Letters to the Editor
Zahoor Ahmad Shah, via email
What is the most effective way of practicing Da’wah?
The most effective way of going about with the Da`wah work is the way adopted by the first few generation of Muslims, viz. honestly and sincerely live out the message of Islam in every detail. There is no other proof better than that in action.
Please see this month’s editorial for further explanation.
Being a law graduate, is it allowed to practice as an advocate? If yes, then under what limits?
Being a law graduate or not, one can practice as an advocate.
The limits are simply and effectively demarcated: speak out no lie, fight for justice and not for the client.
The above means, a Muslim lawyer can only deal with cases where his client is innocent. To get him his right will assure him rewards in the Hereafter.
Now, what happens when the lawyer is not sure whether or not the client has truly committed the crime he is accused of? He may, in such a case assume that the client is speaking the truth. He may go by his own declaration of innocence and fight the case out to the end.
What happens when the lawyer feels that the client’s claim of innocence is wrong? In such a situation, there are two considerations. Does the client himself admit his crime, or insists that he is innocent? If the client sincerely believes that he is not guilty, the advocate may proceed with the case in the court. But if the client admits, then the two may break off with the understanding that the client will pay off for his services so far, and that the lawyer will keep the admission secret.
It may be asked, ‘Today the whole society – everywhere in the world – is so absolutely corrupt, that there is literally no case which is not constructed on lies, deceit and attempts to deceive.’ That may be true, but remember, one of the two parties in any legal case is right (wronged), the other wrong (the wronging party). Let your service be for the right party.
Whether income from walnut trees of graveyard can be utilized for Masjid construction purposes?
Whether it is a graveyard or not is not the issue. The issue is, to whom does the land belong? If it belongs to the government, then governmental permission may be sought before the income from fruits of the graveyard trees can be utilized for construction of a mosque.
On the other hand, if it is a Trust land, permission of the Trust authorities may be sought.
If the ownership is in doubt, then, the income from the graveyard property may be used with the consensus of the community, either for construction of a mosque or distribution among the poor. If the great majority agree on something, it could be executed.
However, it might also be considered that every graveyard has caretakers. Sometimes these caretakers (officially recognized or not) depend on the income from the fruits of the trees. If such is the case, the income may not be utilized for any purpose without their permission. Such caretakers may not necessarily be appointed by an authority. They come in and pitch their tents. If they are there for quite a while, their presence becomes legitimate and so, they cannot be evicted. Newcomers of course, may be kept out, unless required.
Is the one who dies in a car accident a martyr (shaheed)?
Sahir Sajad, via email
Yes, if a Muslim led a righteous life and died in an accident, he is a martyr, although of not the same status of martyrdom as someone who gave his life in the battlefield.
Never the less, it is not the way one dies which rules in favor of Shahadah, but the cause for which one lived. This is best elaborated by a hadith of the Prophet reserved by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih. It reports Saburah b. abi Fakih as saying that he heard the Prophet say, “Shaytan sat for Adam’s son on the way to Islam and said to him, ‘Will you embrace Islam and abandon your religion and the religion of your ancestors?’ But he disobeyed him and embraced Islam. Consequently, he was forgiven. So Shaytan sat for him on the way to Hijrah and said to him, ‘Will you emigrate and abandon your land and sky?’ But he disobeyed him and emigrated. Then he sat for him on the way to Jihad and said to him, ‘Will you go into Jihad (which is a struggle with his body and possessions). You will fight and get killed. Thereafter you wife will marry off (someone else) and your wealth will be distributed?’ But he disobeyed him and went into Jihad.”
Then the Prophet added, “Whoever did this and died, it is upon Allah to admit him into Paradise; and if he is killed, it is upon Allah to admit him into Paradise; or if he is drowned, it is upon Allah to admit him into Paradise; or if he is torn by an animal, it is upon Allah to admit him into Paradise.”
That is, it does not matter how one died, but rather, how one lived and what sort of choices he made at important junctures of life.
It is in the light of this that one may understand the following. The Prophet said, “Whoever was killed defending his wealth is a martyr, whoever was killed in defense of his family is a martyr, whoever was killed defending his religion is a martyr and whoever was killed in defense of his own life is a martyr.”
`Ubadah b. Thamit’s report further clarifies the point. He said, “The Prophet came to visit me along with a few of the Ansar as I lay sick. He asked, ‘Do you know who is a martyr?’ They remained silent. He asked, ‘Do you know who is a martyr?’ They remained silent. He asked, ‘Do you know who is a martyr.’ (No one answered and so) I said, ‘A martyr is someone who embraced Islam, emigrated and then died in Allah’s way.’ The Prophet said, ‘In that case martyrs of my Ummah will be few. But rather, being killed in the way of Allah is martyrdom, (dying because of) stomach problem is martyrdom, (dying by) drowning is martyrdom, (dying because of) post-delivery problem is martyrdom.’”
When considering all the above cases, and many others, one may not look at how a Muslim died, but rather, how he lived his life. If someone drank and so could not swim out of water, then, he is not a martyr if he drowned. If someone consumed the unlawful and then died of stomach problems (ulcer, cancer, kidney failure, etc.), he is not a martyr. This is further clarified by another hadith according to which the Prophet said, “Whoever was killed in defense of his wealth is a martyr and whoever usurped a handspan of land will be garlanded with seven earths.”
The implied message of this hadith is: If someone lived a life of wrongdoing, he will be punished in the Hereafter, even if he died defending his wealth.
It is said that every Muslim will enter heaven if he said Kalimah Shahadath. If not, he/she will never enter into the heaven? But there is law or philosophy in Islam that if man is ignorant about Islam there is no punishment for him like mental patients etc. Likewise some of the non-Muslims do not know Islam or do not know there is any true religion. What will be judgment of these people in the next life?
Sayyed Akram Ali, Katameri
This is an often raised interesting question. In many cases, (we are sure yours is not one such case), the question is raised out of love of the non-Muslims. Muslims see them as good or as bad as Muslims, and wonder why they should be prevented from entering into Paradise.
In your case perhaps you have carefully chosen to cite the example of mental patients. It is perhaps the result of deep thought, with profound results. It implies that you think these otherwise sane people must be suffering from some sort of mental disorder, not to be embracing Islam.
In any case, your concepts concerning both Muslims as well as non-Muslims need some modification.
It is both true as well as false to say that whoever said, ‘There is no deity worthy of worship except one God, and that Muhammad is His Messenger,’ will enter Paradise. The condition attached to this statement is that after pronouncing this Kalimah Shahadah, a Muslim has to prove the sincerity of his statement by living the life of Islamic recommendation. There are many things which, if he did, would render his declaration of faith null and void.
For example, if he prostrated before graves, habitually drank wine, accepted bank-interest, raped a woman, etc., his pronouncement of the Kalimah will not rescue him from the Fire. He will have to undergo ions of years of punishment before he is forgiven.
This is well illustrated by what the Prophet reported about happenings in the grave. Two angels come into the grave, sit up the man and ask him: ‘Who is your Lord?’ ‘What do you know about this man (meaning the Messenger)?’ etc. A true believer gives out correct answers. But another answers, “Ha. Ha. I have no idea. I just heard the people say and I too repeated (whatever they were saying about God and His Messenger). His punishment will begin then and there.
As regards the non-Muslims, it is wrong to assume that they have not received the message of Islam. Islam’s primary message is, ‘Believe in the oneness of God.’ This message of Islam is not hidden from any non-Muslim. Unless living in the mountains or forests, every non-Muslim comes to know that the Islamic message is about oneness of God.
The above information confirms with his own mind which says that just like a business organization has one executive at top, a school has one principal, a country has one Prime Minister, this universe can only have one God. Thus, after having come to know of primary Islamic message, he becomes doubly responsible when his own mind confirms that the message has to be true.
But he is imposed with a third responsibility viz. apart from his own mind, his inner being testifies that there is in fact only one God, the Supreme. This message is planted in every human soul which comes out when a man is in real threat to his life without any hope of any help; he turns to God imploring Him to help.
To disbelieve then, is to be dishonest to one’s own mind and one’s own heart. Comparing them with the mentally unhealthy will not do them any good. Their God, the God of all, is a real God. They will not escape Him.
I am by profession a doctor. Dr. Zakir Naik was asked a question: “Why Allah says Himself ‘He’ in Qur’an?” He answered that he too had the question for a long time on his mind. After his research he concluded that as it is not mentioned ‘She’ it is taken by default as ‘He.’ But this is not satisfactory to me. But when I started thinking and asking my friends about it. I reasoned that it may be because:
1) When Allah says about his power Allah uses ‘He’ e.g. in Surah Ikhlas and Surah Hashr last three ayahs. So to exalt Allah’s power, Allah is using rich sentences with such a vocabulary. E.g., instead of saying ‘Allah is supreme’ He says ‘Allah is He who is Supreme.’ The sentences become rich due to adding such words as, ‘is He who’ to it.
2) When Allah created Adam (pbuh). He was human being. When Allah created Hawwa she too was human. To differentiate between His two creations, Allah named them male and female. This naming between the two could be based on their respective powers i.e., as male is comparatively more powerful Allah named it as ‘male’ (He) and female is weak comparatively, Allah named it ‘female’ (She). So ‘He’ (powerful) and ‘She’ (weak) is just indicating the power. So when Allah uses ‘He’ for Himself, it just means power.
3) Whether in Arabic language ‘He’ is used also to mention God, besides indicating the gender.
Ashik Al Mohamed, via email
We are not sure what exactly Dr. Zakir Naik said (we do not happen to watch him or his speeches); yet we disagree with all that you have written as various possible reasons.
The problem with most people is the image of God that they have in their minds. Some have an image of Him in the image of man, although they would not say so. They believe He has a face like the face of humans, and limbs like the limbs of humans. This requires determining His sex and hence “He.”
“He” to them refers to sex and not to God, the like of whom does not exist. They cannot comprehend that “He” is only a personal pronoun used because no other suitable word exists.
They think that “He” is for male, “She” for female, and “It” for the lifeless. They do not think further that if “It” is for the lifeless, how will you describe Gravity? Is it “lifeless” to use the word “It” for it? What is the sex of a scientific equation?
People must get out of the idea that God is like any of His creation. He is not. There is nothing like unto Him; and human language has no word to describe Him, define Him, or point to Him. “He” is merely a convenient word, a pointer.