Letters to the Editor

Q: I am an avid reader of your magazine. I very much enjoy reading the articles, especially the Letters to the Editor section. In the past i have sent in some questions to clarify my doubts and I couldn’t think of anyone more befitting to provide me with the correct answers. However, till this date, none of them have been answered. If there is any inconvenience in answering my mails I would like to know where else I may pose this question.

Tahir Alee, 
On Email

YMD

We can’t say why they have not been answered. Perhaps, they never reach us. You may please repeat.

Q: Sometime I feel 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 to overcome such a problem?

Nusrat Ahmad Dar,
On Email

YMD

If you see this so-called lack of concentration, as happening sometimes alone, you are lucky. But, perhaps, this is a modest statement. At all events, when Khushu` wa Khuzu` is found missing, as is the case with most Muslims, the following may be attempted:

  1. Find out what of the immediate affair occupying your mind during Prayers, attend to them before starting a Prayer.
  1. If the situation is not serious, then a solution is: be aware of your absence of mind and heart, and bring back attention to sincerity in the Prayer. Every time, attention is lost, bring it back, no matter how many times that has to be done.
  1. Most of the time, the mind and heart are occupied during Prayers by thoughts connected to this world. This turns out to the due to the love of this world. Islamic system does not approve of the abandoning of this world. It frowns upon love of the world. This – love of the world –is a major sickness affecting the rich and the poor of our times. To get rid of this is a major task. It could be a test of faith, one’s sincerity in Islam, and a matter of integrity. One of the methods towards regaining spiritual health, is to keep the essentials for oneself, and any surplus to be spent on the needy. Another method to reduce the worth of this world in one’s own eyes is to co-habit with the poor, be as if one of them, share food with them on regular basis, and treat them as one would his homefolk. Another is to strive to work in the cause of the widows, orphans, the sick in affairs of life: birth, death, following up with the governmental documentary issues, and so on. Yet another method is to visit the graveyard often, spending time there meditating over the worthlessness of this world and attending any burying process taking place. These methods may be resorted to until they become one’s part of life, until they become a source of happiness, and not a source of irritation and discomfort. Furthermore, they may be accompanied by a study of the Qur’an in Arabic. If Arabic is not known, then, devote time to it, until a rough meaning could be derived, when recited.
  1. If someone is facing a major problem in his life, such as he is looking for a job, but can’t find a suitable one, or is dissatisfied with his earnings, but cannot manage to increase it, or there is dissatisfaction with the general conditions of life (whatever its quality), then, one may settle his issues with his Lord through belief in Qada’ waQadr, that is, accept the prevailing situation as his Lord’s decision about him, and be grateful that it is not worse. If someone fails to accept his Lord’s decision, after he has done his absolute best to change his situation (health, finance, social situation, (whatever else) then, his belief in his Lord is only shadowy, or maybe there is no real faith at all. In that case, he cannot be helped at all. He may take a bath, and embrace Islam anew.

Q: I have a question: I am playing in freerice.com, where you can answer a simple question. With each right answer WFP.org will donate ten grains of rice to poor across the world. Am I doing the right thing and indirectly trying to feed the poor? Will this help me to seek Allah’s happiness? Please reply.

Muzaffar Sharief,
On Email

YMD

If all you have, after your basic needs, is a few grains of rice, then donating it would earn you a reward. But, if all one has is worth three tons of rice, then he could be punished for making a laughable joke with his Lord.

Q: I am from Srinagar, Kashmir and I am presently working in a life insurance company. Please tell me whether any Muslim can take up this kind of job under any circumstances.  I have to persuade my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters to do life insurance. Am I doing something wrong to myself and them also?

Ashraf Ali Najar,
On Email

YMD

It is assumed that you are in a state of war. Now, who is responsible for this state, whether the war is justified or not, and questions of this sort, and their answers is another issue. We are not in a position to judge. But the state of war, or something near to it, does seem to prevail – at least according to some analysts, which may be agreed by all, or most, or maybe not. What are the Islamic rulings for such a state is then a matter of highest Muslim judicial authorities. You may, therefore, direct your question to Indian Muslim Judicial authorities, or refer to the International Judicial Body based in Makkah.

Until a ruling is issued by them, you might continue with your present job, while seeking Allah’s forgiveness for reasons that it might not be Halaal. But a juridical opinion you must seek.

Further, if you feel there is something wrong in it, that you are unable to define, then, look for an alternative profession, and give up the present only after you have found 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:

  1. The job portal at the website offers the company to register and post their jobs in front-end
  2. The company enters their details and in the application email they should mention ‘nisaprojects@gmail.com
  3. Registered members can apply for the jobs by sending their interest to Nisa Projects 
  4. Once we receive their application we will forward it to the company for review and schedule a skype session
  5. Shortlisted candidates will be notified via email and contact details of both will be exchanged for the final hiring process.
  6. 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.

Aysha A,
On Email

YMD

Mabruk!

However, your portal seems to be more Da`wah-oriented and informative, than to serve as job-finder.

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.

Safwan Saparudin,
On Email

YMD

Kindly send us your complete address. We shall, Allah willing, send you some literature.

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.

Miskatul Zariff,
On Email

YMD

We are not.

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. Myself 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 kick-starter campaign. Read here:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1569170613/khalils-the-finest-halal-marshmallows

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. 

Amina Khalil, 
On Email

YMD

As a publishing house we may not be able to support you in any way. We publish your project so that someone might be interested in funding you.

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 halaal or haraam.

Ahsaan Khan, 
On Email

YMD

In actual fact, this is not medical insurance, but medical benefit, offered by all middle-sized companies which is mandatory on them. The service is Halal, if it is your company reimburses.

Q: This is a Muslim sister in search of the right answers. Most common people take the two (Riba and interest) as equivalent. The common argument is in whatever form interest appears it is Haraam. But some argue as the earlier standard was gold, and later shifted to currency, the situation changes as the rise and fall of currency is based on the rise and fall of the dollar. 

In this process, we Muslims stick to the principle and some of them give away the interest to the poor or a request to the bank not to credit the interest. This interest amount piles up and the same is used against the Muslims.

In India, Muslims are considered the Backward Class and many are living below the poverty line! I am not saying you should take interest but there must be a more comprehensive view when the [Prophet (saws) said,‘Trading is allowed and interest prohibited!’

The answer to this question could lead us to ‘Is working banks allowed?’ I feel if Muslims have a stable financial position they would be in a better position to fight the infidels.

How could we come out of this problem and help our brethren –is my question.

Rashida Begum,
On Email

YMD

That trading is allowed but Riba disallowed, is a Qur’anic Ayah.

A hadith warns: “Usury has 73 grades, the lowest of which is as (heinous a crime) as a man having sex with his mother.”

Abdul Majid Daryabadi explained: “The Arabic word, Riba, is but partially covered by the English word ‘usury’ which, in modern parlance, signifies only an ‘exorbitant’ or ‘extortionate interest.’ The Arabic Riba on the other hand, means any addition, however slight, over and above the principal sum lent, and thus includes both ‘usury’ and ‘interest.’”

A hadith says: “Verily, every kind of usury prevalent in pre-Islamic times stands abrogated, and the first usury that is to be abrogated is that owing to `Abbas b. `Abd al-Muttalib. Your capital amounts are yours: you will neither commit wrong, nor shall you be wronged.”

Thus, all forms of interest-bearing transactions, call them by whatever name you wish, are disallowed. Even those transactions are disallowed which only smack of interest. And, there can be so many of its kinds that even `Umar (ra) wished that the Prophet had expounded it to the smallest detail.

An example of how Riba can surreptitiously creep in is illustrated by the following: It is reported of `A’isha (ra) that Umm Muhibba asked her about a deal she made with Zayd b. al‑Arqam al‑Ansari by which she sold a slave‑girl to him in return for 800 Dirhams that he would pay up later. Then she re‑purchased the same slave from him at six hundred Dirhams cash that she paid to him. `A’isha (ra) told her: “It is an ugly deal that you made. Tell Zayd that if he did not repent he will undo his Jihad with the Prophet.” (Qurtubi from Al‑Muwatta)

Imam Razi explained: At the time of the Prophet (saws), Riba used to be of two kinds: Riba al-Nasi’ah and Riba al‑Fadl. (Nasi’ah is the well-known interest on money: Au.); as for the Riba al‑Fadl, it was to sell say a kilogram of one quality of wheat against two kilograms of wheat of another quality. The Qur’an spoke of it in general terms but the Prophet specifically prohibited both. However, until the prohibition of the Prophet reached Ibn `Abbas, he remained believing that it was only the Riba al‑Nasi’a that was prohibited. When he received the hadith of Abu Sa`id al‑Khudri, he changed his opinion. (Razi)

Mufti Shafi’ Deobandi has the following to say in explanation of the statement of `Umar and Ibn `Abbas (ra) viz., the Prophet (saws) died before he could elaborate upon the subject of Riba:

Riba is a common Arabic word whose meaning was never obscure to the people who spoke the language. When it was declared unlawful in the eighth year after Hijrah, the Companions of the Prophet had no difficulty in determining its meaning namely, that sum (or material) which is additionally charged over the principal on the debtor in return of the delayed return. This is the kind of Riba that the Qur’an spoke of in these verses. However, Riba can take inconspicuous forms.

The Prophet, therefore, further broadened the spectrum of its meaning by banning certain kinds of dealings and declaring them usurious. For instance he declared as unlawful the selling of fruits before they are ripe or the crops before they are harvested. He also declared, “Gold against gold, silver against silver, wheat against wheat, barley against barley, dates against dates, salt against salt, equal to equal, hand to hand. Whoever added or demanded more took interest.”

Now, the question arose whether Riba was confined to these six commodities or was it generally applicable to all kinds of materials. It was to this that `Umar (ra) was referring when he said that the Prophet died without elaborating the subject.

`Umar recommended, therefore, that, in view of the grave risk of falling into the unlawful, one should abstain from every deal that has any resemblance to either of the two kinds of Riba: the one declared unlawful by the Qur’an as well as the other kinds declared unlawful by the Prophet. Those Muslims of our times, therefore, who argue that the term Riba has remained undefined and a term obscure in its meaning are at a great distance from truth and guidance.”

Finally, with reference to your statement about Muslim poverty in India, it appears that they themselves are responsible for it. They are indolent, lack hard work, and ignore honesty as the core principle of success in business.