Letters to the Editor
M. M., via email
I am doing final MBA and I have a question to ask: I have an affair with my co-student and we started dating. Everything was okay, but suddenly her ex-boyfriend came in between us, and she told that she wants a breakup with me. Prior to this, we’ve had s..l relationship. But now her ex-boyfriend left her, and she wants me again in her life. But I don’t have faith in her. So, is it right to accept her or not?
So, with a Master Degree in Business Management, (which lays great emphasis on manpower management), you already have a challenging project on hand.
Please advice me on some Du’as for getting less punishment from God.
Why ‘less punishment?’ Why not ‘no punishment?’ Why should anyone try to work out a compromise deal with Allah?
Please help me out, eagerly waiting for response.
We are hardly in a position to help you out. You are right in the middle of “the affair”, the sequel of a nasty past, and, therefore, in a better position to work out a solution yourself. All that we can do is to recommend sincere repentance, and an endeavor to start a new life, the life of a Muslim.
I have not yet subscribed to your magazine so please try to answer me through email…my question is: My in laws are forcing me to do these Fatehas which I have never done before. What they do is they make some sweet which they place on a Jayenamaz (prayer-mat) and recite Surah-e-Fateha and the other Qul Suras as shown in the Panjsurah after which they recite the du`a that the Sawab of this should go to the peers and Awliya…if I argue, they say it is not wrong since they are just making a du`a for the peer, awliya’ and marhumeen. Thereafter, they eat that sweet. Is this all right to do?
Heena Patel, via email
Although apparently there is nothing that is specifically against the Shari`ah in what they are doing, but in sum this act of theirs is forbidden because the simple Shari`ah of Islam has not ordered the ‘form’ of what they practice, even if some of its ‘parts’ are approved and the intentions are good.
We say that some parts of it are not forbidden because to cook, or to cook sweets, or eat good food, or intend that the dead my be given the rewards of a deed, are unobjectionable. But Satan plays upon them by reminding them often of these good, or, in the least, harmless acts in a whole which has a question mark before it.
The parts that are objectionable may not be ignored: cooking sweets alone all the time? Why only sweets, when there are many delicacies that are made with salt? Or, why is the food-item placed on a prayer-mat? Prayer-mat is for prayers and has no other religious function or significance. A prayer below the prayer-mat is no worse or better than the one on the prayer-mat. But a sin performed on a prayer-mat, by choice, such as, to take an extreme case, a forbidden sexual act, is greater in magnitude than ordinarily performed; not because the prayer-mat is holy, but because it is associated with a holy deed: prayers, and hence, it is to show disrespect to the holy act, (the prayers), by specifically choosing it to perform an unholy act on, which adds to the significane of the sin.
A food article does not acquire sanctity if it is placed on a prayer-mat. But to choose it specifically to place food on, is to show disrespect not to the prayer-mat but the purpose for which it is employed, that is, prayers. Therefore, it could be considered as Islamically an unhealthy act.
Next, their recitation of selected Qur’anic chapters is highly objectionable. The Qur’an has been sent for guidance. The barakah in the Qur’an, material or spiritual, is a well-known component of it. But this barakah is obtainable only after its guidance has been accepted. The barakah appears in a variety of ways, without any special action. To try to get barakah by cheating the Qur’an, is a perverse act. It is a sin by itself. It is another thing that no barakah over acts of this sort has been promised. So, when they do it, neither is barakah obtained, nor even any rewards earned for the recitation. The Qur’an asks them to recite it in Tahajjud prayers to obtain its barakaat. They do it over sweets. What makes them think it is an act of barakah. This they must stop forthwith. The Qur’an is not a mantra. Do they use a bell by the way? Hopefully not; because if they do, they will be closer to shirk.
Another objectionable part of the program is that they cook sweets and then eat them off themselves, although the declared intention is to designate the rewards for the so-called peers (sheiks), awliya’ (Friends of Allah) and marhumeen (those who were shown mercy); instead of giving them away to the poor. One suspects that the whole drama has the desire to eat sweets, and the rest of the acts and intentions are only for window-washing. If they truly intend to designate the rewards to others, they ought to be distributing the sweets among the poorest of the poor; with no share for the relatives, friends, neighbors or others, unless they happen to be poorest of the poor.
Why are the peers and others designated for the rewards? Perhaps because it is one of them, or their league, which has taught them what they are doing. Obviously, the first beneficiaries then, when they were taught, would have been the peers themselves, but now, after they moved into their niches in the graves, their followers decided to continue what they thought was a religious ritual. But since it was proving a bit expensive, they decided to consume the sweets themselves; just like the Jahiliyy Arabs who made idols from dates (as if there was not enough mud around), and then ate them when facing starvation. By this trickery, they saved the dates from theft, since a thief would think twice before stealing a ‘god,’ while, at the same time, it functioned as a saving for a rainy day. This Fatihah practice seems to draw its legitimacy, and spirit from the Jahiliyy practice.
It does not mean that they can in future cook and distribute the sweets to the poorest of the poor. This is because they are not in need of a nugget of sweetmeat in their palm. They need cash for the day’s meal. Giving money away, therefore, either to a single or several families, would be better than giving them a dainty, that melts well on the tongue, but which only increases hunger.
Yet another objectionable part of the festive ceremony is to do it on a regular basis, (monthly, weekly) on appointed days (Thursdays, Fridays, or any other). The best time for charity is the appearance at your door of one of the most needy.
Finally, if they believe that what they are doing is an act of worship, or, is Shari`ah-approved, then it is a bid`ah act and hence completely forbidden. Religion is not the other name of Halwa-Poori.
As regards what your role should be, this is the most difficult aspect of the question. You could give the happy-go-luckies a translation of this answer, in the language “understanded” by them (as Russell put it). This is because we feel confidently that the people in question are ignorant. Chaste language will provoke them to anger: as if you are trying to show-off your tongue power before them. So, do your best to put it in idioms of their understanding.
But at no time should you make fun of what they are doing, or of those who participate in the function with holy faces. This is their Religion, and no reformation can come if direct criticism or ridicule is employed, although, if you have the talent, you could put things in a humorous light.
If the pressure is high, you may announce that the scholars do not agree with the function. (Don’t say, I do not agree with the function); but if they insist, your own participation should be half-hearted: come in late, go away early, combined with occasional no-show. On occasions too, if you have an outside errand, fix it for that hour. Ultimately, they should know that you are forcing yourself to it, and will perhaps stop worrying about you. Your quiet non-cooperation is bound to affect one or two others, who will follow suit, and ultimately, the practice may die out.
On the positive side, educative measures will improve the situation; read out to them, every evening, from a good collection of Hadith; and of course, do not forget to pray for their guidance.
A New Kind of Business
I am a student. I know an organization from where you can buy a product, and suggest the same to your friends. If my friend buys the product i.e. from my reference I am paid commission by the organization and when me and my friend approach the next person or my 2nd friend and when he joins, me as well as my 1st friend gets the commission (its not so easy as it sounds) and so on it grows. So is such type of business allowed in Islam? And is the money halal? Please brief me on this.
Faraz Khan, via email
If it is as simple as you have stated, it is allowable, if you are not selling forbidden products.
Marriage made in Heaven
My question is: Are the pairs for the marriages decided by Allah ta’alah?
Syed Muqtadar, via email
The idea of marriages made in the heaven has come from the Roman Catholic version of Christianity. Islam does not subscribe to it – at least not in the sense they hold.
Everything that happens in this world, small or big, is by the leave of Allah; by His permission.
As for human acts, they make their decisions to act in a certain way; but either Allah allows their decisions to take shape in actual life, or He does not allow. In allowing and disallowing, He has the requirements of His Universal Plan in sight.
So, when something happens according to what humans plan and intend, (whether those plans or intentions are good or bad), it has Allah’s permission. But, permission is one thing, ‘approval’ is another; an act might have His permission, but not ‘approval.’ To gain an approval (rida), the act has to confirm to the conditions laid down by the Qur’an and hadith pertaining to that act, and should have been attempted for the sake of Allah alone, and for no other reason.
Therefore, if someone chose a spouse in marriage, for no other reason but that Allah will be pleased by it, and took care of all other requirements placed by the Qur’an and Sunnah, then it can be safely said that Allah willed it – in the sense that He approved it.
That understood, it must also be kept in mind that the consequences of such a marriage, may or may not have Allah’s approval. For example, if one or both of the pair are unhappy with the other, or they are unable to live together, or do not see eye to eye with each other in a few affairs of life, then too, the marriage itself has Allah’s approval, despite the consequences. In other words, the consequences of a Divinely approved marriage, are inconsequential with regard to the marriage itself. The pair earned the approval and the reward for that marriage.
As regards the problems that arise after marriage, once again, each act will follow the same principles and conditions: if they are for pleasing none but Allah, and are according to the dictates of the Qur’an and Sunnah, they are approved by Allah. If they are not, they are not approved by Him, although the marriage remains an approved act.
Aftermaths of a marriage are trials and tests. Trials and tests do not stop with the marriage, in fact, in a way, they begin. So, a pair may fail the tests that follow, even though having passed the test of marriage itself, which had Allah’s approval.
In other words, if a marriage is Allah-approved, it does not mean everything that happens thereafter will be sweet and satisfying to all concerned. No. To make everything sweet and satisfying, (1) everything that is done should be of the kind that wins Allah’s approval: high degree of sincerity, and high degree of coherence with the Qur’an and Sunnah, taking into consideration the demands of the situation, and (2) every one of the people involved should also meet with these conditions. Quite a few other people (apart from the pair) are involved in the success of a marriage. If those others are not satisfied, or, worse, sow seeds of discord, then the marriage can still become an unhappy one, despite the fact that it was Divinely-approved.
These rules and conditions apply to everything that humans do. If a person writes a book, and if it wins Allah’s approval, it does not mean the whole life of that author is approved. To win approval of the whole life, every act of life, small or big, significant or insignificant, has to meet with the conditions we have stated, stringently.
Thus, the concept of marriages made in the Heaven is, firstly, incorrect, secondly, there is no understanding behind it of Divine principles that could make it heavenly.
A Proper Repentance
I am regular reader of YMD. I am writing to this query having a hope that you (YMD) alone can clarify. When I was in my early teens I committed one great sin: I went very close to an 8th class student; who might not have known what was being done to her. I feel very sad, depressed, and ashamed of myself for that deed. I have regret for that sin. Will Allah forgive me? I am seeking Allah’s forgiveness.
M. J., via email
Why should you doubt Allah’s forgiveness? You have met with the conditions of repentance: You acknowledge that the act was sinful, you admit your error, you are truly remorseful, and have every intention never to repeat it, even if an opportunity arises.
As for the depth of sincerity of the repentance, it might be evaluated by the fact whether you recall the act in pleasure or in pain. If you feel it painful whenever you recall it, your repentance is weighty; but if you still draw pleasure from that act, it might not be quite worthy.
Atr [non-alcoholic) perfume is allowed in Islam. Are the innumerous perfumes/ deodorants/ anti-perspirants available today which come in aerosol spray containers which have alcohol content allowed in Islam? Or should we use only non-alcohol based perfumes/ deodorants/ anti-perspirants which come in aerosol spray containers? Please clarify as you had indicated in one of your earlier issues that all types of perfume/deodorants are allowed, but, did not mention whether alcohol or non-alcohol based.
Shabbir Ahmed, via email
In all such affairs of doubt, follow your inner voice. If you doubt, and if you have a good number of Islamically educated people around you doubting it, then do not go against your inner voice; especially, when alternatives are plentifully available. The quality of perfume produced in the traditional style is better than the alcohol loaded ones, even if the scholars have been saying that since it is not drunk, but only applied, the alcohol-based perfumes cannot be declared outrightly prohibited. After all, when smelled, alcohol does not enter the stomach but only the lungs. Further, alcohol is not najis.