Letters to the Editor
Q. You have written about the rich (YMD Aug. 2001) that they “are haughty and irreligious”. What about rich philanthropists in our community? Some of them have spent crores for building and sustaining masajid and madaris.
The observation stated the general trend. Further, that wealth brings in its wake pride, haughtiness and irreligiousness is a universally recognized fact. Throughout history, whenever a Messenger came from Allah, it were the affluent classes that opposed him. Allah said (17: 16), “And when We intend to destroy a town, We allow its affluent ones (to do their will). They work corruption in it. So the word (of punishment) comes true and We destroy it altogether.” The Prophet said, “I am not afraid of your poverty, but am afraid that you will get rich and then start slaughtering each other.” ‘Isa (asws) is in fact reported in the Bible as saying that a camel could pass through a needle but a rich man will not enter Paradise. This of course is an exaggerated statement and `Isa, being a Messenger, would not have put it unconditionally. He might have said something close to what our Prophet said, “A wealthy man will be destroyed unless he spent this way and that way.”
The above however, does not deny that there can be philanthropists among the rich. That is an entirely different matter. Nor does it conform that a rich philanthropist cannot be haughty. He can be, and in fact a few are. Further down, the above statement does not mean that a philanthropist’s womenfolk cannot be haughty. In fact, many are observed to be so.
Q. You also state that poor women “are thankful that you married them, and remain under control.” This statement demeans women who are less wealthy than their husbands. Is finance the means of control over the wife? Are we obsessed with controlling our wives? Is “control” the fulcrum of marriage?
Yes, control is the fulcrum of marriage. There has to be some sort of control over people’s behavior. Without that they oppress each other. Islam exercises control over its adherents through the quality of Godliness. When both husband and wife are Godly, their life together is harmonious, constructive and smooth. But, if they are not, then things become difficult between them. And when things become difficult, marriage ends in divorce. Now, Islam doesn’t approve separation, even if a pair, or one of them is ungodly. Therefore, one of the two – husband and wife – has to be subdued and controlled. Which one? Well, Islam’s answer is, the woman. It is better to bring a wife under control, by some means or the other, even if the husband is oppressive, because, if she is not controlled, but rather, given freedom, of the kind the husband has, then, she will exercise her freedom. And the exercise of freedom normally results in she walking off. But, when she walks off, and she – being emotional – does it more often than man, it is she who is the greater loser. A few others also lose, such as the children, if there are any, and the husband. Thus an entire family is destroyed. (In USA they find that the criminals come mostly from broken families).
Therefore, it is advisable to make a good start. Marry a poor woman. She is five times less likely to act tough, register independence and seek divorce.
Q. You also say, “A country girl is better than a city girl.” If all the boys follow your advice, what will happen to the city girls?
If the selection criteria are humbleness, simplicity, obedience, etc., which occur more freely among the country girls than the city girls, and, in consequence, if they get married faster than the city girls, then the city girls will also learn to be humble, simple and obedient, assuring longer lasting marriages. A good culture will then be allowed to prevail over a bad culture. Overall results will be positive. You must be aware that divorce is less prevalent in the country-side than in the cities. The Prophet has said, “If a woman did her five (daily prayers), fasted her month (of Ramadan), guarded her chastity and obeyed her husband, she will be told, ‘Enter into Paradise by the gate of your choice.’” Shall we lead our women to Paradise?
Q. Refer to vol. IV of Tafsir Ishraq al Ma’ani, Surah Anfal, verse 33, Note. 61. According to my humble opinion it should have been said you that this Ummah is to remain in existence till emergence of Dajjal and reappearance of Isa bin Maryam (asws). So it is not to be wiped out wholly till that event. However, groups and dynasties which would fail to remain up to the mark would be thrown into the dust bin at that time.
You will notice that the commentary in the work at that point is entirely from the Salaf. The author of the work has not added anything of his own to their words.
Q. Kindly see also page 204 of the same volume, column 2 of the note when you ask the reader to refer Al-Baqrah notes 95-97 but these three notes are not relevant to verse 39 of surah al-Anfal.
Ghulam Nabi Hagroo,
Advocate, Aloocha Bagh, Srinagar
You are right and thank you for pointing out the error. The reference at verse 39 of Surah al-Anfal should have been to note no. 397 of Al-Baqarah (and not 95-97).
Q. What is “World Islamic Mission”? What are its objectives and salient features? Where is its headquarters? Please give its full introduction and address.
The organization is headed by Shah Ahmed Noorani of Pakistan. They say they wish to spread peace and understanding among religions.
Q. Is there any university in India or abroad which offer short term crash courses (3 to 6 months), diploma courses etc. on Islam (Islamic studies). My father is a Government employee (45 years old) and he wants to go for such a course.
We regret there is no university or institution in our knowledge which offers any short-term course.
Q. To elaborate the reply to the question of Wasim Ahmed Siddiqui (YMD. Nov. 2001) it is to further inform him that Muslims and Christians both are people of the Book (Ahle-Kitab) hence are divine cousins. But unfortunately the Christians are afraid of Muslims and Islam for many tangible reasons. Firstly, the Muslims possess the divine revelation in its original form (the Holy Qur’an) whereas Christians have wishfully altered the commandments of the Bible so much so that the original revelation has been lost. The Christian priests themselves admit the alteration as recorded in the history of Christianity. Secondly, Christianity has been distorted and seemed to have become mere custom. Christians go to Church on Sundays for a moment keep standing for prayer and discourse. They have given up daily prayer, fasting, and pious deeds. Against this, Muslims follow and practice their religion in letter and spirit. Muslims believe in one God and surrender before Him in toto. Muslims believe in all Prophets equally and love their own Prophet Muhammad (salla-llahu-alaihi-wa sallam) much more than their own lives and are always ready to make any sacrifice for the Prophet as well as for the religion of Islam. Muslims recite the Holy Qur’an daily and a good number of Muslims have learnt it by heart. It has been translated in all languages of the world and there are thousands of commentaries by great scholars available on this Word of God (Kalam-ul-lah).
Besides, Muslims hold religious gatherings for preaching Islam and contribute for economic uplift of the less privileged among them. They pray five times a day in congregation on every Friday, observe fast during the month of Ramadan, pay Zakah to help their brethren and perform Hajj, an international gathering of brotherhood and understanding.
Thirdly, Christians believe that Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him) was persecuted by the Jews and the persecution was his sacrifice for their sins and as such they are free to commit whatever sins they like and there will be no accountability in the hereafter. The Muslims have a firm belief that they have to account for the worldly deeds hereafter and shall be rewarded for pious deeds and punished for bad deeds.
Muslims respect Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) as a Prophet of Allah whereas Christians call him Son of God which is merely a myth as the whole universe belongs to God including living and non-living beings. Moreover, the Christians have overlooked the message of Jesus Christ in which he had insisted that they were to follow the Prophet of Allah after him named Ahmad who would appear from Faran. And when the said Prophet came Christians opposed him, thus were deprived of their spiritual status.
Islam is the religion of action and therefore it surpasses all theoretical and mythological religions of the world. Due to the strength of its message and its action orientation Christians have become jealous about Islam and are afraid of Muslims. Jews have also joined hands with Christians against Muslims and are worried about the spread of Islam and about Muslims gaining more and more strength. The result of this is that both Christians and Jews are always conspiring against Islam and its followers. This is the time for the Muslims of the world to unite and face the challenge.
Abdul Rashid Beg,
Peerbagh, Srinagar, Kashmir
Q. Can a Muslim do job as a Life Insurance Corporation Agent and sell Life Insurance? Is the Agency commission prohibited in Islam? If so, please explain fully and give me suggestions as to whether I am to continue or to shift my profession.
(Agent, Distinguished Club member, LIC of India)
21, Glass Kara Street, Nelpettai Road Clock Tower, Gandhi Market,
Tiruchi-620008, Tamil Nadu
In general, life insurance has not been allowed by the Indian scholars. (Some, though not all, of a few countries have allowed it). Further, the ruling issued has been about insuring one’s own life. Now, what about in a country like India where a Muslim’s life, honor and property are not safe? Many scholars have allowed insurance. Further, what about working for Insurance companies, especially in India where there is a systematic reduction of Muslims from governmental jobs? These are questions which we cannot answer but rather a body of scholars have to answer and set rules. We advise, therefore, that you should not be in a hurry to give up the present job. Send your inquiry, along with all the details of the job and the company, to the All-India Fiqh Council, or any of its branches. Perhaps they have a ready answer.
Q. Maulana Riaz-ur-Rahman Rashadi and YMD have been instrumental in arousing interest about Islam in me. I think most of the Editorials by Syed Iqbal Zaheer are truly amazing. A few months ago there was a seminar held by Deobandi scholars in Bangalore regarding Ahl-e-hadith Jama‘ah.
It is unfortunate that both sides have come to war of slogans and accusations with each other. This must be strongly discouraged. And one of the ways would be to boycott the meetings of both.
Q. I attended this program. My family follows the Hanafi School of law. I had great respect for Deobandi scholars because YMD keeps praising them.
This magazine has not praised them. It has approved of the school – known as the Deobandi School – as a well-balanced institution of thought. It does not laud – or even approve – of every scholar who attributes himself to this school. Every scholar has to be judged on his own.
Q. But during the speeches some of the respectable scholars made the following comments: – Qur’an and hadith literature is there for the understanding of scholars only, not for the common man.
Such a statement is impossible of a scholar. Perhaps what they would have said is that not everyone may read the Qur’an and hadith and begin to (1) interpret them, (2) work out laws, or (3) criticize renowned scholars of the past or present. This is widely noted these days and hence the warning.
Q. How do you know the translation of Qur’an which you are reading is correct?
Correct. There are several translations that contain errors. A common man needs to consult scholars before choosing to read a translation or commentary. A French translation rendered verse 187 of Surah al-Baqarah as: “They (your wives) are your pants and you are their pants!” A second example, Sale has rendered the verse “…sufficient are We as reckoners” (Anbiya’, 47) as: “and there will be sufficient accountants with us”. Should the people not be warned against erroneous translations?
Q. Bukhari’s collection available now is very different from the original collection done by Bukhari.
No scholar has ever stated that. Therefore, there is every possibility of a misunderstanding. Have you recorded the speeches? Or, do you have a transcription? If yes, please send us a copy.
Q. If you put your head into hadith literature, you will end up in a mental hospital.
Once again, they might have meant those who think that they can work out the law by simply reading hadith literature. It should be read for admonition purposes and not for working out legal rulings.
Q. Your work is to earn a livelihood and take care of your business and children. Don’t touch Islamic books.
How can scholars say such a thing when they themselves turn out hundreds of books every year for the common people?
Q. You can recite double the amount of Qur’an and get more rewards in the limited time you have for the Holy Qur’an. Don’t waste time with translation and commentaries.
Are you sure those were scholars who addressed the meeting? Check their credentials.
Q. The Ahl-e-Hadith people are the creation of the British, during Independence struggle. Keep away from them.
The Ahl al-Hadith have been there before the British became British. Yet, it is being suspected that the new division into Hanafis, Salafis, Deobandis, Ikhwanis and so on, has neo-colonial hands behind it.
Q. Only four schools of Law are legally accepted. Anyone who does not belong to any one of the four schools is not a proper Muslim.
That is not correct. A Mujtahid need not belong to a school of law.
Q. Nobody is allowed to sometimes switch over from say Hanafi maslak to Shafi maslak. For example, in Prayers etc.
That is true. Can a man marry one woman according to one school of law, and then marry another following another second school of law, and treat them both in respect of their maintenance rights in accordance with the respective schools of law? There has to be consistency.
Q. Just looking at the face of a scholar is ‘ibadat.
False. Even a hadith is reported to this effect. But it is fabricated.
Q. They quoted a few ahadith in which our beloved Prophet (saws) is supposed to have prophesied the coming of Imam Abu Hanifah, which according to your book ‘Fake Pearl’ is fake. How is it that these scholars are not aware of the hadith being fake?
The hadith that you have referred to as in “Fake Pearls”, numbered 54/143 says, “Abu Hanifah is the lamp of my Ummah.” This of course is fabricated. But, there are other trustworthy reports (in Bukhari, Muslim and others) that are applicable to Imam Abu Hanifah. One of them says that the Prophet placed his hand upon Salman al-Farsi and said, “If Faith was in Plaeiades (group of stars), it would be brought down by men issuing from him (i.e., Salman) or a man from them.” (Another report uses the word “knowledge” in place of “Faith”). Now, since Abu Hanifah is generally acknowledged as the most prominent scholar of Persian origin, the hadith is said to be applicable to him. Although, some have identified others.
So, it is possible that this is the hadith they were referring to.
Q. They spoke negatively about the Ahl-e-Hadith.
They were paying them in their own coins. One of them says “Tit”, so the other one says “Tat”. Ignore them both.
Q. I would like to congratulate YMD for calling Ahl-e-Hadith the fifth school of thought. Why can’t these scholars from Deoband also have such a balanced opinion?
It is, in fact, a Deobandi opinion.
Q. Further, their claim of the Imams being infallible is also wrong according to the hadith which informs us that all the children of Adam (as) will commit error. It is like Shiah’s claiming infallibility of their ten imams.
We do not know of any Sunni scholar who claims that the Imams were infallible.
Q. Why only four, what about other great Imams like Awzaa’ee, Zaydee, Laythee, Thawree, Dhahiree, Jareeree etc.? Can’t one follow them?
No, one cannot. Where will he find their codification? Their schools have died down a natural death, along with them and, their works.
Q. Finally why shouldn’t I take, sometimes the opinion of Imam Shafe‘i though in most other matters I would follow Hanafi Fiqh.
Instead of asking, “Why not…” you should ask yourself, “Why should I…” Is the Hanafi or Shafe`i law incomplete that you have to seek the help of the other? Or, are you looking for ways to escape from the obligations of one by switching on to another?
The upshot is, if your research leads you to the unchallenged conclusion that a certain Imam’s ruling is closer to the Qur’an and Sunnah than another’s, then you could do so. In fact, you are religiously bound to do so. That is what we meant when we said above that a Mujtahid need not follow any Imam. But, if no such research has been conducted, then, the question that will arise is, on what basis are you switching from Madh-hab to Madh-hab?
Q.Umm-ul-Mumineen, Aishah, is reported to have said that when two ways (both halaal) to do a thing was available to our beloved Prophet (saws) he would choose the easier one.
First of all, she was speaking of ordinary things that one goes about doing in life e.g., if the Prophet could go by a camel, he wouldn’t go the distance on foot. If he could pray with the shoes on because they were clean, he would do so. He wouldn’t remove them. In other words he followed nature’s course. It can be observed in the cosmos that nature follows the easiest course.
We must also understand that in legal matters the Prophet himself was the best judge about any two ways being allowable (or “halaal” as you put it). For example, washing of the feet is part of ablution. But, he as a Prophet knew what was allowable within Wudu and what was not. So he said, “Woe unto the heels against the Fire” meaning, they must be carefully washed. He didn’t take the “easy way out” and wash your feet as best as you can, since allowing them do that was the easier of the two ways.
Now, if we did not have the hadith about the heel, and were to literally apply ‘A’isha’s observed rule, we would have ended neglecting the heel. Many people do not seem to understand the true meaning of the hadith and commit errors. One good example is that of trimming off hair from two or three parts of the head with tiny scissors (manufactured for trimming moustaches) – after the Sa`ee of Hajj or ‘Umrah. This is not the “Qasr” that Allah has spoken of in the Qur’an. Indeed, it is no “Qasr” (shortening) in common understanding either. If you asked somebody to shorten his nails, and he clipped from two ends of nail, you will say, “You have shortened it.” But, many people who clip their hair from 2-3 places, have ‘A’isha’s statement in mind.
Thus, in our case, we cannot be sure of the legality of two options, as to which one is legal. One of them might not be so. In such a case, either we do some research and work it out ourselves, presenting an opinion that cannot be questioned by anyone, any time, anywhere, or we follow one of the schools of law.
Now, if it is said that after all, every one of the four schools is true and right, so we can choose between this and that, then the question will be: what is the basis of your choice? Is it knowledge, evidences and scholarly proofs, or, alternatively, it is just the question of ease. The former is approved. The latter, which is another way of following base desires, is not approved.
What shall we call a man who chooses “the easiest of the rulings” from the four or five schools of law, collects together all such rulings, and offers us a new “School of Law”? Is he an opportunist or not? Would you like to follow his School?
Take an example from the secular law. None of the two laws: British or American is incomplete. (Or, so they claim). But no one can say he will accept most of the British laws but in certain matters will follow the American law, arguing, “After all, both are complete!”
Let us give you another example. Let us say there is a case in the Saudi court involving two multinational companies. The dispute between the two involves billions of dollars. Now, one of them cannot say to the court, “We shall accept the standard Hanbali Law of the land in most matters, but when it comes to this or that clause, we shall follow the Hanafi Law.” Will the court accept it?
It is thus a matter of principles.
Q. Lastly, the scholars made comments like:
– Anybody criticizing Abu Hanifa (Nu’maan, ibn Thabit) is like a dog barking at the moon. Is it not true that an old woman once criticized Umar (ra) on the topic of Mahr.
No, the old woman did not criticize ‘Umar. She disagreed with him, and had good reasons to do so. She presented her evidence and ‘Umar said gallantly, “If not for this woman, ‘Umar would have been destroyed.”
Yet, we cannot take the incident too far. ‘Umar expressed a thought that might have occurred to him at that moment. It was not a well-considered legal opinion that he and his team had discussed in every detail before he appeared on the pulpit to announce. In contrast, the opinions expressed by the Muslim Jurists are well-considered and well-discussed ones. Some of them have been discussed over centuries. So, today, people cannot be allowed to say, “Imam Abu Haneefah was right” and “Imam Shafe`i was wrong.” Or, worse, someone to say, “The Fuqaha’ missed on some hadith, or were poor in hadith, or followed their personal idiosyncrasies” etc.
Thus, although it is a crude way of criticizing the critic, but in substance the example of the moon (though not of the dog) is fittingly correct. Abu Hanifah was not, and is not above criticism. But an upstart who does not understand ABC of Fiqh cannot be allowed to criticize Abu Hanifah, Ibn Taimiyyah, or other scholars of that stature. Indeed, as pointed out above, they cannot be criticized at all. They can be differed with. That is, a Mujtahid may differ with one of the Imams and state his own opinion for other scholars to evaluate his claim. But if schoolboys start to criticize Einstein in astrophysics, then, the crude example might come to mind, (although the dog has to still stay out).
Q. Imam Abu Hanifa himself never branded those having other opinions as infidels or heretics, then why are the present day scholars doing that? Nothing has done more harm to Islam than mutual denunciation of holders of different opinions. The Holy Qur’an tells: “O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former)” (Surah Hujurat: 11). The companions had differences in opinion but they did not call others as infidels or heretics nor should we.
You will do well to send this piece to both the warring parties.
As regards the quarrel and physical abuse that you have written about (and which we have dropped), it was unfortunate but not worthy of mention.