Letters to the Editor
Sheikh Munazah Gull, via email
Is it permissible in Islam to celebrate anybody’s birthday including prophets (pbuh)?
The issue has been discussed several times over. Birthday celebration is a social practice imported from the Christians. However, perhaps realizing that it is futile, the practice is gradually dying out there. But, as usual, Muslims are a few decades behind them, so they will perhaps continue with the practice for next few decades.
The futility is obvious. Every year behind a man is a year lost. It is time to brood over the past, resolve on corrections, modifications, and improvements in during the next year. It is no time for celebration.
At all events, since this is a social event, without religious implications, it cannot be declared unlawful. At best, it is undesirable.
As regards celebrations of the Prophet’s birthday, we may ask ourselves: did he ask us? Would he allow us the celebrations if he was alive? We all know the answer. Is it not a kind of dishonesty with him to continue with the celebrations, despite the fact that he would not have allowed it if he was alive?
It is reported of Imam Malik that he would not accept to ride a camel within Madinah in respect of the Prophet in his grave. It is also reported that when he passed by old narrow lanes, he would pass his hands over the building-walls and kiss his hands saying, “Perhaps the Prophet’s hands would have touched these walls.” Did this lover of the Prophet celebrate his birthday? Did anyone of his time or later times celebrated the birthday of the Prophet? So, whose command and whose Sunnah are we following by celebrating the birthday of the Prophet? We know the answer. It is the Sunnah of the Christians who celebrate the lives of their Saints.
Also, is it permissible for a man to wear any kind of ornaments like rings? Please answer with proper reference from Holy Qur’an or Sahih Hadiths.
Yes, it is quite allowable for a male to wear rings. The Prophet wore a ring on his hand, which he also used as a seal.
A. S., via email
I’m an engineering student and a regular reader of your magazine. I’m in love with a girl… She is a Hindu but she is willing to convert and become a Muslim. But she tells that she is converting only for my sake. I don’t want that. I feel guilty because I want her to convert for Allah’s sake. Can you please help me? Please don’t put my name in your magazine as my parents read it too.
You are in an age when religion and its demands seem like a burden and a challenge demanding extra ounces of strength to meet the demands. It is not the first priority in life now, nor the most pleasant thing to indulge in at this stage. Although you know of its importance, it is not the most pressing thing at this point of life.
But a time will come – when you are deeper in life – when all that you do now will be thought as worthless attempts and achievements. Realities of the things that religion talks about will gradually dawn upon you during the days to come, and the worthlessness of what you did in the past will take a concrete shape.
You need to think. If you do not approve of someone not agreeing with you over something – i.e. religion – now, when you are not very conscious of it, then how will you approve of her later in life when religion could become the most important element of your life? If you dislike a part of the person now, how will you tolerate the whole later?
I have another question. Is masturbation prohibited in Islam? And please give me some tips so that I get out of this evil habit.
The force of life, its propagation and continuation is a part of the Divine Plan. It is too strong for us to suggest how it could be fought off. Allah’s will has to prevail and humans must generate newer progenies. They have to submit, lose their heads, and do, during devilish abandonment of mind and reason, what they would otherwise disapprove of or even feel disgusted about. The pleasure during and the satisfaction later, are the rewards for doing the Divine bidding. Marriage then, is the only solution.
Arshid Sofi, via email
If we do not find a career of our choice, can we call it our weakness or just the will of God who is deciding the profession of everyone?
We cannot say about any event whether it is an outcome of our will alone, or Allah’s will alone. However, if sufficient effort has not gone into an affair, then the result opposite to what was planned could be traced back to our poor efforts; although, at the same time, there is no looking back in regret, but rather to draw lessons for the future.
All that happens in the universe is “within” the will of Allah. This applies to our own tiny world, but does not deny our own role. He has allowed us to think, choose, and work out following our own wills. It is after we have done our part that He “creates” the results. Thus, our own wills and His Powers go into making the results “happen.” In the normal course of the run, it is obvious that He does not interfere in things happening as the humans will; especially when there is not much mischief to the rest of His creations is involved. At other times he prevents occurrence of results as the humans plan, but rather, modifies them following His Wisdom and Knowledge. If He did not, there would be much corruption on the earth and suffering. Humans are selfish, egoistic, ignorant and destructive. They cannot be given full control to decide what will happen on the earth and what will not. With the little “freedom” that they have been given, they created havoc. Accordingly, He interferes where He knows that the results would be totally and completely unfavorable to the humans or to the Universal Grand Plan of Mercy that He is executing.
Yet, since the humans are to be tried out to determine how they use their free will, He has not established a system of complete control. Accordingly, His slaves are in between freedom and control, the results of their actions are partly due to them and partly due to Him, and they themselves are in between their own will and the Divine Will, where the Divine will prevails.
Please see this month’s editorial for further details.
I also want to know whether it is necessary for men to have their pants/trousers above their ankles. If not, why?
Your words “if not, why”, can be answered that it is not because the Prophet did not unequivocally, emphatically, and unconditionally command the length of the lower garment to above the ankles.
Farhan Ansari, via email
I am quite fond of your magazine and I regularly visit your site too but I find it not to be updated regularly.
It costs lots of efforts to keep the site active and upgraded. Since free services are not available, we prefer to invest our own efforts in areas of finance.
My question: We pray Zohar and sometimes Asr & Maghrib in our company. Often it happens that we have to pray behind someone whose Talaffuz or Tarteel of Arabic is not proper. Alhamdulillah, my Tarteel is good (thanks to Allah and my parents), since I’ve learnt the Qurán from a good scholar. I find it uncomfortable to offer Prayers behind them. I can’t lead the prayers maybe because I find them more pious or elder to me. What should be done? Is it okay to pray behind them or should I take lead? Please guide.
Tarteel is desirable, but not wajib. If there are two men of equally accurate recitation, then the one who can do it with tarteel may be given preference over the other for Imamah.
The order of preference for someone to be placed in front as an Imam, is as follows: (a) The most accurate in recitation, the most learned in Islam, the most beautiful in recitation, and the most aged should have the first preference. If such a person is not available, then (b) he should get preference who is the most learned in Islam, the most beautiful in recitation and the most aged. If such a person is not available, then (c) the most beautiful in recitation and the most aged among them, should be chosen. Finally, if all other qualifications are lacking, then (d) the most aged should be placed forward.
Options (c) and (d) are for unavoidable situations alone. Otherwise, they should be strictly avoided. Prayers of an person (and especially of an Imam) who meets with the conditions of (c) and (d) alone are on the danger line between acceptance and rejection.
What happens when someone who can recite accurately is not available? Well, the Prayer of the whole of the congregation is in danger of non acceptance. Such a congregation should temporarily manage with the best among them, but they should choose one (or more) from themselves for training in correct recitation and place him to lead after completion of the training. In short, whatever else lacking, correct recitation is a must and a “no compromise” qualification.
To explain it the other way round, if there happens to be someone who is not a committed Muslim, is young, does not grow a beard, does not wear eastern dress, nor caps himself, (but does attend to five-daily Prayers), but recites the Qur’an accurately, then he is to be given preference for Imamah over another who is aged, pious, bearded, knowledgeable, but cannot recite the Qur’an accurately.
The term “accurate recitation” is to be understood properly. It refers to the ability to recite exactly as the Qur’anic text is written, that is, minding the vowels and harakaat.
The knowledge of “tajweed” is not wajib. It is desirable. It is enough if a reader is (a) able to correctly pronounce the letters (except “daad”, a letter which only the “ahl al-daad” can pronounce correctly) and (b) knows a few very basic rules of “tajweed”. A detailed knowledge of “tajweed” is not an absolute necessary.
This is true of “lahan” also. It is highly desirable, but not wajib. Someone who recites in good intones but incorrectly, is not to be given preference over another who recites plainly but accurately. However, as Ibn Mas`ud said, a prose-like recitation is not proper.
So, finally, we are left with an accurate recitation with a correct pronunciation as the essential requirement. However, these two rules are not a must for the whole of the Qur’an. It is enough for the acceptance of the Prayers that the worshipper should be able to recite correctly as many chapters of the Qur’an as he or she recites within the Prayers. This is wajib on every Muslim, whether an Imam or not. Anyone who cannot do this, faces the risk of rejection of his Prayers.
The rule of accurate recitation is also applicable to the recitation of the Qur’an, even if it is outside the Prayers. If someone recites only a part of the Qur’an, he must recite that part accurately. But if he wishes to recite the whole of the Qur’an, he must recite the whole of it accurately.
Some people believe that someone who dons eastern clothes, is bearded, and always capped, should be given preference for imamah. This is incorrect.
Now, in view of what we have described, if you find yourself better qualified, then you must suggest that you should lead in the Prayers. If you do not offer yourself, you will be sinning. If the congregation does not agree, and place someone who does not recite accurately, then they face the risk of rejection of their Prayers.
A man who can recite accurately, may Pray behind an Imam who cannot manage accurately – when in congregation; but only for the sake of avoiding disunity. He might repeat his Prayer, especially, if the Imam is way behind an accurate recitation.
I read YMD every month and get lots of knowledge. I am a student of PUC and since last few months I have become lazy and not able to do any work. I am not able to do my assignments. I get bored when I take up a book in my hand. I am told that this could be because I was born premature in seven. I feel very tense. Please advice.
Aman Ahsan, via email
If you have not felt any deficiency in yourself, until now that you are around 17 or 18, then, the present sense of lethargy cannot be attributed to your premature birth. It would have manifested itself much earlier. But rather, the present listlessness could be due to the maturity now obtained.
A man is more deeply a part of the universe he lives in, than he can imagine. No matter what the society he grows up in says about this life, its objectives, its length and its ultimate end, at this stage of maturity – the stage you are passing through – the realities dawn and touch the soul profoundly. With the past years of carefree life of joys and laughter behind, the newly mature mind wakes up to the reality of facing an uphill task of living out the rest of life, which not only promises to be tough, but also boring and futile. Some minds are excited and take it as a challenge, while others are sad. Determined by the initial response, each person takes his or her own path, determines his or her own future, and is led to his or her own set of activities. But, ultimately, all the paths converge to the same trail of weakness, old age and death.
You could be one of those many who feel now, what everyone converging to the same end will come to ultimately feel, which gives you the present mood. All we can say is that you should keep going, at a steady pace, meeting the requirements of the situations one way or another, doing the utmost that you can do, with at least average results as the objectives of whatever you do, but always moving forward. Allah’s will prevails.
Is mutual m… allowed between husband and wife?
Nadheer M. H., via email
Yes, it is allowed.
Can we color our hairs with Garnier or any such thing?
Ruqhya Sulthana, via email
Yes, you can.
Could you please tell me the Islamic guidelines regarding investing in real estate?
N. M. H. Nadheer, via email
Since we are not aware of the details in which this business is carried out, we cannot give you any guideline. You will have to provide us with the details of various kinds of transactions for us to pronounce about each of their legality or illegality.