Letters to the Editor
Junaid Farooq, Kashmir, via email
My name is Junaid and I am a student. I want to know whether is it permitted to do the zikr of Allah with a loud voice. In Kashmir at many places Zikr and durood are read on loud-speakers.
Dhikr (or Zikr) is Allah’s remembrance. This is a religious ritual; and religious rituals must have ritual sanction.
There are no directives in the Qur’an and Sunnah about how exactly to do dhikr. This is because there can be numerous situations and places, in which dhikr can be performed. Therefore, the Prophet’s practice plays the key role. How did he perform his dhikr? We have a variety of reports concerning how he did his dhikr.
His dhikr constituted in the recitation of the Qur’an, which Allah had instructed him to continuously do. Apart from the Qur’an, he did dhikr regularly after the five-daily Prayers. He recommended that his followers do the same. Accordingly, we find reports that say that the Companions remained in their positions after the termination of five daily Prayers, doing dhikr were used. This was done in slightly raised voice, but not jointly, that is, not in chorus and, not the same words of dhikr. Everybody had his own litany, his own words, although it cannot be ruled out that some would have said nothing, just sat silent.
Then there were joint sessions of dhikr in halaqas (circles) not specifically designed for dhikr at appointed hours, but which took shape impromptu. That is, they were not arranged. But rather, the halaqa grew from two or three engaged in conversation, and then more joining, and finally, turning into a dhikr-halaqa because at that time nobody lectured in the mosque for a halaqa to grow into a lecture session. Such impromptu halaqas much pleased the Prophet.
Those on the Platform (As-hab al-Suffah) also engaged themselves in dhikr, recitation of the Qur’an, and learning their religion. Sometimes the Prophet joined them as one of the participants, especially when it was a knowledge-halaqa. Yet, he never organized a halaqah himself, did not appoint an hour for it, did not appoint someone to take charge, and did not recommend anybody to form a dhikr-halaqah in such and such a manner. Nor do we know of any halaqah where dhikr-words were prescribed, and the dhikr took place in a loud voice. Indeed, loud voice does not only disturb others, it disturbs a man’s inner self. It creates an external effect, like music, but not internal. It gives the joy of participation in a collective act, similar to joining a singing party, a Chorus in a Church, or the shouting of a football match spectators, which all help create an atmosphere, but do not touch the soul.
Doing dhikr over the loudspeaker is perhaps the worst way of doing it. Dhikr should be attempted by individuals, involving their inner self and souls, with as great a concentration as possible. A group’s recitation relayed over a loudspeaker has obviously those on the street, or the residents of the surrounding area as the target. It is not dhikr. It is conveyance of a group’s collective action. It is to announce that some people are engaged in dhikr. It is an imitation of the Choruses of the Church, or similar practices of other religions. It is not Islamic.
Also there is a custom of some khatam-e-sharief. Is it permitted in Islam? Please answer in the light of Qur’an and Hadith.
We do not know what exactly the so-called Khatm-e-Shareef is, and what is done on the occasion. Can you pl. send us some details?
Ibn Mas’ud, via email
I am a regular reader of your magazine and I always find it interesting. Many a times I find answers to my questions in its Q & A column. May Allah (swt) reward you for all that you do. I have questions.
Is it permissible for Muslim women to tie their hair and offer Namaz?
The rules say nothing about the condition of a woman’s hair during Prayers. It is left to her convenience, so long as she covers them fully during the Prayers.
Can Muslim women earn or go for a job? If yes what type of jobs can they got into?
If the economic situation at home is such that the basic needs of a family (food, shelter, clothing, health, education) cannot be met by the earnings of the husband who tries his best, and the two see no other alternative (and not a preference from the start), then a woman may engage herself in some sort of economic activity, but reverting and abandoning as soon as the situation has improved. This is because she is needed to bring up the children, which she cannot do if she is away from home for the whole of the day. It is on the husband to do the earning. If his eight-hour job does not earn him enough, it is nobody’s but his own problem. Let him work 16 hours, if that is what required. He is one hundred percent responsible for providing the needs of a home, wife and children.
Is it compulsory for women to cover their face i.e. wear Niqab along with the Hijab?
From the point of view of what the two terms mean in practical terms, Niqab and Hijab are one and the same thing. Niqab is the word for the veil on the face. Hijab is the word for a veil or a screen between a person and others. The Qur’an said addressing the wives of the Prophet,
وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ [الأحزاب/53]
“When you ask them (the Prophet’s wives) something, ask them from behind a screen.”
In the above verse, the word hijab has been used in the sense of veil/screen. Now, if it was allowed to expose the face, then the screen was perhaps not required. This is how women other than the Prophet’s wives understood during his and later times, and used the veil to cover their faces when in public.
Yet, it may be noted that in the above verse, men have been addressed, not women. The implied meaning therefore is that the word hijab has been used not in the sense of a screen alone, (since there were other words for a screen, such as “haajiz“, “sitr” etc.), but in the sense of a behavioral attitude both on the part of women as well as men. According to this interpretation, men observe hijab in the sense of guarding, or screening their eyes and hearts from that which they should not be looking at, because it is not theirs; therefore, even if during the exchange of things and articles, a woman’s face or body is exposed inadvertently, men should not use the opportunity to try and discover her.
Although the majority have throughout the centuries understood hijab as meaning veiling of the face with a niqab, in modern times the pressure on them is to go out and earn their own livelihood, and, sometimes, even the livelihood of their husbands and children, or, alternatively, starve … in this situation a woman is forced to expose her face. In case of a religiously conscious woman, this situation arises when she is not able to find a job in a place where she is not required to expose her face, or, work in women-alone environment. She finds that if she does not take up the next best job – in the sense of next best moral environment – the alternative is starvation. In such a case – and in such cases alone – if she follows the minority opinion that the face is not included in the term hijab, then, what man has the guts to say her choice is wrong, unless it is an authority who, after issuing the fatwa provides her on a regular basis, unfailingly, enough for her to meet the minimum cost of living, and expecting no words of thanks?
Could you please let me know the books that are written by Harun Yahya. I found the article very interesting that you had published in your magazine.
Harun Yahya has more than 200 titles to his credit. The following are some of his better known books: What Darwinists Fail To Consider; If Darwin Had Known About DNA; Photosynthesis: The Green Miracle; Atlas Of Creation; The Miracle In The Cell; Darwinism Refuted.
All his books are freely downloadable from the Net www.harunyahya.com.
Can a woman trim her hair short. I have heard that its Haram. Please clarify.
No it is not haram. It is either due to conservatism or influence of Eastern cultures that Muslims, especially in the Asian sub-continent believe that cutting the hair short is disallowed for women.
The problem with them is that they live in a culture dominated by other than Islamic and see most women about them with long hairs but some with short hair. Since they are not used to seeing hair short, they immediately declare it either haram or highly deplorable for Muslim women. They forget entirely, that whether a Muslimah has long or short hair is nobody’s business since she stays in hijab, and her hair is never visible to anyone but the Mahram. That being the case, if the Mahram have no objections, they should not object either.
It is the parents alone who, before marriage, can disapprove of their daughter’s hair cut, if they think that their social environment will disapprove and the girl might have difficulty in finding a match, they may suitably advise. After marriage, it is entirely between husband and wife. If the husband has no objection she may keep the kind of hair she desires.
I was in a relationship with a girl. Later on, we realized that we are on the wrong track. So, we got married according to Islamic law… But we haven’t informed our parents because I am yet to finish my professional degree. Now I want to question about whatever we’ve done in the past, whether it is right or not? If we are right then how can we ask forgiveness from Allah for the relationship we maintained before marriage? Can we be forgiven? Please guide us.
Farhan, via email
There is no sin that will not be forgiven if the repentant is sincere, does not repeat and reforms.
By asking about what you did in the past, perhaps you are referring to marriage. Well, it was the right step but illegal for the girl. She should have obtained permission from her father (or custodian if he is not there), before marriage. The marriage however is valid.
Thank you for doing a great job, Mash’Allah. Please comment on the following excerpt from a book Peshawar Nights:
The Well-Wisher: “The criticism of `A’isha is not due to prejudice. It is because of her wrong conduct. She committed misdeeds which no other wife of the Holy Prophet, including Hafsa, daughter of Umar, did. Moreover, the Shias’ criticism is strictly within the bounds of the comments made by your own Ulema, who have reported that this woman committed serious wrongs.
The Sheikh: Is it proper for a noble man like you to make such charges against Ummul-Mu’minin?
The Well-Wisher: All the wives of the Holy Prophet except Ummul-Mu’minin Khadija, are of equal rank. But `A’isha’s conduct and her words were certainly different from those of the other women. Again, this is not merely my version, but your own prominent Ulema have written that her life was blemished. The good and bad actions of people cannot remain hidden forever. Eventually truth reveals itself.
E.g., Mulla Ali Muttaqi in Kanz al-`Ummal, vol. VII, p. 116; Abu Ya`la in his Musnad and Abu al-Sheikh in his Kitab al-Amthal report that when Abu Bakr went to see his daughter, he found that there was a grievance between `A’isha and the Holy Prophet. The decision was left in Abu Bakr’s hands. `A’isha used insulting language in her remarks. In the course of her conversation, she asked the Holy Prophet to be fair in his attitude. This insolent remark made Abu Bakr so indignant that he slapped her so severely in her face that blood flowed down her clothes.
Also Imam Ghazali in the Chapter on Marriage, has narrated that once, when Abu Bakr reached his daughter’s house, he found that the Holy Prophet was displeased with `A’isha. He asked them to tell him what was the cause of their grievance so that he might bring about reconciliation. The Holy Prophet asked `A’iha if she should begin telling about it. She replied, ‘You may begin but you should speak the truth.’ In her next sentence she added, ‘You are a man who really thinks himself to be a Prophet!’
There are a few other things that the book Peshawar Nights mentions. For instance …
Anonymous, via email
We have cut short your letter because each of the allegations that you mention will require lengthy answers. For the moment we shall answer to this passage, and, attend the rest in coming issues, Allah willing.
Although we do not like to comment on books that are not in our possession, in this particular case we shall, because this is the kind of material commonly found in the works of the Shi`ah who condemn `A’isha as a woman who deserves to be cursed. Indeed, it is such an important element and a basic doctrine among the Shi`ah that if a man cannot curse `A’isha, he is not of the Shi`ah. In the meanwhile we will be grateful if you can send us the complete name of the book, the author and publisher. If you could, please send us a copy, because sometimes these are propaganda material, that are published for certain targeted area, and available there alone.
To answer, basically it must be understood that living with the Prophet was an extremely demanding affair. That nine or ten women bore it through, is a proof of the authenticity of the Prophet. Were they not fully convinced that he was a Messenger of Allah, a few, if not all, would have surely broken away. The very `A’isha reports about the Prophet that he never had the opportunity to eat stomach-full of barely-bread for three consecutive days until he died.
What kind of days and nights we expect the Ummahat al-Mu’minin to have been leadding when, far from wheat-bread, not even barley-bread was available, and that too not available for three consecutive days. Further, even when that low quality food was available, it was not there in enough quantity to fill the stomach once in 3 days? Surely, today’s slum-dwellers eat better.
It should be obvious that if food is not available, then one cannot talk of clothes, jewelry, furniture, etc. So, it was nothing but hunger, want, and frustration, day in and day out, with no hopes of relief. It would have been harder for many of them because they were from well-to-do families. In their entire lives they had not experienced missing a single meal, and here they were, half starved, locked in single-room huts, with little pleasures of outing also ruled out. Tempers could rise in such situations, especially when separation option was ruled out, not by the Prophet, but by themselves, who were given the choice to depart, but who, down to the last one, opted to stay. There was no shadow then visible of the Islamic empire that his followers came to establish after him.
Obviously, the Prophet could not have been unaware of these realities, and, apart from being a husband under test, he must have been aware that there are times when even the best of women, because of certain physical changes taking place in them periodically, they are likely to become short tempered, irritable, and abusive. They regain their selves only after they have undergone recovery. Therefore, he had to be extra indulgent. Add to the test and indulgence, his personal kindness, and the result would be that his wives could take the license that we well-fed people of today cannot imagine. They would have surely taken the freedom to speak what sounds obnoxious today. Finally, give a woman the age of `A’isha, and you can surely hear surprising words from her.
How did `Ali get the title the Shi`ah like to hear? Abu Turab? It was due to exchange of heated words between `Ali and Fatimah. If – according to them – `Ali is the next most holiest person after the Prophet, holier than prophets before him, or, as some of their extremists believe, holier than even the Prophet, then, should they not start wondering that in a life between husband and wife, this kind of exchange is everybody’s share, not excluding the Prophet.
With this prologue, we may now go back to the report once more.
A scholar who has access to books like Muttaqi’s Kanz al-`Ummal, Abu Ya`la’s Sunan, or Abu al-Sheikh’s works, would surely know that, without checking its equivalent in the Sihah works, to pick up a hadith from any of these is dishonesty pure and simple. And, if someone wishes to curse a historical person, no less than a wife of the Prophet in whom he claims he believes, then it is fanaticism of the worst kind.
Those cited above intended to collect together all kinds of hadith that was there spread in numerous collections, simply to make them available to students of Hadith to search and locate for research purposes. This is especially applicable to Mulla Muttaqi. There were many others who made such collections. Accordingly, their books are not included in the curricula of religious Madrasas.
Secondly, he who argues with any Hadith from the Hadith works of the Ahl Sunnah wa al-Jama`ah, is surely aware that they have subjected each report, including those in Bukhari and Muslim, to check on their authenticity, and have produced voluminous works in which they recorded their opinions. So, if you have a hadith, you know Arabic, and have access to their books, you can get the opinion of not one but several scholars about it, whether trustworthy or not. This particular report, as in Kanz al-`Ummal, has been declared weak by `Iraqi, Haythami, Albani and, in fact, by rule, Mullah Muttaqi himself.
As for the statement that Sunni scholars have commented on `A’isha’s behavior, well, none has. It is a lie. Those who recorded the report have said nothing by way of comment. They were collectors, not commentators. In fact, their reports when put together, corroborated by history, draw a very different picture of `A’isha than that in the faith of the Shi`ah. It is the picture of a woman of an exemplary character.
We may also point out that if the report has any merit of authenticity in it, then, it only goes to prove the extremely honest character of `A’isha. This is because whatever books you look into, you find that this particular report is narrated by `A’isha herself. If she had not narrated it, the Shi`ah would not have known about it. Therefore, before starting to criticize `A’isha, it is binding upon a grateful people that they first thank her.
It also speaks volumes of `A’isha’s self-confidence otherwise she couldn’t be speaking of a slap (or slaps) she received from her father, in front of her husband. What woman will like to receive slaps before her husband, and what woman will narrate the ugly incident to others? The answer is, “A noble woman will do it.” Another woman of lesser character would have pleaded the two, “Whatever happened has happened. Past is past. I hope you will please keep it to yourselves.” The Shi`ah may salute her, if they believe the report is true, and if nobleness of character is of any worth to them.
To continue examining the report, if the so-called “scholar” had been honest, he would not have “selected” the text that suited him. He cites Mulla Muttaqi’s report, but not completely. Go to the report. It says at the end, “The Prophet began to wash the blood from `A’isha’s shirt and remarked (addressing Abu Bakr), ‘We did not intend this, we did not intend this.'” So, even an untrustworthy report demonstrates the Prophet’s love of `A’isha.
As for Imam Ghazali, (who picked up the report either from Tabarani or Khateeb’s Tarikh), he is not reporting the incident by way of critism as the Shi`ee scholar is doing; which is another objectionable act. How can you take a report from someone who is not criticizing but praising `A’isha without honestly mentioning that although Imam Ghazali praises her, I choose to condemn her?
In his Ihya’ Ulum al-Deen Imam Ghazali is trying to impress on the reader how much ordinary believers should not tolerate their wives when their Prophet tolerated to the extent he quotes, and how far should they not go to please their wives when the Prophet went that far? Nowhere does the Imam criticize `A’isha, nor do Abu Ya`la or Abu al-Sheikh who originally recorded these reports. So, to say, “Your own Ulema..” or, “Your own books ..” is deceitful. Is this how religion is preached?
But the deceit does not end there. While citing Imam Ghazali, he has picked up a part of his words, and left out parts. The Imam includes in the passage the words, “It is said that the first love that occurred in Islam was that of the Prophet for `A’isha.” These are the Imam’s words, someone the Shi`ah trust, otherwise they would not be quoting him.
But there is more to the selective nature of the text picked up from Ihya’. Imam Ghazali ends the passage by saying, “The Prophet used to say to his other wives, ‘Do not vex me about `A’isha because the Revelation never comes to me while I am under the same blanket with any one of you, except when I am with `A’isha.'”
So, some part of the Qur’an the Shi`ah recite, was revealed with `A’isha by the Prophet, in his bed, under the same blanket.
Differently worded, the above report is in Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, and others. But perhaps the Shi`ah do not like these books. Bukhari and Muslim also report `Amr b. al-`As saying that he asked the Prophet about whom he loved most, and he answered, `A’isha. He asked, “Among men?” He answered, “Abu Bakr.” He asked, “Next who?” He answered, “`Umar .. and named a few others.”
Although we have not seen the book “Peshawar Nights” we are quite sure the author would not have quoted all that Imam Ghazali had to say about `A’isha. The Imam mentions another report in Ihya `Ulum al-Deen about `A’isha. It says that the wives of the Prophet sent Fatimah, the Prophet’s daughter to him to voice the complaint from them that the Prophet was paying greater attention to `A’isha than others. Fatimah delivered the message. He asked, “My daughter, do you not love what I love?” She said, “Sure, I do.” He told her, “Then (pointing to `A’isha) love this one.”
Actually, when the Shi`ah criticize `A’isha, they are at the height of ungratefulness to her. As we know, their whole religion revolves around Ahl al-Bayt, by which they mean `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, Hussayn and their progeny. Their twelve Imams were their descendants. The twelfth Imam, the Mahdi – according to them – will be their descendant. The Qur’an mentioned the wives of the Prophet as the Ahl al-Bayt. It said (33: 33)
“Remain in your homes, do not make a dazzling display of the sort of the days of ignorance of former times;offer Prayers (spiritedly and assiduously), pay the alms, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah only wishes to remove all abominations from you, O Ahl al-Bayt, (members of the Household) and purify you to complete purification.”
The above is the only ayah using the term “Ahl al-Bayt” for the wives of the Prophet. (A second usage is for the members of the house of another Prophet).
But, the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama`ah, somehow included `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Hussyan among the Ahl al-Bayt?” How come? Who brought them in? Well, it was no other than `A’isha who did it. In the six works of Sihah, she is the only one who narrated a story, and got `Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hussayin included into the term: “Ahl al-Bayt.” The report is in Muslim. It says,
`A’isha said, “Once the Prophet came out with a striped shawl on, made of black hair. Hasan came and he took him in. Then Hussayn came and he took him in. Then came Fatimah and he took her in it. Finally, `Ali came and he took him in too. Then he recited this verse, ‘Allah only wishes to remove all abominations from you, O Ahl al-Bayt (members of the Household), and purify you to complete purification.’”
There is no other hadith in the Sihah, declared Sahih by the authorities except the one above. There are one or two more, by other than `A’isha, but they suffer one technical defect or another. Had this hadith not been there in Muslim, it is possible that `Ali, Fatimah, Hssan and Hussayn would have been, to use colloquial language, out. Without `A’isha, the central doctrine of the Shi`ah would have been impossible to construct. `A’isha is central to their religion, deserving respect, honor and love.
As stated above, we shall reply to other parts of your letter, some time in the future, Allah willing.