Letters to the Editor
Judging the Nomads
What will be the judgment on the Day of Judgment for the nomads (people who live far from the world in deserts, forests) who do not know about Islam?
Muhammed Abdullah, via email
You may not have the following intention. But, generally, this kind of question is asked to raise an objection by the people against the possibility of they themselves being judged. What they mean is: “Alright, we will be questioned for what evil we did. Agreed. But, what about those who never received a message? How will they be judged? Obviously, they will not be judged and punished for their evil deeds. So, the question is (O God), why should You subject us to questioning and punishment?”
The answer is: when a crime is committed, the question of what will happen to the victim comes after what will happen to the criminal. If the criminal is properly judged, the victim will be properly compensated.
In this case, the criminals are those who received the Message. They were told to take it forward. They showed their backs. So, on the Day of Judgment, the victims will be asked, “What did you do with the message?” They will answer, “We never received one.” So, those who were entrusted with the Message and asked to take it forward will be asked, “What did you do with the Message?”
Before leaving this world, Jesus Christ sent his apostles across to various parts of the world. It is said that he sent one to India. Prophet Muhammad commanded his followers: “Convey (the message received) from me.”
He was so serious about his own responsibility, that he addressed a multitude of believers and asked them to testify that he himself had delivered Allah’s message to them.
Having no answer, as individuals, for not having delivered to those who live deep in deserts and forests, they will be punished. It is likely that their good deeds will be offloaded from them and given away to those they had ability to deliver but did not. Thus, the criminal will be judged, and the victim will be compensated.
In this case, the criminal faces greater danger than the victim. If the criminal said, for instance, that: “I had too little knowledge to convey to others,” he will face two charges: one of not knowing enough of what matters, and a second one of not having conveyed whatever he was knew.
As regards the victims: those who never received a Message, they will not have to answer for why they did not Pray or fast. But they will be questioned about two rights in the Hereafter: Allah’s rights, and rights of the humans. If they wronged the people, while it was disallowed in their own society, and regarded as evil by one and all (such as raping, looting, robbing, cheating, lying), they will have to settle the scores with those they wronged. As regards Allah’s right, it is His right that He should be believed as the One true God since He has planted this message into the heart and soul of every human. If someone ignores this call to believe in none but One God, and prefers to worship idols, images, other humans, Jesus Christ, devils, the Sun, cats (a temple for one in ancient Egypt has just been unearthed), then, he will be consigned to the Fire.
Another opinion is that so far as belief or disbelief in Allah is concerned, everyone who did not receive the Message either from a Prophet, or from his followers, will be sent a Messenger right on that Day and their fate decided on the basis of their response to the Prophet then raised among them. Exactly how this will happen is not clear.
But what is clear is that those who were derelict of their duty to convey, will be punished.
The statement of the French President, Nikolas Sarkozy, on the veil is condemnable and hurting the sentiments of Muslims. The way to give women freedom is not to ban a garment that some women may argue that they like to wear. In fact, the Muslim women considering hijab (veil) as impediment to success are a few. Veil is a ‘religious practice’ in Islam. A Muslim girl having come of age is religiously bound to cover her outer garments, beauty and contours of her body from ‘strangers’ as a shield against teasing, molestation and consequent rape by evil-intentioned persons. Veil ensures complete protection and modesty to a woman which other measures fail to realize.
A. H. Qasmi, Mumbai
When you use words such as, ‘religious practice,’ ‘modesty,’ etc. you are speaking a language that another man of another world, another stock, does not understand. He speaks only two languages: one: the language of money, and the other: the language of violence. If you have to say something to him you must use one of these two languages.
But your problem is that you cannot speak to him the language of violence, because you are not as adept and grammatically as dead-right at his language as he is. Therefore, he has reserved the right to speak his language. He rightly claims that he alone has the right to speak his language because, apart from your own murderous grammatical inefficiency, he has, in addition, the wisdom for it and knows the profound meanings, full spiritual implications, and holy interpretations of words such as, to give example: democracy, human rights, women’s freedom, but most profound of all: freedom of speech, freedom of action, freedom to follow one’s religion, etc. As a result of the superiority of language, and wisdom of the words, he holds the right to tyrannize, terrorize, and kill by the millions. He owns the media and pays the media men: just for your sake. They explain to you in your language, how the master’s language of violence is poetry. If you cannot appreciate poetry, you are uncivilized.
The other language that he speaks is of money. You have the money. But it goes into his banks. You could stop trading with him every time he insulted your Prophet. Of course, they say that insulting the Prophet is bad. “Very bad you know,” the Muslim says. But “what about cutting off trade, what about boycotting his goods,” you ask, and the Muslim retorts: “Oh come on. We should not go to extremes. That’s bad you know.” You ask, “So what about insults to the Prophet?” He says, “Allah will punish them.”
So, the Muslim is not ready to speak the language of money, (which is the only language he too seems to understand, but its other dialects!). How can he then prevent someone from legislating what he wills about the veil (which is not the veil, but only a scarf, anyway)? After all, is he making a law for an Arab country? He is making it for his own country which proudly stands for freedom of speech, profession, choice of a religion, adoption of a man as a wife, et al, the list is too long for this space.
Is ...bation allowed?
Kindly answer this question in your next month’s Letters to the Editor column for which I will be grateful. The question is as follows: Is ..bation allowed in Islam?
Saleem, via email
On several occasions we have written in simple words that this is a controversial issue.
We repeat herewith our answer given in the September 2009 issue:
Some scholars have seen nothing wrong in it, while others would forbid.
We suppose you should imagine that there is no clear cut fatwa about this, and so, it remains of the doubtful.
Actually, if our young men were to treat it as haram, they would prosper in their material life; because knowing that it is haram, they would work harder to get married as soon as possible; and working harder will improve their material status.
On the other hand, those who find a solution in …bation as a solution to avoid marriage, are not likely to work hard to enhance their material status, and are, therefore, likely to stay poor, unmarried longer and in the meanwhile, indulge in …
We do not know whether to look at this issue as not moral, but material, answers the question of Muslims getting poorer by the day. Or perhaps it is the other way round.
Further, natural instincts, powers and forces need natural answers. All unnatural methods must have their physical, emotional and even intellectual consequences. So, let us get back to Islam, not merely individually, but also collectively, and encourage early marriages.
Revival of every Sunnah, has Allah’s scheme working in man’s favor. Forces opposed to it melt away.
Where can I get Qur’an recitation videos with English subtitles….? I got Surah Yaseen and Surah Al Haaq but could get only 1-20 ayats of Surah Baqarah…. If they are of beautiful reciters like Sheikh Mishray Alafasy who recite with emotion, understanding the ayats, it will be great favour from you… I wish to give these soulful recitations to a non-Muslim friend of mine.
Mohammed Zahid, via email
Since what appeals to the emotion, and what does not, is a subjective matter, we find it difficult to identify what will have good effect on your non-Muslim friend.
We advise that you offer him several recitations and see how he reacts.
At all events, we have no idea where to get recitations with translations of the meaning. Perhaps the Web is the best place to search for.
Some of the recitations of Sheikh Tablawi (Egypt) are also considered as very good.
Marrying a Mahdavi
I am a 19 year old girl and I have a boy friend who is 21 years old. I just want to ask that I am a Sunni Muslim and he is a Mehdavi – another category in Muslim. So marrying a Mehdavi Muslim is desirable or not? Is this allowed in Islam? Please note that some times I don’t get YMD.
Muskaan Zaib, via email
Whenever you do not receive a copy of YMD, pl. use e-mail to complain; another copy will be immediately posted if you send us your complete address.
As regards marrying a Mahdawi, no, Islamically, it is not allowed to marry a Mahdawi because they subscribe to views that are not compatible with Islam.
For example, one from many, the Mahdawis do not believe in Salatu al-Taraweeh throughout Ramadan. They Pray only on three nights of it. Salatu al-Taraweeh is individually a Sunnah, but collectively a wajib. If the entire community of an area does not offer these prayers, every one of the community will be sinning.
You might say that whether it is done by the Mahdawis or not, you will do it. The answer is, they will argue with you in such irrational terms that you will ultimately change your opinions, not only with reference to Salatu al-Taraweeh, but several other things, to ultimately change your religion itself. After all, if some people differ over everything of the Shari`ah, even if slightly, then, those minor differences lead to the formation of a new Shari`ah which is other than the Shari`ah of Islam.
You see, you must admit that you are poor in commitment to Islam – otherwise you would not have had a boy friend – and, therefore, overcoming your resistance will be a matter of three dinner parties followed by discussions ultimately leading to the question: what religion is the best and truest, and of course, according to the opinion prevailing after the dinner, it would be Mahdawi.
A major factor of difference is that the Mahdawis believe that the Promised Mahdi has already arrived. The question that can legitimately asked is: Why do the Indians believe in the Indian Mahdi. Why do they not believe in the Yemeni Mahdi, Arabian Mahdi, Turkish Mahdi, Sudani Mahdi, Moroccan Mahdi, and other claimants? Has the Hadith promised one Mahdi or a dozen Mahdis? Which one then was the trule Mahdi, if any? Why should not the Mahdawis of the world get together and sort out who the true Mahdi was?
Is it possible that each of the Mahdawis group (following a Mahdi of its own geographical region) is unsure that it will win the debate over the identification of the true Mahdi?
At all events, it is feared that since the Mahdi has not arrived, (he will, in time) when he actually arrives, all the Mahdwis, followers of so many Madawis of different regions of the world, will be the first to reject the true Mahdi because each of them has its own Mahdi. If it happens in your life time, you will be one of those who will reject him.
You may speak to your beau and show him these lines. If he stays on his opinion about his Mahdi, then, he is irrational. Do you want to marry an irrational man? If he admits that he is not following the true Mahdi, then, let him announce it in a mosque, enter into Islam afresh, after which you may marry him, if he is truly suitable for you. Religion is only one of the factors. Several other factors have to be checked on before marrying a man.
If Allah already knew that Fir`awn was going to do such cruel things, then, why did He give him so much of wealth, kingdom and power? And, if it was because Allah wanted to teach a lesson to others through him, then why did He choose Fir`awn? I would be greatly pleased if you answer my question.
Muhammad Owais Ali, via email
So, it looks like a case of “heads I win, tails you lose.” Either way Allah is questionable.
Your doubts have arisen from the supposition that Islam is a religion, just like there are other religions. And, a religion guides you in matters of rituals (Prayers, fasts, etc.), tells you about lawful and unlawful, and gives you wisdom for everyday use (i.e., a few proverbial statements). With that, the function of religion is over.
But Islam is not a religion in this strict sense. All that the other religions give, come much later in Islam. In Islam it is Allah who comes first. The Qur’an is about Allah. Islam is: Know your God.
Having missed this central theme, the first and the last matter of concern, today’s Muslims know next to nothing about God, about their Creator. For them God is endowed with the same reason, same wisdom, same logic, as humans, but to a higher and greater degree. So, today’s God can be defined as Superhuman. Not human, of course, but a Superhuman, and, therefore, someone who can be judged by the humans. So they ask: Are You reasonable O God? This is Jewish understanding of God. They ask God: “Consider God. You have done this, and this, and this to us. Are you fair?” A Jewish learned man delivered a lecture on Judaism in Oxford. When asked whether he still believed in God after Auschwitz, he replied, “Yes. But I am angry with him.”
Let us beware that we ever question God’s Wisdom.
To answer your question, Allah did not give Fir`awn all that He gave: wealth, power, etc. Fir`awn inherited it all from the previous Fir`awn, and he from the previous one, belonging to a chain of Emperors of a dynasty that lasted several centuries. Of course, more power, wealth etc. was added in each generation, to lead them to pride and arrogance.
The Egyptian emperors were not a new phenomenon on the earth. There were Roman emperors, British Kings, Russian Czars, Indian Mughals, and so forth, who ruled various parts of the earth at various times, goodly or badly.
The dynasties mentioned above were not a new phenomenon in the history of dynasties. There are other dynasties: business families, banker families, industrial families, and so on.
All that these dynasties have had of wealth was not a bestowal on them from Allah, as a reward, or as a punishment. They earned them, through hook or crook, through right or wrong, through wars and peace, or through inheritance; just as everybody earns his livelihood, less or more by such means.
What they had was Allah’s bestowal in two senses: 1) In the final analysis, Allah’s leave has to be there for someone or some people to come to possess something; therefore, in the sense that without His leave, they could not have owned it, it is His bestowal, His giving; 2) despite the transgressions of the possessors, Allah did not punish them immediately, but rather allowed them respite, leaving them in power, generation after generation; until they proved to be quite unworthy of what they had, and so, He either destroyed them physically, or destroyed their wealth, so that they were reduced to poverty, and had to disperse as refugees. Hell is in waiting for them.
If it is asked, “If Allah knew that Fir`awn was going to do cruel things, why did He give him so much of wealth, kingdom and power,” the questioner may turn the question around to ask about himself: “If Allah knew that I am going to sin against Him, and do injustice to others of my kind, and throw His Revelation behind my back, why did He give me power to move my hands and feet? Why did He not paralyze me? Why did He create me?” Or he may ask, “If Allah knew that the Americans are going to bomb out civilians in millions in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, why did He give them wealth, kingdom and power?”
We hope you are beginning to understand the scheme of things. Allah’s knowledge is one thing, His Plan is something else. Following His Plan, Allah has created the humans, given them different powers (wealth, kingdom, military power, scientific power, technological power, agricultural power, oil power, etc.) and has given them the freedom to act. If, for example, the Americans choose to bomb out people by the millions, they will ultimately lose their wealth, power and so forth, plus have a bloody nose in the Hellfire. But if they choose to use their wealth, power and rule to please their Creator, He will reward them suitably in this world, as well as in the Next.
If the Arabs use their oil power to serve Islam, they will be rewarded suitably in this world and the Next; but if they use it to undermine Islam, they could be punished Here, and have a bloody nose in the Next. The rule is common; (but more strictly applicable to the oil-owning nations, since they did not have to work for it like every other nation that had to toil for the position of power and wealth that it achieved).
Your another doubt is: If it was because Allah wanted to teach a lesson to others through him, then why did He choose Fir`awn? We are not sure what exactly you mean. But if you mean why Fir`awn alone was chosen for destruction? the answer is, it was nothing specific with Fir`awn. Allah also destroyed nations before him and after him. The Roman Empire was also destroyed. The British Empire was also destroyed. The `Abbasid Empire was also destroyed. Fir`awn’s destruction, however, was symbolic too: there will be endless number of the Faraa`inah throughout the ages. Anyone who earns some wealth and power, becomes a Fir`awn: murdering, looting, terrorizing, tyrannizing. The Jews are an example. They were being crushed under the boots of European hegemony. The Muslims gave them shelter in Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, etc. Now, they are preventing food and water to the Muslims in Gazza. They have turned Faraa`inah.
Then there are little Faraa`inas. Within their own domain of interaction, they act like a Fir`awn. An untrained Muslim husband acts like a Fir`awn with his wife. (We are told of a man who would kick his wife when she was in prostration). There are pretty of Faraa`inah around, who are as tyrannous as the Fir`awn of the Qur’an.
These Faraa`inah are reminded through the story of Musa and Fir`awn, severally repeated in the Qur’an, that they are under Allah’s watchful eyes. If they cross a certain limit, the mightiest empire will face the same end; and the mightiest of individuals will sink in their own rivers of misery.