Letters to the Editor
Haanie Bilal, Perumpilavu
Is there any evidence in Holy Qur’an/Hadith for Khitaan (circumcision)?
Yes. Reports in Bukhari, Muslim and others count it as a Fitrah (a natural thing to do).
Is there any historical evidence/Hadiths that talks of the Prophet’s khitaan?
Is it must for a person to undergo Khitaan for becoming a Muslim?
No. For becoming a Muslim it is a must to believe in the oneness of Allah and Messengership of the Prophet. After Islam, khitaan is advisable but not obligatory.
Its mention might be found in the Bible or in the Tawrah, and, perhaps medically advisable, but what does the Qur’an and Sunnah say about it?
We have stated what the hadith says about it. As for what the Bible, the Torah or medical science tell us, it is immaterial. They do not count.
The Qur’an warns us about changing Allah’s Creation. Does this apply to khitaan? Is this not a contradiction?
The Qur’an uses the word “Fitrah” while forbidding the change of the Fitrah, and the hadith counts circumcision, along with four other cleansing acts, as “Fitrah.” So, doing as prescribed by the hadith, is confirming oneself to Fitrah.
Thus, there is coherence and not contradiction between the Qur’an and hadith.
Noushina Afreen Ansari, via email
I would like to know as to which surah should be recited after Al-hamd. I pray five times a day but I don’t know the sequence.
You can recite any chapter of the Qur’an after Surah al-Fatihah. However, you should recite in sequence. That is, if you recite e.g., chapter no. 89 in the first Raka`ah, do not recite chapter no. 88 in the next Raka`ah, but rather any one after no. 89.
Should I join the tarawih prayers in Ramadhan.
If the local mosque offers the facility, and if in the absence of all male members of the house, safety of the minors, or the house itself are not under threat, a woman could go to the mosque for the Taraweeh Prayers.
But, where workable, a group of men and women of the family could get together, in a house, and listen to one of the Memorizers (Hafiz) of the family. Males and females could in that situation follow the same Imam from adjoining rooms.
Yet, one of the best ways is for say 10-12 women of a neighborhood to enter into a compact to each memorize 3 of the thirty parts over a year or so, and then, get together to offer Taraweeh prayers led by one of them in turns.
Finally, if a woman offered her Taraweeh Prayers at home, all by herself, reciting whatever she knows of the Qur’an, she would be on the way of the Salaf males and females, the best of whom did their Taraweeh at home, singly. She will be rewarded in the same measure as those who go to the mosque, or more, if she intends to follow the Prophetic injunction that a woman’s Prayers at home are preferable to those offered in the mosque.
I want to know about ghusl whether it is a must after intercourse.
Is it necessary to cover the face when one has the burqah on?
The face is the best part of a person, and the most attractive, and hence, in situations of Fitnah it should be covered.
I have some money in my account and I want to know whether I should accept interest on it.
No, you should not.
Kindly suggest some dua’ for my skin pigmentation. I tried every possible doctor but no use. I am depressed because of it
We do not know what you mean by skin pigmentation. However, if the doctors do not think it is a disease, this is not a disease, and you should stop worrying about it. If they say it is a disease, but which normally has no cure, then too you should give up worrying. But, if they say it is curable, then you need to perhaps change from allopathic to homeopathic, or some other authentic system of treatment, but avoiding quacks, home-cures, and non-scientific methods.
We do not know of any supplication that will cure people of their skin problems. Religion is primarily about your relationship with your Creator, and not a bevy of mantras for curing diseases. The earlier generations did not pay much attention to cures through supplications.
Sana Ahmed, via email
I would like to know what are the fundamental points of debate between shias and sunnis.
This issue has been discussed in these columns several times earlier. To put it in a nutshell once again: the great majority of Muslims – the Sunnis – believe that human salvation depends on two things: right faith and righteous deeds. Faith is defined as belief in the oneness of Allah, and Messengership of Prophet Muhammad. Righteous deeds are those that confirm with the Qur’an, Sunnah and consensus of the Companions. This is Sunnism.
According to the Shi`ah, faith is also defined as above, that is, belief in Allah’s oneness and Messengership of Prophet Muhammad; but with modifications; which consists in believing in oneness of Allah, Messengership of the Prophet, and in the wisaayah of `Ali. The term “wisaayah” is explained as “the rightful inheritance of the Caliphate.” That is, `Ali was the inheritor of Prophetic knowledge, and hence, rightful Khalifa after him, in lieu of Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman who were usurpsers. Then there is an Appendix to the testimony above, namely, belief in the Imamate of the successive inheritors of Prophetic knowledge, through `Ali. Thus the Imamate started with `Ali, and ended with the 12th Imam who disappeared, but who will reappear anytime.
(If it is asked, how belief in Imamate can be declared integral of faith when it is not mentioned in the Qur’an, the answer given by them is, it has been made an integral part of faith by the Imams themselves, and so it becomes integral path of faith).
As for righteous deeds, the Shi`ah differ with the Sunnis over the definition too. According to them good deeds are those that confirm with the Qur’an, those Sunan of the Prophet as reported by the Shi`a-narrators (and not as reported by the Sunnis), and, in addition, the opinions of the 12 Imams. So, the consensus of the Companions of the Prophet is waved away (since, according to the Shi`ah, they all became apostates when the appointed Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman as Khalifah, instead of `Ali, who was at last appointed the Khalifah, after the first three errors in choice). Again, as against the Suunis, who do not believe in the infallibility of anyone but of Prophets and Messengers, the Shi`a believe the Imams were infallible, and so the consensus of the Companions is done away with, in favor of the opinions of the Imams. That is, they could not have committed an error. Whatever they are reported as having said, or done, or implied, is all true. Anyone who doubts the validity of any of the differing statements, is not a Shi`ah.
An important element of the religion of the Shi`as is secrecy. Following this, while Sunni books can be purchased at, so to say, the corner bookstore, Shi`a “source books,” are not available for sale in any part of the world.
Observation tells us that, considering the respective mental make-up of the two, to the Sunnis, the heart of Islam is in spiritualism, while to the Shi`ah it is in correct political perceptions. This could explain why the Shi`ah in Iraq co-operate with the Americans: their faith and political intuition are their guiding principles. At the psychological level, the Shi`ah are close to being a nation in the mourning – from the belief that their sect has its origins not so much in the success of a great individual of the past, but in failure, followed by failure, visiting every of the twelve Imams, and the Shi`a in general. This explains the lack of sparkling, sonorous and animated life in areas of their domination. Iranians are the same race that made the greatest ever contribution to the Islamic civilization, perhaps more than all the rest of the Islamic peoples put together. But that was as long as they were in the mainstream as Sunnis. After their conversion to Shi`ism, (over a couple of centuries), it is the same people. But the spark is missing. A good, hefty laughter, like that of the Egyptians, is not the share of the Iranian society.
Is marriage between a Shi`a boy and a Sunni girl and vice versa permitted?
In view of the above, and many more other reasons, the marriage of a Sunni girl to a Shi`ah is impermissible.
Mudasser Ibrahim, via email
Tell me everything concerning Imam Mahdi, like the time of his appearance, his mission etc.
We might some time in the future produce an article on this issue, Allah willing. At the moment it might suffice to say that it is not known when exactly the Mahdi will appear. One of the signs is that the world will be filled with oppression. His function will be to rid the world of its oppression. He will appear just before `Isa ibn Maryam, and it appears he will prepare the world for him.
It is mentioned that Dajjal will not be able to enter Makkah and Madinah. (Sahih Muslim, vol. 04). But, according to another hadith (also in Muslim) Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) experienced a dream that a man (Jesus, pbuh) goes around the Ka’bah, with the help of two persons, and Dajjal follows him. This hadith proves that Dajjal will enter Makkah. Isn’t there a contradiction?
The answer is there in your own letter. The first hadith tells us about what’s going to happen in the future. It tells us that when Dajjal appears, somewhere in future, he will tramp through all the lands of his wish, but will not be able to enter into Makkah and Madinah. The second hadith is speaking of a dream. The Prophet saw both Masih as well as Masih al-Dajjal in a dream which he narrated to his Companions.
For the benefit of other readers, the whole hadith is as follows:
One day the Prophet mentioned Masih al-Dajjal before the people. He said, “Surely, Allah is not one-eyed. Lo! Masih al-Dajjal is blind of the right eye, as if a swollen (or floating) grape.” The Prophet also said, “I saw myself at the Ka`bah, this night (in my dream). And, lo, I saw a man of a most beautiful wheat-hue. His tresses fallen on his shoulders, his hands resting on the shoulders of two men – going round the House with the two. I asked, ‘Who is this man?’ They said, ‘He is Masih, the son of Maryam.’ And, behind him I saw another man, of crisp curly hair, blind of the right eye, resembling very much with Ibn Qatan, with his hands on the shoulders of two men going round the House. I asked, ‘Who is this man?’ They said, ‘This is Masih al-Dajjal.’”
Now, there are various ways to understand the hadith, but the best is, the Prophet was to be shown both Masih and Dajjal, so that he could give glad tiding of one whom he had seen, and warn of one whom he had seen too. In other words, he was an eye-witness to what he was talking about. Although obviously, mere news of the two of them through revelation would have sufficed, a vision leaves a better impression on the mind. Imagery is an important element of successful communication of ideas.
Now, Dajjal going around the Ka`bah sounds strange. But not to those who know how many unbelievers and hypocrites haven’t been there, who performed Hajj and `Umrah, and went around the House in circumambulation with no faith in their hearts. We should not be moved by men’s outward show of piety and good conduct. It is likely, although not stated in any hadith, that in his initial stages Dajjal will win followers with a show of piety. But true believers (and few they will be), well armed with the Qur’anic and hadith knowledge, will know the truth of him right from the start.
It can also be said in explanation of the riddle of Dajjal going round the Ka`bah is that what the Prophet saw was a scene from the `Aalam al-Mithaal. In that “World of Images” things happen that not all earthians can interpret. In fact, they can be misguided, if they are not possessed of knowledge, as it happens with many. Some people are shown something by way of “kashf” – as a means of trial – but they begin to imagine that the mere vision was communication of a higher rank with Allah, while, in actual fact it was a trial, which actually led them to their spiritual demise.
Another explanation is that what the Prophet was shown, was for him to explain, since, interpretation of dreams require special type of knowledge, which, to its extreme and most precision degree, is the share of Prophets and Messengers alone. For example, when `Umar saw in his dream that he had a very long shirt on, the Prophet interpreted it as meaning, he will be given extensive knowledge. Who but a Prophet could have interpreted a simple dream of that nature in that manner?
Similarly, what exactly Dajjal’s circumambulation meant, could be understood and explained by the Prophet alone. He knew, but chose not to explain. So, we have to leave it at that, unless possessed with a part of Prophetic knowledge which comes from a deep study of the Qur’an and Hadith. Such lack of explanation indeed, follows this logic: if you understand – because you have been a high-ranking believer – good; it was for you that it was mentioned. But if you do not understand, then, not to worry; leave it where it is, and make an effort to expand your knowledge, if you have true aspirations.
An Uncaring Husband
F. F. , via email
My husband is working in Dubai but he does not call me nor sends me any money. Also my in-laws treat me like a maid servant. My husband tells me that whenever he sees my face he feels hatred swelling up. Please let me know how to make things better. I love my husband very much and want my life well and smooth going.
Since you have given scanty details, it is hard for us to suggest a remedy. How long is it that you have been married? Do you have children? Since how long has there been a change of heart? Was it not the in-laws who chose you for their son? What are the causes of hatred according to your husband? What are the causes of hatred according to your in-laws? Where do you live, with your in-laws or parents? What is your husband’s and your own background? Answers to these will help us suggest something.
We advise therefore, that you consult your parents. If they are of no help then if you have a married woman with children as a friend, talk to her in detail.
You must also try to find out from your in-laws and the husband the cause or causes of hatred, and then, if legitimate, attend to their removal.
With reference to your use of the word hatred, we should warn you that Indians are given to hyperbole, and, in addition, they are quite imprecise in reading emotions, and expressing them. In this instance, it might just be that your husband has developed a dislike for you, which he thinks is hatred, or uses the word without understanding its full implication. In fact, it is possible that he has developed a dislike for family life, and so, each time he sees you, he is reminded of the obligations of the family life, and speaks out the words that he does. Nonetheless, whatever the reason, the sentence he speaks out, as worded by you, is not worthy of a mentally healthy, decent man. It is likely that he suffers from some kind of psychological problem, and, therefore, you must consider him as one sick, who deserves sympathy rather than anger, and so forgive him for his utterances.
One reason we can think of is that your husband, having been your spouse for several years, now feels satiated. This leads to disenchantment. And, if such husbands live outside the country, for long periods, without families, they are likely to develop love and preference for care-free life, rather than a familial life. Many who have gone to the Middle-east, suffer from this syndrome. Some of them never learn how to live with the family after they have spent a long spell outside, alone.
There could be other reasons. One of the main reasons for failure of marriages, and scarcity of true love between spouses in our times, is the TV. Films present entirely fanciful ideas of what life is. They also show the most beautiful men and women (who are chosen from among millions because they have a good face for the cameras), and so, the viewers begin to dream of the same kind of people as husbands or wives. When they look at their spouses, they look like very ordinary people, (since millions are, in fact ordinary people), and begin to dislike them for lacking what the men and women on the screen seemingly possess.
There is yet another point you should note and understand. A husband – although important – is not everything in life. You have your own personality, which should remain free of all kinds of slavery, including slavery to love. If somebody thinks a husband is everything in life, then, what if he dies? Or divorces? Or, pays no attention because he gets without any effort what he would have got through some effort – that is, his wife’s love and attention? He begins to take her for granted.
It is good to love, but, not good to sacrifice your whole personality to it or to him. This applies not to husbands or wives alone, but to all that are dear to us. The kind of love in which the sense of duty is the major motive, and not any personal gain, or dependence, or emotional satisfaction, is the moderation that keeps a person reasonably happy through thick and thin, through rains and dry seasons, through life and death.
Love binds, and so, it is a kind of impediment. When `Abdullah ibn `Umar fell in love with a woman, his father `Umar ordered him to divorce her. It is the kind of love which does not blind, which does not entail slavery of others, which is for Allah’s sake, is the one which is tolerable in a believer.
If you have a caring husband (true love is almost out of question), then, well and good. But, if not, then, it should not be a thing of constant worry. After all, you have your own life, its several demands, interests and opportunities. If you love a person, does it mean you will devote yourself entirely to him or her, seeking approval for everything you do in your life? Will you serve him or her morning and evening and forget that you have children, parents, friends, relatives, neighbors, and a God to serve? Will you, if you are neglected by your husband, neglect, for example, social affairs, service to the people, development of personal skills, interests in poetry, literature or religion?
Finally, there is nothing that an oppressed person can do, which pleases Allah most, and draws His Care and Mercy, like patience and perseverance. Your quiet service, accompanied by no demands of rewards, done in sincerity, but without loss of self-respect, over the years, are likely to win respect, here and Above.
Md Umer Sharieff, via email
I am a student of 11th CBSE. I have a query. Recently it has been found that pig organs can be used for transplantation in humans, as these organs are of the same size as those of humans. Thus the clones of transgenic pigs can be developed to grow spare parts like (heart, kidney, pancreas etc.) for transplantation in humans. My question is whether this transplantation is permissible in Islam?
This is a serious issue which requires study and opinion of a body of legal experts (Fuqaha’). We cannot on our part issue an opinion.
Nonetheless, we must warn you not to be over-much influenced by the propaganda of the scientists or their mouthpieces. Much about cloning is fantasy. Occasionally you will hear about this or that new achievement. But the “industrialization” or, “mass cloning” that they are talking of, is a far cry from reality in terms of costs, (not to speak of “precision” at the moment). They need hundreds of millions, and then, if success is achieved, they will subsequently need more of the millions to produce every new minor organ. Major organs (hearts, livers, kidneys) are only pipe-dreams. And it is cost that evokes articles and claims from the scientists from time to time: they need their projects to be funded. They must invoke public and institutional interest.
Indeed, there is no pressing need to work on cloning organs, especially the heart, for, as of now every major hospital is well supplied with organs that await recipients. But there are not many seeking them. Why? It is because the furor that Dr. Bernard’s heart transplantation caused, and the hopes it raised, was because of the frenzied claims that the scientists were making at that time. In actual fact, heart transplants are a failure.
But, the public is so ignorant, or kept ignorant, that nobody asks why human hearts need be cloned, and why that transplantation will be so successful and cheap as to be done by any outpatient doctor, when organs available in hospital freezers are running out on their expiry dates? There are millions of people over the world with heart problems. Why do they not replace everyone’s heart with a healthy one, so that, death due to heart failure does not figure as the greatest cause of today’s deaths? What happened to the promises that were made when the first heart transplantation was conducted? Supposing they succeed with cloning hearts, but, is non-availability of the hearts a problem, or transplantation itself? Do the doctors not agree that transplantation is far easier than cloning organs? So, why are they working on cloning, but not on transplantation to make it available to everyone in need?
Does Islam permit a Muslim to attend Hindu funerals or to go to Hindu graveyards? If yes what formalities are we to observe.
Syed Zaidy, via email
So long as softening of the heart is the objective, one might, as a social duty, attend the funeral of a non-Muslim once in a while, and accompany a funeral to the graveyard, but not pray for any of them. However, visiting the grave of a non-Muslim, or the graveyard in general, for whatever purposes, is disallowed. For instance, to visit a non-Muslim’s grave out of reverence, or love, or remembrance, or dedication, or filial duty, or in response to the demand of friendship, is impermissible.
As regards formalities, since visiting itself is out of the question, Islam has not given us any. But a general rule is set down by a Prophetic statement which says, “When you pass by the grave of a pagan, give him the glad tiding of Hellfire.” This seems to be not so much of a tiding for the dead, (since, after all, they cannot hear), but a warning for the living that if they do not repent before death, and submit to their Creator, abandoning false gods, deities, saint or grave worship, they will definitely enter into Hellfire.
I have been reading YMD since 96-97 and I think it’s a refresher for a da’ee. It is presented beautifully. My question: Is it only the imamulambiyaa who is to be followed or one of the four Imams? On reading YMD I feel you are also not a muqallid because you answer questions based on Qur’an, hadith and put forth the view of different imams and still, interestingly, you do lot of advocacy regarding the maslak and are very irritated when someone asks you about not following one of them. How can you explain?
Muhammed Khaliq, via email
When you follow one of the four Imams, you do not abandon the Imam al-Anbiya’ (peace upon him) nor in any way follow the Imams. In actual fact you follow a school of Law and a set of principles. In each case, it is dozens of renowned scholars who participated in formulating and compiling the code of law and opinions, and refining them over decades. The exercise was largely completed during the golden age of Islam, the age in which faith was deeply entrenched in the hearts, piety was a matter of daily practice which came them natural way, knowledge was wide-spread, hearts were more inclined to the Next world than this, and intellectual integrity was of a high order.
In addition, when someone follows one of the schools of law, he follows the kind of people about whom Allah said, “So ask the people of Remembrance, if you do not know.” When he follows a school of law, he follows not one, but an extensively large team of scholars: experts in their respective fields, whose joint efforts produced the Law in such astonishingly accurate details. When someone follows a school of law, he follows not the school of law per se. It is merely a term of reference, and an attribution. In actual fact he follows the Qur’an, Sunnah, Consensus of the Prophet, and Analogy. In short, he follows principles and rules and not individual opinions.
When someone decides not to follow one of the well-established schools of law, he decides to take the burden upon himself of accumulating into his single personality, the qualities of the group as briefly enumerated above. The impossibility has led many renowned persons to the obvious safe way out.
The inner disharmony and occasional contradictions visible in the opinions of those who thought they could collect together in themselves all that the dozens of scholars of the past separately possessed of qualities, and attempt what was (after the Prophet) never a single man’s job, has not been invisible to the people of knowledge, and have, therefore, been consigned to the list of the forgotten ones, as soon as they disappeared from positions of authority and influence.
Our opinions in the YMD almost always reflect the understanding of the “fi’ah mubarakah” or “the caravan of the pure” (as a Sayyid Qutb would say), but clothed in new terminologies, laced with underpinnings of modern logic, substantiated by such statements of the Qur’an and Hadith that the Jumhoor al Ummah has always substantiated with.
Bring Our Youth Back
Please advise: what are the measures to be taken to bring our youth back to the Islamic track? We live in the midst of unbelievers, we lack Islamic education, we are far away from the right practices, and we are divided among sects. We have highest number of uneducated people. Poverty is accelerating at an alarming rate. Our problem gets compounded when our parents are just name-sake Muslims, our sisters flirt and marry unbelievers. When we are of such order, what about the next generation? Yet we say we are the Khayrul Ummah. Surely we are not, are we?
Nafis Ahmed, Darjeeling
What you are seeking is a complete revival of Islam in the Ummah. This is a tall order. Or maybe not. We need to aim at winning an individual here, an individual there. If we can win at the rate of one every month, we would have changed more than a hundred in a decade: no small a success. If we enter into a compact with say a dozen of our friends, who promise to take up similar work, with similar targets, we would have changed more than a thousand in ten years. That will be no small a change seeing that those that are won to Islam would exercise influence over many others, even if they did not take active interest in reformation works. If the cause, as envisaged above, is taken up in say every large city of India, that are in hundreds, tens of thousands can be brought back to the fold of Islam within a single generation.
Thus, begun in a small way, by a dozen young men and women committed to Islam, quite a big achievement can be made within the time-span that the Prophet spent in Madinah.
If a hundred cities do not appear like too large a number, or a dozen men do not sound like too many, or ten years not too long a span, then, you could begin the work from this moment.
This of course is not a tall order.
I am a 18-year-old, 12th class Muslim boy living in Srinagar. My problem is very low concentration in my studies and religious activities due to distant and false hopes. During study hours I find myself building castles in the air. I enjoy the thoughts of my future plans so much so that I do not realize that I am wasting my precious time away from the reality. Please suggest an Islamic solution.
Munis Rafiqi, via email
Day-dreaming is a common feature of the humans, and particularly pervasive among the youth. To some, it carries on into their twenties and thirties. To a few, it is a life-long affair.
This is the inner self’s escape from unpleasant realities, which, whenever possible, allows the mind to take pleasure in the thoughts of an ideal life (and pleasant events), which, of course, are unrealizable in this present decadent world.
The more a man is unhappy with his present life, the more he day-dreams, which explains – other factors ignored – why the youth dream a lot. Realities of life are either too disappointing, or too daunting to achieve, so the ideal must be attained in dreams. It is a kind of a temporary escape from harsh realities. Shaytan also plays his part by making a person focus more on dreams than on mental and physical activities of profit.
Consequently, we might say that so long as the day-dreaming is kept for leisure hours, it should be of no harm. In other words, an intelligent person will schedule his time and activities, make room in it for the dreams and, – since there is no escape from them – allot it the time-space when he is in the bed.
The stronger of will, strive to fulfill their dreams. Indeed, it is said that if you have no dreams, you will make no achievements.
You might therefore, while taking comfort from the above, realize that, although dreams are a necessary part, it is only a fraction of them that are truly worthy, and that, your entire future depends on how you act now – especially in this age of formation. These years (15-25) will determine the success or failure of the rest of your life.