Letters to the Editor
Abdul Aziz, via email
I am a resident of Hyderabad and a regular reader of Young Muslim Digest. I pray to Allah to guide more and more people to strive for the cause of Islam and propagate its true message to mankind. I have certain queries related to my private life:
I am going to get married shortly and my bride-to-be is still pursuing studies in her final year. Post marriage can I use contraceptives to delay pregnancy till she finishes her studies as ill-health caused due to initial stages of pregnancy may disrupt her studies. Also she lacks in terms of good health as she does not focus on good diet?
It is commonly known that pregnancy could be delayed for the kind of reasons you have stated. It is the permanent nature of the delay that is objectionable, as also, if adopted as a policy to limit the number to a few. Therefore, if poor health is the reason then it may be improved rather than permanently stay unhealthy and so permanently remain on pills.
Is valima to be arranged only after consummation of the marriage? This question I may not be asking out of ignorance but I usually overhear people saying that valima is haraam before consummation.
Since the reasons for the Valimah are known, it will not be haram, but jolly well funny for it to be held without the raison d’être of the affair. It is like taking a bath in anticipation of annulment of the state of purity, or a cup of tea at night, in anticipation of next morning’s breakfast, or hoisting a flag in anticipation of next year’s nationalistic celebrations.
A'isha among the Shi'ah
Fatima Moinuddin, via email
Thank you for doing a great job, Masha’Allah. Please comment on the following excerpts from a book called Peshawar Nights. All crap, of course but you need to clarify:
Suda was a pious, obedient wife of the Holy Prophet of Allah. A’yesha was a stubborn wife who conspired with Talha and Zubair against Ali and went to Basra.
We know why according to the Shi`ah, Suda (ra) became a pious, obedient wife of the Prophet. It is because Suda did not rise up against `Ali. We also know why according to them `A’isha (ra) became a stubborn wife of the Prophet. It is because she rose up against `Ali. So, the criteria according to the Shi`ah is not the Prophet, it is `Ali. It is not how the two behaved with the Prophet, or how he behaved towards them, or thought of them, it is how the two behaved with `Ali.
Indeed, to the commonality of the Shi`ah, `Ali appears to be more important than Prophet Muhammad, even though it is never said so verbally. This is implied from their vast literature, which had remained concealed from the Sunnis throughout the centuries, but which is now available, thanks to digital encoding. In fact, to some of the ignorant Shi`ah even Allah is not as important to them as `Ali is. They are never tired of saying: `Ali, `Ali, `Ali, instead of saying Allah, Allah, Allah.
You say, “Allah does not exist” to them, and they will only dismiss your taunt with a smile. But say “`Ali did not deserve to be the first Khalifah,” and be ready for a war of annihilation with them.
No fair minded person who has read the Shi`ah literature will protest if we say that Islam is not the religion of the ignorant among the Shi`ah. Their religion is `Ali and hatred of the major Companions of the Prophet.
That Prophet Muhammad actually loved `A’isha to his last breath, chose `A’isha’s quarters to spend the last few days and nights of his life (and not of Fatimah, `Ali, Hasan and Husain), took her saliva in his mouth just before death, through the Miswak she chewed for him, and chose to die in her lap, is of no importance to the Shi`ah. That he ordered Abu Bakr and not `Ali to lead in the Prayers, while he lay in the bed with an illness from which he did not recover, is not important for the Shi`ah. That he peeped out of his house and smiled when he saw Abu Bakr leading in the Prayers is also not important to the Shi`ah. That he did not approve even of `Umar to lead in the Prayers, and would accept none but Abu Bakr, is also not important for the Shi`ah.
What is important for the Shi`ah is that Abu Bakr became the first Khalifah and not `Ali. `Ali is “all and everything” for them. If you remove one sentence from Shi`ah religion, it will crumble like a bag of sand vertically poured on the ground. That sentence is: “`Ali deserved Khilafah more than Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman.” If you removed this belief, there is no Shi`ism. If you introduce a single sentence into the religion of the Shi`ah, it will collapse. The single sentence is: “Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman were the rightful Khulafa before `Ali.” You add this sentence to the Shi`ah religion, and it will melt away like a bag of salt in the sea. `Ali, `Ali, `Ali, is the religion of most of the Shi`ah; not “La ilaha illa Allah” which is the religion of the Sunnis. If you remove a single sentence from the Sunni religion, it will collapse: “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur Rasul Allah.” You remove this sentence from the Sunni religion and it will melt like a bag of salt in the sea. Similarly you remove one sentence from the Shi`ah religion and it will collapse. That sentence is, “`Ali was the first Khalifah, whose right was usurped by Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman.” You remove this sentence from the religion of the Shi`ah, and it will disappear for ever.
That the Prophet never denounced any of his Companions as not true to him, that none of the leading Companions were in the list of hypocrites that he confided to Hudhayfa b. al-Yaman, that he gave in marriage not one but two of his daughters to `Uthman, whom the common Shi`ah do not approve of, and that the Qur’an has praised his Companions as true Muslims with whom Allah was pleased, give rise to some difficult questions which the Shi`a apologists have been at pains to answer.
In order to answer these difficult questions, they have been forced to downgrade even the Prophet by saying that his leading Companions had become hypocrites, while he was unaware of it. When pressed on how an extremely intelligent person like Prophet Muhammad remained unaware that `A’isha, Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, Talha, Zubayr (and anyone of the Companions who opposed `Ali 30 years later) had become hypocrites while he remained ignorant? They answer that he was helpless because he was in the last days of his life, and he had these hypocrites surrounding him from all around.
They also suggest that many of his Companions remained true Muslims so long as he was alive, becoming hypocrites after his death. If that is true, then this too does damage to the Prophet’s personality. Did he work for 23 years training his disciples, for them to turn around 180 degrees as soon as he closed his eyes? Obviously, if that is true, he failed in his mission, and failed as a trainer and reformer, which had been his basic duty.
The fact is, the Shi`ah have strayed far away from those who sided with `Ali in his political struggles (Shi`aan-e-`Ali of the earliest times), to have arrived at a 90 degree angle from the original Shi`ah if not 180 degrees.
A’yesha was a stubborn wife who conspired with Talha and Zubair against Ali and went to Basra. There, Uthman Bin Hanafi, a great companion of the Prophet and governor of Basra appointed by Ali, was captured. His hair and beard were pulled out; he was tortured and driven out. More than 100 innocent, helpless persons were killed. Ibn Athir, Mas’udi, Muhammad Bin Jarir Tabari, Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, and others have written in detail about this event.
In the errors in naming persons and books is the clear indication that the person does not know Arabic language. Such a person should not be answered for his allegations because he relies on hidden persons who feed him the information that he is to disseminate among the ignorant Sunnis. But, there being so many ignorant Sunnis, and so many Shi`a propagandists, there is the likelihood of the attacks passed on as scholarly arguments, we need to answer them.
The name of the Governor of Basrah, appointed by `Ali, was `Uthman b. Hunayf and not “Hanafi.” (Or is it a twist to rope in the Sunnis that even Hanafis were with `Ali? At all events, the Hanafis appeared two hundred years after the Prophet.
Nevertheless, the incident involving `Uthman b. Hunayf is well recorded, but not well reported by the propagandist we are dealing with here.
Firstly, `A’isha had not conspired against `Ali. She, Talha, Zubayr and many other prominent Muslims thought that the murderers of `Uthman were hiding in the forces of `Ali, who, for some reason or other was not exposing them. They demanded from `Ali immediate arrest of the murderers, and when he did not respond positively, they left for Iraq to seek military support. Theirs was an absolutely legitimate demand. Was there no one to protest at the murder of a leading Companion of the Prophet, twice his son-in-law, and a Khalifah? “If the authorities did not act swiftly, no Khalifah would be safe in future,” feared `A’isha.
On the other hand, `Ali was in no position to arrest the murderers because those who had laid siege to `Uthman’s house were in hundreds who had melted into his army and into Madinan crowds. Those who had actually entered `Uthman’s house and murdered him were perhaps in dozens, and had also melted into the army. Some had escaped to Egypt, Syria, and Iraq.
Conducting an inquiry, identifying the culprits, and punishing them was at that moment extremely difficult. The majority of these hundreds that had laid siege to `Uthman’s house, had come from Egypt, Syria and Iraq. They were newly converted Muslims, with little understanding of Islam. They saw no difference between a Companion and one of their own lot. `Ali was afraid that if he began an inquiry, they might mutiny, start looting, enter into Madinan houses and commit all that unruly gangs do. He was wondering how he should solve the problem of maintaining peace and yet enforcing law and order.
And the irony was that `A’isha was in Makkah when the murder of `Uthman took place. She did not have full information about the difficult situation in which `Ali found himself. In her mind, there were thousands of Companions in Madinah, and they could establish justice. If they were not doing it, then that was, to say the least, inexplicable. To her, and to many, (even those in Madinah, who did not understand the complications) `Ali’s no-action attitude was quite mysterious.
Neither `A’isha understood `Ali’s mind, nor `Ali her mind, because of the distance and confusing news of one coming to the other. Both were unsure of what they were doing. `A’isha was not too sure that she should be going to Iraq, but that was what several people around her were advising. The point they raised quite so often was, “If we do not stand up for justice, when Islam is no more than three decades old, will it ever be established again?” If it required that they lay their lives in the way of Islam, then, that’s it. They should rather die than abandon Islam to its fate at this crucial moment.
Both the sides, unaware of what the other would do, had in their armies people of doubtful intentions. Their admonitions, their advices, and their strong voices played important role in shaping the events, which often seemed to be getting out of hand of the leaders.
It was in these circumstances, loaded with such complications that `A’isha and her army arrived at Basra. The army wanted to take over the town since they had undertaken a long journey, and were hungry and thirsty. Basrans were divided between the two: `Ali and `A’isha. So, not the whole of `A’isha’s army was welcome at Basra. Therefore, there was no choice but to fight out, if they would have food. `Uthman b. Hunayf refused to submit and decided to fight it out too. He shut himself up in the Governor’s house. While `A’isha, Talha and Zubayr were a few miles off Basra, their men entered Basra, overcame the resistance, and soon captured the Governor himself. These brutes knew no difference between a Companion and a non-Companion. It is lucky that they did not kill `Uthman b. Hunayf. They plucked out his hair on the head and the beard, even eyebrows. When `A’isha came to know, she ordered that he be freed.
And this is what the propagandist conceals while narrating history.
`Uthman b. Hunayf left Basra, met `Ali who was on the way to Basrah and told him: “When you appointed me, I was a bearded man, now I have come back clean-shaven.”
`Ali smiled at the good-heartedness of `Uthman, and re-assured him. Neither `Uthman b. Hunayf blamed `A’isha, Talha and Zubayr nor even mentioned their names. There was no grudge. The grudge was created during the mournings of Muharram, year after year, centuries after centuries so that now we have the Shi`ah of the modern times with hearts as filled with the hatred of `A’isha as the Dead Sea with bitter water.
After this outrage, she mounted a camel named Askar, dressed in the skin of a lion, protected by armor and entered the battlefield like a soldier. Because of her revolt, thousands of Muslims lost their lives. Was this initiative on her part not a transgression against the command of Allah and His Holy Prophet?
It was not at all a transgression against the command of Allah and His Holy Prophet, it was right in the spirit of seeking Allah’s Pleasure and approval. When she demanded that those who had murdered `Uthman were to be brought to book, she was following Allah’s command to stand up against terror and injustice. Today when a single man is murdered, a whole nation stands up against the murderer, although when alive, no one cares whether he sleeps on the pavement, or relieves himself in the park. In contrast, the third Khalifah was murdered but no one was to demand retribution? No, a brave woman called `A’isha was there to do so.
As for wearing leopard skin etc., even if `A’isha (ra) had done those things, she would have been praised for taking up the cause of Islam – as she saw it – ready to die in the battlefield. But she did not wear a leopard skin, nor armored herself and did not come out of her camel before, during or after the battle, until the end of the battle when she was taken away unhurt to Basrah on the orders of `Ali. In turn, `Ali laid no blame on her for the battle, because no one knew better than him that the itself was an accidental affair; neither he had sanctioned it, nor `A’isha. `A’isha too did not blame `Ali for a portion of his army targeting her for murder, while she was within the litter (hawdaj) of the camel. The hundreds of deaths that the propagandist is talking about was because a portion of `Ali’s army (who did not have his sanction) came in waves after waves to murder `A’isha, but the brave and true sons of the Mother stood like a wall and repulsed the marauders laying down their lives in hundreds. `A’isha did not blame `Ali for bringing such anarchists in his army, because she realized that he was helpless. He neither knew who exactly they were, nor their numbers.
In coming out, seeking justice for `Uthman b. `Affan, `A’isha must have been influenced by her father who, when the entire Arab world – but few – thought that Islam was all but over with the Prophet’s death, and so, either turned turncoats, or refused to pay Zakah, stood alone and said, “Will Islam be vitiated while Abu Bakr is alive?” She must have acquired the courage from her father, who when everyone opposed his resolve, including `Ali, said, “Well, if no one agrees, I shall go alone.”
`A’isha deserves thanks of the males of this Ummah for the courage she showed at the age of 42 (or 50 if she was older at the time of marriage), despite having put on weight. Her, and the courage of Talha and Zubayr (two of the ten given glad tidings of Paradise during their lives itself), is an example for the Ummah, although the results that obtained leave us all unhappy.
She, Talha, and Zubayr deserve no criticism, nor any blame for what the mischievous elements did, joining them in their ranks as sheep but wolves from inside, waiting for a chance to strike at the roots of Islam. The three, and many of the good Muslims with them, were entirely un-blameworthy for not being able to identify the mischievous elements in their army. But, as for their decision to demand retribution for `Uthman’s murder, they were, given those circumstances, on the example of Abu Bakr, and before him that of the Prophet, and before him of the countless Messengers and Prophets, that you stand firmly against the wrong, even if alone, and die in its cause, even if the cause dies with you.
Those who dare say today that `A’isha was wrong, say it because of the results. If she had been victorious, then, we know that the common people are with the victor. Anybody who says she was wrong in her protest, does not understand the situation that then prevailed, has little regard for Islam and its principles, and, is a coward who fears battle-field actions. That `A’isha herself expressed sorrow later, it was not out of remorse for having stood for justice, but because of the ugly turn that the events took, because of the mischievous elements on both sides – hers and `Ali’s, resulting in the loss of hundreds of innocent people from both sides.
This has been the opinion of the great historians of the past, as it was the opinion of the Companions. They knew that our mother had taken the bold stand, although it went wrong. Hence, during the 20 years or so she lived thereafter, she remained the most influential scholarly figure of the Ummah. People, even the children of those who had been in the Jamal battle against her and lost their lives, flocked around her in hundreds seeking guidance from her in Mina, `Arafat and Makkah during Hajj days. Visitors to her seeking her opinions in religious affairs, never lessened at Madinah either. Muslims came from far off lands, including what is Iran today, seeking her guidance and expert opinion until she died. She was a towering figure not among the later generation Muslims, but during the time of the Companions themselves.
The Prophet never made a mistake in choosing her as his wife. Indeed, if we go by the reports about the circumstances of her choice as his wife, we can say Allah never made a mistake in ordering the Prophet to marry her when she was just six, or maybe nine. Few of those who hate her, realize who they are up against. But no surprise either. To some people religion is another name of fanaticism.
As for us Sunnis, half of our religion has come to us from our mother `A’isha and we are grateful to her.
As regards the Jamal battle, none receives any blame from a historian. Both the parties of `A’isha and `Ali were aware of infiltration of their respective armies by unwanted elements. But both were unable to identify them and so were helpless, when during the last hours of the night and early hours of the morning, the murderers of `Uthman, who were on both sides, attacked each other, creating bedlam and kindling the battle known as the Jamal battle.
Decision had been reached between `A’isha, Talha and Zubayr on one side, and `Ali and his men on the other, that the whole episode was based on lack of knowledge on both sides, and that, a huge conspiracy was in the offing to destroy Islam root and branch, and that they must not fall into the treacherous plan, but rather, quietly go their separate ways the next day. But the hypocrites, the murderers of `Uthman, and other mischievous elements did not like this decision and struck early morning, leading lower cadre men of both sides to believe that the other had betrayed. The voices of their leaders were drowned in the din of war, and that happened which happened.
(See the details of Jamal Battle in the forthcoming issue of YMD, Allah willing).
A Cause of Poverty
Can you please tell me whether ..bation is allowed in Islam? Please tell in simple words.
Mohammed Furkaan, via email
On several occasions we have written in simple words that this is a controversial issue. Some scholars have seen nothing wrong in it, while others would forbid.
We suppose you should imagine that there is no clear cut fatwa about this, and so, it remains of the doubtful.
Actually, if our young men were to treat it as haram, they would then prosper in their material life; because knowing that it is haram, they would work harder to get married as soon as possible; and working harder will improve their material status.
On the other hand, those who find a solution in …bation for their marriage-problem, are not likely to work hard to enhance their material status, and are, therefore, likely to stay poor.
We do not know whether to look at this issue as not moral, but material, answers the question of Muslims getting poorer by the day. Could this be a factor?
I am a regular reader of YMD. I never miss a single issue. My Question is: Is sending of greeting cards allowed in Islam especially “birthday cards”?
Ubaid Aziz, via email
Social customs of this kind have neither sanction nor prohibition for them. Without indulging in excesses, one could indulge in one of them. It is only when they reach the boundaries of extremities (israf) that they become objectionable.
Teeth and Claws
It is with regret that I write to you, about the very little action taken be the Government of India, in voicing its dissent towards the barbaric actions of Israel against the Country of Palestine. It should have been more vociferous in its protest against the innocent killings of civilians in Palestine. As a globally responsible nation with a conscience, India should play a vital role in brokering peace between the two countries. Israel, which openly is in violation of several UN resolutions, needs to be reigned in and its naked aggression should be controlled. As on date it is in violation of 101 UNSC resolutions and the UNSC is helpless as it is but a mute spectator. Its actions are not only against the government, but the innocent Civilians including Children and Women. Will the global community wake up or choose to remain silent over these murders remains to be seen. What is proved beyond doubt is that world peace can never be achieved till this issue is resolved.
Nawaz Ahmed, via email
For the world community, no Palestinian problem exists but the Palestinians are themselves the cause of it. Is it not world community that created the state of Israel on Palestinian lands? Is it not world community that does not do anything when the Palestinians are starved, bombed, maimed and dispatched into the bullock-cart age? So far as the UN resolutions are concerned, the world community does not think they are worthier than the paper on which they are written. That is exactly why the Resolutions are passed. So, why should Israel care for them? The resolutions are crocodile tears for the sake of records (“we also protested”) and for the sake of a section of the Western critics, who write a few letters of protest to newspapers, and then, business becomes normal.
We need to understand that whatever has happened, is happening, and will happen, will have the approval of the world community, so far as the victims are Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims. How long will the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims keep begging mercy from the world community? In a forest where one beast devours the other, where the principle of muscle-power alone rules the life, where only the toughest can survive, should not the Muslims acquire teeth and claws rather than stand around and shed tears at a victim, waylaid, chewed alive, and carcass abandoned?
Other than Bukhari, Muslim
In one of the issues of YMD [http://www.youngmuslimdigest.com/] I came across the following question from a certain Shaikh Awase:
“I have been a regular reader of your Young Muslim Digest. It’s just that an online friend of mine wants some help about the difference in the way of offering Namaz of men and women. And also, I would like to know whether there is any hadith in Bukhari or Muslim in this regard.”
YMD while answering has rightly pointed out: “Sunnah is not confined to Bukhari and Muslim. There are several other Sahih collections, not to ignore the importance of Muwatta’, Musnad of Ahmed and others.”
Now I would like to know whether there is any hadith in Bukhari or Muslim or any of the several other Sahih collections, not to ignore the important ones among them such as Muwatta’, Musnad of Ahmed and others in this regard.
A. Aboobaker Sait, via email
Your point is not quite clear to us. Are you looking for a hadith which confirms that the other books of hadith (Muwatta’, Musnad) could be ignored? If that is so, then, obviously, no such hadith can be found.
Or do you mean to say, ”Is there a statement in Bukhari and Muslim that says that other books could be ignored?” If that is what you mean, then, of course, there is no such statement. Indeed, Imam Bukhari has clarified the issue to remove any ambiguity. He said, “I have in my stock one hundred thousand Sahih ahadith and two hundred thousand non-Sahih ahadith.” He also said, “What I have chosen to exclude of the Sahih ahadith is more than what I chose to include.”
The same is true of Muslim.
The people should be in no doubt about it that Islam would be crippled beyond recognition if they relied on Bukhari and Muslim alone.