Letters to the Editor
Q. Can a Muslim allow a male doctor to attend to her delivery? Here in Kashmir most of the medical staffs in Women’s Hospital are males.
Perhaps it is time for Muslim girls to study medicine.
Efforts should be made to get a lady doctor attend to the delivery of a Muslim woman. If they are not available in one hospital, one might go to another. If they are not available in one city, one might go to another – if one is able. But if there is no recourse, and circumstances, either financial or others, do not permit, then, obviously, a woman has to, in any case deliver the baby! Nevertheless, a request may be made to the staff, that the male doctor’s presence is not necessarily required. He need only to be available. Nurses would be enough, and that the male doctor may only be called if there is something serious.
Q. Is it lawful to use any method to avoid pregnancy?
If there are good reasons for avoiding pregnancy, any method could be used.
Q. A woman in a state of Nifas leaves some food in the pot. Can any other person eat it?
Your question shows how strongly Indian Muslims are affected by Hindu customs and taboos. According to their law, a woman in such states is herself unclean. But, according to Islam, the woman is in a “state of impurity” and not impure or unclean herself. Being in a state of impurity or uncleanness means she cannot perform certain religious rites, and no more. Physically, and bodily, she is as clean as any other person.
Q. Recently, my friends and I have read your esteemed magazine. We did not know about this magazine before. We are in II yr. of MBBS. We have a few questions which you must answer in detail so that our younger generation could know about this as most of them are facing this problem. During masturbation we think of opposite sex. Is this rape?
If rape had a shadow, imagining someone during the act would be it.
Q. We want your comments on this issue and specify whether it is sin and if so, please suggest a remedy.
Masturbation is a sin which is the responsibility both of the society as well as of the individual. If parents realize that their son should get married quick, then, he need not resort to unnatural methods. But that would mean simplifying life to a great degree: one in which everybody aims at the just essentials. In such a case, a son marrying at an early age is no burden upon the family, since the family hasn’t have to spend on luxuries, since the next family doesn’t do it, since the society at large doesn’t do it, since the other town’s people don’t do it…to the end. But, if the culture is gripped by the race for material objects, thought necessary only because the next family has it, because the society has it, because the next town has it…and so on, then, there is not enough for anyone. In such a society, even the rich are poor. In such a society, there is nothing with the parents to spare for their children. Further, such a society is necessarily a selfish society, where every individual has to tend for himself or herself, with no real material help from any quarter, except the banks. In such a society, it is out of the question that young men, just out of their teens, can get married. In that stage of their lives they still have several years of study ahead, which is only carried on, as in the USA, with the help of bank loans. Marriage is a sin and a crime in such a society and illegitimate sex a virtue.
That is one aspect: the economic aspect. There is another, the moral aspect. If a society is neat and clean, where women are not a sex object, who are not visible all the time, who are not in the advertisements, in the print, TV or bill boards, then, the thoughts of young men, just into maturity, do not travel to sex so fast, and as often. The urge is there, but not re-enforced, every moment, by sexual objects. They slide from teen-age to full manhood, without sex bothering them to mental torture. And, if the society is Islamic materially too, then, once they are in full manhood, they can get married without falling into any sin. That had been the mode of life since the advent of Islam until what’s known as the “modern times.”
In contrast, in today’s society, women’s single most important function is to show as much of themselves, as often, as will satisfy the male audience: in the streets, in shops, as stewardesses, as secretaries in offices, as actresses, fashion models, and so on. There is no end to professions where their graceful (read sexy) presence is not in great demand. How can young men then, fresh in their maturity, not feel excited? And if they do, but the parents, family, society…et al, are not ready to do their bit towards satisfaction of their legitimate urges, then who is responsible for what follows?
The sinner then, is not alone in his responsibility.
Yet, having said the above, we might point out that as a free individual, endowed with reason, the person involved has to bear the greater share of responsibility. For, no man need follow the corrupt ways of the society he lives in. He can do things his own way and seek solutions to his problems by his own ingenious and revolutionary means rather than follow the crazy flock.
What has he to do in our times? Well, he has to, first of all, make a try with his parents. Speak to them in clear terms and ask them to loan out some money so that he can get married and support his wife until he is able to earn. He could, in addition, take up part time jobs. He could also ask his wife to work and share the burden. Of course, if she doesn’t, she is not blameworthy because the husband is supposed to earn for the wife. But, seeing that the husband is in a tight situation, the wife is normally expected to respond positively.
Secondly, he should not allow himself to be swept off by the prevalent, decadent, sexy culture. He should avoid all such exposures as put him to test. No films, no TV, no pornographic material, no nothing that lead the mind to the thoughts of sex. Thirdly, he should keep himself mentally and physically busy and tire himself out so much that he falls off to sleep before he hasfully stretched himself on the bed. This might not always payoff. But, it will, to a great degree. Fourthly, he must engage himself in Da`wah works, such as the Tablighee or Jama`at-e-Islami work, read the Qur’an and other religious literature, or any other constructive, social activity. These things will keep his mind engaged. Otherwise, a vacant mind is the Devil’s Paradise.
Now, in a stagnant, lazy, corrupt and parasitic society as that of the Indian sub-continent, the above methods might sound unconventional. But, this is what we meant when we said above that one has to take revolutionary steps to solve his problems of sin.
The problem is solvable.
Q. What is the punishment for sodomy?
It is the same as for adultery.
Q. What should we do when we have a wet dream but without our knowledge, and we offer Fajr Salah? Is this Salah accepted?
If you discover the effects of the wet dream after doing the Fajr prayers, repeat the prayers.
Q. One of my friend’s room is in the mosque. I usually go to his room and study together. Can I enter his room in a state of impurity?
Generally speaking, a mosque’s boundaries start from where people remove their shoes. If the room is outside of that area, you could go in an unclean state.
Q. Is listening to Qur’an or Hadith in a state of impurity but with Tayammum instead of wudu valid?
Amin G P,
If you mean major impurity, then listening to the Qur’an whose recitation is not intentionally started by oneself, does not require a wudu or a tayammum. But, to listen to the Qur’an, intentionally, such as playing a tape on the tape player, with the intentions of ‘Ibadah (worship), from a state of major impurity, is not allowed. That should be done from a state of major purity. Wudu or tayammum are not necessary requirements, although desirable, for someone listening to the Qur’an, but is in a state of major purity.
Hadith reading or listening, on the other hand has no such restrictions.
Q. I am a science graduate and a new reader of YMD. In the ‘Question & Answer’ column of January 2000 issue, it was asked whether masturbation is a sin in Islam. Your answer was very satisfactory and interesting. You have said it is prohibited in Islam so I am not going to practice it again but please clarify my doubts. The doctors advice that the practice does not harm a person. On the other hand your answer says that it drains out useful and extra energy. But, doesn’t having a sexual intercourse with a wife also drain out energy?
When it comes to matters of sin and virtue, the Devil twists the doctor’s tongue. In this case, although the medical men know the following fact, they forget it and issue an opinion that considers human beings as maybe water tanks which are just the same before or after the water is drained.
And the fact that doctors forget is that when satisfaction results from an exertion, then that exertion is not said to be something that drains out useful and extra energy. That is said when dissatisfaction results from an exertion. Regretful acts, leave a person psychologically defeated.
Q. I am a regular reader of your magazine. It is very informative, especially the Question & Answer column. I have some questions I hope it will be answered. I am 18 years old and I have been doing masturbation since my adolescence. Will it affect my health? What Islam says about it? How can I get rid of this habit?
Pls. see the answers to letters above and in the last issue of this magazine.
Q. Nowadays I am living in a hostel in Delhi where I am the only Muslim. I want to offer Prayers but in this area there is no mosque. Besides, I have two Hindu partners. I cannot leave this place. What should I do?
We don’t understand the difficulty involved. What prevents you from offering Prayers within your room? Do the Hindu roommates object? We are inclined to believe they will not. Even the fanatics among them, who are aplenty in our times, are not opposed to religious practices of the Muslims. In fact, they are much impressed by the sight of Muslims performing Prayers, even if they will not admit it. In railway compartments, for e.g., they easily make room, and treat the Muslim respectfully who performs Prayers. Islamic method of Prayers is a most fascinating sight for the non-Muslims. Nothing like it, in form, content, concentration and sublimity exists, in any other Prayer of any other community. So, deep in their hearts, they respect someone Praying in the Islamic manner. Why should you not then, offer Prayers in your room itself?
Q. What is going on in Kashmir – war or jihad? If war, why? And if jihad why?
Pls. see last month’s issue, “Letters to the Editor.”
Q. Please refer to your article ‘Muslim world News’, Muslims in NorthEast’ of your August-2000. You have flashed the wrong news. There are a lot of Madrasas in Assam and Manipur. The major ones are – Madrasa Darul-Uloom Baskandi, Assam and Madrasa Darul-Uloom (Markaz) Manipur. These Madrasas have their own Hifz Departments. The Dawah work is done specially by Tablighi Jamaat throughout the N.E. India. This Darul-Uloom is the Markaz of Jamat-e-Tabligh in Manipur. The Islamic Development council and Manipur Muslim Welfare Assn. are the Assns. for individuals. Please clear it in your next publication.
Alhaj Moulana Muhammad Idris Qasmi,
Thank you for the correction.
Q. Gold for men is not allowed in Islam. What about other metals?
Silver rings are allowed for Muslim males. As regards other metals, there are no restrictions.
Allah (swt) spoke high of iron in the Qur’an; especially about its use for armaments. But Muslims don’t like to talk of iron. They ask if they can use gold or silver.
Q. Could you please publish the story of Karbala?
We shall do that, sometime in future, Allah willing.
Q. Is eating chewing gum not allowed in Islam?
If you can digest the gum, there is no objection. But, if you mean chewing the gum, that of course is allowed.
Q. Is biting of nails a sin?
No, it is not. It is only a bad habit.
Q. Can you list out the names of the Prophet who had come before Prophet Muhammad (saws)?
In all, Allah (swt) spoke in the Qur’an of the following (twenty-four) Prophets and Messengers: Adam, Idris, Nuh, Hud, Saleh, Ibrahim, Lut, Isma`il, Is-haq, Ya`qub, Yusuf, Ayyub, Shu`ayb, Musa, Harun, Yunus, Da’ud, Sulayman, Ilyas, Al-Yasa`, Zackariyyah, Yahya,`Isa, Dhu al-Kifl, and Muhammad (Allah’s peace on them all).
Q. I have few questions and request you to include them in your September / October issues, if possible. My colleague who is from Banglore was shocked and saddened on reading a Hadith from a book ‘Salawatul Rasool‘ by Moulana Hakim Mohammad Sadiq Sialkoti (Urdu edition) stating that prayers done in mosques located in the precinct of graveyard are invalid. According to my friend majority of mosques and few Idgah’s in Banglore fall in above category and hence cause of worries for him as all his prayers are invalidated. Since you are also located in Banglore, I wish you could help investigate and publish the facts about the mosques of the area to relieve my friend and like off the worries?
If your friend is a resident of Bangalore, he ought to have gone around a bit to see how many mosques have graves inside them. In our knowledge, out of more than a hundred, there are hardly any visible ones that have a grave inside the mosque. Mosque could be adjacent to a graveyard, but there are no graves inside them. If there are one or two unknown to us, then, of course, Prayers wouldn’t be allowed therein.
Further, for a grave to be treated as being within the mosque, it has to be within the same walls as those of the mosque, so that, if the number of devotees increases, such as on Fridays, then, they would be Praying with the grave in their midst. But, if the grave is so placed that at no time there is anyone Praying with the grave in his front (even if in a closed room), or around it, then, the grave will not be considered as being within the mosque.
Q. Once again my friend confidently claims that the Qur’an recitation in Banglore is completed on the 26th of Ramadan (though Taraweeh continues till moon sighted). This is a new information for me as in Western India and else where too, it is the 27th Taraweeh (Laylatu al-Qadr) when Qur’an recitation is completed due to the special importance of 27th of Ramadan. Please give your comments and guide us in this matter.
Most Muslims are in confusion over non-issues, Taraweeh Prayers is one of them. Although they know and admit that these prayers are Sunnah, somehow, in practice they treat them as Wajib. If they ever realize the true implication of they being Sunnah, they will get over many doubts and stop debating heatedly. For e.g., they always debate over whether they should be eight cycles or twenty. Some are fanatic about eight, and divide the people over this issue into groups. Others, who follow the twenty-cycle opinion think that the eight-cycle group is committing a sin. Indeed, both are sinful for insisting on their viewpoints. So also, they differ over how much of the Qur’an is to be recited in Taraweeh. Some believe that to finish the recitation of the whole of the Qur’an is a must. So, you will find them hurrying through the recitation at the cost of correct manner of recitation. Others think there is no such restriction. So they take it easy, but sometimes they hardly recite a few verses in each cycle. You never enjoy doing Taraweeh Prayers behind them. Another issue of importance for today’s Muslims with regard to the Qur’an recitation in Taraweeh is, when to finish? What a question to ask! Why should they finish the whole of it? If they have to, why only once? Why not, say one and a half times? Or, if they have to finish, why on a particular day? Why can’t they finish the Qur’an on the twenty-eight day?
Are Taraweeh Prayers, wajib? If not, how does anything done within them become such an important issue that the laity headed by their scholars should lock their horns?
Finally, “Laylatu al-Qadr” does not necessarily fall on the 27thof Ramadan.
Q. Is recitation of Surah Al-Fateha a must for the followers of an Imam attending obligatory prayers behind him?
Eng. Mahefooz Khan,
This question has been often dealt with in these columns. Kindly refer to the Aug. 2000 issue when it was last discussed.
Q. Firstly, I would like to thank you for providing knowledge to both my Muslim brothers as well as non-Muslims around the globe. I have following questions. Could you please give some explanation about the Qur’an mentioning about the hardening of hearts of the unbelievers. Please explain whose hearts are hardened and why?
Hearts of the newborn are clean and pure. At maturity, the individual makes decisions about how he shall preserve its purity. If he does what he knows is wrong, the act leaves its signature on his heart. If he does something good, the mark is removed. If, instead, he adds another evil deed to his record, a second mark is placed on the heart. When that happens over a period, the heart turns black and hard. Allah (swt) said about such hearts (83: 14), “Rather, their hearts have been stained by what they were earning.” He said about the Jews (61: 5), “When they deviated, Allah (swt) deviated their hearts.”
When that happens, the person involved does not see any good and does not accept any guidance. When he demonstrates that several times over, Allah (swt) stops showing him guidance altogether. Allah (swt) said, “Allah (swt) does not guide an unbelieving folk.” That is, Allah (swt) does not guide a people who saw the truth (in the past), but refused to acknowledge. So, Allah (swt) does not guide them any further. Allah (swt) also said, “Surely, Allah (swt) does not guide the ungodly.” In fact, Allah (swt) does to them what they wish to do to themselves. That is, they wish to be misguided. So, Allah (swt) misguides them. He said (2: 26), “He guides many thereby and misguides many.” Who are the people whom He misguides? The answer is given in the same verse, “He does not misguide but the corrupt and ungodly.” And who are the corrupt and the ungodly? The answer is in the next verse, “Those, who break Allah’s covenant, after its ratification, and sever (the kin relationship) that Allah (swt) has ordered that they be joined and do mischief in the land.”
The above, however, apply as much to Muslims as non-Muslims. When the Muslims behave with the Qur’anic guidance as non-Muslims do, that is, refuse to act despite knowing what Allah (swt) wants of them, Allah (swt) hardens their hearts also. Thus they disqualify themselves from receiving further guidance.
Q. Can your magazine spare some space for your readers to post their articles and essays to be published through you?
You can send the articles to us for review. They should be typed, on one side of the paper, and in double line spacing.
Q. I tried to access your website www. youngmuslimdigest.com but could not gain access to it. May I know if it is working or is there an alternate site?
We regret that for the present it is not functional.
Q. Please pass on the URL of a site I tried to make for the benefit of my Muslim friends gifted with writing skills to exhibit their articles and essays. The address is: www.shaikishaq.com or www.know-Islam.com
I request you to pass on names and addresses of organizations which offer free literature, like IRF.
Sheikh Ishaq Majid,
We regret we do not maintain a catalogue but may forward if we can find a list.
Q. I would be greatly obliged if you answer my following questions. What is the Islamic concept regarding punishment in the grave? I have a few confusions on following points. A pious and a vagabond are buried in the same grave at different times. How will their deeds and misdeeds be punished or rewarded for at a time.
You must be aware that let alone physical punishment, even the news of a punishment is sufficient for someone to be in torture. Let us say we have two persons locked up by the law authorities in a small room. They are waiting judgement to be pronounced. The guards come in and announce to one that he will be released the next day, because the court has found him innocent. The other is told that he will be hanged the next day for his crime. You can imagine the joy of one and the torture of another. When two people in the same little room be in different states – of torture and happiness – why not two people in one grave?
Q. If two persons committed same crime, one died some hundred years ago before the other for the same crime, why one will suffer 100 years more than the other?
Who said they will suffer punishment for the same length of time?
Q. What the holy Qur’an and genuine hadith tell about punishment in the grave?
The Qur’an by implication and the Sunnah explicitly speak of punishment in the grave. For e.g., the supplication that the Prophet recommended be used in Prayers over the dead says, “O Allah (swt) , forgive him and show him mercy. Save him and pardon him. Allow him a good coming, widen the door of his entry, wash him with water, ice and hail and cleanse him of his errors as a white cloth is cleansed of its dirt. Give him a house better than his house, a people better than his people, a wife better than his wife, admit him into Paradise, save him from the punishment in the grave and from the punishment of the Fire.”
Q. I am very confused about the practice of Shab-e-barat. Please clear my doubts as soon as possible. Does the word shab-e-barat exist in the Holy Qur’an or in Hadith?
This is an interesting question, for it lays bare the error of those who have fallen into various practices on this night of their naming, while even the word is not found in the Qur’an and Hadith. The situation of those who devote themselves to various congregational acts on this night, is similar to the situation of the Christians. They believe in Trinity, but the word “Trinity” does not occur once in the Bible.
Q. Is it right to practice Shab-e-barat?
No. You better avoid joining the masses in things they do on this night.
Q. Is it right to visit the graveyard especially on this day.
You could visit the graveyard, on this occasion, but not necessarily in the company of the people.
Q. Lastly, is it correct that we read certain portion of the Holy Qur’an for the reward of the dead.
According to some scholars it is allowed to recite the Qur’an with the intention of a dead man benefitting from the recitation. But according to some others it is not allowed. However, there is no difference in opinion between the two sides that the best way of rendering service to the dead is to spend in charity on their behalf.
Shabe Bara’at again
Q. What is the reality of Shab-e-Barat? Is it mentioned anywhere in the Qur’an and Hadith? According to my knowledge it is not mentioned in the Holy Qur’an.
You are right. It is neither mentioned in the Qur’an nor by that name in the Hadith
Q. In our area’s mosque during the Friday sermon it was said that on this night the spirits of our deceased come to us and ask us to pray for them.
Did you ever hear them?
It is incorrect to say that the spirits of the dead visit the earth. Spirits of the humans that are dead, are not free to fly about as they wish. Angels are in-charge of them and are confined to specific places, not at all free to move about.
Q. Also Surah Al-Dukhan was recited (first 4-5 verse) and we were told they are about this night. Is it really mentioned in this Surah.
No, Shabe Bara’at is not the subject of either opening verses of Surah Al-Dukhkhan, nor of any other Qur’anic verse. Verse 4 of Surah Dukhkhan refers to the Night of Qadr. There is ahadith which says that it refers to the night of 15th of Sha`ban. But that is weak hadith.
Q. Is it “mustahab” to fast on the following day?
You could fast, if you wish.
Q. Is it allowed to use perfumes, deodorants, etc. knowing that they contain a certain amount of alcohol?
Yes, it is allowed if alternatives are not available.
Q. I am a 16-year-old girl. I hope this question does not annoy you but this is one thing that bugs me. Is shaping eyebrows a sin?
If your eyebrow is such as which completely disfigures your face, then, its shaping would be allowed. But, if one does it just to enhance one’s beauty, while as it is, it is not at all a serious defect, then, it would be scorned upon.