Letters to the Editor
Q. You are much more learned in the knowledge of Islam than any layman like me. As I am a layman, I have to turn to the Scholars for knowledge and do taqleed of them until I become a scholar myself.
This is the primary error that leaves you in limbo. Unless someone is in a “long-distance away in a village,” with little or no access to a town, that she has little option but to follow the most learned and pious person of the village – even if he is a non-scholar.
In contrast, in a town, no one should oppose Islam by following a local or a TV or Net scholar. For townsmen, taqleed of a scholar is disallowed, assuming that he is truly a scholar.
Q. I come across a scholarly individual and follow him. Then along comes a friend who shows some ahadith and some fiqh and advises that what I am following is wrong and what his scholar says is correct. I see his point is, indeed, valid and so I change my scholar. Then this entire process gets repeated again and again until I am back with the first scholar. Now I am very insecure. And I am totally confused – confused by the accusations and counter accusations of all the groups of “Muslim scholars” at each other.
How could you become a mujtahid, a specialist in religious affairs, and an authority in fiqh matters – to decide by yourself, about who is a religious authority that you could follow? What were the parameters that you used? Did you have any parameters, except for your senses, feelings, and sentiments?
If you used your faculty of decision, and chose from a list of builders, for the construction of your house, then, anyone you chose would turn out to be a dupe, because, all of them are dupes, or unqualified, or inexpert, but for a pin in a bundle of hay.
So, if the house begins to fall in six months, wasn’t it a straw that you had picked up?
Q. Are they all correct? Are they all misguided?
If all of them guided you to themselves, then they are all incorrect, and, misguided too.
Q. Are the Wahhabis purely politically motivated and, hence, not to be trusted?
A question that was to be asked before the choice fell on them.
Q. Are the Barelvis more unreliable?
Q. Where do the Hanafis, the Malikis, Hanbalis, the Sufis, the, the Ahle Hadees, the Ahle Qur’an, the Munkir of Hadeeth, etc. etc. ad nauseam go wrong and where do they go right?
Categories first, second, and third of the above, do not, as school, go wrong, when they issue opinions of their madh-hub, and go wrong when they issue their personal opinions.
Category four does not exist today except in pseudo form.
Category five is trustworthy as a madh-hub in matters of doctrines and rituals alone. Their Fiqh involving interactions awaits compilation and codification that will, perhaps, not happen. Mujtahids alone of this madh-hub might be followed. Lower order scholars of this madh-hub may be ignored.
As for the last two categories, they are Firaq (sects) – two of the seventy-three.
Q. How can one ever be really sure? They have access to all the books that I can never hope to even see, much less appreciate and judge the fine technical nuances of the points of argument put forth.
Answers to the above are in points as follows:
- You can be sure if you followed one of the four madh-hubs.
- The so-called scholars that you refer to, themselves do not have access to the source books.
- As for seeing the books, you could do that in a good library, and we advise you do that because seeing the huge volumes of the madhaahib against the booklets and pamphlets of the non-madhaahib with your own eyes will increase your confidence in them, and re-direct your criticism against the lower order scholars and street preachers.
- With regard to judging the finesse of renowned scholars of the past, you may not be able to do so, so why worry? After all, given the equations of astronomical constants, you (or we) will not be able to discover the rough points, let alone the finer, so, why attempt, if worry is the outcome?
Q. I am at a loss to know where I stand. What is the Truth?
What you stand on, is the Truth. Now, remain on the madh-hub prevalent in your society.
Q. And where is it? Is the Qur’an really all that one needs? Or is it the Qur’an together with the Hadith? Or is it the Qur’an together with the Sahih Hadith and not the da’eef ones? Or do two da’eef Hadith make themselves as strong as one Sahih?
Those who judged that a hadith is saheeh or da`eef, or whatever of the dozens of kinds, followed one of the four madh-hubs. If you accepted their classification, you will be a muqallid. But if you did not accept their classification, you would be at a complete loss. So, what will you do, if you decide to be a ghayr muqallid?
Q. Or is it the Qur’an, the Hadith, the fiqh, and taqleed of any one scholar? Then which scholar?
No scholar, but a whole madh-hub, one of the four in all matters.
Q. What does Allah T’aala expect from the likes of me?
Study the Qur’an in its language; take help of the Hadith, but stay a muqallid in all legal matters – until you have become a mujtahid yourself, which you are strongly invited to become.
Q. If it is taqleed then where I am better than a Hindu (as I would be akin to if I do taqleed of the Shia Imams or Sheikul Islam Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri Sahab)? Or a Christian? They all have flaws and they all have convincing points of argument.
How could you call someone a Sheikhul Islam, and yet add, “they all have flaws?” At all events, taqleed of a madh-hub in fiqh matters is the answer; the rest do not matter whatever they say or do. Along with Qur’an and Hadith, add to your list of study, life of the Prophet and those of the first three generations of Islam (the Salaf). Your list of flaws that you see now in the people who cast their nets, will increase monumentally.
Q. Does not all this make my religion very dicey? Heads – I go to Jannah. Tails – hell. I find it all extremely terrifying. I completely and from the bottom of my heart believe in La ialaha illalah Muhammadar rasoolallah. I believe the Qur’an is the word of Allah t’aala. Then I am stumped. And I don’t know where to go from there. I am not certain if I have been able to convey my distress unambiguously enough.
When a man refuses to accept authorities, despite knowing them, in religion or other affairs, and takes things in his own, he is bound to be stumped and distressed.
Q. I thank you with utmost humility and from my heart for your kind perusal. I pray that Allah T’aala reward you handsomely for your kindness.
There is no need to thank us for our kindness because we are yet to demonstrate it.
For you and for those of the young men on whom nets are cast.
Abu Dharr arrived at Mina during the caliphate of `Uthman (ra). He was told that `Uthman did four rak`ah of Prayers. He responded angrily. He said, “I did two rak`ah with the Prophet, with Abu Bakr and with `Umar (ra). How could `Uthman do four?” Then he got up and did his prayers: four rak`ah. He was asked, “How come you criticized but didhat you criticized?” He answered that he did not like divisions.
Whatever other lessons, and whatever the reason why `Uthman did four, one lesson is: taqleed. It is allowed. Most Companions did taqleed of other Companions. Whoever said “taqleed” is haram, is speaking against 99.99% of the Ummah and is condemning 99.99999999 percent of the Ummah from the time of the Companions, until now.
To answer the question, “Whose taqleed,” we have said, “Of the four madh-hubs,” and not of individual scholars of any madh-hub, even if they are known in the public as mujtahids. Why are the mujtahids now excluded? It is because many claimed ijtihad in our times, but were not mujtahids. So, to avoid the people resorting to an un-recognized mujtahid, we might say, “Follow your madh-hub, and not mujtahids of that madh-hub, or of any other madh-hub, or of no madh-hub.”
As for true scholars, the Ummah has, in its race to “earn more and more,” outrun them; outsmarted them, and out-populated them. It will be years before one can search out a needle in a haystack. In contrast, the opinions and fatwas of the schools (madh-hubs) are available in print. Most are in Arabic (e.g. the magus corpus: “Fatawa `Alamgiriyyah” with the addendum of “Qazi Khan;” but a few are now available in Urdu, e.g. (with reference to the Hanafiyy madh-hub is considered, “Fatawa Deobandia,” “Fatawa Imdadiyyah,” “Fatawa Rahimiyyah,” and a few other smaller ones. The largest yet in Urdu, “Fatawa Rahimiyyah” is also available in electronic format. Other madhahib have not been beyond the Ahnaf, but most of their works are in Arabic only because they are prevalent in the Arab world. Follow the instructions there.
The above is for Fiqh matters involving arkan, fara’id and wajibat. As for general matters, such as spiritual, moral, and intellectual, the advice is: get serious. Do not make Islam a plaything; a pastime, a leisure-pursuit. He who did that will pay the price. Having got serious, keep the Qur’an under your armpit, the Hadith books spread on your table, lives of the Salaf your pastime, and the mosque your resort for any free time.
Avoid being influenced by those you think are scholars. Get serious. If you have a very disturbing question, let you travel to Deoband, Nadwa, Saharanpur (if you follow one of the four madh-hubs), or, if you are of the fifth, travel to Omarabad, or Jami`atu al-Salafiyyah jn Banaras, and meet there only top-order scholars, such as Sheikh al-Tafsir or Sheikh al-Hadith, always those above sixty years of age.
Plug off your TV, avoid self-proclaiming sheikhs and street preachers. Change your friends, cut down heavily on gossip (even if it is religious) steal time out of every worldly affair, and kick off net-habits.
Q. I have been a regular subscriber of your most informative magazine since the early 1990s.
Mohammed Zaid ,
If, despite your readership of almost two decades, you are still in confusion about where to seek guidance from, then this does not speak well of YmD’s educational objectives.
A Life-time Program
Q: We have a reform program at hand, which includes establishing an Islamic Bank, addressing the curse of beggary, establishing a hospital exclusive for women and run by women only, and establish schools based on Qur’an and Sunnah but compatible with modern day westernized cum materialistic schools. At the moment we have the following queries to which we hope you will gives us a “Muslim’s” response. These are: What is Islamic Banking? What are its advantages over today’s prevalent interest banks?
An Islamic bank is an interest-free monetary institution. It offers loans to its clients, charging them no interest, except for about 6% as the establishment cost, every year, as long as the loan remains unpaid.
This amount of 6% has been worked out by Islamic banking authorities as acceptable operational cost, and approved by scholars in India. There can be no other charge on loans.
It accepts deposits from those who have extra cash, Muslim or non-Muslim, which it uses to provide loans to the needy clients, Muslim or non-Muslim, on certain sureties. Such loans can be of various kinds, one of which would allow the bank to share in the profits.
However, to start with, the depositors (who get nothing on their deposits), must be warned that they are very likely to see their deposits diminish, owing to losses due to bad loans, poor management, and cleverly managed siphoning of cash from bank’s deposits. These elements have caused failure of several earlier pious attempts, by those without expertise, and without 105% trustworthy operators.
Q. Can we develop “Bait-ul-Mal” into an Islamic Bank, and how?
Yes, if you have the permission of the depositors in the Bait al-Mal. As for “how” that is for those who operate to decide.
Q. How can we create/establish an Islamic Bank in the state of Kashmir where the population is more than 90%?
90% what? In any case, unless you wish to register it with the governmental bank authorities (e.g. the Reserve Bank of India), you can establish and run a private bank without any hurdles.
Q. Why is interest a curse and cancer for a society?
Because Allah and His Messenger said so.
Q. How can Islamic Banking be beneficial for the society on the whole?
A successful Islamic bank should help the poor clients, and avoid, to an extent, the capitalistic ills, such as, e.g., sucking of the wealth of the poor into the pools of the rich to increase the poor’s poverty, and enrich the rich.
Q. We are your subscribers by the name of “Salam (Peace) Islamic Centre” since last 15-20 years almost.
Praise to Allah for we having lasted so long.
Q: Here I have a concern pertaining to our younger generation. In the name of style and fashion, we end up buying clothes without considering if the same is within Shariah. I am talking about the printed T-shirts with pictures of animals and celebs. These styles have become so common that today the younger generation does not feel anything wrong or are not even bothered. These youth come to Masjids wearing the same and no one even questions them. When asked the reply comes that it is better to read Namaz wearing this than missing Namaz. I request you to kindly take up this issue seriously and release a fatwa to ban all these dresses.
The Prophet is reported to have said that the angels do not enter a house in which there are pictures and images. Wearing such clothes as which carry images of the living, could ordinarily cause the angels of mercy to stay away from the person. Doing prayers with them on, would be a worse situation; and doing prayers with them on in the mosques is contempt of the mosque, the angels, and the congregation.
Marrying a Prostitute
Q. I read an article recently stating that when the Prophet (saws) migrated to Madinah, he had a companion (forgot the name) who was a warrior saving the people from the pagans.
It is a shame upon the magazine (or was it a website?) to have produced the story the way you narrate. Could you please recheck, and if found in the same words, send us the reference?
Q. Before entering Islam he used to visit a prostitute. After migration, he wanted to marry her. But when he asked the opinion of the Prophet he denied him. From this, should we consider the prostitutes cannot get married to any one? Or no one should ever marry them? What to infer from this incident?
A society which produces prostitutes will have enough number of pimps and clients who would be willing to marry them. Allah said (24: 3), “An adulterer does not marry but an adulteress or a pagan women, and an adulteress does not marry but an adulterer or a pagan; while that is prohibited to the believers.”
Nobody then, need to advocate their cause, nor give a moment of his thoughts to their troubles.
Q. Can you please quote some more hadiths and Qur’anic proofs with your reply!!
Why one Qur’anic ayah should not be enough?
Q. I would be glad if you post this question on the “Question and Answer” page of your magazine.
Mohamed Najmuddin Siddique ,
Why should it make you glad, we wonder; while to quite a few of our readers, it is an offence to even mention the word used for the profession. We are afraid some of them will write to us in protest.
A Prayer worthy of Rejection
Q: I want my mail to be confidential. I’m in love with a guy to whom I didn’t saw & I didn’t talk as well, the same applies for him as well. We used to chat via msgs only. Few days before, we got broke up due to some misunderstanding. Since I’m in love with him I’m feeling very bad & uncomfortable.
In your case, the question of whether love is allowed in Islam or not does not arise at all. You never fell in love. It was only infatuation, and an early answer to sex-call. Perhaps, you are a teen and teens fall in love the moment they sight a certain kind of man, virtually before he can say, ‘Hello.’ There are recurring cases of girls falling in love with the most stupid, ugly of face, ugly of personality, and ugly of character. They also fall in mad love with enemies of Allah. Your case seems to be one such, seeing that you haven’t even seen the man.
Q. Few days before, after Namaz, I prayed to ALLAH with a cry that anyhow make him to talk to me and make him my life partner. Since love and all is not allowed in Islam, so praying to ALLAH like this is Jayaz or it’s a sin?
Making such a prayer is disallowed from the point of view of your own interests.
In sha Allah, your prayer will not be answered. If Allah were to respond to every prayer of His slaves, their lives would be a story of disasters. He said (17: 11), “Man prays for evil (in the manner of) his prayer for good. Surely, man is given to haste.”
The situation as described by you is that the man doesn’t want you, but you want him! So the question is, why then, do you want to impose yourself on him? Does it sit well with your self-respect? If the man married you and came to know that you loved him before marriage, he will place you in low esteem wishing that he had known someone else who was more dignified, self-respecting, and chaste. Remember that women of noble character are always respected by their husbands (which in time translates into love), while women who do not measure up are held in disdain – sometimes in open, sometimes in secret.
Considering the other side, if the man turned out after marriage that he is a donkey who can do little more than bray, then, your life is lost. Your prayer, therefore, should be that Allah bestows on you by His mercy a husband who will be a partner in all that is good and virtuous in life, who would help you out in your efforts to please Him, and say, like the Qur’an has taught us (25: 74): “Our Lord! Grant us of our spouses and offspring (such) as are a comfort to the eyes and make of us a model to the God-conscious.”