Letters to the Editor
M. Irfan, via email
I’m a regular reader of YMD. I subscribed for it a few years ago. But I saw many contradictory things in your magazine, and a few wrong answers (those may be mistakes). Wa Allahu A’lam. I sent you questions but you didn’t answer them.
Once when a questioner asked you the correct method of offering Salah, and you told him/her to refer to a book and that the best book was that of Sheikh Al-Albani (May Allah have Mercy on his soul). In another issue you supported the four schools of thought and enjoined the questioner to cling to one of them. When I referred to Sheikh Al-Albani’s book – the introduction part of it – I saw a complete refutation regarding clinging to one of the four schools of thought.
We must have missed your earlier questions otherwise, they would have been answered.
As regard the book on Salah by Albani, we had only advised the book as reference for better understanding of Salah. We did not approve of Albani’s opinions on Fiqh. Fiqh was not Albani’s expertise, and many (if not most) scholars differed with him when he expressed his opinions on Fiqh matters.
May be there are other books in English equal or better than Albani’s on Prayers. But we do not know of them. Therefore, we still advise our readers to refer to this book for bettering their Salah. They might make note of the ahadith (although one or two are weak), as presented in the book, and modify their own Prayers in the light of them. As for Albani’s own opinions, they might be ignored.
In simpler words, take the ahadith and ignore personal opinions.
Now, I have a suggestion to you, when any question comes to you, make four columns, since you support clinging to one of the four schools of thought, and answer with respect to each madhhab, or at least to two i.e. Hanafee and Shaf’ee, because they’re normally found around here.
Yours are apparently good suggestions, but it seems they are unworkable because of the absence of four schools within India. Most people are Hanafiyy with a few Shafe`ee. And the Shafe`iyyah dominate in the South, where they lead peaceful lives avoiding religious controversies. Therefore, presenting a single school of Fiqh, i.e., Hanafiyy should suffice.
We also have space problem. Finally, ours is not a scholarly paper. It offers simple guidance, advising its readers to contact trustworthy major scholars of their own school of thought for further guidance, or refer to their own authentic Fiqh books.
I read in Fadaail-e-A’maal that combining two prayers without a valid reason is from Al-Kabaair i.e. Major Sins. In the next sentence it was written that falling ill is considered to be a valid reason and travel is an invalid reason, implying that combining prayers while traveling is an invalid reason. This is completely contradictory to an authentic Hadith in Sahih Muslim. Please clarify.
Fadaa’il-e-A`maal is not a Fiqh book, and can be ignored when Fiqh questions are dealt with. The book is of the “Raqaa’iq” type, and perhaps one of the most successful ones. Until now there is not another, equal to it in its effects. Therefore, it may be used where softening the heart is the objective. Once a person’s heart is softened, he is in a better state of mind to listen to admonitions. Thus, the book plays an important role in the amazing successes of the Tableeghi movement.
As for Figh matters, one should always refer to the source books, such as, for instance Hidaayah, or, higher books such as Fatawaa Aalamgiriyyah that was prepared during Awrangzeb’s time.
In your specific case, it is quite likely that you do not know Arabic language, therefore, you may refer to Fatawaa Deobandiyyah, or Fatawaa Raheemiyyah, or Fatawa Ashrafiyyah. But here again, you might face difficulties because they cite evidential texts in Arabic. Therefore, the easiest way for you is to consult Muftis of prominent Madrasas such as Deoband, Saharanpur, Nadwa, or Sabeelur Rashaad of Bangalore. You may not be able to sort out these problems on your own because of your inability to consult the source books.
And you claim that it (i.e., Fadaail-e-A’maal) doesn’t have any mistakes. It’s my sincere request that you read it! At least go to www.ahya.org and read with respect to the deviant group, the Jama’ah At-Tableegh, who have neither Tawheed (the basis of Islam and rarely found in your magazine!) in them, nor Sunnah.
Far from what you seem to have been schooled by misguided and misguiding members of a group which believes in splitting the Ummah, neither is Tableeghi Jama`ah without Tawheed nor is this magazine. You need to consult scholars other than those who have been tutoring you to get at the truth. We see around us young who can be recognized by the anger on their faces. They have ended up with a heart on fire which burns them from within and the flames are visible in their eyes. They are pathetic figures. Young men should beware of them. Religion is for putting the hearts to rest, not for self-destructive rage.
And your saying that it’s permissible to let the lower garment hang below the ankles without pride: I ask you to read the Fatawaa of prominent scholars of Hadith. One such is Sheikh Al-Albani (may Allah have mercy on him). According to him there are two types of reports in ahadith regarding this issue. One, with pride, and two, without pride. Without pride is less ‘adhaab (refer Saheeh Muslim #106) and with pride is more ‘adhaab.
Sheikh Albani was not alone in such an opinion. Some of the Deobandi scholars have held this opinion, and still do it. But this is not the opinion of the majority. It would have been good for Sheikh Albani (may he rest in peace) to present Hafiz Ibn Hajr’s discussion as he presented in his famous commentary of Bukhari. Many scholars after Ibn Hajr have thought that perhaps he has presented all the evidences and has done well in reconciling a variety of reports. In common man’s parlance you can say that it is the last word on the topic. Ibn Hajr was both a Muhaddith as well as a Faqih, and this position is well acknowledged by the scholarly community. His conclusion is no other than our statement above.
Although Ibn Hajr was a Shafe`ee, but, as usual, he presents opinions of several other scholars and the discussion is pretty interesting in his work: Fath al-Bari. We recommend that you sit with a scholar who knows Arabic to read out from Ibn Hajr and explain. A mere translation by us, will take laymen nowhere.
What’s your opinion about the Ahl-ul-Hadith?
We have a very good opinion of the pious among them.
It is amazing that you neither mention your name nor the madrasa you have graduated from. If at all you have.
It might amaze you more to learn that Sheikh Albani did not graduate from any Madrasa. The list is long .. indeed quite long .. but we named him since you have heard about him and might have read translations of one or two of his books.
Madrasas are no different from colleges. They introduce you to the disciplines, books, and experts of the fields; and then give you a degree. But they cannot make scholar out of a man. That is something for which an individual has to burn his fat for a couple of decades.
It is worth appreciating your works other than the Question & Answers.
Now, let’s try to recall. Have you made any contradictory remark in this letter itself?
Shaik Rafeeq, via email
I am a reader of YMD since the last six years. My son’s name is Shaik Qhezar Ahmad. I am doubtful as to whether the name is pronounced correctly.
We are also doubtful. We guess the name is “Khizar” as spoken in Urdu, although the Arabs say, “Khazir”. So you can choose the spelling that you like.
I believe it is because of this that my son cries all the time. The name is wrong. Please clear my doubt.
Once this writer was in a queue. There was a Hindu young pair, man and wife, with a child in another part of the snake-like long queue. The child was incessantly crying, quite out of control. The pair was really embarrassed. Everybody was looking at them. They were doing their best to calm down the child: “Ha, ha; hoo hoo; look at this, look at that; look at the airplane, look at that little girl, hear this tittering doll, hold on to this squeaking duck,” and so on .. They tried everything and signs of frustration were visible in the crowd.
As the snaking queue brought them before me on the other side of the ropes, I told them to give the child some water. The child went quiet. Or maybe the child thought half an hour of crying was enough.
You see, children will cry for so many reasons. One might have soil stuck in his ear. Another might have gastric movement in the bowel. Yet another might have a horribly scratching back while the parents force a water bottle in his mouth thinking he is thirsty. Names have nothing to do with crying.
What does the Qur’an and hadith say about the crying of babies after their naming?
It may be pointed out that it is enough that a name does not give a bad meaning. A neutral meaning, or no meaning, should be alright. Further, after the Prophet, if parents give a wrong name to a child, it will do no harm to it since it is not his or her fault.
We say after the Prophet, because, when he was there, he judged and commanded a few names changed. After him, we have no authority. So that, among the Arab names we find, e.g., “mur`abal” which is a name which occurs in a chain of hadith narrators. The word means “someone who has been cut to pieces.” In times later than the Prophet, the scholars may only advice a name change, especially, when the child is still young. But if the parents do not listen, then, a bad name will not have any effect on a child.
Please also give me the meaning of Qhezar Ahmad.
The first is for “green,” while the second stands for “someone praised more than others.”
Laik Ali Khan, via email
There are some attributes for ‘Allah’ such as Rab-ul-Mashriqain, Rab-ul-`Aalameen, Rab-ul-Magribain, Rab-ul-Samaawaat wal Ard, Rab-ul-`Arsh, Rab-ul-Falaq, Rab-ul-Naas etc. Why are these Qur’anic attributes not mentioned among the 99 attributes printed in almost every Mus-haf (Qur’an) at the end? Kindly explain the reasons.
The attributes you have mentioned are just a few that can be stated under the main Attribute “Rabb.” But there can be countless number of things of which Allah is the “rabb.” The main entry “rabb” is overarching.
Our prophet said: ‘I do not have Ilm-ul-Ghaib.’ The (act of making a) forecast is (almost always an act of) absurdity: only in Surah Rum (Rome) has Allah given (a clear prophecy of the) fall of the Roman Empire. How far we are right in quoting forecast from any other religion book such as Tawrat, Injeel, Zaboor, Vedas as we do not accept that these books are original?
Please note that your question no.2 was unclear to answer.
You write that “we do not accept that these books are original.” This implies that we are unique in taking such a stand, or, we are the only ones who do not accept these books as original. Well, this is not correct. Whatever various religious communities have of their Scriptural holy materials, whether it is Torah, Inajeel, Zabur or Vedas, are considered as “not originals” by themselves. The followers of those religions have conducted research, over several centuries, and have demonstrated to their communities that “our books are not original.”
The problem with these books is their contents. They contain such material as no sane mind will accept as from God. For example, stories involving sex, wine, gambling, and so on, are so frequently and openly presented, as the act of holy men of the past, that not even an unholy person will accept as contents of a holy Scripture coming from God. Holy material is for recitation in public. But these stories cannot be read in public – nor in private. For example, Bernard Shaw said about the book of his own religion that it must be kept under lock and key, away from children. This, and other objectionable contents have led the followers of various religions to conduct the research we spoke of above. To give you a pertinent example, the Bible commentaries prepared by dozens of highly qualified Bishops and other Churchmen state that the Bible is an “inspired” work in whose making “human hand” has played its role.
Thus, it is not we who are unique in believing that these books are not original. The idea originates with the followers of those religions themselves.
The findings of research conducted by the scholars of those several communities has in fact greatly reduced their trust and confidence in those books and those religions. For example, Christian scientific or philosophical or social science works do not quote from their holy books, unless it were to be half a sentence; in contrast to quotation from the Qur’an and Hadith filling the pages of books produced by Muslim scholars. It has also led to irreligiousness among them. Their educated never go to the Churches, Synagogues, etc., unless it is a politician who wishes to win votes from every quarter.
In view of the above, if someone made a prophesy based on writings of the holy Scriptures, it is the educated class of those religions who will reject the prophesy as false.
The only attitude that seems reasonable for us, is not to take their acceptance or rejection into account. This is because we are told that Torah, Injeel and Zabur are revealed works which have been altered. We should, as instructed by the Prophet, accept only those statements (be they prophetic or otherwise), that are in agreement with the Qur’an and Hadith, the two revelations preserved from corruption. As for those prophesies that are found in the three books above, about which there is nothing in the Qur’an and Sunnah, our guarded reply should be “Allah knows best. We neither accept nor reject.”
This discussion might help you decide how far you can go in acceptance of the predictions found in these books.
Faisal Ahmed Khan, via email
I am a regular reader of your magazine. I have a few queries:
I am in a dilemma as my mother is keen to fix my marriage with her niece, even though I am not interested in her. But ever since my mother told me about her, I can’t get the girl out of my mind. I know it is sinful, but I am unable to help myself.
First of all, if you are not interested in her at all, then, either you make her acceptable to you by re-discovering her good qualities, in which perhaps your family members will help. If that does not happen, and you still keep disliking her, then, you better let your mother know in a firm manner that she has to look elsewhere for a daughter-in-law. If you do not say so now, then, you can never do so: you will have to stand up with your decision and lead an uncomplaining life.
As regards thinking about her, that might be unavoidable to a degree. If it exceeds, then a solution is that you work very hard during the day, physically and mentally, so that by night you are too tired to think of anything except sleep. Day-dreaming is only possible for an idle mind.
Is it true that our beloved Prophet is present at the place where the Muslims are praising him?
Unable to introduce naked idol-worship, in one stroke, Satan works on opening a window and then try and enlarge it until it becomes a door. The idea of the Prophet’s presence everywhere, especially whenever you wish him to be with you, is one such idea by which Satan can make people concentrate on the person of the Prophet (not his personality), instead of on the Person of Allah. A famous hadith says, “You worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, for, if you do not see Him, then He sees you.” The idea that the Prophet is present at the place he is praised, is meant to kill off the above hadith.
I also want to ask you about Maulana Maudoodi, as many of the scholars of today decry his contributions and method but personally I find him a great scholar according to his works. The scholars also cite the parting of ways between Maulana Maudoodi and Hazrat Ali Mian as a proof of Maulana’s inappropriate ways.
The right method of judging a scholar is to examine the criticism that is raised against him. Such criticism has to be of the scholarly type, that is, one which offers proper evidences. But such criticism is not all. One needs to study the mass of writings that was produced by the one being criticized, and then, while the material is itself examined, for its correctness or wrongness, the effect and influence of the writings must also be examined, both positive as well as negative.
In this column we cannot offer anything deeper except to say that we do not see why Mawlana Mawdudi’s non-controversial writings should not be read. You may also see this month’s editorial which may help understand the complications involved in pronouncing a sharply defined judgment.
Should we celebrate Eid Milad-un-Nabi?
No, we have not been ordered but to follow the ways of the Prophet, the true expression of love and veneration.
Is the recitation of Naat allowed in Shariah (as in most cases I find that the attributes of the Prophet (saws) real or imaginary are attached to him)?
Poets always exaggerate; but if he crosses the bounds, attributing to the Prophet what is attributable to Allah alone, then it becomes objectionable.
The best thing would be to attend only those assemblies, where the poet is an Islamically educated person, though few are they.
Naushaduddin Mohammed, via email
I wonder if you could clarify a certain thing that’s bugging me for some time, for which I could not find or get any answers. I am more than happy to read any suggested book or other material. I (as most of us) know each salah that is followed in India (and the rest of the tropical world) is based on the ahadith that, in turn, is based on the movement of sun. After coming to a temperate region (Britain), I was given a timetable of Salat timing by a local mosque to follow – which differed slightly (with a difference of around one hour) among various groups of mosques. On a holiday to the North Sea, in the month of June, I saw sunset at 11:30 pm and sunrise at 3:00 am; the interim period was bright enough to see everything around us clearly. Similarly in the winter, days were extremely short. My questions are:
1. Can the sun be still relied as source of timing for Salat here? Was the sun still used here in Britain as a prime source of Salah timings, with some modifications?
2. If modifications were used, what was the approach used (Shariah methodology relies on Quran and the Sunnah primarily)?
3. What principles were applied in places of world (say, Norway) where sometimes sun never sets?
4. With coming of Ramadhan (probably in 5-10 years), are Muslims expected to fast for say 18 hours a day?
5. Implications seems many and daunting to me, or is it just an expression of weak faith?
I know my questions may sound academic or just silly but I hope (a) it will give me confidence in following Islam more arduously and (b) I will prepared with an answer if some of my English friends ask me these question?
It would not be right of us, living in a tropical land, to offer you advice over issues that are ruled by local situations. We advise you to contact the “Islamic Research Institute of Great Britain” who advise on prayer times, moonsight, etc. They are at 34 Warren Street, SavileTown, Dewsbury WF 12, tel. 01924 464523. www.irigb.org
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I am a regular reader of YMD. And I must say you are doing good job. I am 22-year old Muslim woman and still in the initial stages of discovering Islam (this is because I was very busy in studying and did not understand its importance). Now I want to know what deeds are to be performed by an ideal Muslim woman. Can you suggest some books which will help me become one? And also where are they available in Hyderabad? I really need them.
Jaweria Ali, via email
For a starter almost the best book around is “The Ideal Muslimah” by Dr. Muhammad Ali Hashimi. But we are not sure where you can get it from. You must ring up local book supplies, who can arrange for a copy even if they do not have in stock.
In the meanwhile, you may study a good Qur’anic translation. Perhaps Yusuf Ali is the best. A page from a hadith book, such as, Riyad al-Saleheen, would give you good footing as you gain knowledge.
Farheen Sultana, via email
Can you tell me the meaning of ‘Mohammad Azam Faizy’?
A`zam in Arabic is for “something greater or bigger” while “faiz” is for “emanation, superabundance” etc. Please see answer to the letter of Shaik Rafeeq in this section.
I am a regular reader of YMD. I am quite wary of my stage fear. I can’t do anything good on the stage. Please suggest me a remedy.
Mohammad Amaan, via email
Without knowing your educational background, the type of audience you face, the topics you deal with, we can only give you a few tips.
Firstly, this is something planted in nature. A crowd, if it is hostile, can destroy individuals. Secondly, a person creates an image of himself, although the image he thinks he has created is different from the image that is associated with him. Nonetheless, when a man comes to the stage, he fears his image might be hurt. A third reason is that when a man faces a group of people, then he realizes that there must be among the group a few better educated than he himself, more knowledgeable, and more intelligent. By talking out what he is going to, he will be challenging them. These are a few reasons that weaken a man on the stage.
To combat the above three, one might do the following:
(i) Choose a topic, or topics, and study its various aspects with the help of books, reference materials, etc. (Except for Encyclopedias, avoid the Net. Study through books).
(ii) Start with discussions in groups (rather than delivering talks). Take up a topic and speak to a group (of friends) and discuss its various aspects. Do it with several groups.
(iii) When you feel confident that at least in these little groups you are – more or less – the best informed, then you might agree to talk from the stage.
(iv) The first public speech should be in front of a small audience, say of 10-15 people.
(v) The first speech should be a written one, and no more than perhaps a page, if not less.
(vi) Read it out word to word, and end with a thank you. Do not invite questions.
(vii) If forced to answer questions, do not answer such questions as are not directly related to the topic.
(viii) Do not answer questions that are not directly related to the area covered by your paper. That is, the question might be pertinent to the topic, but not with the area discussed in your paper.
(ix) For all irrelevant questions, the answer should be, “Sorry, this is not an area of my study and, therefore, I am not in a position to answer.”
(x) Look for answers to the questions that were raised (pertinent or impertinent) and make notes.
(xi) Revise your written speech in the light of the notes.
(xii) Make it longer by adding another half a page or so and attempt another public appearance.
Gradually, your quality of speech will improve, confidence will be gained, and stage fear will disappear.
I am Tippu Khan from Bangalore. Please reply to my following question as soon as possible: Is the “multi level marketing” business is halal or haram?
Tippu Khan, via email
Sorry, we have no idea what this marketing system is. Could you please write back important details?
One of my friends secretly got married to a cousin of his, when they were both around 19 years old. None but two witnesses, I being one of them, knows of the marriage.
That was a couple of years ago. Now, this friend of mine has changed. He lives by the Shari`ah and is no more on quarrelling terms with his parents – which was the situation before and which had led to him not consulting his parents before marriage. But now he repents having married in secret. Further, the girl also kept it secret from her parents. Now the question is, is the marriage valid, seeing that the girl’s parents were never consulted? Should they perform a new Nikah since no one knows about the old Nikah except two witnesses, and of course, the Maulavi? What if the two parents do not agree? They are not in good terms with each other.
Mohammed Usman Bilal, via email
Marriage is something serious. There can be no backtracking. The two are husband and wife, since both were mature at the time of marriage. Now, after it has taken place, it is only they who can break the tie.
The marriage is valid, despite the non-consultation of the Waliyy. The girl has sinned by not obtaining his consent. But the marriage is legal and free of blemish. Of course, if the guardian is still unwilling, he has the right to apply to an Islamic (private) court for separation. But, as we see it, they might not help him much but would rather advice him to accept the fact – unless of course, the Waliyy has a good moral ground for disintegration of a marriage conducted without his permission.
So, the two might inform their respective parents and wait for a while. The storm will bring cool air in its aftermath. When that happens, the young man’s family may arrange a Waleemah. The surprised guests may be told that the marriage took place a couple of years ago. No one will ever want to know when and where (especially when the Biryani is out).
But what if one or both the parents are adamant? Well, this is a problem, which, if it happens, is the problem of the parents. They must resolve the problem they create. Unless there is a moral problem somewhere, why should they oppose a fact?
A second marriage should not be performed. If conducted, it will be termed as “lagh” (meaningless), and the terms and conditions of the first marriage, will remain valid for all legal purposes.
Obviously, we do not know all the complications as it is possible that you too do not know all the complications. Therefore, if the fact of they being husband and wife is not acceptable, then, one wild suggestion is that they separate through divorce. It must be registered in the same register, and all legal bindings fulfilled: mahr, `iddah, and so on. Thereafter, the two can marry again. But if this happens, the pair will have only one revocable divorce to their credit. One more will make the separation irrevocable. Therefore we do not think this is a lovely suggestion.
My problem is that everyday I think that something or the other will go wrong with me, because of which I can’t spend my time comfortably. For example, when I am going by vehicle, I keep thinking that someone will kill me by accident, or someobe from my family members will die by an accident. Please give me the solution by email.
Sohaib Wajid, via email
This is perhaps because of mental and psychic weakness. To strengthen your mind you need to work on yourself at several levels. One, read the Qur’an, its meaning and interpretation. Second, read the stories of Jihad and battles as detailed in historical works (e.g., Ibn Is-haq or Ibn Kathir). Third, participate in washing the dead, accompany to the graveyard as often as possible. If washing is not feasible, visit the graveyard a little after `Asr, the time when the dead are normally brought in for burial. Participate in the rituals. Fourth, visit hospitals, and especially the chronically ill. Fifth, read hard core science. All these will add up and make you psychically stronger.
A psychiatrist’s help may not be sought, unless the fear worsens.