Letters to the Editor
Allah is Time?
Aaqib Mustaffa, via email
A person in i`tikaf is not allowed to talk to his wife. But this Ramadan in our locality the person in i`tikaf spoke to his wife on cell phone. Does his i`tikaf cease to have been rewarded in Allah’s kingdom?
It is perfectly legitimate for a person in i`tikaf to talk to his wife. However, it is not legitimate to talk to her or anyone else involving this-worldly affairs, unless it is something most urgent and completely unavoidable. This is for two reasons: one, speaking of worldly matters inside a mosque is disallowed, secondly, speaking of worldly affairs during i`tikaf is disallowed too.
Thus, sins are obtained but the ritual remains valid and hence, worthy of reward, as you say, in Allah’s Kingdom, vast as it is.
How can you explain that Allah is time as referred in the verse & quote: “Do not curse time for Allah is time?” Please explain your answer clearly.
There is no verse in the Qur’an to this effect. It is a hadith statement.
And the meaning of the term “al-dahr” used in the hadith is that Allah is the Creator of Time, its Mover, Alternator (slowing it or hastening), Controller, Reverser, and the Giver of its characteristics. He is also the One who creates the Vicissitudes of Time.
It is not in the sense of Allah Himself being Time. For more details, please see this month’s editorial.
N. Farshor, via email
I will be really glad if your team of research can grant me some information about the queries I have in my mind. I’m a very old subscriber of YMD. And the letters segment really clears some of my doubts. But now there are some of my personal doubts which I would like to ask:
When kingdoms are truly prohibited in Islam then why Saudi government follows it? Doesn’t it define an egoistic society? I might be wrong but its a doubt which I have. Kindly explain it with good reasons.
Egoistic societies can exist under any kind of government, including, theoretically, and if there was one, a khilafah. Khilafah is a form of government while an egoistic society is a form of society whose members could, theoretically, choose to be so. Khilafah is a political issue, while being egoistic or not is a personal and social issue.
As regards “monarchy”, it is not prohibited in Islam. It is looked upon as something not desirable, and is far from the political system approved by Islam.
Our Prophet mentioned “monarchy” and “kingdoms” in his predictions, but did not declare this form of government as prohibited. He said, as in a hadith coming from Ibn `Abbas, “There will be Prophethood among you so long as Allah wills it, and then Allah will withdraw it, whensoever He wills to withdraw it. Then there will be Khilafah on the pattern of Prophethood. It will last as long as Allah wills, and then He will withdraw it, whensoever He wills to withdraw. Then it will be a biting monarchy lasting as long as Allah wills. Then He will withdraw it, whensoever He wills to withdraw it. It will be followed by a tyrannous monarchy lasting as long as Allah wills. Then He will withdraw it, whensoever He wills to withdraw. Thereafter it will be Khilafah on the pattern of Prophethood.” Thereafter, (reports the narrator) he (the Prophet) fell silent.
In this hadith the Prophet did not declare monarchy as prohibited although he described even the softer kind of it as “biting.” Hence, there is consensus of opinion among the scholars that whoever establishes himself as a ruler, whether by force or otherwise, is to be accepted as one to whom obedience in religious and administrative affairs is due. If he proves to be a Fasiq, then, if it is easily possible to replace him, it may be done. But if his removal is expected to cause good amount of bloodshed, then, he may be tolerated and his rule accepted, until an alternative presents itself, since this is not the ideal type of government that Islam envisages. It tolerates this type of government if the alternative is bloodshed. Herein one can observe the pragmatism of Islam playing its role. What does not meet with approval before it is established, receives approval after it is established: on the condition that peace is maintained and Islam remains the guiding principle of the state.
In your last issue you have clearly stated that listening to some kinds of instruments in Islam is permissible, but doesn’t that too come under grey area, and isn’t it related to the arrival of DAJJAL?
Spread of music and arrival of Dajjal are not related to each other.
We do not know what you understood by our words: “some instruments.” We meant simple instruments like drums, tabla, bongo, and the like, which are not prohibited in Islam.
And last one is a suggestion. Why don’t you add some of the pre and post Islamic poetries in your magazine? You can dedicate one whole segment to it.
Modern life is too mechanical to allow man development of poetical qualities. Poetry has, therefore, suffered universal decline. When we tried it in our magazine it did not win appreciation in the past. It is another thing that there are few poets around, capable of writing meaningful poetry. Occasionally we receive some poetry but it is mere verbiage with neither rhyme nor rhythm. If you know good poets, you could ask them to contribute.
Islamic poetry is all too difficult for those educated on Western lines. As for pre-Islamic poetry, it is abstruse even to the modern day Arabs. Without a good knowledge of the background culture of the poet’s times (or the times he is speaking of), it is hard to understand the suggestions and insinuations (talmeehaat) on which the beauty of a poem primarily rests.
Nevertheless, we are including in this issue the famous Qaseedah Burdah, abridged.
I also want to know whether I can join the research team somehow and post my researches in your magazine.
You or anyone else who can make meaningful contribution is more than welcome. All that we ask is grammatically correct English, no matter how simple, and the text authentic while being educative – and not a repetition of Friday sermons, or the so-called new-found scientific truths in the Qur’an and Hadith.
Talking to Boys
I am a reader of your magazine. I am 17 year old. I wanted to ask whether Islam permits me to talk with boys. I have many friends who are boys and they talk with me very freely and nobody in my house knows this. Is this totally haram? They are just my friends and I don’t have any affair with anybody. Please don’t disclose my identity.
S. S., via email
Unless you are studying in a co-educational institution, and do not observe Hijab, we cannot understand how you could be talking to several boys without your parents’ knowledge. In any case, in the Asian context teen-age boys and girls talking to each other is on the borderline. In the Gulf, it is unacceptable and in the West, its absence a stigma.
We say, “in the Asian context” because the culture here is fast changing towards greater and greater permissibility. This forebodes unhappy times. No society will allow its males and females freedom to mix, but will gradually break apart. The West is a glaring example.
Being in a permissive society makes it impossible to avoid not mingling with the opposite sex. But, lengthy conversations are another thing. You might also remember two things: innocent talk leads to greater affinity. The doors widen up. Many come and go. Someone stays. A couple of years later, with maturity lending new colors, shades and deeper understanding, it is discovered that the “someone” who stayed was not the right person. Secondly, we are Allah’s slaves first and slaves of cultures, epochs and regions next. If He has not allowed intermingling, we do not allow it ourselves, unmindful of whether we are in an Arab, Eastern or Western culture.
Adam and Muhammad (asws)
Suhail Begh, via email
I want to ask you about Prophet Adam. When he was expelled from heaven (as a punishment) & sent to earth, how did he manage to get back his status? Is Prophet Muhammad (peace b upon him) anywhere involved in this case as I have seen somewhere that it’s because of our beloved Prophet that Allah pardoned Adam (A.S)?
To start with it might be remembered that Adam (asws) was not expelled from Paradise as a punishment, but rather as a consequence of his disobedience of Allah. Further, he did not need any other person’s involvement in the forgiveness of his and his wife’s sin because both were forgiven before the orders came to leave the place. The Qur’an said, “Thereafter Adam learned certain words (of repentance) from His Lord, and He turned to him (in mercy). Indeed He is the Oft‑turning, the All-merciful.” (2: 37).
In the above verse, “turning to him (in mercy)” indicates Allah’s forgiveness of Adam.
If, Adam had to go down to earth, despite being forgiven, it was because physical effects of the fruits they had eaten made the two – Adam and Hawwa’ – physically unfit of inhabitation in Paradise. Their spirits had to be cleansed, and bodies transfigured, before they could re-enter.
Folk literature has stories that Adam (asws) sought Prophet Muhammad’s waseelah to get his sin forgiven. But all such reports are fabricated.
Indeed, no matter how lowly a man, (not to speak of Adam), all he has to do to get his sins forgiven is to turn to Allah in forgiveness. He does not need anyone’s intercession (shafa`ah) or means of access (waseelah). Allah is above all, and sometimes seeking intercession can produce the opposite results.
Hands in Prayers
Some of the people keep their hands on chest while I keep on abdomen while Namaz. I’m confused between both the procedures of Salat. So which one is correct?
Salman Farooqui, via email
There need be no confusion. Continue with your practice of following your ways in this regard. You need not give up following your “earliest principles” and take up following “newest guides” simply because anything new is attractive and even exciting. Technically too, this is wrong.
You should rather follow the Qur’an and Sunnah. You could, therefore, start studying the two, and when, after a good amount of personal study, feel convinced about one way or the other, adopt it.
On the other hand, if you start following practices of individuals, then, today you adopt someone’s method, and tomorrow you might be influenced by another. Soon you will be in a chaos. But if you studied the Qur’an and Sunnah yourself, you will be on a firmer ground because you would have arrived at that opinion through inner conviction.
A Health Problem
I am 22 year old. I have a problem of excretion of ..perms with urine and hence the need to take bath 3 or 4 times a day. Do I need to take bath each and every time? And what are the precautions I need to take. (I am undergoing treatment for this)
S. P., via email
If what you state is true, you need not take a bath after every time you attend to the nature’s call. A bath is required only when the discharge is accompanied by “shahwa.”
It is also possible that you have not understood the nature of the liquid. You may produce samples to a proper Doctor.
I am Sahil from Delhi. I want to know whether shaving of chest, arms and legs is prohibited in Islam?
Sahil, via email
We are not sure of your sex. The ID adds another question mark. It would have helped us to identify the sex because answers can vary.
To put it briefly, if you are a male, then the removal is disallowed. This is the “fitrah” on which Allah creates males and altering the “fitrah” is prohibited.
But if it is a female, then, females are not created on this “fitrah” i.e., hair all over the body. In majority of cases, females carry only a light amount of hair, visible at close range. But if the appearance is heavy, then that is not the “fitrah” on which they are created and hence, they may remove them.
But shaving might not be the best solution. Sometimes the touch of a razor opens more pores. A proper doctor maybe consulted, and not the “Beauty Parlor” people.
I had sent the query mentioned below to you in June 2007 but have not got a reply to it. Kindly address it this time. I have come across many Masjids named with names of Awliyas, kings and the like. I am of the firm belief that Allah’s Masjid must be named only with the 99 Names of Allah Subhaanauwata’ala since a Masjid is a House of Allah. Is it allowed in Islam to name Masjids with other than Allah’s Names? Please clarify?
Shabbir Ahmed, via email
The first Masjid ever built after the Prophet was commissioned, and the foundations of which were laid down by none other than himself, was called Masjid al-Nabawi, which is not one of the Names of Allah.
The next Masjid in order was that of Quba’, which, after having been named by the locality in which it occurs (and hence called Masjid Quba’), is now also widely referred to as “Masjid al-Taqwa,” while “Taqwa” is not a Name of Allah.
The above have laid the precedence that mosques could be given any well-sounding good name.
As for mosques named by Allah’s Names or Attributes, that has not been the practice in the Ummah. Your saying that this is appropriate because mosques are Houses of Allah is inappropriate because they are not Houses of Allah in the sense that He resides in them. They are so referred because they are places where Allah’s Name is pronounced much; or where Allah’s Name alone should be pronounced.
A House of Wisdom for instance is not a house where wisdom resides, but from where wisdom is supposed to emanate, although there is no such place that we know from where any wisdom emanates.
I am in need of your help regarding an article that was published in your respected magazine about Muslims in Burma. I am an Arab writer planning to write in Arab press regarding our brothers in Burma and what they are facing there. A close friend told me that a worthy article had been published in your magazine, but he could not remember when. Please send me this article. May ALLAH azza wajal reward you for that.
Mohammed Alwalidi, via email
Your request is being attended to.
I am a journalist based at Chennai. I am editing a monthly. I read the article in YMD by Yvonne Ridley. It is great satisfaction that she writes on the vibrant Islamic movement of the world. Can you inform me about the existence of any book on the life of sister Ridley other than In the Hands of the Taliban?
Gulam Md., via email
It is not in our knowledge that she has written her own biography; nor do we know of any other person writing her life.
Books are written in the hope of finding readers. Ridley is a good writer and person of varied experiences. Her biography should be interesting. But, after her conversion to Islam, she does not sound as interesting to the Western public including the self-acclaimed “connoisseurs” as she sounded when she was “one of them”. The Western world is deeply honest and widely broad-minded.
Breach of Trust
Everybody in my house is fond of YMD and we are regular subscribers. I request you to kindly clarify some of doubts and advise accordingly. It has been six months since I have been married. My husband has two sisters and his younger sister married a Hindu and this was never disclosed to my parents before marriage or after marriage. We found it out through a third person and my in-laws have acknowledged that they never wanted it to be disclosed to anyone. My MIL, SIL and husband behave with her as though she has not committed any sin; in fact it was my MIL who went to court as a witness during her marriage. Is this Sin of theirs ever forgiven, my MIL is going to Hajj this year. My parents are in a state of shock, I’m not sure if I still need to continue with the relation or not.
S. P., via email
It was a breach of trust on the part of your in-laws not to have disclosed their daughter’s marriage to a man of other than Islamic faith. However, you and your folks also had the burden of inquiry on you which you did not bear well enough.
Perhaps you married entirely out of your own family, among those, with whom you had no previous interactions to know what goes on inside. One pays the penalty for jumping into darkness.
Yet, there could be other stories behind. For instance, the man in question might have secretly converted to Islam, but does not wish to disclose for fear of community backlash. Therefore, it is best to leave the family alone in this regard. That is, not discuss the issue with them. Nevertheless, since the pair is not straightforward in its affairs, you should better avoid serious interactions with it.
The above said, your own marriage is in tact and valid. It is not affected by the breach of trust mentioned above. The sin of the breach is upon them – if there was one. Your interactions too may not be affected by the above discovery, except that you have to be on the guard. Who knows, there might be a few other tricks up their sleeves?
To deflect all mischief coming from them away from you, you have to plainly fulfill your responsibility of “amr bi al-ma`ruf wa al-nahyu `an al-munkar” while socializing with your in-laws. If there is any good in them, they will welcome you, but if evil, they themselves will cut you off. If so, good riddance.
As regards Hajj of your MIL, it will not wipe out her sin of being a witness to a forbidden act, if her son-in-law had remained a non-Muslim, openly and secretly, at the time of the court-show. Besides Hajj, she will have to do a lot to win forgiveness for the sin of life-long zina of her daughter – unless of course, once again, there is more than what is visible.
Except for a few, today’s Hajj is – for a quite number of people – no more than a washing in the Ganges .. a mere ceremony .. a one-way mocking contract with Allah which says, though not said: “We come to Your House, and you better forgive our sins”. Today’s Hajj needs “istighfar” after the Hajj rituals, for having performed it at all with bold intentions to continue with a sinful life after Hajj, just as it was a sinful life before Hajj. Indeed, for some, the sinful life-style is carried on throughout the Hajj-days too.
Your MIL needs to understand this. But you may continue with your relationship, observing the precaution we have stated above.