Letters to the Editor
Diseases and Separation
A. J., via email
I am regular reader of YMD and want to congratulate you for your efforts. They are indeed worthwhile. My questions are about divorce:
Is it allowed in Islam to get separated due to some kind of illness? (i.e., partner is ill and I am not able to take responsibility to take care of that person for life). If I can get separated, give a brief list of such types of illnesses?
Sickness, of any sort, is not an acceptable reason for separation. If the wife is sick and the husband cannot afford to treat her fully, he may seek the help of others, and do what he can within his limits. Thereafter, he has no responsibility on him. But to abandon her in her sickness is neither humanitarianly acceptable, nor chivalry would allow it.
If the wife is chronically and terminally ill, the husband can get a second wife; but divorce of the first is not a gracious option. Yes, if the wife suffers from a disease that is contagious and life-threatening to others, then she may be sent away; though not divorced in hope of chance recovery.
If yes, can a person get separated because the partner is irresponsible, mentally-ill (depression, which was not disclosed before marriage, as that person was getting treatment for it since before marriage)? Does Islam allow separation? (But I did not reveal my illness as well, which was from about four years before marriage. I do not want to reveal my illness and my identity to all and for your information I am asthma patient & also use the pump).
Someone in constant depression, no matter how long, is not mentally ill. Like Aids, depression is a modern sickness that has invaded the modern world, and the causes of which are unknown. It is not even counted as one of the traits of personality disorder. The depressed are usually not harmful to others. True, their treatment is quite difficult, especially where religious convictions and applications are weak, but antidepressant tabs keeps a victim in working condition. We do not see a good ground for separation of man and wife, no matter since how long one of them has been suffering this disorder. In fact, far from separation on this ground, even if it is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), separation is not advisable, so long as a woman undergoes treatment, and, the five or more different traits that she suffers (which make up for BPD), are not of the chronic level. Depression, although a nasty disease, is much below BPD, so, how can separation be allowed?
What applies to the above also applies to Asthma. It should have no bearing on the marriage, and you may carry no guilt on that score. It was not necessary for you to disclose the disease at the time of marriage. In Islam you marry for character, and to suffer from one disease or another is no character failure, yet an inescapable law of nature. Ramifications of Asthma are in fact, all the more strikingly inconsequent because this disease has an external trigger without which it lies dormant. Many people going about carry its genes but the external trigger is luckily missing.
Is not, then, separation valid?
No, separation on these grounds is invalid. All humans suffer from diseases of one kind or another. There is no perfectly healthy person, and there is no perfectly healthy environment. Failures, whether natural or humanly-caused, are part and parcel of human life. Some have their indirect benefits, while others are plainly for trial. Bearing the diseases with patience and forbearance can help achieve martyrdom.
Celebration and Bid'ah
Wajid Ahmed Ansari, via email
I would like to know about the history behind the celebration of Isra’ wa al-Mi’raj: when and why was this started?
We do not have a clear history of the practice of celebrations in the night of Isra wa al-Mi`raj. But certainly it is of late origin. Until recent times good scholars (for instance, those of Deoband), were not available for speeches during the early night celebration and the late night devotions. They left their places heading for unknown destinations in order to avoid being invited and pestered by the common people for speeches. Some do even now.
There is absolutely nothing in the authentic traditions and Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws) that shows that he (saws) or his noble companions celebrated the night with any special prayers, or rites, or rituals, or any other religious act whatsoever. Unless someone thinks (Allah forbid) that he knows the Deen more, or fears Allah more, or worships Allah more than the Messenger of Allah (saws), he should abstain from any special celebration in commemoration of the night of Isra’ wa al-Mi’raj. Neither the Messenger of Allah (saws), nor his noble and chaste family, nor his noble companions ever celebrated the commemoration of this night. Thus, if one truly loves Allah and claims to follow the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (saws), he should abstain from adding anything to the Deen brought by the Messenger of Allah (saws).
There is nothing to add to your statements in this paragraph. You are perfectly right.
If anyone celebrates this night in any special way, then he would be guilty of inventing something new in the Deen, or following an innovation (bid’ah) which was not endorsed by the Messenger of Allah (saws). Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah that the Prophet of Allah (saws) said in a sermon: “The best speech is that which is embodied in the Book of Allah, the Al-Qur’an; and the best guidance is the guidance given by me, Mohammed (saws). The most evil affairs are the innovations, and every innovation is an error.” – Sahih Muslim, Hadith 1885. Will you please throw on the subject some light in view of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah upon the subject?
To condemn the practice in the extreme manner you have done, does not go well with the tolerant character of Islam. Since when have celebrations become innovations? How many scholars are not there whose own country celebrates a National Day, Independence Day, May Day, etc., but do not deliver condemnations of the same order as yours? This is because nobody believes that those celebrations are a part of the religion of Islam. Similarly, the people who celebrate this particular Night, do not believe that it is part of their religion. If they thought it was part of their religion, they would not miss it in the same manner as they do not miss participation in Friday Prayers. Although the attendance to the mosque increases on this Night, many miss and do not feel sinful. Why? Because, they know that Islam has not prescribed participation. It is merely a ‘celebration.’ If you participated, good, if you did not, you missed the halwa-puri. But did you earn a sin? They will say no.
An innovation in Islam is that virtuous act that is performed with the belief that it is a part of the Shari`ah of Islam, doing which will earn rewards and not doing which will entail sin.
We definitely disapprove of the celebration, and also disapprove of the lightening and decoration. This is extravaganza (israf) which is prohibited. We also disapprove of people’s participation in the celebrations, while they fail to attend to five daily Prayers, which have been declared an indispensible obligation.
Periods and Henna
Tweety, via email
I have some doubts; please clear them. First is that when a girl completes her monthly periods in 4-5 days, some people say that she should take bath (ghusl) on the ninth day only, and if she is married, she should take bath in seven days. So, I want to know whether that is right.
This is incorrect. A woman should begin to offer Prayers immediately after she comes out of the state of impurity. If for example, blood cessation occurs at `Asr time, she is required to take a bath and offer her `Asr Prayer if time is still left for it. If by the time she finishes her shower, it is Maghrib time, then she may not offer the `Asr Prayer neither Adaa’ nor Qada.’ She may start her Prayers with Maghrib.
But, if she delays her bath after the cessation of blood, attempting the bath, for example, after sun-set, although there was ample time, then she has to do the Qada’ of `Asr and then offer her Maghrib.
And the next question: applying mehendi is Sunnah, but I’ve heard that we should not apply it during the time of periods. Is that right?
No, that is not correct. Usage of henna’ is not a Sunnah that was regularly practiced by the Prophet. In fact, there is only a single hadith which reports that signs of henna’ were found at the root of some of his hair, in patches. All the same, there is no restriction on when it can be applied; except for someone in the `iddah period. Periods have no relationship to make-up of any sort.
Rayees Shamsuddin, via email
I obtained a copy of the Arabic Language book by Syed Iqbal Zaheer. May Allah reward you for publishing such an important work. I was writing to inform you that my DVD has errors in the following files. I was wondering if there is a way to obtain these corrupted files through email or by sharing on a website like http://www.yousendit.com/. Please let me know.
The following files show error …
We have deleted the list of files.
Kindly send us your address, we shall send you a new DVD.
However, our experience, (especially of the sort where some files are readable, while others not), is that the error comes from the DVD drive. Certain models do not read all the files. You could therefore, try the disk on another computer. Also, the software also plays its role.
Also I would like to obtain some volumes (Vol. 11 & 12) of Tafseer Ishraq al Ma’ani. I have benefited a great deal from this work. Please let me know whom I should contact in order to obtain them in the USA.
Now that vol. 13 is out (and which completes the work), kindly send us your address. We shall send you the three volumes 11-13 along with a new DVD disk.
I would like to know whether my prayer will be valid if I have applied alcoholic perfume over my body or my clothes. Is it prohibited? Alcohol is prohibited for consumption, is it also prohibited for application purpose? Alcohol is prohibited because it has intoxicating effects. Hence, we will be no more in our control leading to sinful acts, but application does not leave an intoxicating effect? Please explain how authentic it is. Please do reply me also via email because, Allah forbid, if I am not able to purchase a copy of YMD.
Fayaz Shaikh, via email
You have already answered your question in the positive, that is, application of alcoholic perfumes will have no negative effects on the Prayers.
By itself, alcohol is not najis (unclean).
Signs of Good Luck
I had heard that those who have moles on their palm will get into love marriages. Is this true..? And one more question: is it true that those who have moles on their feet will go abroad..
A. B., via email
Both have no basis in tradition or science. There is nothing in the physical body that can foretell the future. Since the fortune-tellers stare into the palms, of course, without seeing anything, before they pronounce what the future holds for a man, the palms have become symbolically attached to false beliefs. The same holds good for moles. Many people believe that their presence or absence on certain parts of the body bodes good or ill luck.
A man’s future is in his hands. If he has the right objectives, right intention, and puts in the right kind of efforts deserving of the objectives, he fulfills his dreams. When he does not wish to put in the efforts, within a stipulated time, then he hopes that some sort of miracle will help him fulfill his desires and that this or that mark on his body foretells that. He lives hoping, and hoping, and hoping, until the appearance of grey hair announces that the time for efforts is over, the best days are behind, and every new step into the future will announce more and more chunks of the dream castle brought down by the winds and rains. Ultimately, mentally he lands into depression, physically into a slum, bodily into ill-health and spiritually dead.
This is the story of tens of thousands of Muslims we see around us.
Reportedly, the Prophet looked into the palms of a man, and finding them rougher than usual inquired the cause. The man explained that he worked with his hands. He kissed his hand. That was the hand that promised that the dream and desires of the owner were possible of fulfillment.
Marrying a Flirt
I had a boyfriend who I was going around with, and we had physical relationships for nearly two years. However, this person has many other girls around him, but he is committed to me, and he also loves me a lot. So I just want to know whether I should marry him only. I am a Muslim girl, and very homely.
S. K., via email
If such are the outstanding qualities of the man, it should be obvious that marrying him is not advisable. His love for you is contradicted by his friendship with other girls. Next, you are homely while it appears he is a society man and a flirt.
Kindly answer this question in your next month’s ‘LETTERS TO THE EDITOR’ column for which I will be grateful. (Regret for not disclosing name): A person said to his wife and state conditionally, that if she does or repeat that act which is unlawful, will lead to “break of Nikah” (divorce). Wife done that act frequently, which husband knew very well. Inform Nikah‘s status under this condition.
Anonymous, via email (name and address withheld on request of the questioner)
The answer will depend on the kind of words you used and the intention you had. If you have simply said, e.g., ‘If you did such and such a thing, then it will lead to divorce,’ then, for the wife to do that thing does not entail divorce. Look back at the words, ‘it will lead to divorce.’ You did not say, ‘you are divorced.’
Unless you make a completely unambiguous statement, they take no effect. For example, when you say ‘if you did such and such a thing,’ then, you have to be specific about it to explain what that ‘such and such a thing’ exactly means. Supposing you said, ‘If you went out of the house,’ then the sentence has the meaning you intended and she understood. If one of you was vague about it, the words hold no executive value. What did you mean by saying, ‘if you went out of the house?’ Did you mean, ‘if you went out of the house to the market?’ Or, ‘if you went out of the house to your parents’ home?’ Or, ‘if you went out of the house to the cafeteria?’ What exactly you meant, has to be specified. Or, was the condition absolute and literal? If so, then if you said, ‘if you went out of the house, you are divorced,’ then, if she stepped both feed out of the door, she is divorced, even if she went out carrying the waste basket, or fetch vegetable from the vendor at the door. In short, whatever you say has to give an unambiguous meaning to you, your wife and any other third party to realize its effects. If the meaning is not clear, to either of the two, the application of divorce is questionable.
Ek na Shudd
I am a regular reader of your esteemed monthly. I just want to know why Almighty Allah Himself takes the oath of time, olive, fig, mountain, city etc.
Faschm, via email
Primarily, it must be understood that when Allah spoke to us through the Qur’an, He used a language of the humans, idioms of the humans, style of the humans, and diction of the humans. This was in order that the humans should not have difficulty in establishing the right meaning. If they couldn’t understand a part, or a word, they had to look into its usage in their own language.
Therefore, Allah swore by such things as the Arabs were familiar with: Time, olive, fig, etc.
On the other hand, if by asking this question, you meant to say why Allah chose these words and not others, then the objection is superfluous. The same objection can be raised in the face of anything else chosen for oath. It is like asking, ‘Why did Allah create the cats in this shape? Obviously, any other shape would evoke the same question. After all, there are two entities, Allah and His creation. By necessity He chose to swear by His creations.
Having said that, there could be wisdom in choosing what Allah chose to swear by, choosing them against so many choices available. For example, to swear by the fig has deep symbolical significance. It is a fruit which an evolutionist discusses more than any other fruit; in turn so because, the theory of evolution is ridiculed by this fruit of unique characteristics. Several modern evolutionists (e.g., Richard Dawkins), have taken pains to discuss the fruit at length, but un-fruitfully. Despite all the misty scientific jargon, philosophical undertones, and assignment of unlimited power to the genome, the fruit and its partner the Drosophila remain mysterious in their co-operation, giving rise to the idea of co-evolution. As if evolution itself is not mysterious enough that now you have co-evolution to deal with. For such occasions a Persian proverb says, “Ek na shudd, do shudd,” meaning, “As if one difficulty was not enough, now you have two.”
Similarly, all those things by which Allah swore, could have significant qualities, leading to the unraveling of Allah’s creative Power.
I am aged 22, studying in Hyderabad. I work in a Hospital. I met with a doctor there; she is 29. She told me about the story of her married life. She was married three years ago and gave birth to a son who died in infancy. Her husband beats her up and abuses her. He taunts her that she will die without a child. We developed a feeling for each other, and proposed to each other. While vacationing together for a few days, without the knowledge of any, we lived like husband and wife in complete sense of the term.
Meanwhile, her husband continues to beat her and abuse her. When she asked for a divorce, he replies that he would rather kill her and kill himself, she happens to be beautiful. So, please help me out: I can’t bear to see her in trouble. I just wish to see her live happily.
M. S., via email
It is hard to believe that the intention in your relationship is to make her live happy. A woman in distress always draws such sympathetic feelings from the males as which are not evoked when it is another male, or a child begging in the street. The immediate advantage is known by instinct. You have already drawn that advantage.
Your sin is an unforgivable crime. Either you go the straight-forward way, or severe all contacts. The husband’s refusal to divorce his wife, is a sign of attachment (maybe even love) and not a sign of expediency. To leave the two alone to sort out their issue is the best way of showing sympathy. If the husband is psychotic, or simply abusive, then, there is a point up to which it is bearable for the wife. After she has crossed that point, she may seek help of the Law. Khul` is an option available to her.
It is only after she has separated out from her, that you may shower on her your sympathy and marry her.
During Friday prayers, a Mawlanas announced ‘LANGAR’ on the occasion of Mi’raj. Is our religion tending to SIKHISM? Why are we going to compare with other religion? It is, therefore, requested that some light be thrown on this.
S. M. Danish, via email
You have not given us details of how the Langar (free dinner) is conducted. In former times Langars (primarily conducted by the Sufis) offered free food to anyone and everyone, almost on daily basis. The poor benefited from them most. Of the beneficiaries, most were non-Muslims. This gave them the certainty of at least a meal every day and brought them closer to Islam and Muslims.
But, offering the food on a single day does not serve the objectives very well. Further, there is no need to connect it to the night of Mi`raj.