Letters to the Editor
Q: Allah says, “By (the Token of) Time (through the Ages), Verily Man is in Loss. Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.” (Surah al-Asr, 103:1-3)
So, to avoid the loss and get salvation, we are required to be Faithful, and do righteous deeds, and take the Truth to others and remain Patient and constant in teaching the Truth. (Last two conditions are the most ignored ones today).
The conclusion you have arrived at is quite obvious, because the verses are unambiguous. The writings that you have placed in between, appear to be building up the conclusion, therefore, we have dropped them.
Q: I have a politico-religious question that links the status of Muslim community in the past and present. People often give references of the long gone golden age of Muslim rule.
This is a major error, not minor. To identify the periods of Islamic political dominance as the Golden Age of Islam, so often done, is a materialistic outlook. Although political dominance can be an important factor, but since Islam is a spiritual and moral force, it, that is, political dominance, loses its importance, especially, if Islam does not dominate spiritually and morally.
So is also the identification of ‘Islamic Age of Science’ as the Golden Age of Islam.
Islam has not been sent down for these profane reasons.
Q: But the fact (I don’t how much you would agree with me) is that, barring the first generation of Muslims and a select few after that, rulers and even the caliphs were highly materialistic and selfish (hence caliphate and sultanates and emirates all were limited to families with sons succeeding fathers much like the Jews).
Until modern times of rotten values, Jews never had any political power for almost two and a half centuries, so we cannot blame them for ‘sons succeeding fathers.’
Q: As an example, in India itself none of the Moghuls, the last Muslim rulers, could be called as worthy Muslims of whom we could be proud, except may be Aurangzeb. This was the case before Mughals with the Delhi Sultans as well. In fact, even during the time of fall of Sindh, Spain and Africa, the caliphate was not under ideal rulers. Civil wars in Arabia mainly for power are evidence of it.
In present day as well, we see this. The first Arab-Israel war of 1948 was lost because of ego issues and power struggles among Arab rulers of Jordan, Egypt and Syria. Even to this day, we see that in Yemen, Syria, Egypt, and between Iran and the Gulf-powers. None of the warring parties are ideal.
So my question is why were we successful in the past in spite of the similar problems that we have today? Was it because of the Prophet’s blessings that generations immediately after him were successful? And because we are immediate successors, we have to pay the price?
Was it because in spite of their weaknesses and errors/sins, the only reason for their success was that Allah wanted them to spread the message of Islam and Qur’an in ages when internet and high speed communication was unavailable and He wanted the rest of the world to know what Islam is and decide whether to accept and reject it?
You seem to give credit to Internet for the spread of Islam in our times. But the fact is that the Internet has emerged as the most powerful tool to promote a perverted view of Islam.
Q: How can we try to change the political situation? What methodology should be adopted? Or is it now a personal thing that we should try and limit our working for Islam within our friends and family and do not worry about the political situation in world where Muslims are oppressed? Just supplicate for them?
To worry over the Muslim state of affairs over the world is a sign of faith. To be unconcerned about the state of affairs is a sign of unfaith.
Q: I know, for Allah (swt), this world, and the things in it, have no significance: the important thing is the Hereafter. We should try to struggle for Hereafter, but does that mean there is no hope in improvement for our situation?
You are aware that the world is facing a serious dilemma due to the changing ecological conditions. A very disturbing future stares in the face of humanity. In coming decades, millions could die, wars over water would assume legality, crop failures would lead to mass hunger, newer diseases will make life miserable, and so on.
This is a greater threat to humanity than that posed today by USA-Israel nexus. But, can you gather friends of your circle and ask: “Are you aware of your responsibility with reference to the ecological problem? Should you not struggle to change the situation?” If you did, they will for a few initial moments, respond with a stare at you.
Yes, if you can be heard, you might speak to the heads of states. But if you cannot, what do you do? What’s the point in consulting common people about what’s to be done about it?
Similarly, there are problems in the Islamic world that are leading Muslims to greater misery. Ignorance is one. Indolence is another. The resulting poverty is yet another. Cold shouldering Islam is the greatest. You seem to be aware of them. Yet, can you be asked what exactly are you doing about these problems, apart from keep supplicating?
The obvious answer is that lamenting and seeking solutions to global problems is not the function of the common people. Their function is to help out selected individual to free them from lethargy, place them in educational institutions and prevent them from cold-shouldering Islam.
To know about the problems the masses face, but refuse to react, year after year, despite the ability to do something, could be a sign of creeping unbelief.
Q: We have Sama`at-e-Qur’an where hafiz women come, recite the Qur’an in the home and other ladies listen to it. We also have Khatm-e-Qur’an where people come together, recite their own Qur’an and finish one Qur’an. Is it permissible to have them for the Barakah or any other belief which family members have about them?
S. T. H.,
This has not been prescribed. In earlier days of Islam, similar meetings were disapproved.
Nonetheless, if it is done not as a regular practice, but only sporadically, accidentally, or because a lady Reciter worth hearing is around, there should be no sin. But, if organized regularly, as if a practice of religious sanction, it would be Bid`ah.
To fix up the target as completion of one cycle is also unhealthy. The religious command is to recite or listen only up to the moment the mind and heart are present. Once that presence is lost, recitation and listening must be ceased. To fix up a target would defy the rule, and give way to professionalism.
Those with better understanding of Islam may not attend either of them. One has to recite oneself, with the intention to be guided. Obtaining Barakah is another matter. Even a firm intention can obtain Barakah – although, admittedly, the Qur’an has not been sent down for this purpose.
On the other hand, if these sessions are organized, primarily to obtain Barakah, it might not be granted. If one attends, one should hold the intention that its listening has to followed by self-study.
Finally, the Barakah has to be identified. What exactly is it? If it is meant that Barakah: is that it is the commodity that will make life easier, health will be obtainable, food will become abundant, business will grow, and so on, then, this amounts to trading with Allah, and not a very successful trading principle.
Q: Why is a person restricted from shaking hands with a Non-Maharam person? Usually, I see many of my friends (both boys and girls) shaking hands with each other and even hugging each other. Is this acceptable in Islam or not? If it is not acceptable, can you please define about why it is not acceptable?
You have contradicted yourself within two lines.
Your question as to why shaking hands is disallowed also appears to be artificial. You know the answer.
If shaking hands is allowed, then the next question will be, for how long holding hands is allowed. Then, if that question is answered as “to the convenience of the two”, the next question would be, why caressing other parts of the body should be disallowed. Then, if that is allowed, since, after all, many boys and girls are seen in the parks indulging in that ‘little innocent pleasure.’ Further, if that innocent pleasure is allowed, then, why not kissing? (After all, hand-to-hand is skin-to-skin, and lips-to-lips is skin-to-skin too). It goes on endlessly, which stops only at the age of 90; for, sexual perversion is witnessed until that age.
Today, not even toddlers and infants are safe from their grandfathers in the lands and societies of freedom nor mothers safe from their sons in the lands of ‘eastern wisdom.’
So, how about preventing men and women from shaking hands with each other?
Q: I have been following your magazine and, masha’Allah, it has helped me a lot to improve my Islamic knowledge. This is on behalf of my parents. My parents built a house but have not shifted because the locality is still not well-developed and there is no proper infrastructure. Now, an owl has made its living place in the vacant house.
People are saying that it’s a bad omen which I personally feel is a superstition, and have been suggesting to get rid of it by killing it, or by other means. I would like to hear your opinion and Islam’s view about it.
Let us not be owls. A house left vacant for a long time, in an undeveloped or abandoned area is bound to become a guest-house for bats, owls, all classes of animals, a stockyard for thieves, a temporary resort for romantic pairs, and so on. Left to itself, the forest will swallow such a structure.
If you do not fear Allah in whose hands is all Power, you fear the weakest of His creations.
From soul-bearers to omens of death, to life, from rain-bearers to life-destroyers, to prosperity, the owl has been assigned various functions in human life in both modern as well as, but more, in ancient non-Islamic cultures. Islam left it to such brains as are not owlish to dismiss its role in human life. The hadith literature, dealing with profound issues that humans neglect, has not named the owl once.
Q: We hear stories related to Islam and its Prophets. Some stories, or incidents, occur to be true and some seem to be the handiwork of half-knowledgeable people.
I request you to kindly enlighten on two incidents: It is said that our beloved Prophet Muhammed (saws) split the moon in two halves and then rejoined them.
Several reports are in Bukhari and Muslim confirming that the event happened.
Some people doubt the event on grounds that had a split occurred people from all parts of the world would have reported it. One cannot be more imbecile than this. The moon is not visible to all the inhabitants of the globe, at any time. And where visible, who cares to keep looking up the night over? In fact, who cares to look up at the moon at any time, except accidentally?
Can one not see that every `Eid Muslims differ over the sighting of the moon, while looking hard into the sky? A small number of people in a particular area assert that they saw the new moon, while others of another area, no more than a short distance away, are pretty sure they saw no sign of it. This happens every year. In fact, sometimes they sight the moon in Bahrayn but not in Saudia at a distance of 20 km. Further, can it be ignored that when it is night in Makkah, it is daylight in many other parts of the globe. Finally, who at all, even now, is staring at the sky for so long that he should witness a new phenomenon, when, in his area, the moon may not be visible at all?
When you have a scientific doubt, in preference over authentic reports of the past, why not allow science to answer it?
Q: It is said that our beloved Prophet Muhammed’s shadow did not fall. To authenticate this for all times the shadow of Gumbaz-e-Khadira also does not fall.
Both reports are false. The effort by the fabricators, narrators and popularizers is to deify the Prophet, for, infested with Shirk, the sickly inner-selves want more and more satisfying evidences of false gods.
Q: Kindly advise me on the following: I would like to be a subscriber to Islamic magazines and papers (Urdu) but the very thought of disposing off the same after reading to old paper vendor bothers me a lot. As the above contains Qur’anic verses and names of Allah (swt) and His dear Prophet, disposing them off may amount to Be-Adbi.
We are reminded of an incident from the time of the Prophet. When he ordered the believers to prepare for the Tabuk expedition, a man called Jadd b. Qays went up to the Prophet and said, “You know that Roman women are pretty. I do not think I can restrain myself if I am to encounter them. So, do not put me into trial, but rather let me stay back.” The Prophet allowed him to stay back in Madinah.
If you fear the Qur’anic or Hadith text being desecrated in magazines that come to you, if you subscribed them, then there are several solutions to avoid desecration, not allowing them into the house, is not one.
Q: Is it allowed to use perfumes and body sprays available in the market? Does it make the Namaz Fasid?
Mohammad Rafiq Anwar,
No, it does not render the prayer null and void.
Yet, if you are an Indian Muslim, and have enough money to buy perfumes, while old men, women and children sleep hungry in the slums, then, hand over them the perfume money.
If you have the spare money, but personally you are not strong and powerfully masculine, – a sight commonly visible among today’s Muslim youth – then, instead of buying perfumes, you buy a crate of eggs to consume one every morning after your exercise with simple home-exercise equipment.