accounts for no more than 70 generations.

Historical evidence tell us that the Shi`ah hands are still wet with Sunni blood. Nevertheless, your figures of ten lakhs, is given by the somewhat trustworthy Western sources is for those slaughtered in Iraq alone, which includes Sunni and Shi`ah, and is generally the responsibility is placed on USA, by the same sources.

Finally, the Salaf, who were closer to the events, have held the rational opinion that it is hard to place the entire responsibility of the Karbala events on any single party or individual.

Your child may be taught the necessity of holding rational views, and that, unconfirmed reports may either be ignored or kept in a corner of the mind with a question mark.

Q: I am a Sunni Muslim following the Hanafi school of thought as my town people are. In matters of spiritual and religious guidance we laymen consult our local imams most of whom follow the teaching of Darul-Uloom, Deoband, India.

However, after reading some published text materials on religion and many online lecture series I am very confused as these writers and orators claim to be Sunni sect following the teaching of Hazarat Imam Abu Hanifa in case of Fiqh, etc. but differ a lot from what the Imams at our local mosque says. Most of us regard highly the writer of Heavenly Ornament Hazarat Ashraf Ali Thanwi, Mujaddid Alf Thani, and the Tablighi movement and condemns the teaching of Abul Ala Maududi, etc. But some Scholars who wrote the published text and the online lecturers condemns these persons as heresies (innovator) and accept Maududi. I am very confused on whose words should I take as I have no source of authenticating what our local imams says neither can I authenticate what the orators and the published texts say.

I shall be highly obliged if you kindly advise me so as to enable me to obtain actual teaching of Ahl-as-Sunnat wal-Jamaat, especially for Hanafi, as there is no competent authority having enough religious education and knowledge in our state. If there is any website or any form of journals, book or lecture series that can give me authentic knowledge, please do inform me.

TahirAlee,
On Email

YMD

Your question appears to pitch the traditional scholars and MawlanaMawdudi against each other. Such an effort is wrong. At bottom, the two are not at logger heads with each other in beliefs and practices. In many things, the Mawlana was as traditional as the traditionalists are modern. Their languages are different in genre, not in contents, beliefs and practices with one exception, viz. Earliest Islamic history. So long as Mawlana hadn’t written on this subject, and on the interpretation of historical events, he was read by all classes. It was old wine in a new bottle. But once he began to write on Muslim history and indulged in historical interpretations, the scholars – some of whom were renowned personalities –began to depart. Some others began to judge the Jama`at he created and, feeling unhappy, departed too; identifying him as the primary reason for what they saw.

Finally, the Mawlana did not lead his adherents to the primary sources of guidance, the Qur’an and Sunnah, although they were his own sources of guidance. He did not wean them away from his own writings, but rather, let them follow his theories, political assumptions, and methods of self-development as their goal posts. That resulted in the not unexpected sterility and intellectual decline.

The story is long. Decades of history cannot be abridged into a paragraph. But it is boring.

That said, we might point out that so long as you remain seeking enlightenment through Hanafis, Mawdudits, Salafits, Internet, talks and debates, you will keep on storing plenty of information, which may develop your personality in the general sense; but not moral sense, far from spiritual.

You need to get out of the loop. Engage yourself in the study of the Qur’an and Sunnah. Begin not with Tafheem al-Qur’an. (Its study will leave you, neither of the Khawaas, nor of the `Awaam, in a state of uncertainty over many issues). Take up Tafseer ibn Kathir which is now available in Urdu and English. Its study will lead you to the path of self-growth: in more than one sense. It might not help you to distinguish the competing groups better, but to know your own self better, especially, your relationship with your Lord.

Q: Being in India we have been observing that many of the Indian ladies go to job as it has become essential nowadays. As a result, the family setup has changed and the hierarchy – of husband being the leader, with wife and children, come under his control, has gone.

I am not worried about what other religions says about it, but kindly let me know what Islam says about women going for jobs. Can a husband take the salary of his wife and manage the family expenses comfortably? Or he can take her salary only when his salary is not sufficient to run the family. Or he has to manage with what he earns and never allow his wife to go for a job.

In the current scenario, even Islamic ladies feel that they should be well-qualified and earn well to equalize themselves with the men and the days of submissiveness to men have gone.

What’s your opinion?

Pasha Wajid,
On Email

YMD

We do not know whether your concern is Muslim women working outside, or the money they earn?

We believe that Muslim women working, spending ten hours outside, is a personal and social tragedy. Children are bound to suffer deep psychological, lasting, wounds. Husband and wife relationship become civilian, and the family ties weaken. To the West, and their followers elsewhere, these are unimportant factors because their objectives are material, and to them, individuals are no more than raw material for national machinery. They have created an economic system that requires every man and woman, young or old, even children of the working age, to expend their best energies for the nation, and its political leaders, financiers, bankers, tycoons, the corporate sector and, top-notch elites, in whose minds bourgeois don’t exist. Nine out of the bourgeois is modern slave dogging – tongue out – day and night for left-overs to be divided between millions. The system works very well: half of Britain is owned by 1% of the population.

When majority of Muslims refused slavery of their Lord, they opted for slavery of the system. Therefore, the problems of the majority are their problems, and the solutions of the majority are their solutions. Mawlanas, please stay out.

As for the earnings of a Muslim woman, they are hers. The ownership is complete. Her husband is still liable to provide her maintenance: food, clothing, medical care, picnic, and you name it. No part of her earning can be taken away from her, by anyone, (except thieves!), except by her free consent. But such consent is dangerous because if she retracts and demands back all the money paid in the past, the amounts are liable to be returned to her, ordered by the out-dated, out-casted, Court of Islamic Law.

Therefore, how the husband will squeeze money out of her is up to his skill, and her stupidity, or, so-called ‘understanding’ between the two. In all cases, he retains the bed-rights, free of all conditions – if we are talking of Islam.

You say that days of Muslim women’s submission to husbands are gone. That’s not correct. Islam will come back.

Q: I am working in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I have started praying Witr as is prayed in Saudi Arabia. Sometimes two raakah with salutation followed by one rakaah and supplication before sujood. And sometimes continuously praying three raakah without sitting in the second raakah for tashaadud.

I was told that we can pray witr even with a single raakah.

Irfan Ahmed Khan,
Jeddah, KSA

YMD

According to the Hanafiyyah, Witr is three Rak`ah, without a break after two. But the Hambaliyyah say that a single rak`ah of witr is the minimum. However, three is recommended.

Since you are in Saudi Arabia, where the Maslak generally followed (though not in every geographical location) is Hanbaliyy, it is not recommended that Hanafiyy breaks away from the congregation to do his Witr in three Rak`ah, nor should he repeat it after the congregational Witr of one Rak`ah. Similarly, a non-Hanafiyy praying in a Hanafiyy congregation should break away to do his one Rak`ah of Witr.

Q: SalamuAlaikum. I am working with Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir for the past six years. I believe (as Dr. Israr Ahmad says in one of his lectures) that we cannot work for da’wah without being in a Jamaat, organization and without being in a Jama’at, a Muslim will be lost and cannot keep his Imaan.

YMD

The opinion of Dr. Israr Ahmad (may Allah show him mercy), if he is correctly heard and understood, is incorrect. Any and every Muslim, who meets with the conditions spelled out by the majority of `Ulama, for Da`wah activities can, and should, carry out the work of Da`wah; and in our days, it is strongly recommended that he should. He should do it, even if he joins a Jama`ah. If the Jama`ah prevents him from independent Da`wah work, while he is well-qualified, he may abandon the Jama`ah.

Islam comes first.

Q: But, recently, I met some sincere people who told me being in Jamaat is Bid’dah as Jamaat-e-Islami was created in 1941; so it has no basis before, nor in Salaf and nor in the times of Prophet Muhammad (saws) and his noble companions.

YMD

This opinion, too, is wrong. The Qur’an says: “Let there be a group among you who invite to good, enjoin the Ma`ruf and prevent the Munkar. They are the successful ones.” (3: 104)

Joining a group is not Bid`ah. For ordinary folks, it is strongly recommended that they join an Islamic movement since alone, they cannot do the Da`wah work correctly and successfully.

Q: They say that the Prophet (saws) said every new thing is to be rejected. So getting in any organization and believing it necessary is Bid’dah.

YMD

The meaning of the Prophetic statement has not been understood by those who object to group forming. It’s a long discussion to describe with the Qur’an and Sunnah, and would form a little book, so we ignore it here.

Q: Therefore, I want to know: is it really Bid’dah? If it is not so, then is it necessary to remain in an Organization? Can we work individually for Da’wah activities without creating these Jamaats and (as they call it) hizbs?

YMD

There is no contradiction between the two activities which both can be attempted at the same time.

Q: Further they say that the Dawah work of the organization is contradictory to Manhaj? What is the Manhaj? And is Jamaat-e-Islami really contradictory to it?

YMD

Manhaj means, in this context, method.

Manhaj can never be one. Changing times, climes, culture and situations, the Manhaj can get changed. The Sufis have a Manhaj, the Salafis have a Manhaj, the Ikhwan have a Manhaj. The group that has noManhaj is wayward.

Whose Manhaj is correct? Simple: if the methods of Da`wah contradict the Sunan, it is at fault. Jamat-e-Islami is not one of them.

Q: Also, they say that Maulana Maududi’s fundamental beliefs and Tawheed is Mushrik/ Polytheism. They argue by quoting various parts from Tafheem-ul-Quran. How far is this correct? 

YMD

This is a false accusation. Although there are some errors in Tahfeem, there isn’t any of the types that could be termed as Mushrik. You may send us such instances to us.

Q: Please guide me as I am in confusion and cannot resolve whether to leave the organization or remain in it. I trust you as the magazine has always been my companion since I was in class twelve. It has made me devoted Muslim and made me do something for Islam. Then I found Jamaat-e-Islami doing great work for Islam here; so I joined it. Now only you can guide me right and settle my heart.

Sameer Ahmad,
On Email

YMD

The magazine might have inspired you, but guidance is from Allah.

To leave the Jamat-e-Islami would be a fall into a pit unless you have the means, courage, consistency and the knowledge to go it alone, and be effective. Except for few, those who came out of Movements, generally suffered decline in devotion to Islam and its demands. As individuals, they achieved very little, sometimes nothing. Their personalities shrank. Tragically, they could give no satisfactory reasons for exiting, but the kinds you have mentioned in this letter.

You may be warned however, that belonging to a Jama`ah is not a virtue by itself. Your deeds are not heavier if you belong to a Movement, unless it is Jihad. Devotion to Allah, sincerity, correctness of deeds, ritual and non-ritual, are the criterion by which a man will be judged in the Hereafter. The Prophet (on whom be peace) warned his daughter Fatimah (may Allah be pleased by her): “O Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad! Set yourself free from the Fire.”

Any help coming from the Jama`at is welcome. But you need to have your own program concerning your personal development. On the Day of Judgment, your present-day associates may be elsewhere.

May you then be in the company of the pious that Day.