Letters to the Editor
Q. Is Taraweeh allowed for women? If yes, is it compulsory?
Taraweeh is neither compulsory for males nor for females, as individuals. However, according to the Hanafiyyah, for a Muslim community, doing the Taraweeh in congregation is Wajib. This is just like Salah al-Janazah. It is not Wajib on every individual Muslim, but Wajib on the community. Although, it must be clarified, Taraweeh does not have the same legal status as Salah al-Janazah.
Q. The Prophet (saws) prayed Taraweeh in private; he prayed only for three nights at a stretch as noticed by the Sahabah; when he noticed that people had started following him, on the fourth night he stopped. Right?
Not very right. The Prophet did not pray in private, but in public in his mosque.
Secondly, he did not stop when the people started following him. They had been following him from the first night. Nor did he stop because there was a huge surge in attendance. He stopped because he feared that Allah might declare it Fard, or, perhaps, his continued practice might be deemed as Fard by his followers.
Q.This is a consistent, reliable and accepted report, right?
Half-right, half-wrong. It is wrong because when a report is produced in half, or other reports concerning the topic are ignored, then, it speaks of an ulterior motive.
`A’isha reported that the Prophet used to encourage the people to do night vigils. But your letter does not seem to be encouraging the Taraweeh. This is a sneaky way of opposing the Prophet.
Q. That is, in short: (a) he prayed Taraweeh in private (and therein is the debate about 8, 12, 20, + Rak’ahs)…
Once again you are incorrect. It is expected that when one lifts his pen to write about a religious issue, he will exercise maximum restraint not to state anything wrong, and, consequently, would do a little research before making and then announcing his conclusions.
The debate about number of Rak`ah is because they used to be 20 during, and after, the time of `Umar. Those who refuse to accept `Umar’s suggestion (would they have done that if they were in Madinah at the time of `Umar?), and wish to follow the Prophet alone, suggest it as eight. But some among them think it should be eleven. Imam Malik thought 20 was too little. So, in his time, they used to pray 36 cycles. So, the differences in opinion is not because the Prophet did it in private.
Q. (b) He didn’t invite or make it public (and I presume this is based on the facts: Nobody has reported this attendance for the month, announcement of Qiyam-ul-Layl, congregational presence in the mosque after Isha prayers in Ramadan)…
The Prophet was afraid it would become Wajib, so how could he have invited his followers to it? If we do not know of his fear, then, it is unfortunate. But if we do know, and still raise the above questions, then, it is more unfortunate.
However, it is apparent that he left the good sense of his followers to decide how they would do the Taraweeh. He trusted his followers’ good sense so much that he did not even appoint Abu Bakr a Khalifah after himself, but left it to their decision.
Q. …and c) the Prophet did not continue the fourth day.
So, if someone does not do it on the fourth day, then, that is his choice; and if he did not do it on any day at all, well, that is his choice. He will reap the rewards of his deeds on the Day of Judgment. But if he starts lecturing the Ummah, the while he is not qualified to work out an opinion for himself, then he has crossed bounds.
Q. Don’t you notice from the Traditions, that never did he say Taraweeh as we do today, consistently, persistently and devotedly for all the month, all our life, in Jama’ah?
This is universally known, therefore, its repetition is at best a waste of time, and at worse, obnoxious.
Q. And as a result, most have taken this as more important than Isha (they even come late, so as not to miss the Taraweeh), and even miss all four Jama’at Salah of the day, all over the month – the mosque is not flooded in every prayer and every day. I am not exaggerating. Ramadani (Read as Taraweeh) Musally force the Masjid administrators, everywhere, to think of emergency planning.
It is possible that you have been granted wrong company; or they might be Secret Service agents because neither do we see in our land, Muslims who pray only Isha and Taraweeh, nor have been reported so from other parts of the world.
As for Masjid administrators, they can always resign, if they cannot serve the congregation.
Q. How come that we do the opposite of his idea, practice and his recommendation?
You are completely out of track. We wonder whether you live in the Eskimo land so that you have no access to the Net, the cheapest, though not the best, way of knowing a few religious demands. If that is the case, then you must be excused.
At all events, the Prophet firmly planted the idea of the Qiyam. As for his practice, he was always the first to do what he recommended, so that he stood the whole of the last third of the night in prayers, including in Ramadan.
Q. Reportedly, Hadrath Umar (ra) saw this happening, and said this is BID’AH. How come we don’t see anything wrong about this blatant BID’AH?
Ah or religion!
`Umar did not see this happening. He made it happen.
As for Bid`ah, it is hard to educate anyone who has not been trained in religious knowledge, to explain and define it in less than 25 pages. But a simple and single point could help. The Qur’an and Sunnah are in Arabic. Which Arabic? Well, the Arabic then current. The Qur’an and Sunnah did not invent a new Arabic language, nor did they invent or add new words to the language. They used the terms then in use. This constraint meant that they had to use the same terms in at least two different senses. So that, to the people contemporary to the Prophet, Salah meant invocation; and so the Qur’an and Sunnah used the word in that sense. But, the Qur’an and Sunnah also used the word Salah in Islamic sense, albeit in the sense of specific physical movements, utterance of specific Arabic words, etc.
Now, when we come across the word Salah, or its various formats and derivatives, we need to be able to judge the sense in which it is used: whether it is used in the sense of common usage, or in the special religious sense; or, what we can conveniently call as the “technical sense.”
If we do not know that there are hundreds of such words in the Qur’an, then, even the Net will not educate us, because, these fineries are not there on the Net.
The word Bid`ah too has, not merely two, but several senses. One needs to determine the sense in which `Umar used it. It was definitely not in the strict religious sense. It is in the sense of what some scholars say, “Eating until the stomach is full, is the first Bid`ah that found currency in the Ummah.”
Q. Are we not supposed to pray as the Prophet did, in private, and in our own time and space, why Jama’ah and why every single day?
After having opposed the Prophet, now you want to oppose Allah (swt). The Companions unanimously decided that it is a good idea for the Ummah to do Taraweeh in Ramadan (although they said Qiyam would be better), during whole of the month, in 20 cycles.
Their unanimous decision has the approval of the Qur’an which said about them that Allah is pleased with them. But if we are not pleased with their decision, we are opposed to Allah.
Now, you may not do it, but let not someone else jump up and cry out, as it often happens, “And, what about battles between them?”
Because this class of people are antagonistic to Islamic way of life, and refuse the status of the Companions accorded to them by Allah, we answer in a stiff manner, to bring them to senses,
- Think. Were those battles by consensus? Is Taraweeh by consensus or not?
- Did all the 100,000 Companions participate in the battles, or were it a few thousand?
- Were those skirmishes well-planned, well-prepared, and well-declared in advance, or did they happen by accident?
- Did those who did not participate in the battles, censure those who fought, or well-understood the accidental nature of the fights, and just erased it from their memory?
- Did those who laid their lives in those battles, do it to safeguard the purity of Islam, or fought for booty?
Q. Ask the People of Remembrance if you do not know.
Dr M. T.,
True. That is why we ask how the Companions understood the religion of Islam.
Ameen Ahsan Islahi
Q. I have been reading your magazine for a long time and I find it very useful and much interesting to read. May Allah (swt) reward you best and make this magazine best of all. I have gone through the book Ma’badi-e-Tadabbur-e-Hadith by Maulana Ameen Ahsan Islahi. He discusses the status of hadith in his first chapter and says that hadith does not give a confirm evidence and is Zanni. This gives a conclusion that a Sahih Hadith is not final, as considered by many, rather just gives an evidence.
Please tell what is the correct status of hadith which is taken by our scholars and please give authenticity for your answer. Also he tells that ‘Sunnat is not based on hadith,’ rather Sunnat comes from the ‘Amal-e-Tawatur’ of Ummat and it has nothing to do with Hadith. Please tell if this thought is correct and accepted by our authentic scholars. Please give the names of those scholars (obviously worth believing) who hold this view and if they have ever discussed this thought.
Abdul Aziz Faisal,
We are late in reply because it took us some time to get a copy of the book, Mabadi-e-Tadabbur-e-Hadith.
Actually, the problem starts from Amin Ahsan Islahi’s Tafsir work, Tadaburr-e-Qur’an. He wrote in its ‘Foreword’ that, while explaining the Qur’an, he will use only Mutawatir Ahadith, and never what are known as the Aahaad Ahadith. Now, Aahaad Ahadith are those that are not Mutawatir. Mutawatir is that hadith that has been reported by a multiple of first generation narrators, all others are Aahaad. That is, if a hadith is not of Tawatur status, it is termed as Wahid (pl. Aahaad). And, out of tens of thousands of Ahadith preserved by the Ummah, some 200-300 alone could be Mutawatir, the rest are Aahaad. Thus, the rule cut out 99% Ahadith or more in one stroke – of course, so far as his Tafsir was concerned. As the youth say, “That was pretty cool.”
By rejecting non-Mutawatir Ahadith for his Tafsir, he comfortably did away with the research and scrutiny of thousands of those scholars throughout the centuries, who spent their lives collecting, editing, documenting, memorizing, explaining, and spreading the Hadith.
The direct implication is that Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Hanbal, Malik, Shafe`i, Abu Haneefah, Ibn Mubarak, Hasan al-Busri, Ibn Jubayr, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Hammam b. Munabbih, Zuhri, Is-haq b. Rahway, Sa`id b. Mansur, Ibn Khuzaymah, Ibn Haki, Abu Da’ud, Abu `Isa Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Nasa’i, Ibn abiHatim, `Abdul Razzaq, Suyuti, Munawi, Ibn Hajr, Nawawi, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Is-haq, Ibn Hisham, Bayhaqi, Badruddin `Ayni, Abu Nu`aim al-Asbahani, Abu al-Sheikh, al-Hakim Nisapuri, Dara Qutni, al-Khateeb Baghdadi, Al-Kattani, Al-Bazzar, Al-Darimi, Shah Waliyullah, Shah `Abdul `Aziz, `Abdul Raheem Mukarakpuri, `Azeem Aabaadi, Shabbir Ahmad `Uthmani, `Abdul Haq, Haythamiyy, Tahir Patani, Abu Ya`la, Al-San`ani, Nasiruddin Albani, Zahid Kawthari, Ibn abi Shaybah, Qurtubi, Ibn Jawzi, Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Taymiyyah (a few names that come to mind extemporaneously or are taken from headlines) – all of them are swept away in one stroke, as those having frittered away their lives building the fort of Islam with the Aahaad Ahadith as the bricks and foundational stones, as also the commentators of the Qur’an, throughout the centuries, who used Aahaad Ahadith freely to explain Qur’anic texts.
Accordingly, we do not find in hisTafsirTadabbur-e-Qur’an, (a product of 50 years of some ‘research’ but mostly a result of meditations and deliberations), mention of Aahaad Ahadith. To him, it appears, Torah, Gospels, and Talmudic literature were more trustworthy than Aahaad Ahadith of Bukhari, Muslim, and others. He quotes Torah, Gospels and Talmudic literature to support his explanations of Qur’anic texts, but not Aahaad Ahadith.
In addition, although he gave his approval to Mutawatir Ahadith, he could not remain faithful to his own rule. For instance, Mutawatir Ahadith which say that the Ummah is a witness, in this world, and whose judgment is accepted by Allah, does not find mention while Ayah 143 of Surah al-Baqarah is discussed.
Ironically, while he rejected Ahadith of Bukhari, Muslims and others as untrustworthy, he used a false hadith in his Mabadi-e-Tadabbur-e-Hadith. Some Hadith scholars have said that Allah exposes those who refute the Hadith.
Besides, although he promised that he will explain the Qur’an with the Qur’an, he did not do it everywhere. For example, he does not mention Ayah 41-42 of Surah al-Nisa’, while commentating on Ayah 143 of Surah al-Baqarah, which, many commentators do, including Shanqiti.
It is no surprise then that four Western Universities should confer PhD degrees on those of their students who wrote their theses on Tadabbur-e-Qur’an, while no one has ever been granted a PhD degree in a Western University, for a thesis on, say, Ibn Kathir or Qurtubi! They know where the Truth lies.
We have given the above details, to substantiate our point that he was not comfortable with the bulk of Ahadith for intellectual reasoning which reflects in his book, Mabadi-e-Tadabbur-e-Hadith also, which he next wrote after his Tafsir work. However, the uncomfortableness with the Aahadd Ahadith seems to have increased by the time he wrote the Mabadi. Because, having accepted Mutawatir Ahadith as which could be used for Tafsir, while defining Mutawatir hadith in Mabadi, he states that although the term Mutawatir exists, nothing exists on which it could be successfully applied (or which could be so designated). He states, “I believe those Ahadith that have been designated as Mutawatir need to be re-looked into (whether they are really Mutawatir).” Thus, out of tens of thousands, we were originally left with 200-300 Mutawatir Ahadith that could be trusted. By now, we are left with nothing worthy of Tawatur status: only the name remains. That’s pretty cool too.
He criticizes Imam Shafe`i, a brilliant scholar of his times, for having accepted Aahaad Ahadith, as he also criticizes those schools of Fiqh which did the same.
He seems to have been heavily influenced in his Fikr and its expression by his second master, (his first master was Hameeduddin Farahi), and, consequently, takes the position of a supreme authority surveying the entire Islamic religion, its scholars, and its followers, and pronouncing his judgments – to be rejected out of hand by the Ummah.
Actually, his book Mabadi-e-Tadabbur-e-Hadith, creates, for the starters, more doubts about Hadith than trust in Hadith literature. Consequently, the book does a disservice to Hadith. In our opinion, books of Mustafa al-A`azami, Zubair Siddiqui, Taqiuddin `Uthmani, and Jamaluddin Zarabozo should be studied to get a proper perception of the science of Hadith.
Regarding other doubts you have raised concerning the Mabadi, it is perhaps not very beneficial to discuss them and point out the errors.
Q: Indeed, it’s a pleasure to be communicating with you. I am writing to you with a few requests and questions. If you can answer them, it would be great help. First of all, thank you so much for running such a fabulous magazine which I would say has helped me a lot in changing and upbringing my life to a meaningful, purposeful and a productive life. May Allah give you the reward for it. In relation to the edition of Jan-Feb 2012, you had mentioned about sending the Part 1 and Part 2 of your response to the writings of Imran Hosein and also a response to his future predictions, to a brother in Australia. It would be really great help if you can send the same response to me on my email.
What is the best way described to take Ghusl after major impurity? What is the time period in which one should have Ghusl? Is it immediately required, or is it permissible to do it before Fajr?
If one can attempt the Ghusl immediately, that should be ideal, however, if that is not comfortable, one could wash his private parts, make Wudu and go to sleep.
Q. What would be the same situation in the case of a woman?
The rules are the same for both sexes.
Q. What if a person dies in a state of impurity? Is there any specific mention of such a situation by the prophet of Allah? And is there if any punishment for such a situation?
How can a person be blamed for his soul being taken away by Allah’s messengers?
Q: What is the time you take for each question of a subscriber to be replied?
Unfortunately, this is difficult to predict. More letters arrive than can be answered. In between, some letters arrive which need a quicker attention.
So, stay tuned.
Q: I am a reader of YMD for last five years and have found it very informative and helpful in the wake of Islamic knowledge and many misconceptions about Islam. I would like to know the step-by-step prayer especially the Witr prayer? Can you please send me a text in regard to this which will help me understand the prayer in the most appropriate way? I will be most thankful to you.
Once a Saudi Imam, in Saudi Arabia, who was also a Judge, led in the Witr Prayers of Taraweeh. To everyone’s surprise, he did three Rak`ah in one go. After Salam, he addressed the audience and said, in effect, “If I had told you that Witr done in this way is also correct, you would not have understood it. So, I demonstrated it to you.”
So, if you are in India, you can do your Witr as the Ahnaf do it, by doing the first two Rak`ah as you do in any other Salah, then rise up for third after the Tashahhud without saying Salat wa Salam. In the third Rak`ah, you recite Surah al-Fatihah, add a Surah and then saying Takbir while raising the two hands to your shoulder level, you fold them again and recite the Du`a of Qunut after which you do your Ruku,` Sujud, Tashahhud, Salat wa Salam, final Du`a, and terminate by saying Salam on right and Salam on left.
If you are praying behind an Imam of another Madh-hub, then do as he does.
Q: I am a wife of an air-force employee. For the past six months, I was very disturbed as we were trying for the posting to Mumbai, as we wanted to put our kids in IIS Mumbai and praying, regularly making duas for the same. After six months of our struggle and prayers, help did come, but we are posted to Nagpur and after much research and search, I couldn’t find an Islamic school like that of IIS. As I was repeatedly asking Allah for the posting so that we could put our kids in an Islamic school, I am confused what to do as my kids were going to KV and Air Force School and I was regularly asking for divine help to do the needful. What should I do regarding this?
And, secondly, I also wanted to perform Hajj along with my mother and brother after settling my kids in a good Islamic school which is of distant view now. Would it be correct on my part to do it or leave it as I am very much disturbed regarding this? Will it be a dishonour to God whom I had asked for help and could not keep my part? Please suggest me what is the alternative.
You do not have to worry much over the failure to place your children in Islamic schools, nor fret over Allah not responding to your prayers.
Allah has several ways of answering prayers. Our duty is to constantly seek His grace. He, on His part, can bring out good from evil. He has said, “He brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from the living.”
If you continue paying attention to the Islamic upbringing of your children, and perforce they have to study in non-Islamic environment, then Allah will instill in them faith in Islam even as they receive lessons steeped in atheism, or any other ism, or religion.