Letters to the Editor
Aman, via email
I have been reading this magazine from past several years and have attained a great deal of knowledge. My question is: There are many advertisements wherein images of people and children are being used to sell a product. Is it permissible in Islam? And can magazines or public billboards be rented for such ads? Is this income haraam?
The answer is a simple no. Images are not allowed in Islam.
However, some sort of compromise is made because of the difficulty in running a magazine without advertisements, which are the main source of income, rather than the subscription payments.
Our own magazine, for instance, runs at a huge loss, despite the fact that many workers are voluntary, and the paper quality is one of the cheapest. This is because either we do not get advertisements, or get poorly paying ones that do not even meet with the cost, or have to print on honorary basis. One of the reasons for booking really paying advertisements is that most advertisers insist on use of women’s pictures; in objectionable dress, or even worse.
But since we do not accept such advertisements, we deny ourselves 90% of the business. To get the rest of the 10%, we have to make some sort of compromise.
Though of course, the compromise does not still meet with the costs; so our organizers have to go around begging for donations. Another way would be to increase the subscription cost. But, Muslim Ummah believes in free religious service. If we increased the cost, sales will plummet and losses will increase.
Only those who bear the brunt of the continuous hard work needed to produce the magazine, month after month, can truly realize how sweet it would be if they could say goodbye to the magazine and have a quiet, worriless rest on armchairs.
There are many traditional beliefs wherein they say that a person should not rest his hand over his head, he should not shake his feet while sitting, etc. Also they follow certain rituals like haldi, shukrana before marriage, they also consider the 40th day (chaleeswan) after any event to be of some importance… So do these things have any relations with Islam?
These practices have no basis in religion whatsoever. Some of them are mere customs, with no religious significance; therefore, they incur no criticism; only those that are carried out in the name of Islam, but which have not been enjoined by Islam, meet with criticism.
As for some of the weird practices, such as, Chaleeswan, you see, once people were living in forests. There, they were afraid of everything, even their own shadows. They believed in ghosts, ghoul, flying spirits, souls of the dead, devils peeping from behind every tree, Jinn overlooking from every tree and mountain top, etc. To chase them away, or to be in good relations with them and avoid harm, they followed many rituals.
When they came to live in towns and villages, they brought those beliefs with them. Then came Islam. It overcame much of the old beliefs and practices, but not all; especially because the religious class that lived on the business of the Forest Religion, modified their business practices by accepting some elements from Islam, while retaining others of the Forest Religion.
They succeed because they keep the masses busy with rituals (performed under their supervision and guidance, with of course, some fee, and/or a “da`wat”); and discouraging them from going near the Qur’an and Sunnah. If the rituals are not practiced, or, if Qur’an and Sunnah are studied, they will run out of business.
On 4 Madh-habs
Sharief Abdullah, via email
Your answer to Mr. Shabbir Ahmed (YMD March 2010 – Letters to Editor) has to be seriously considered. The advice of four Imams to throw away their opinion when they contradict a Hadith is correct.
Not every of the 4 imams made this kind of statement.
Secondly, that statement has been falsely used for long. What was meant is: Hadith comes first; and not, as those opposed to the Imam would like to propagate, the Imams were ignorant of Hadith. Those who use this statement (“throw away my opinion”) do not know that few, if hardly any, opinion of the Imams is there, that contradicts with sum and total of the ahadith that are there on that topic.
We must, time and again, remind that Hanafiyyah do not follow Imam Abu Haneefah; Malikiyyah do not follow Imam Malik .. et al. The Schools of Fiqh follow the School’s own workings, and not necessarily the opinion of the first Imam. So, let not those be angry with the 4 Imams because their 20th century half-imam could not gain a following.
We know that many people are disappointed that efforts to do away with the Shari`ah (by casting doubts on the 4 Schools of Fiqh) in the sweet name of Qur’an and Sunnah did not fully succeed. But, to their cheer, it has been partially successful. There is a sizable number of such people now, who decide what they want to do, and then go out and search a school, a scholar, an internet site, whatever, to support what they have already decided to do.
Note that all four Imams by rendering their above opinion have shown their desire of making one Ummah in all the way. The evidence for that is they never contradicted when they lived together. For example, Imam Ahmed did not contradict when his Master Imam Abu Haneefah lived. If the people follow the advice of four Imams regarding throwing of their opinion when contradict to Hadith are extremist, then you have to tell all the three Imams of Madhabs and other Imams after Imam Abu Haneefah are extremists.
Your statement is unclear and has a few errors.
However, our point has been that people should better get rid of the idea that any of the Imams issued Fatwas which opposed Sahih ahadith. But rather, when they encountered contradictions between two or more Sahih ahadith, or between a Sahih hadith and a Qur’anic statement, or between a Sahih hadith and practice of the Madinan Companions (as in case of Imam Malik), or when alternative ways were demonstrated by the Prophet (saws), or, when there were differences in opinion between Muhaddithin over the worth of a hadith, or its meaning, or differences in opinion over exact implication of a Qur’anic statement, then, different Imams, following different well-defined, well-defended and consistently applied principles, made different choices; which resulted in the development of different schools.
Whenever an attempt is made to codify the Islamic Law, (i.e. develop a School of Fiqh), the same differences are bound to appear; in which case, several opinions over a single issue would still be ALL TRUE.
The nature of the Sources is such that they do not simply allow, but impose differences, so that the rules do not become rigid, inflexible, and sword-edged not to allow the followers of Islam, any room for any deviation. This is by Allah’s mercy, which those who have learnt Islam from “An Idiot’s Guide to Islam,” do not appreciate.
The Shari`ah (the Law) is a noble discipline. There are two ways of resolving the difficulties and confusion that the common man encounters: Get a degree in Usul subjects: Usul al-Tafsir, Usul al-Hadith, Usul al-Fiqh, Logic, etc., apart from a good study of the Qur’an and Hadith, and then discuss the issues, or, if someone hasn’t got that kind of guts, let him quit. If English laws cannot be made by a graduate from a third rate university, it is 100 times harder for a secular Lawyer to muddle with Islamic Law, and 1000 times harder for a commoner to attempt it. Let the common man wear the shoes of his foot-size.
Scholars of Islam are not asking modern-day Imam-bashers to climb Mount Everest and spend 40 years there in meditation. They are not asking them to sacrifice 40 black goats, on 40 Fridays, and distribute the meat among 40 black-shrouded Dervishes. They are saying: Get educated.
If someone has not guts for education, no brain for learning, and no potential for deep-night pouring over books, let him shut his TV, get off his easy chair, and go into prostration seeking Allah’s forgiveness for meddling with the Fiqh.
The above lines are not directed at you. They are for the peddlers of religion.
As I read from your writing, I find that you are a Muqallid of Hanafi Madhab which has more followers in India. You have not suffered the humility of a member of minority. Ask me. I am born in Shafi Madhab family. (Not now, because I accept all the Imams as my Imams) and happened to live where there are more Hanafi Muqallids. I found myself humiliated, being separated.
There must be other reasons for you to have received the kind of treatment you describe. Think back on your conversations, discussions, and arguments: Have you been unreasonable?
As for being Muqallid, it is being natural and rational. There is not a scholar on this earth today, but he is a Muqallid. Those who recommend abandonment of the 4 Schools of Fiqh, are all Muqallids; except that they have exchanged scholars. That is, they have abandoned Abu Haneefah, Imam Malik, Ahmad b. Hanbal and Imam Shafe`i, and submitted themselves (and their minds) to lesser scholars whom the common scholars of Islam do not accept as final authorities, on any issue whatsoever.
As regards differences, in Saudi Arabia, there are Hanafis, Shafe`is, Malikis, Hanbalis, Salafis, Ahl al-Hadith, and other verities of Muslims living together quite peacefully. The same thing can be observed in the Gulf countries, USA and many other parts of the world. Nowhere are people apartheid because of their Madh-hab. In fact, the differences between the followers of different Madh-habs is entirely theoretical and probably a Judeo-Christian ploy to create divisions. They have let loose some elements in Muslim societies whose only topic of interest is Fiqh and Aqeedah. They seem to have a hidden agenda. Common Muslims as such, are quite united despite the overblown theoretical Madh-hab divisions.
True divisions in the Ummah are not religious; they are this-worldly; and they are prevalent among the irreligious, street corner preachers, or arm-chair commentators. The true divisions in the Muslim Ummah are economic, political, social; linguistic, regional and racial. Kirgizstan is an explicit example: Sunni Hanafis against Sunni Hanafis.
In contrast, put four committed Muslims of 4 different Madh-habs in one room, and the next moment they are talking of what they can do to serve the Ummah.
Songs and Dance
Can a Muslim boy maintain friendship with Muslim as well as non-Muslim girls?
No, a Muslim cannot maintain a girl or boy friend; whether the boy or girl are Muslim or non-Muslim. The Prophet drew a line in stone when he said that when a non-Mahram man and woman get together, in private, Satan is their third.
Can a Muslim sing Hindi or English songs which do not contain foul or vulgar language and can he dance?
Song and Dance are written in human script. They sing and dance when they are happy. It is only music which stands prohibited in Islam.
Do quote proof from Qur’an and hadith.
Your saying, “Do quote proof from Qur’an and Hadith” is indicative of the success of the Imam-bashers of our times with the lesser educated. It is a clever strategy that works well with those uneducated who think they are educated because they have been to school or college. Their relationship with the great scholars of the past has severed. They wish to hear nothing from them, because their opinions do not suit them. They demand a direct quote from Qur’an and Hadith, because, those who threw them off the straight line know that there are thousands of situations in which the Qur’an and Sunnah cannot be quoted; which will allow a man to follow his base desires, since he will not accept the opinion of scholars of the past.
Your saying, “Do quote proof from Qur’an and Hadith” echoes the success of the mischievous deviants, although you could be an unconscious and innocent victim.
Do you think Islamic banking/finance will flourish in India?
Anonymous, (question raised at a camp)
Islamic banking is a simple financial tool which can be functionally used anywhere in the world, in any economy: Islamic or non-Islamic. So long as the bankers, depositors, and beneficiaries agree on a few principles, Islamic Financial Institutions can successfully function even in a non-Muslim environment.
If some experiments have failed, it is because the operators were incompetent in handling financial matters or because of a few black sheep, in there, right from the start, to make some fast buck and quit. In quite a few other attempts, executives were hired on the basis of their commitment to Islam, although they were lacking in necessary financial experience. Taqwa is not equivalent of knowledge and experience in finance.
I’ve heard from my friend that there is a hadith of Prophet (saw) in which he has stated that there will come a person (Satan) from Najd (Arabia) who will create bloodshed and corruption in the land in the guise of reforming the religion and hence, he (friend) said, it is explicit from the statement of Prophet that the person is Imam ibn Abd al-Wahab. Clarify this.
Rayees, via email
No hadith of any sort, neither Sahih nor Da`if, nor Fabricated of this content is available in the entire religious literature. However, there is a well-reported hadith which says that once the Prophet (saws) prayed in words, “O Allah, bless us in our Sham, bless us in our Yemen.” Those around him reminded him, “And, in our Najd also.” But he repeated, “O Allah, bless us in our Sham, bless us in our Yemen.” They reminded him again, “And, in our Najd also.” But he said, “There would be earthquakes and tribulations there, and there rises the Horns of Shaytan.”
The Najd of this hadith has not been identified as the name of a town or district but rather as the vast land lying between Hejaz and Iraq which includes areas up to Tabuk in the north, up to lowlands of Ta’if in the south (from Ghamrah onward), and up to the outlying areas in front of Basrah.
The hadith has not been explained adequately except in terms of a few battles early in Islam in the vicinity of Basrah, and the rise of the earliest misguided sect (Khawarij) from that side. The rise of Satan’s Horn has not been explained well either.
On the other hand, Sheikh Muhammad Abdul Wahhab who re-established Tawhid in the region, has been acknowledged as the Reformer par excellence by consensus of the `Ulama.
Dajjal's Date of Birth
Does the Qur`an specifically give a date and year about the appearance/birth of Dajjal?
Anonymous, (question raised at a camp)
The Qur’an has not even mentioned Dajjal. But the Qur’an has a complimentary: Hadith. This literature deals with Dajjal and his appearance in a most systematic and fulsome manner.
The Qur’an and Hadith do not give specific dates for any event. This is in order that Muslims live an Islamic life, to be able to identify him whenever he appears. Those who neglect Islam, will not be able to identify him.
But the Hadith literature provides some signs by which one could guess nearness or remoteness of Dajjal’s appearance such as, e.g., “time will fly quick, commercial centers will be aplenty, women will enter into business, wine will be drunk, music will prevail, knowledge will recede, the ignorant and inept will take charge of affairs, parents will be disobeyed while friends and wives are obeyed, obscenity will be common, trust would be lost, adultery will spread, etc.
Those were minor signs. What’s happened in Iraq and is now happening in Gazza (a part of Sham) could be signs between major and minor. A hadith says, “It is possible that neither wealth nor grain will come to Iraq.” The narrator was asked, “Who will impose it O Abu Abdullah?” He answered, “Non-Arabs. They will prevent it.” He was quiet for a while and then added, “It is possible that neither wealth nor grains will come to the people of Sham.” He was asked, “Who would prevent it?” He answered, “The Romans.” (Today’s Westerners are the Romans of the past).
Coming few years will be determinant. If the siege on Gazza is lifted, and the Americans leave Iraq, it will mean there is still time. If not, it will mean some more wars, destruction, and a sudden collapse of the West leading to all around chaos which is the time Dajjal will appear. Allah knows best.
Drink from the Same Cup
I am a regular subscriber to YMD. I have a question,
Can husband and wife drink milk from the same cup? Since I am told by one of the elders in my family that husband and wife should not drink milk from the same cup or sip. Please revert on this topic in the light of Qur’an and Hadith, since I have also been telling the same to my friends.
Mohamed Rehan, via email
You have asked to be answered in the light of the Qur’an and Hadith. Therefore, when we threw light on the Qur’an, this is the message we got. The voice is that of Sayyid Qutb:
“This world cannot run right without there being a single God managing its affairs. The Qur’an says: ‘Had there been many gods surely the two (heaven and earth) would have met with destruction.’ The most blatant attempt by man is his efforts to split godhead by way of accepting worship of man by man, the making of laws of life for them, and the setting up of values for them. Whoever claimed anything of these things, claimed divinity for himself and set himself up as a god besides Allah.
“Further, corruption never occurs on the earth on a greater scale than when there are more than one god claiming godhead on this pattern: when a man from mankind claims for himself the right of obedience, the right to dictate laws, and the right to set up values for others. This is the claim to godhead and divinity that does not require the words (of Fir`awn) to be spoken: ‘I am your supreme Lord.’”
Sayyid casts light on the message of the Qur’an elsewhere:
“Faith in Allah is the point of departure from the worship of various powers, objects and opinions … to … the worship of one Allah … the faith that liberates him from all other kinds of worship, raising him to the level of everyone else of the humankind on to a single platform, in a single row in front of One God! It is also the point of transition from anarchy to discipline, from aimlessness to purpose in life, from disunity and fragmentation to unity of purpose … Belief in the Hereafter is belief in the system of justice instituted by Allah … and for awareness that this life is not pointless, rather, a good deed here will be rewarded for, if not in this life, then in the next … “
He throws light on another aspect:
“This verse throws light on the nature of the din – whichever din it might be (whether that brought by Musa, `Isa or Muhammad – that it has to be a comprehensive system of life, and that it should not be one sided: in either moral, spiritual or devotional spheres. If it is, then such a system cannot be called a din proper. Din is nothing but the way of life that has been designed by Allah for mankind: the way of life that connects and harmonizes the lives of the people with the laws of Allah.”
A final torch-light on the message of Qur’an by Sayyid Qutb:
“It is a demand upon him who believes in this religion that he bear the testimony – the testimony that will guarantee that this religion will last – and thus help establish the good and virtue that this religion carries with it. Obviously, he does not and cannot bear this testimony without first being himself what this religion demands and without presenting an image of it through his own person – an image that the people observe and in which they discover the ideal example. Thus his very person bears the testimony of the truth of this religion.
But perhaps another aspect of Qur’anic message could be highlighted:
“In this world, whatever earthly system of life a people might follow – be it the most advanced democratic system, or a dictatorial one – some people always act as Lords over others besides Allah. The first and the major right of Allah, when He is accepted as the Lord, is the right to regulate the lives of the people, which includes laws, values and the organization of life and society in general. Now, in all earthly systems, the people are made subservient to others, one way or the other. The affair of regulating the life is ultimately handed over to a small group of people among them. This group designs the system, determines the values, and regulates the daily lives of the masses. Thus the rest of the people submit to them and allow them to assume what is the right of Allah alone. In this sense they take them as Lords besides Allah and worship them, even if they do not prostrate themselves before them.”
This we think is the milk that both you and your wife should drink from the same cup.