Letters to the Editor
Ali Ahmed Khan
Is it proper to offer salam to a non Muslim?
No, it is not proper. Most non-Muslims are put off when you say Salam to them. They demand to know what is wrong with Good Morning, Namaste, Hi, Hi-di, etc.
If some non-Muslim friend offers a salam (as they know how to do salam) can we respond by saying (walekum…)?
We do not see any problem if you said “walekum” but the addressee might object since the word as pronounced above has no meaning whatsoever. The correct word is “wa `alaykum.”
In any case, there could be those who wish to say salam to you. If they do, you need to inform them that Salam is one of the names of Allah, the one Lord besides whom there is no other deity worthy of worship or obedience. If it is Him they have in mind and heart, welcome. For, by saying salam what they mean is “Allah’s peace be upon you.” If they say with this intention, it is alright and you might say in reply, “Wassalamu `alaa man ihtada”, meaning, “peace upon him who followed the guidance;” as those who do not follow the guidance – Muslim or non-Muslim – will not be in peace against their Lord, one God.
Anil, via email
I have a few questions, hope you would find them worth replying.
In your Nov. 2003 issue you said in the Q&A section in relation to joint supplications that it is not permissible to read the Qur’an as part of the supplication, but we find in the Qur’an many supplications that the earlier Prophets asked from Allah and even the last prophet did the same (e.g. rabbana aatina fid dunya) and so on. Please clarify.
To use one of the Qur’anic prayer-words words in one’s supplications cannot be called recitation of the Qur’an during supplications. It would amount to recitation, for instance, if someone recites several verses of the Qur’an, which are not of supplicatory nature, within the “Du`a”.
Relating to da’wah you said in the same issue that you support gaining knowledge of comparative religion. Can you give two examples from the Prophet’s or the Companions’ lives that they ever referred to, or instructed another to gain such knowledge for the sake of da’wah?
Why just two examples, the Qur’an is full of “comparative religious knowledge”. It tells us what the Jews, Christians and Pagans believe in, and what their practices are. Traditions of the Prophet are also not few which tell us that the Prophet used knowledge of the past religions to compare, contrast, correct and convince. E.g. the famous Hadith of `Adiyy b. Hatim. Ibn Jarir has a pertinent report. Discussing verse 234 of Surah al-Baqarah, he narrates a hadith of our mother Umm al‑Salamah (ra) which says that a woman in mourning went to the Prophet complaining that she had some problem in her eyes and wanted permission to apply kohl (during her `iddah). The Prophet told her: “Is it not true that in pre‑Islamic times a woman was supposed to mourn her husband’s death for one whole year, wearing the most filthy dress? When a dog came near her in that state, she would chase it away by throwing camel‑dung at it!?”
I have a suggestion: Instead of highlighting the importance of the numbers 70, 60, 50 etc., and writing hadeeth not related to aspects of life, you can place some ahadeeth pertaining to a single aspect of life. After reading them we can apply them to our daily life since it is preferable to read and practice rather than only gain scattered knowledge.
Firstly, it is not to highlight the importance of numbers 70, 60, 50, etc., that the ahadith are being presented. It is to offer proofs of the Prophet’s authenticity. No human could have used those numbers in such meaningful ways. For comparison, one might look at any other Scripture and search for similar usages. He will be struck by the meaninglessness of the usages, at least most of the times.
As regards presentation of the ahadith subject-wise, that is nothing new. That is how they are arranged in every hadith collection, such as the six canonical works, and their translations are freely available. We need not add our own to the list. Anyone interested in studying hadith subject-wise may do it with these works.
Again, relating the ahadith to daily life, yes of course, the way they are presented now do offer a challenge to the mind. But if minds do not accept challenges, they will not learn. It is expected of an educated person that he will do the classification of the reports within his mind, place them in separate cells, and re-call them whenever the need to use them arises.
We might also remind that the Masaaneed are also not arranged subject-wise. For example, Imam Ahmed’s collection which consists of 40,000 ahadith is not arranged following any theme. But rather, according to what any single narrator reported; so that, to give an example, if one checks into an area called “Musnad of Abu Sa`eed Khudri”, he will find that Imam Ahmed has brought together all the ahadith quoted by Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri, without any care for any order. Narrator after narrator, every narrator’s reported versions, even if they run in thousands, are placed under the heading named after him. If you wish to search a hadith, according to a subject, you will not be able to locate it. But earlier scholars could do it, for they had lots of interest in hadith and in Islamic knowledge in general.
We may also point out that not quoting ahadith following a certain theme or subject has its own advantages. For example, in such collections many ahadith come as a surprise and remain in memory better than when read under a heading.
Faiza Fatima, via email
I have started reading “Young Muslim Digest” since two months and I found it very interesting and informative for all the people living in this world. I would like you to answer few doubts of mine, which I think will be very useful for me and the younger generation:
My question is, is love marriage allowed in Islam, it is said that love before marriage is prohibited in Islam and if at all the lovers get married to each other they will never rest in peace because there will be satan with them. But I know many couples who got together through love marriages but they are very happy in their relation and have no problems as such by GOD’S grace.
There are several aspects to the question: (a) If someone is in love with another, they can get married. Islam does not disqualify such a marriage. It disqualifies the process that leads to people “falling in love.” (b) It is wrong to say that marriages will fail if the couple married because they were in love. If they were truly in love, the chances are fifty-fifty. That is, they may get wearied of each other and so, might want to separate. Why should they wish to separate? It is because they got together on the basis of love. So, when love is gone, marriage has to go. This is where Islamic wisdom comes in. It orders marriages for quality reasons. Since qualities do not wear off, in fact, with the passage of time they become stronger, marriages are under no threat. (c) Most of the so-called love marriages are no love marriages at all. It is only assumed suitability to each other and affection developed with association that is misconstrued as love. (d) To say that love marriages have succeeded by God’s grace is like people earning through unlawful means, building a house, and then hanging plaques on the walls saying, “This is by God’s grace.” Allah’s grace is totally and completely missing from the lives of those who did not marry for character and quality reasons. Fear of Allah, piety, love of the Prophet, devotion to Da`wah activities, love of the masses, service to the poor and destitute, or, children committed to Islam, etc., – all signs of Allah’s grace are missing from the lives of such people. How can a false basis lead to true ends? Islamically, such marriages are sterile and counterproductive.
If I love some one and want to marry only that boy, is it a sin?If I love some one and want to marry only that boy, is it a sin?
If you love a person despite the fact that he is shred of Islamic qualities, you have failed a test of Islam. But if you love someone because you see good qualities in him, then you qualify for blessings of this world and the Hereafter.
Can a sunni girl marry a shia boy…if no, then would you please give the reason.
There are two reasons for disapproving marriages of a Sunni girl with a Shi`ah. Although both the reasons can be thought of as superficial, but they do need to be considered. First, somehow, it is always a Sunni girl wishing to know why she cannot marry a Shi`ah boy. For an unknown (or maybe known) reason a Shi`ah girl does not seem to fall in love with a Sunni boy. Second, the Shi`a seem to figure nowhere in Sunni’s lives and activities, except in love marriages. You do not hear of any Shi`ah working together with the Sunnis for the upliftment of the poor, going out with them into Tableegh, organizing religious activities, building schools together, contributing to the Madrasas, etc. In these areas of activities, it is as if the Shi`ah do not live among the Sunnis. But when it comes to love marriages, suddenly you hear of the Shi`ah figuring in.
I never met the boy I love but have seen him several times and talked to him over phone…is this a sin?
Courtship is a sin. From worldly point of view also, it is not worthwhile. It has failed to stem the rise of divorce in the West, despite long years of courtship, dating, and even living-together. Muslim marriages in the West are no exception.
Zeeshan, via email
I am regular reader of your monthly magazine. It’s very informative all the time. But I am shocked to see this April (2004) issue on “19: an interesting number.” Here you has noticed a good fact from Qur’an, Chemistry, and Biology, too, about numbers i.e. 5 (salah) 145 (life, death) 19 for amino acids etc. But identifying 19 as an interesting number by pooling lots of information is not appealing. I can say you are a good mathematician, because some how you managed to get the number 19 either by adding or subtracting, etc., so that the outcome should be 19.
We did not achieve the results “somehow.” Simple and straightaway calculations leave us with the figures as demonstrated.
Assigning a number to bismillah..= 786 is neither by the command of Allah nor of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and so it has no importance in Islam.
We too do not recommend it.
For example, B=8, A=5,D=6(8+5+6=19) BAD
G=9, O=2, O=2, D=6(9+2+2+6=19) GOOD
These two words have the same numerical value (19) but meaning wise they are absolute opposite.
But the numbers you have allotted to the letters is arbitrary. Allot them numbers such as A=1, B=2, C=3, and so on, and then try to conjure relationship between words and their numerical values. If you cannot do it in 3 hours, we recommend that you give up since time is precious and should not be spent on results that will not yield themselves.
If numerology has some importance in Islam then what of other religions like Hinduism? They are also right that the number 13 is an unlucky number, or that 5 is a lucky number etc. But as we know Islam doesn’t speak about lucky or unlucky numbers.
No such things are derivable with the help of the numerical values allotted by the Jalhili Arabs to the Arabic alphabets, and they have no importance in Islam. But the numbering and the results are quite interesting.
Can you issue a challenge that 786 or 19 can form other sentences but without meaning anything bad?
Let us reverse it. We challenge you to make up a sentence that is as good as “Bismillahi” using no more than 19 letters.
Mohammed Mandoo, via email
Should a couple carry out HIV and Blood tests before they marry, or it goes against Islamic teachings?
Tests before marriage do go against Islamic spirit. However, there are geographical areas where this particular disease is rampant. If one is marrying in such areas, tests would be allowable.
Is it obligatory to marry if there are many benefits which will serve Islam without being married?
It is not obligatory to marry; but strongly recommended. As for service to Islam, to get married is one of the services; bringing up children Islamically is another service. Other services come after and marriage does not come in the way of service to Islam.
Syed Saadat Ali, via email
My elder sister is in Dubai. Since last ten months she has been seeing some lights around her. Slowly it increased. Nowadays, she can see light in a human shape. She is so afraid that she is not looking after her children. We have been to many muttawas to solve this problem but no one has solved this. We were told by a muttawa in Abu Dhabi that she should read surah Al-Baqarah, but it increased. Can you help.
She should continue reading the Qur’an, but should also read the translation, and, if possible a commentary, such as that of Mawlana Mawdudi. This particular commentary will force her to think and use her mind, for, our initial opinion is that sighting light is entirely the work of the brain.
It is possible that your sister is under stress there. Perhaps she needs a holiday amongst her family in her homeland.
She may also be taken to a psychiatrist, or, she could go schizophrenic.
Wani Shabir, via email
I have a question: Is it necessary to move the head towards right and left during adhan at the time one says ‘hayaala salah…’?
It is recommended that either one turn his face to right or left while saying “hayya `ala al-salah” etc., or the whole body. One could even move and go a few feet to the left or right side to say these call-words.
However, during Iqamah, the turning of the face is not required.
I want to ask a very simple question: why can’t we sing “vandemataram?”
Shaikh Irfan, via email
Herewith a rough rendering of the song Vande Mataram:
“You (O Land, and O goddess Saraswati), are my knowledge, my religion, my hidden, my goal, my internal soul and the strength in the arms.
It is your reality that resides in the heart, and your idol alone.
In every temple you are the Durga (goddess) with ten armed hands.
You are the Kamala, the spring of the lotus flower.
You are the water, that bestows knowledge.
I am your slave, slave of the slave, slave of the slave’s slave.
O you of the sweet water, rich fruits. You are my mother. I am your slave.
I salute the mother Bharat.”
Compare the above with the following Qur’anic verses (59: 23,24):
“He is God, other than whom there is no deity, Knower of the Unseen and the Seen.
He is the All-Merciful, the Benevolent.
He is God, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfect, the Bestower of faith, the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior.
Exalted is God above whatever they associate with Him.
He is God, the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner; to Him belong the best names.
Whatever is in the heavens and the earth exalts Him.
And He is Exalted in Might, the Wise.”
Let us assume the reader is a non-Muslim: which one of the two would he prefer to sing? And he can choose only one of the two as they contradict and refute each other so totally and completely. Would a non-Muslim like to sing the praises of his Lord, the Creator and Sustainer, or praises of a land?
Is ..bation haram in Islam. Please give detailed clear answer, I am not satisfied with magazine answer
Tohid Shaikh, via email
Since our answer or answers remain the same as given in previous issues, what can we do for you now if you are not satisfied with them, except perhaps to lift ourselves up and go for a cup of coffee?
I would like to know if I have to give in charity. If it is a must, then do I give to any of the needy or those alone who are Muslims?
Shameen, via email
Charity is an integral part of Islam. A Muslim – even if he is poor – cannot be a Muslim without expending in charity. If he is rich, his responsibilities are greater, and so is questionability in the Hereafter.
Islam binds a Muslim to the humanity at large, as one of them, on par with everyone, in rights and duties. It declares his salvation as in the hands of the humanity, which he can gain only by being dutiful to them. Obviously, charity is one of the best ways of achieving it. The Companions of the Prophet well understood this. There were some among them who thought that they had no right to any wealth or property except that which was essential to meet with their day-to-day needs: the rest they spent away in charity. There were others who could not earn but what would suffice for themselves and their dependents. So they worked extra hours of the day or night in order to earn and expend in charity, without which they realized their faith was incomplete.
In addition to being unique in placing such emphasis on charity, often ignored by Muslims, Islam has also organized it in a unique manner. First recipients of a Muslim who has more than his needs is his closest relatives such as parents, brothers, sisters, cousins: if they happen to be in need of charity, i.e., without which they cannot meet with their daily needs (not luxuries). After them come others of the general public. Of them, first come the neighbors, then those of the neighborhood, and then those of the city. Except Zakah funds, which are only for Muslims, all other Islamic charity sees no religious divide. That is, common charities should be spent on the basis of needs and not religion, so that, if a non-Muslim neighbor is needier than a Muslim of another town, the non-Muslim (Hindu, Jew, Christian, whoever) has the greater right to his charity.
Is income from share market allowed in Islam?
S. Y. Ahmed, via email
So long as a company does not deal entirely in usury, such as banks, insurance companies and the like, or in the unlawful, such as liquor trade, etc., profits from shares are allowable in Islam.