Letters to the Editor
Q: I heard No`man Ali Khan say that Imam Fakhruddin Razi had some views in Aqeedah which the majority do not accept… at the same time he quotes him a lot from Tafsir al Kabir saying he is one of the best Muffasirs, grammarian and linguist that the Ummah has ever produced. To some extent, he quotes all the Muffasirs including Mufti Shafi, as well as Qasim Nanotvi. Once, he said he was a remarkable scholar. I would like to know whether what he said abut Imam Razi is true because I always assumed Razi was influenced by Ghazali and should be on the right path even in `Aqeedah… more or less.
Irfan Nasir, Bangalore
There is no doubt about it that Imam Razi was an outstanding scholar. But to say that he was one of the best among Mufassirin would be a hyperbole. On the other hand, the word `Aqeedah seems to have become a catch-word for condemning, or reducing the status of any scholar of the past or present.
Such statements as you mention should not be made by ordinary scholars. They create unnecessary doubt. After all, far from the common people, even scholars hardly know the intricacies that `Aqeedah involves, especially when complex issues are discussed by a scholar of Razi’s stature. Why poison minds of the simple folks, to whom what Nu`man `Ali Khan says is, perhaps, weightier than what Razi said?
In addition, Razi’s Tafsir is in Arabic, and filled with discussions over issues of dialectical theology (`Ilm al-Kalam), which requires specialists to understand. What’s the point in making remarks over a topic whose word-meaning is not understood in English, let alone in Arabic?
As for Razi being influenced by Ghazali, we have no opinion and no definite information. The minds of the two were seas apart. To say that he was influenced by the other is another big opinion to express. Suffice for us simple Islam.
Fard and Wajib
Q: Would it be the right understanding to say that Farz is that, which, if it is completely ignored it would mean there is no Eeman, and Wajib is that, which, if it is completely ignored, a person is only punishable.
F. M., Bangalore
Although it is unthinkable that a believer would ignore all the Fara’id, yet, Eeman is something that a man will only be thought of as free of it, if he repudiated that which brought him into Islam in the first place. That is, a man cannot be declared an unbeliever, so long as he declares his faith in the two Shahadah. It is by declaring faith in the two testimonies that a man becomes a Muslim, and it is by repudiating one of the two testimonies that he becomes a non-Muslim.
Both Fard and Wajib are terms, primarily, of Fiqh postulates, for application in Law rather than in doctrines. To many Fuqaha’, the two are interchangeable, except the Ahnaf, who are responsible for introducing the concept of differentiation between the two. To them, Fard is an act in the absence, or corruption of which, rituals are not acceptable, requiring a repeat; while Wajib, is that act, which, if forgotten, or unintentionally corrupted, but not intentionally ignored, entails some sort of expiation (Kaffarah), the nature of which depending on the nature of the ritual; without requirement of repetition.
Q: You have mentioned in the letters column of YMD May 2011 that one may follow any one of the four Madh-habs and not follow anybody else. Please mention as to by what authority the four Imams of four Madhabs have that they should be followed?
It is obvious that since you are not an authority, you will have to look for one to follow. That one will have to be, as you have already reached the conclusion, an authority. Internet sites are no authority. Your colleagues are no authority. The `Ulama’ around you are no authority. Your dilemma is, you have to practice Islam; and, without an authority, you will have Shaytan as your authority. We understand why you are worried and sympathize with you.
Well, the authority is given to the Fuqaha’ in general by the Qur’an and Sunnah. The Qur’an said: “O those who have believed! Obey Allah, obey the Messenger, and those of authority among you.” By authority, the allusion could only be to religious authority since it is common knowledge that political authorities are corrupt.
Now, after obedience of religious “authorities” stands confirmed, obedience of the most learned among them is by default a greater religious obligation. Each of the four schools have had scholars of such standing in their group, that the like of whom have not appeared after them. Most of them got whipped in public for refusing to obey the political authorities. When Ibn Hanbal died, the entire Baghdad market was closed. The funeral of these modern-day self-made, self-declared “I-know-all” breed is attended by 20 people, who discuss business while accompanying the bier.
Should the Ummah follow one of the four schools of law, or vagabonds on the Net, or those Fuqaha’ who sold their souls for fat salaries from oil-money, or those who do not know how to pronounce the word Fiqh if given in Arabic, nor know its meaning? You will have no difficulty in answering.
We also feel assured that you must be thinking: “Now. If I choose to follow all of the four, choosing from any one at any time, I would be actually following my base desire, since I cannot distinguish between right and wrong. I don’t want to follow my base desires and land into Hell.” And, “I may be downright ignorant, but not a fool at the same time. I’m not risking Paradise.”
If you are thinking on those lines, surely, you are on the right track and we congratulate you for adopting this course.
Influenced by street preachers, pamphlet distributors, and ignorant egotists, some people are wont to say, “Look! George Bernard Shaw knew English. Now, I too know English. So, if Shaw had the right to express his socialistic ideas in his dramas, I too have the right to air my humble opinions in Islam.”
We advise that you stay away from this humble humbug. The head-on clash of this humbug’s vocabulary of 150 words against that of 50,000 of Shaw, will smash his head. Allow him some time, can you?
Sects and Divisions
Q. There is a hadith in which the Holy Prophet (saws) says that out of 73 sects that will be formed, only his will go to heaven.
The hadith is Sahih, but not found in Bukhari and Muslim. In our times, it has been popularized more than it deserves.
Q. What baffles me is that most people, in spite of knowing this, still continue to follow some sect or the other. Whenever I ask people about it, most of them nod their heads in agreement, but they end up following the same trend.
You need to distinguish between a sect and a group. The street drummers for instance – the fastest rising group – is steadily developing into a sect, but it still remains a group and not yet a sect. The hadith speaks of sects and not of groups.
Q. There are two situations where I’ve felt the religious divide themselves the most: (1) When searching for a groom/ bride. I’ve in my own experience seen many bride’s parents asking if I was a Sunni or Salafi, Ahl-e-Hadith, a Jama’ati, [i.e., Jama`at-e-Islami, Tablighi].
That is because some people are so far away from the true spirit of Islam, that they do not know where truth lies. Today, perhaps, these are the only four groups in India who can be identified as good folks, against the street drummers.
Q. Is it right? Marrying only from one sect only? Because I feel that is a blatant display of division of religion along the sectarian lines. And most importantly it promotes sectarianism.
It is right for the groups that they should not be deceived, but wrong for those who would like to stay away from these four groups.
Hopefully, by now you have found a bride.
Q. In most areas here, I have noticed that there are Sunni and non-Sunni mosques. Most people only go to the mosque belonging to their sects. The problem is that they will not consider going to the other sect’s mosque under any circumstances, even if it means missing out the prayer. In fact, I once happened to meet an Imam, on a train journey, who was a passionate Sunni. When I told him that I go to all mosques for Friday prayers, irrespective of sects, he said my prayers won’t be accepted if I prayed in a non-Sunni mosque.
When the separation of mosques is complete, like the separation of the Shi`ah and Sunni (meaning the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama`ah – let us call them the Tahawi group), the street drummers would have become a sect. Until then we have time to work and save them from perdition.
Q. I feel these are simply ways of ensuring that the division on sectarian grounds remains. My cousin sister is soon to be married and Inshaallah, I would like to bring this topic up amongst the elders of my community, so that more errors can be avoided.
You should, although it is very likely that they will immediately become three groups: for, against and neutral.
Q. I would like to know your opinion. I apologize for the length of the question, but I felt that unless you knew the context of my question, you might not understand the nature of my doubt. This is a highly relevant issue, especially in the times in which we live.
We are in agreement with you.
Q. I would like to get a clarification and seek your advice concerning an important matter. A number of people keep their earnings money in Fixed Deposits in the Banks. Interest is accrued on such deposits at the end of the year. The depositors would like to give away the interest towards Zakath to the deserving. Please clarify if that is in order.
Dr. Syed Hussaini
If the money earned as interest is being used for paying out against one’s Zakah, then, that is disallowed. But if it is being given away to the deserving simply for the reason of getting rid of it, without hopes of reward, then, according to some, that could be allowed.
Q. Is it allowed in Islam to examine a male patient as part of our profession as a doctor, and what about a male gynecologist?
Sumayya Tabassum (On Email)
Islam is a religion of decency. Protecting the individual, his or her modesty, honor and dignity are its main concerns. It respects the individual to the highest degree. Present-day materialistic civilization has little regard for individuals. It believes that humans are animals, and, accordingly, people are treated like animals by it. It would say for instance, “Have you seen an animal hiding its private parts?”
No, Islam does not allow a male doctor, whatever his specialty, to examine the `Awrah of female patients, nor a female doctor examining the `Awrah of male patients. If men and women insist that they will be examined by the right gender, hospitals will be forced to provide facilities. Excuses are offered such as, there are no female gynecologists available. But that’s not correct. In most cases of women’s diseases, a gynecologist is not required at all; so that all females who do require to be examined by a gynecologist alone, can be directed to them, while others can be examined by male doctors who use female nurses as assistants.
Muslims often quote that dire needs disregard the general rules of prohibition. But, in actual practice, the needs are never dire; but rather, lack of modesty.
The above also applies to female doctors who should avoid attending to male patients. If the circumstances in a hospital enforces it, they should change the hospital: Whoever fears Allah, He makes a way out for him or her.
I have been reading your Digest since last seven years; and in my family there are around 15 members who read the Digest including children who enjoyed reading the Children’s column. But I felt very disappointed that my son aged seven years was exposed to question and answer in the Jan 2011 issue, discussing intercourse, pregnancy, and sex, with reference to Prophet Solomon, as well as our own Prophet. It was in reply to some idiot asking shameful questions. You committed a mistake in answering the question.
Myself and my family do not wish our children to know about pregnancy, intercourse, etc., and hence we have decided to discontinue subscription of the magazine. Please reply to me on my e-mail address.
Iqbal (On Email)
When you said that you are discontinuing subscription to the magazine, we thought the next sentence would be a promise that you would raise funds for a separate magazine for the children altogether. The late Mawlana `Ali Miyan had expressed his desire that we should bring out such a magazine.
So far as raising the doubt that the reader raised, we do not believe it was a stupid thing to do. Although there is no dearth of the stupid, to get doubts cleared is not a stupid but rather a necessary thing to do.
As regards talks about pregnancy, intercourse, etc. we all live in different worlds of our own. The world we – the staff of this magazine – live in, talks more on these things, through its print as well as screen media, than anything else. You are lucky that you are able to escape this media to preserve the innocence of your children. Without this magazine or others of this type, you’ll need more and more of luck.