Letters to the Editor
The Prophet’s Existence
Muhammad Rahman, via email
I have two queries about fiqh. Please answer quoting references from books of hadith.
Many Muslims believe that the Prophet (SAS) existed even before Adam (AS) was created by Allah (SWT).
This is incorrect.
However, before we proceed, we must remind whenever such questions come into discussion, that our entry into Paradise does not hinge upon such questions as, e.g., whether the Prophet was the first in creation or not, whether he is dead or alive in his grave, whether he is made of light or earthly material, etc. Our salvation depends on our strength of faith and deeds carried out in confirmation with the guidance shown by the Qur’an and Sunnah. We are also required to love the Prophet. But such love has to be expressed in ways approved by him.
Let us assume a person held the belief that the Prophet was the first to be created. Is he going to be ushered into Paradise on that account? Far from that. He could be punished more than other neglectors and sinners for the fact that when he turned to religious issues, it were only those that were none of his business, that interested him. He wasted his energies where he was not required to. He had been urged to pay attention to those issues that would determine whether he will gain salvation or not. But he decided on different priorities.
In any case, it is incorrect to say that the Prophet was the first human to be created. It was Adam who was the first man to be created. Hence he is known as Abu al-Bashr, meaning, father of the humankind.
Allah said in the Qur’an, and right at the beginning, so that eyes could not miss: “And (recall) when your Lord said to the angels: ‘I am to place a khalifah on the earth.’ They said: ‘Will you place therein one who will do corruption in it and shed blood, while we chant Your praises and sanctify Your Name?’ He said: ‘Verily, I know what you do not know.'” (Al-Baqarah, 30).
A hadith in Tirmidhi says, “I was a Prophet even the while Adam was between body and spirit.” This has been explained by the scholars of Islam as meaning, the decision about the Prophet’s Messengership had been taken even before the creation of Adam took place: that is, it was a part of Allah’s scheme scribed in the ‘Lawh al-Mahfooz.’ We do not know of any scholar of the past who thought this means the Prophet was already in existence before the creation of Adam.
Those who have derived the meaning you have noted must be extremely ignorant who do first refer to the Qur’an which speaks of Adam as the first human in the heaven and on the earth. They also seem to have a penchant for untrustworthy reports in place of the trustworthy ones found in major collections, which speak of creation. This kind of idea circulates among those whose religion is closer to the worship of the Prophet, rather than worship of Allah. In this they are on the same path as the Christians who believe that if they can please God’s son, they will please God. Similarly, some people imagine that if they can please the Prophet, they would earn Allah’s good pleasure. Not surprisingly, they place the Prophet before Allah. They fall prey to forged ahadith about him, those concerning his special position with Allah, in fact, his special position in the scheme of creation itself.
They further claim that Adam saw kalima shahadah written on `Arsh when he came into being.
It is interesting to see how the ignorant can get caught on the wrong foot. They say that Muhammad was the first person in creation. They also say that Adam saw the Kalimah written on the `Arsh. In evidence they present a hadith. But, the hadith they quote to prove that Adam saw the Kalimah Shahadah written on the `Arsh, denies the earlier statement: namely, the Prophet was the first in creation.
The hadith that they cite is as follows:
لما اقترف آدم الخطيئة قال: يا رب! اسألك بحق محمد إلا غفرت لي، فقال الله تعالى: وكيف عرفت محمدا ولم أخلقه بعد، قال: يا رب! لأنك لما خلقتني بيدك ونفخت في من روحك رفعت رأسي فرأيت على قوائم العرش مكتوبا (لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله) فعلمت أنك لم تضف إلى اسمك إلا أحب الخلق إليك، فقال الله عز وجل: صدقت يا آدم! إنه لأحب الخلق إلي وإذا سألتني بحقه فقد غفرت لك، ولولا محمد ما خلقتكط، ص وأبو نعيم في الدلائل، ك وتعقب بأن فيه عبد الرحمن بن زيد بن أسلم ضعيف هق في الدلائل وضعفه وابن عساكر – عن عمر)
That is, “When Adam (asws) had committed his sin (in Paradise), he pleaded: ‘My Lord! I beseech You in the name of Muhammad that You forgive me.’ Allah (swt) asked: ‘Adam, how could you know Muhammad when I have not yet created him?’ Adam replied: ‘My Lord! When you made me with Your hand and blew into me the spirit from You, I raised my head and saw written on the pillars of the `Arsh: “There is no god but Allah, (and) Muhammad is His messenger.” From that I knew that You will not allow a name appear next to Yours but that of the most beloved to You.’ Allah said: ‘You spoke the truth Adam. He indeed is the most beloved to Me. Ask Me by his name and I will forgive you. If not for Muhammad, I would not have created you.’” (Kanz al-`Ummaal, from Tabarani, Abu Nu`aym and others, hadith no. 32138)
Now, firstly, this hadith is a fabrication and a lie attributed to the Prophet. Famous Hadith collector Bayhaqi says about the above hadith that one of the narrators is unreliable. Tabarani reported it but said, ‘We do not know of this hadith through any other chain of narrators except this one.’ Haythami said in his Al-Majma` that ‘although Tabarani has reported this hadith, there are some narrators in it who are unknown to me.’ Ibn `Asaakir also distrusted one of the narrators. An authority like Dhahabi thinks that the above report is a khabr batil (a false report). Hafiz ibn Hajr agrees with him and adds on his own unfavorable remarks in his authoritative work Al-Lisan. Ibn Kathir has also mentioned this in his Taarikh and has expressed the same opinion. Ibn Taymiyyah says this hadith is one of those that stood rejected.
Apart from the above experts of Hadith, other scholars such as `Ali ibn al Madini, have either expressed their ignorance of one or the other narrator of this hadith or worse, have accused one of the narrators of distorting the chain of narration (Isnad).
So you see, how the ignorant get caught in a trap of their own. If they accept the above false report as true, which says Adam found the testimony written on the `Arsh, then the same hadith also reports, “Allah (swt) asked: ‘Adam, how could you know Muhammad when I have not yet created him?’”
Yet, although the hadith is fabricated, it is quite dear to such people who commit excesses in their expression of love for the Prophet. It is dear to some others because it allows “waseelah” (Means of Access) which happens to be an important issue with them.
And the lesson we learn is that we need to place authentic ahaadith into our memories.
In short, it is said that if it was not for Muhammed, Allah would not have created the whole world and mankind. Please let me know if it is mentioned in any book of hadith.
Above we have stated the concerned hadith and the opinion of the hadith experts. At this point we might use our own reason. If the object of creation of humankind, and that of the universe was no more than the creation of Muhammad, then, obviously, we all do not matter. With the creation of Muhammad, the objective was achieved. Why we? And why should we be questioned for our deeds? After all, our trial is not the objective: it is, to repeat, the creation of Muhammad?
But, according to the Qur’an, our trial is the main objective of sending down the first man Adam from Paradise to the earth. Allah said, “Indeed We created man from a mixed drop in order to try him.” Indeed, it turns out that it is for our trial that the system that operates the universe was created. The Qur’an said, “Blessed is He in whose hand is the Kingdom. He has power over all things. He who created life and death in order to try you, as to who is better of deeds.” (67: 1,2)
Thus, the Qur’an specifically states the reason of our creation. But misguided people dig out, or seize upon such stories, and hold dear what are false reports, which contradict Qur’anic statements. No doubt, in all this, it is Satan who is their guide. He puts them on a holy grail that leads them away from what in truth the Prophetic guidance stands for, and demands of them.
The above gives us the message that, the safest Islam is that which is derived, first and foremost, from the Qur’an. Without a good standing in the Qur’an, one can be led away the right course by spurious ahadith, or trustworthy ahaadith, but not understood properly. On the other hand, if one is well versed in the Qur’an, false or difficult ahaadith cannot deflect him the right course.
A hadith very popular among Muslims says that the Prophet Muhammed (SAS) had the strength of thirty men, he also had sexual power of thirty men. Please inform if it is true.
Some of the Companions did believe that the Prophet had the power of thirty men. But, one or two reports which state that the Prophet himself claimed such a thing have been discredited by hadith experts.
Finally, if Muhammad Rahman is your true name, you need to change it. You can leave Muhammad at the beginning. But you have to add `Abdul after it and before Rahman. That is, the full name will then read Muhammad `Abdul Rahman.
Muhammad Nawaz, via email
I am a regular reader of this educative magazine from the past 10 months and it has truly improved my religious practices and life style in general. I pray to Allah that this magazine bring a revolution in the lives of Muslim brothers and sisters, as well as the non-Muslims.
My question: if someone takes an oath in Allah`s name that he will not commit a sin, but later he indulges in it, he is required to offer a kaffarah, as mentioned in the Qur’an, according to which he must feed poor people with the best food available and in addition offer the best of clothes – of quality better than that with which he likes to dress himself. But the question is, what if he does not offer the kaffarah?
Firstly, there is no need for an oath over what is already unlawful to a Muslim in the light of the general oath of Islam. To explain, when a man says the testimony, he enters into a covenant with Allah that he will abide by His laws. He need not, thereafter, take separate oaths for separate sins. But rather, the general covenant should be respected.
The additional oath that you had taken was, therefore, a laghw. However, since Allah’s name was taken, you should offer some sort of kaffara in expiation.
Next, it is not correct to state that the expiation consists in feeding the poor with the best of food possible. Nor is one required to clothe the poor in addition to the feeding. The Qur’anic verse dealing with this is as follows:
“Allah will not call you to account for your unintentional oaths, but will call you to account for your deliberate oaths, whereof the expiation is feeding of ten poor (persons) with what you normally feed your dependents, or (alternatively) clothing, or freeing of a slave. Yet, whoever does not find (the means), then for him are (prescribed) three days of fasts. That is the expiation of the oaths when you have sworn. But keep your oaths. Thus Allah makes clear His commands to you, haply you will give thanks. (5: 89)”
Therefore, if you cannot expiate by feeding ten poor persons (or one of them for ten days, or offering equivalent of money), then, alternatively you could fast for three days. The required feeding is a full meal per day or its equivalent in money.
Will Allah pardon if a person truly and sincerely repented after failing to expiate?
Of course Allah will pardon, but expiation is part of repentance. If a man failed to expiate, he did not repent.
Multiple Issues - Visiting Shrines, Accepting 'prasad', Woman's iddah
Mujahed Khan, via email
What do you say about the practice of ziyarat, daswaan, beeswaan and chahlum, after the death of a person, and finally the wife of the deceased visiting the dargah? Is this allowed in Islam?
No. Such practices are prohibited in Islam. And a woman’s visit to the tomb is absolutely out of order.
Some non-Muslims offer us what is known as Prasad. Can we eat it?
Any food offering to a temple, idol, or dedicated to deities at the time of religious functions, is not lawful for a Muslim. You may inform the non-Muslim of the Islamic position and then, if they still offer, give away the items to poor non-Muslims.
Can we change the place of residence of a woman after her `iddah period of forty days, because of job in another place?
We do not understand the question. Under no circumstances is a woman required to observe a period of `Iddah lasting forty days.
Tests before Marriage
Gowhar Ahmad Mandoo, via email
Is it allowed in Islam to check blood group and conduct HIV test before marrying in order to avoid any complications arising after it.
It is strongly discouraged to conduct any tests to determine what deficiencies a person – man or woman – hold before the decision to marry. There is no individual but who carries in his or her body, coded messages of a variety of diseases. But many of the messages lie dormant as inactive genes. When will they spring to action, and the person will be struck by an inherited disease, no one knows, no physician can predict. It is also not known what will induce a diseases in a person, and when. Millions and billions of people carry diseases in their genetic code that never show up in their life-time. Conducting tests, therefore, will not determine whether a disease will show up, when, mild or severe, curable or incurable, or never at all. Instead, it will reveal only the “likelihood” of diseases which will open up a Pandora’s Box – of diseases that may never strike. Yet such tests could become the cause of rejection of alliances.
To be cautious might sound good. But to cross the limits of moderation in efforts to outsmart the laws that operate nature, will not reverse Qada’ wa Qadr. On the other hand, if one hands over his or her fate to Allah’s destiny, He could reverse His decisions if He will. In such cases, diseases that were certain to open may lie dormant for the rest of the life. But, if he takes his destiny in his hand, under the impression that he can make or break, and that his life’s success or failure is nobody’s business but his own, then Allah leaves him alone to struggle against the pitiless system all by himself. Allah withdraws His wilaayah and himaayah – protection and support.
In the following incident, we have a good example of how Allah intervenes, and that Allah has power over everything. Mawlana Ilyas Ahmed – the founder of Tableegh – urged a man who was suffering from chronic Asthma to go out in the Jama`ah. The Asthma-stricken man said sardonically, “I am dying of Asthma as it is.” Mawlana Ilyas immediately answered back, “Then die in the way of Allah.” That is, you are dying anyway. Why not in Allah’s cause? The words struck tune with the man. He went out into Tableegh. Thereafter, in his whole life, he never experienced Asthma attack again. We know of similar cases involving persons who went out in Jihad.
Is it allowed to avoid sexual intercourse, for some years, after marriage, in order to get rid of some problems arising out of it?
If that is what a doctor suggests.
Muhammad Mandoo, via email
Is it permissible to marry a girl on the basis of certain Islamic characters, although the parents of the two may not be willing?
As an alternative, would it not be better if one looks for a girl of similar qualities and acceptable to both the parents?
What the young generation is being told by the invading Western culture and civilization is, ‘You are the prime creation. You come first. And you matter most.’ But, Islam is totally opposed to the selfish system that moves the Western individuals, and operates their societies. Islam builds a family and insures against insanity that strikes the selfish.
Islam does not discourage marriages among close relatives, but Genetics states entirely opposite rules!
This is because, modern science, as it has been developed, understood, and projected by the West, is anti-human. It destroys, and does not build. It produces quantity, but crushes the quality. It gives substance, but takes away the essence. It gives you the hard work but takes away the night’s good sleep. It gives matter, but at the cost of the soul. In addition, scientific men interpret the half-truths they discover to encourage rebellion against God, against nature, and against other humans. The present social, economic, political and ecological chaos that pervades the West, and whose greater evil side will show up as time passes by, is because science has been made a religion and the scientists, or their spokesmen, its priests, who enjoy the freedom to interpret scientific truths and half truths as they wish.
As for what geneticists say in our contemporary times, it is, at best, half truth. This is because this science is very complicated and not fully understood. Indeed, it is feared that humans may never fully understand the genetic code. The genes that seem to be responsible for one function and code for one chemical production, are proving to be either performing no action in a particular situation, for no apparent reason, or, seem to order the manufacture of another, different protein. Indeed, it seems that the so called common genes shared by various biological organisms, do not function in common ways in every organism. Apparent likeness, conceal deep differences. Even the so-called “genes for this or genes for that” do not seem to be final statements. As greater research is directed towards the discipline, they seem to acquire illusive traits. A final word, therefore, about what genes do, or do not do, is a long way off. The de-coding that was done, under the genome project, proved what a few honest scientists had been saying even before the project was taken up: you will only know the chemical sequence, but little beyond that in terms of concrete facts.
We advise therefore, that while getting married, a Muslim should keep before him the criteria that the famous hadith on this topic sets, and place trust in Allah: “And whoever trusts Allah, then He is sufficient for him” (65: 3).
What is the status of acquiring worldly ilm in Islam?
There is no such thing as worldly “`ilm” in Islam. `Ilm is only that which is obtained through Revelation and excludes profane knowledge. When the word `ilm is used in Islamic context, it is only Islamic knowledge that is meant and not the knowledge of, e.g., how to put components together to make a jet-engine.
As for what is the status of worldly knowledge, if it is something essential for the defense of Islam, or health and safety of the Muslims, it is fard kifaayah at the community level. As for individuals, there is nothing of worldly knowledge that is wajib on them. They are free to choose what trade, profession or field of study they wish to take up. A male is required to support his family. How he does it, is his decision. But if it is the defense of the community, then, the community is not free to do or not do: it has to do. Failing that, everyone will be sinning, and so punishable in the Hereafter.
Following an Imam
Ahmed, via email
Please answer whether is it right to follow an imam or wrong?
It is right. The common people have no other choice.
Why are there differences in the four imams?
According to a science book, there are seven possibilities how life could have begun. When someone asks why not one, then he is immediately classified as one of those common men who will never understand why not one. It is enough for common people – like us – to know that the scholars of all times have said that it is allowable to follow one of the four Fiqh schools. Why another Imam said a different thing over an issue, should be of no concern to us, unless we have four decades of study behind us: just like the biologists. Nor, can a fifth say ‘I am cleverer than the four, so follow me.’
I am a follower of the Hanafi school. Is it necessary to recite Surah al-Fathihah behind the imam, when imam is not reciting it?
This situation does not arise. That is, behind no Imam will you find a time of a couple of minutes of silence to allow you make your own recitation.
However, although the majority have not made it obligatory, there have been some scholars among the Hanafiyy school who believed in the recitation of Surah al-Fatiha during the “sirri” Prayers like Zuhr and `Asr.
My father goes to the dargah but I do not. I know it is bid’ah so how can I tell him to stop that it?
You have to do it indirectly. In addition, you could bring home good quality Islamic books and magazines and leave them around. Maybe he will read and be influenced.
Mohammed Mazharullah, via email
Once I and a few friends were seated in a hotel when suddenly an old person with quiet a big beard appeared. He said he was from YMD. He gave a lengthy account of YMD and its effects on our daily lives. From that event we have been regularly reading this magazine.
Since we do not have on our staff list anyone of your description, it could be someone speaking on our behalf.
I would like to ask whether a Muslim can work for UK based MNC in India? As few months back some of our ‘Ulema had declared that it is not allowed to work for, or buy from any UK, US and allies. But I work for it.
I have also received an offer from a Dubai based MNC, which is renowned for fashion wear. Should I accept the offer, seeing that I will have to interact with both the sexes?
We do not see anything wrong in working for a British or American company, so long as the companies do not deal exclusively with anything prohibited in Islam. Further, interaction with the female sex should be tolerated, if it cannot be avoided.
Please let me know, what exactly is meant by “gheebath“? Looking forward to a brief and exact meaning.
Aqsaa Khan, via email
Gheebah is to say anything about a brother Muslim in his absence that he would disapprove of when informed. Excluded is a person who commits a major sin openly un-remorsefully.
Finality of the Prophet
Please tell me about khatm-e-nabuvvat.
Iftekhar Junaidy, via email
A Qur’anic ayah says (33: 40): “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but Messenger of Allah and Seal of the Prophets..”
There are numerous ahadith on this topic, i.e., of the Prophet being the seal of the Prophets. One in Ahmed has Ubayy b. Ka`b reporting his father that the Prophet said, “My example among the Prophets is like that of a man who built a house, and did it well and complete. However, he left the space of a single brick blank. People started going around the house admiring it but remarking, ‘Only if this blank space of a brick could be filled!’ Lo! Among the Prophets I am that brick.” The Sahihayn have a similar version in their collections.
Another report in Ahmed is on the authority of Anas. The Prophet said, “Messengership and Prophethood have terminated. So, there will neither be a Messenger nor a Prophet after me.” The narrator added, “That sounded a bit hard on the people. So he (the Prophet) added, ‘Except for good tidings.’ They asked, ‘What are good tidings O Messenger of Allah?’ He answered, ‘A Muslim’s dreams. It is part of Prophethood.’
Muslim and Tirmidhi have also documented that the Prophet said, “I have been preferred over other Prophets in six (ways): I have been given short and meaningful words, I have been helped through awe, booty has been made lawful to me, (bare) earth has been made a place of prostration and a means of purification, I have been sent to the entire mankind, and (the series of) Prophets has been terminated with me.”
A report preserved by Ahmed says, “I was the seal of the Prophets (written) with Allah, while Adam lay in dust.” (That is, the decision about the finality of the Prophet was taken before anyone was created).
Zuhri has been recorded in the Sahihayn reporting, “I have several names: I am Muhammad, I am Maahi (the Eraser) who will erase unbelief, I am Haashir, (the Gatherer) after whom Allah with gather the people (on the Judgment Day), and I am `Aaqib (the last) after whom there will be no Prophet.”
It is great to read YMD. Pls. let me know whether there is any web site for small children’s.
Yousuf Mohammed, via email
A proper Islamic website for children is not in our knowledge. And, although we are not such great browsers, we are very skeptic you will find it. Our educated class, graduate upwards, who spend hours on the Net every day, is a talkative class. In its entire history this class has made next to no contribution to the causes of the ummah.
Can learning Arabic considered as sunnah?
Mohammed Irfan S, via email
No, according to some jurisconsults, it is wajib. Since obtaining Paradise is wajib on a Muslim, which requires an adequate understanding of Qur’an and Sunnah, and which in turn require learning of the Arabic language, learning the language becomes wajib. This follows the logic that what is wajib to obtain, converts its means also into a wajib. According to this viewpoint, those who do not learn the language, are constantly sinning.