Letters to the Editor

Q: I’ve heard from my friend that there is a hadith of Prophet (saws) in which he has stated that there will come a person (Satan) from Najd (Arabia) who will create bloodshed and corruption in the land in the guise of reforming the religion and hence, he (friend) said, it is explicit from the statement of Prophet that the person is Imam ibnAbd al-Wahab. Clarify this.

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No hadith of any sort, neither Sahih nor Da`if, nor fabricated of this content is available in the entire religious literature. However, there is a well-reported hadith which says that once the Prophet (saws) prayed in words, “O Allah! Bless us in our Sham, bless us in our Yemen.” Those around him reminded him, “And, in our Najd also.” But he repeated, “O Allah! Bless us in our Sham, bless us in our Yemen.” They reminded him again, “And, in our Najd also.” But he said, “There would be earthquakes and tribulations there, and there rises the Horns of Shaytan.”

The Najd of this hadith has not been identified as the name of a town or district but rather as the vast land lying between Hejaz and Iraq which includes areas up to Tabuk in the north, up to lowlands of Ta’if in the south (from Ghamrah onward), and up to the outlying areas in front of Basrah.

The hadith has not been explained adequately except in terms of a few battles early in Islam in the vicinity of Basrah, and the rise of the earliest misguided sect (Khawarij) from that side. The rise of Satan’s Horn has not been explained well either.

On the other hand, Sheikh Muhammad Abdul Wahhab who re-established Tawhid in the region, has been acknowledged as the Reformer par excellence by consensus of the `Ulama.



Q: Does the Qur`an specifically give a date and year about the appearance/birth of Dajjal?



The Qur’an has not even mentioned Dajjal. But the Qur’an has a complimentary: Hadith. This literature deals with Dajjal and his appearance in a most systematic and fulsome manner.

The Qur’an and Hadith do not give specific dates for any event. This is in order that Muslims live an Islamic life, to be able to identify him whenever he appears. Those who neglect Islam will not be able to identify him.

But the Hadith literature provides some signs by which one could guess nearness or remoteness of Dajjal’s appearance such as, e.g., “time will fly quick, commercial centers will be aplenty, women will enter into business, wine will be drunk, music will prevail, knowledge will recede, the ignorant and inept will take charge of affairs, parents will be disobeyed while friends and wives are obeyed, obscenity will be common, trust would be lost, adultery will spread, etc.

Those were minor signs. What’s happened in Iraq and is now happening in Gazza (a part of Sham) could be signs between major and minor. A hadith says, “It is possible that neither wealth nor grain will come to Iraq.” The narrator was asked, “Who will impose it O Abu Abdullah?” He answered, “Non-Arabs. They will prevent it.” He was quiet for a while and then added, “It is possible that neither wealth nor grains will come to the people of Sham.” He was asked, “Who would prevent it?” He answered, “The Romans.” (Today’s Westerners are the Romans of the past).

Coming few years will be determinant. If the siege on Gazza is lifted, and the Americans leave Iraq, it will mean there is still time. If not, it will mean some more wars, destruction, and a sudden collapse of the West leading to all around chaos which is the time Dajjal will appear. Allah (swt) knows best.

Q: Do you think Islamic banking/finance will flourish in India?



Islamic banking is a simple financial tool which can be functionally used anywhere in the world, in any economy: Islamic or non-Islamic. So long as the bankers, depositors, and beneficiaries agree on a few principles, Islamic Financial Institutions can successfully function even in a non-Muslim environment.

If some experiments have failed, it is because the operators were incompetent in handling financial matters or because of a few black sheep, in there, right from the start, to make some fast buck and quit.

In quite a few other attempts, executives were hired on the basis of their commitment to Islam, although they were lacking in necessary financial experience. Taqwa is not equivalent of knowledge and experience in finance.

Q: While reading the Qur’an, it is sometimes difficult to understand the meaning of certain words. Can you please tell us who are the Sabe’in referred to in Surah al-Baqarah, verse 62?

M.M. Nasir,
On Email


You need to refer to a good commentary while studying the Qur’an. We recommend that you keep before you either Tafsir Ishraq al-Ma‘ani, Tafsir of Abdul Majid Daryabadi or of Mawdudi.

As for Sabians, opinions vary over who the Sabians of Qur’anic reference were. Some scholars believed that the allusion was to anyone who does not follow any one of the well-known religions of the world. It is in this sense that the Quraysh used to refer to the Prophet (saws) as a Sabe’i: since he did not follow either of the known religions such Judaism, Christianity, or the Makkan pagan religion. However, some other scholars believed that those of the contemporaries of the Prophet (saws) are meant who inhabited the Southern Iraqi region. They followed the Zabur, prayed five times a day but worshipped angels.

A modern commentator has said:

“The Sabians seem to have been a monotheistic religious group intermediate between Judaism and Christianity. Their name [probably derived from the Aramaic verb tsebha,`:‘he immersed himself (in water)’] would indicate that they were followers of John the Baptist – in which case they could be identified with the Mandaeans, a community which to this day is to be found in Iraq. They are not to be confused with the so-called ‘Sabians of Harran,’ a gnostic sect which still existed in the early centuries of Islam, and which may have deliberately adopted the name of the true Sabians in order to obtain the advantages accorded by the Muslims to the followers of every monotheistic faith.”

Abdul Majid Daryabadi wrote about the southern Iraqi Sabians:

“They `practiced the rite of baptism after birth, before marriage and on various other occasions. They inhabited the lower plains of Babylonia, and as a sect they go back to the first century after Christ … The community still survives to the number of five thousand in the swampy lands near al-Basrah.”

Q: I am a regular reader of your magazine and, in fact, very religious too. But I am in such circumstances that I cannot explain to you. I am more than 26 years of age but still unmarried. Our scholars sermonize so loudly and with much power but there is no one to understand the problems of youth. We boast ourselves as the best community, but I will tell you that marriage has become difficult and adultery easy. This is not only the condition of boys but girls also face the same problem, either it is because of dowry or some other reasons. I request you kindly write about this in your magazine.

Name withheld,
On Email


We can understand the agony of the youth. But, what is there that the scholars can do about it? Marriage is an entirely personal affair. Scholars cannot go about marrying off men and women they come across in the streets. The most they can do is to urge early marriages. But, what effects the urging can have on a society that is constrained by internal and external problems? Their own daughters suffer late marriages. It is you, in fact, as youths, who can revolt against the un-Islamic practice and show a way out.

That said, turning to your case, you have not written what prevents you from getting married. Or, precisely speaking, why are you delaying your marriage?

If you have been good at your studies, obtained a respectable degree, work hard morning and evening, earn your own livelihood and have the ability to run a house of your own independently, then, of course you are qualified to get married. You should propose that to your parents, and forcefully break the rules and constraints that have been preventing your marriage. The scholars will cooperate with you both by backing your demand for marriage, and, when granted, performing the Nikah ceremony most graciously!

Q: I am a regular reader of your question and answer column and find it interesting. I have some doubts that I hope you will clear. I have read a hadith few months ago which says that the names of Allah (swt) are ‘holy,’ and so we must not take His name in an unclean place and also we must not call His name while committing a sin. I would like to know what type of sins are included,e.g., a person wearing trousers below his ankles is committing a sin while another without a beard is in continuous sin. Should they not take the name of God at any time?


Perhaps you did not understand what you heard. What you might have been told is that you should not “invoke” Allah’s name while committing a sin. That is, a Muslim is required to invoke Allah’s name before every act, such as, putting on his shirt, or stepping out of the house, etc. However, he is prohibited from invoking Allah’s name before starting a sinful or undesirable act. E.g., he should not invoke His name while lightening a cigarette, or say ‘Bismillah’ when receiving a bribe.

Q: A child is born into a Muslim family while another into a non-Muslim family. Ultimately, there is a great chance of the former taking the right path, but not the latter. Does it mean it all depends on luck?

Muddassir Ahmed,
On Email


Yes, apparently, a person born into a Muslim family has a greater chance of taking the right path. That is Allah’s grace. He shows mercy to whom He will. But, we must note that this mercy is not at any other person’s cost. It is not something taken away from one and given to another. It is entirely from Allah’s bounty.

It is also true that, in comparison, a person who is born into a non-Muslim family, suffers a slight disadvantage over another born into a Muslim family, vis a vis, guidance to the right path. But this disadvantage is not a disadvantage by itself. It is a disadvantage only in comparison to another not in the same situation.

To give you an example: you put two men on a racetrack and say, “Whoever reaches such and such a target will get a reward.” But one of them you place ahead of another by a few feet. So, what might happen at best is that the man put ahead by a few feet will arrive at the target slightly earlier. So, he enjoyed a slight initial advantage. But the other is not disadvantaged by the quicker arrival of the first one. That is because, you never said, “Whoever arrived earlier will get the reward.”

You said, “Whoever arrived at such and such a target point will get the reward.” So, if the second one didn’t start at all, because, he was placed a few feet behind the other, then, he will never arrive at the target, and never win the reward. And it is entirely his fault. Why didn’t he start off?

Conversely, if the first one, placed a few feet ahead of another did not start at all, he will also not win the reward. Placing him ahead of another proved to be of no advantage to him.

To give you a simpler example, you say to your two sons that each of them will get a reward if he passed his school exams. But to one of them you gave an additional non-textual book, which you didn’t give to the other, nor anyone else in the school has any such additional book. They all have their course books alone.

Now, the son who has the additional book is at an advantage. But, it is at nobody’s cost. Nor, it means any disadvantage in real terms to the other son, since everybody is examined for the textual books, and, you have only asked that both pass the exams: grades being ignored.

So, someone born into a non-Muslim family might be said to be at a disadvantage when compared to one born into a Muslim family. But, this does not spell out any misfortune to him. True, he was not shown mercy at birth. But no wrong was done to him. He is given the faculty of reason to judge. He is never asked to do any more than use his reason.

Now, despite his own reason telling him that, for example, God is One, and can only be One, he remains worshipping something else, then, the responsibility for missing the guidance is entirely his. He might have suffered an initial disadvantage. But, what explanation has he for remaining deaf to the inner voice all his life? He had his entire life of sixty to seventy years at his disposal. From the time he began to understand things, say at 7 or 8, his own mind refused to believe that earthen idols rule the world. Why did he then remain true to them?

Now, looking back at someone born into a Muslim family, true he enjoys an initial advantage. But, all through his life, he has to remain true to his faith. If he does not, at any moment in his life, the advantage is lost. The Prophet has said, “One of you does the deeds of Paradise throughout his life, but when he is one step away from it, he performs the deeds of the people of the Fire, and so misses Paradise.”

So, you see, if a man does not remain a Muslim, conscientiously, moment after moment, throughout his life, his initial advantage will prove of no use to him. In fact, this is what we see happening all around us. Millions are born into Muslim families. But how many draw the benefit of the initial advantage?

The matter goes further than that. Every non-Muslim is the responsibility of the Muslims around. If he fails to convey the message, then, it is possible that the non-Muslim will hold him responsible on the Day of Judgement for his own disbelief. He might drag him into Hellfire along with himself for the fact that although himself well-guided, he did nothing for him. Thus, once again, the initial advantage can be easily nullified by the behavior in later life.


Q: I want to know if waxing is allowed in Islam. By the word waxing I mean waxing of hands and legs. In your previous edition you said that if eyebrows disfigure your face you can correct it. So if hair on hands looks ugly can I go for waxing?

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First of all, we didn’t say, “if they look ugly.” We said, “if they disfigure you.” There is a vast difference between the two. The first is subjective. Hence there can be no agreement over what constitutes ugliness and what does not. Every individual will have his or her own opinion.

In contrast, disfigurement is something over which a wide variety of people’s opinion will converge. A twisted hand from the birth, for example, is a disfigurement. If someone can get it corrected through an operation, it would be allowed. A twisted hand is biologically an abnormality as everybody comes with straight hands.

In contrast, the hair on women’s hands is neither a disfigurement nor an abnormality. Most women have hair on hands and legs – less or more – because every female has some male genes in her body. There is no exception to this.

Therefore, whatever appears as a result of those genes, is the ‘Nature’ of Allah’s creation that cannot be altered. But there are no genes in everybody’s body for twisted hands. Therefore, this is not the ‘Nature’ of Allah’s creation. It is an abnormality on a healthy body. And Islam has allowed treatment of diseases and abnormalities.

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