Letters to the Editor
Q: Kindly clarify the rules to be followed while offering Qurbani: whether one goat/sheep has to be sacrificed for each member of a family?
According to the Hanafiyyah, sacrifice on the Day of Eid al-Ad-haa is Wajib on every male and female who possessesZakah-liable wealth. In other words, every individual who owns wealth worth 7-1/2 tolas (80 gms) of gold or its equivalent in silver or cash, must offer a sacrifice on the day of Eid al-Adhaa.
The obligatory nature of the sacrifice has nothing to do with family or its size.
Q: Whether one goat/sheep can be sacrificed for the entire family (irrespective of the total number of the members of the family).
With reference to sacrifice, it has no relationship with the family. It is a notWajib on a family to offer sacrifice. But rather, every individual of the family who is liable to pay Zakah, must offer one sacrifice on the occasion of Eid al-Adhaa, irrespective of how many people are there in the family. If a family of six has four people who are liable to pay Zakah, then, each of them should offer his,or her,own sacrifice (that is, the four of them).
Q: How many people can join in the sacrifice of an ox/cow?
Q: Can you kindly inform me about certain books regarding tajweed rules so that I can learn tajweed at home as I have no time to join classes.
We are not in the habit of recommending books that we have not read; therefore, we cannot recommend you any. But, we assume that the Web should have many downloadable free publications on tajweed.
But we do not recommend that you start with books. The first and foremost element of tajweed for non-Arabs is right pronunciation. Letters like:ث‘ ح‘ ذ‘ ز‘ ص، ض، ط‘ ظ‘ ع‘ ق‘ must be correctly pronounced. Wrongly pronounced, they can yield a different meaning. This has to be learnt from a tajweed teacher, and practiced before him until every time you pronounce them in the Qur’anic recitation, they come out correct.
Knowing other rules of tajweeddo not risk earning sins during Qur’anic recitation. But, failure to pronounce rightly, earns sins.
Thereafter, a few simple rules about ‘ghunnah’ etc. are to be learned.
The exercise of learning how to pronounce these key words correctly and a couple of simple rules, does not take more than two weeks, at the rate of about an hour a day.
Thereafter, you may obtain a book on tajweed and proceed to learn finer points without the help of a teacher. That will be a matter of 3-4 days.
Listening to good reciters of the Qur’an is also essential for improving and correcting your own recitation. At fifteen minutes listening to recitation each day, and reciting with him, for six months, will turn you into a Qari in your own right.
As for inability to find time, that is not an acceptable excuse because wrong recitation earns sins and ignorance of law is no excuse for breaking it.
Q: I am a student.My mother told me that, in Islam, it is not permissible to cut our nails at Maghrib or in the night. Is this true or is this only a superstition?
It is a superstition. You can clip your nails at any time of day or night.
Q: Please throw some light on believing in superstitions and what if our mothers ask us to do something concerned with the superstitions that they believe and what if they ask us also to believe in them?
Parents are to be highly respected, served and obeyed. However, if they demand something that is illegal, or morally wrong, or against common sense, then they may not be obeyed. Yet, such disobedience should not be vocalized, announced or advertised. One should disobey them, sort of, in secret, and make reverential efforts to educate them, without in any way annoying them or hurting their feelings. If that cannot be achieved, they may be left alone.
Q. And also give us a few wide-spread superstitions that the Muslims have fallen into so that we can beware of them and warn against them.
Since we do not believe in any superstition, and those who are in our circle of interaction either practice them not, or conceal them from us, we are not in a position to give a list of superstitions prevailing among Muslims. We advise you, rather, to collect them from those prevailing in your society and send them across for us to publish and comment.
The Prophet has said: “There is no such thing as contagion and evil omen.”
Q: Is the editorial of May 2006 last one on the series, The Sciences of Hadith?
Mohammad Ilyas Mir,
The serial editorials on Hadith were truly not in the genre of ‘Science of Hadith.’ They were meant to remove some doubts.
You might read a shorter, but pithy, work called Hadith Rejection by Syed Iqbal Zaheer, and add on to it Hadith Literature by Zubair Siddiqui to enter into a work on ‘Science of Hadith’ proper. It is quite an interesting and rewarding area of study.
Q: I am in a bit of confusion! I have an atheist friend and I don’t know what and how to answer him because he says there is no religion to follow;there’s just the love of God. It is enough to know HIM and nothing else. Please help me out.
An atheist is someone who does not believe in the existence of God.
Without a conversation of some length it is hard to know what is in his mind and how it works. That’s for you to judge and lead him on accordingly.
At all events, we suggest the following method.
At once, you memorize verses 172 to 183 of Surah al-A`raf in Arabic.
Having done that, you memorize the meaning of the passage.
Then you start your task of educating him. In the first instance, congratulate him for acknowledging his belief in God. There are many who know in their hearts that there should be a God, but refuse to acknowledge. They maintain, despite their conviction to the opposite, that God does not exist. So, this man may be congratulated for his acknowledgement. In fact, more.He also loves Him. This is a great blessing.
After having done some conversation on the lines above, inform him that his belief in the existence of God is a direct bestowal from Him. It is God Himself who placed belief in Him in his heart. Every human being has this belief planted in his or her heart, except that some acknowledge, while others do not. That you acknowledge, reveals your sincerity with your Lord.
As evidential for the belief in His existence planted in the heart of every human, recite the ayah in Arabic from your memory, and then give him the following translation verbally, not in writing:
“And (recall) when Your Lord took from the loins of Adam’s children their offspring and made them testify concerning themselves, ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They replied, ‘Yes. We do testify, ‑ lest you should say on the Day of Judgment, ‘We were completely in dark over this.’ Or you should say, ‘Verily, it was our forefathers before us who set up partners. We were their descendants after them. Will You then destroy us for what the followers of falsehood did?’ That is how we expound the signs that haply they will return.”[Chapter ‘The Heights’, verses 172-174]
You may explain to him that this oath was taken from the souls of the children of Adam before their appearance on earth. This was to plant faith in their hearts and to assure that they would not worship ‘other than God,’ when created to inhabit the earth for a while.
Obviously, he will ask questions, which you should be ready to answer.
You might inform him that these verses are from the Qur’an, revealed to Muhammad (saws) as guidance for mankind.
The Qur’an, then, is a Revelation. It is not authored by Muhammad (saws).
It is the only Revelation which has been preserved in its original language Arabic; and its every syllable has been preserved, as it was first revealed.
You might discuss the issues in the above verses in several sessions. If he shows interest, you might give him a printed copy of the above passage. Don’t ask him whether he wants one. Let him express the desire himself. But if he doesn’t show any interest, then, leave him alone. He is a liar in saying that he loves God. He is actually on the religion in which he was brought up, but, perhaps finding that his religion is not defendable, he wished to terminate any conversation about it, fearing that he might be overcome in debate. To escape any discussion, he might be pretending to be one who believes that God’s love is enough as a religion.
But, if he wishes a copy of the above passage in print, give him one.
Then, after a suitable gap, start up the subject again. He might talk a lot of things as diversionary tactics, or, might admit that he believes that the argument contained in the above passage is reasonable.
If he argues unreasonably, taking you with him to the heavens, bottom of the earth, and deep in forests in historical times, then, he is a confirmed unbeliever in truth. Test him well enough. And be not in haste. Perhaps, he has begun to see things in right perspective, but is beset with doubts; or is afraid of negative reaction from his family, if he acknowledged the dawn of truth.
However, if he sticks to his guns, about how a man can worship idols and still love God, etc. then, offer him the verses that follow immediately the above verses in the same chapter of the Qur’an:
“And recite to them the tiding of him whom We gave Our signs. But he went right through them (without profiting). Wherefore Shaytan followed after him. Eventually, he went (completely) astray. Had We willed, We could have elevated him thereby. But he inclined toward the earth and followed his lust. Therefore, his example is like that of a dog: You load him up, he lolls his tongue out. You let him off, he lolls his tongue out. That is the example of those who laid the lies against Our signs. Narrate then the narrations, haply they will reflect. Evil is the example of the people who laid the lies against Our signs, it was themselves they were wronging.”(Al-A`raf: verses 175-177)
If he is honest with himself and with God, these verses will strike him as describing him and his situation, so very accurately. It will set him thinking and worry him. A struggle will start within him, and if he can manage to overcome the evil forces within him, he will either asks for a copy of the Qur’an, or some other samples – which you can provide. But do not give him a copy of the Qur’an, even if he asks. Tell him to buy a copy from any bookstore. If need be, you can take him to one, but do not buy for him. He will only read with interest if he has paid for it.
But, again, if he takes up to arguments with you, then, give him the following, final passage, also from the same passage as the two above. After this, there is no point in any further discussion:
“Whomsoever Allah guides, he is rightly guided. And whomsoever He leads astray, they –indeed, they – are the losers. Indeed,We have created for Hell many of the Jinn and men. They have hearts, but wherewith they understand not, they have eyes but wherewith they see not, and they have ears but wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle. Indeed, worse misguided. They indeed – they are completely unheeding.”(Al-A`raf: verses178-179)
The message the above contains is that if he is true in his love of God, he can be sure of reciprocative love from Him, that is, God also loves him. But, does he truly love God? If he loved God truly, He would have guided him rightly as says the above verse: “Whomsoever Allah guides, he is rightly guided.” How can he love God, but He does not guide him?
Thereafter, you may leave him to his fate. But, the message having been delivered to him in good earnest, is bound to have an impact on him that may show up sometime in the future.
As for yourself, do not try to escape from the requirement of a Da`ee by not memorizing the Arabic text of the Qur’an. You will not make any impact if you read out only the English equivalent, or read out the Arabic from the Book instead of from memory.
If you tried to escape your own commitment, you would be one of those about whom the above verses are speaking.Be warned that you are as much being addressed by these verses, as he you have spoken of.
Q: Please let me know whether the following are authentic or not:Reciting each of Allah’s Names has its benefit. For example,saying‘Ya Allah’1000 times brings prosperity, fame; or saying‘YaWahhab’ 41 times in the last Sajdah of Chashtprayers.
When love and obedience of Allah, and following the examples of His Prophet are set aside, then a noble religion sent to release the world of its turmoil, is reduced to the religion which was useful in the forests: a religion of chants, incantations and mantras. Islam is the religion of the tough, the honest, the forward-looking.
None of the above has any authentic hadithin support and are, perhaps inventions 20-year old.
Q.Is reciting the darood for a particular purpose, for example: good children, gaining excellence etc., useful?
But rather harmful.
Prosperity, fame, good children are all to be earned through hard work. Refusal to do that, and escape into the idle-man’s solutions to the problems of life, leads to, gradually, step by step, a shack in the slums, and a toilet in the open.
Q: How should a Muslim respond to where Allah Almighty is,as this is great `Aqidah-confusion in the Ummah?
To ask where Allah is, is a Bid`ah (an innovation); and a serious and mischievous one at that. The Prophet preached belief in Allah’s Oneness. He never preached where Allah was. No one ever asked him where Allah was when he invited them to believe in Him. And never did the Prophet say to anyone: “Alright, you believe in Allah, but do you know where He is?”
This is because the Qur’an had already handled this issue. It said (2: 186): “If My slaves ask you about Me, (let them know that) I am close.”
Accordingly, when on an occasion, the Companions began to loudly chant Allah’s Name every time they ascended a hill or descended into a valley, the Prophet told them, “Be kind toyourself. The One you are calling is closer to you than the necks of the beasts you are riding.”
The only occasion when the Prophet asked where Allah is, was, when he had to deal with a slave woman who was dumb. He wanted to configure whether she was a Muslim or not. So he asked her, “Where is Allah?” She pointed upwards. Then he asked her, “Who am I?” She answered by pointing her finger first towards him and then upwards,” meaning, she believed he was Allah’s Messenger.The Prophet confirmed to the owner of the slave girl that she was a Muslim.
This was a reasonable and shortest way of figuring out whether the dumb slave-girl was a Muslim or not. Prominent Hadith commentators like Ibn Faurak (5th century Hijri), Imam Nawawi (7th century Hijri), Mulla `Ali Qari (11th century Hijri), andZarqani (11th century Hijri), have explained that she was not speaking of where Allah’s residence is.(Allah’s refuge from any such blasphemy). She was saying in her own simple way that she believed not in the stone-gods on the earth, but a noble Deity, up and above everyone and everything. As Nawawi(a commentator of Sahih Muslim) said, she was speaking of Allah’s Attribute and not of ‘place’ He belonged to.
With the explanation offered by prominent scholars of the past, and ancient past, you must beware of a group of youths, their souls – apparently –as empty of Allah’s fear as their hearts are empty of knowledge, and their heads as empty of intellectual reasoning, who go about kicking up issues of `Aqeedah that the Salaf and the great majority of prominent scholars of the past never did. Nawawi has pointed out that in matters of doctrines, especially pertaining to the Divine, a rough idea, and a sketchy outline is enough; details may not be discussed. They have warned that detailed inquiry and discussion will lead to confusion, dissensions and even to agnosticism.You must remember that all of the sects that have risen in Islam, were on the basis of `Aqeedah. So, remain on the `Aqeedah of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jam`ah, refusing to discuss any issue pertaining to `Aqeedah with anyone – neither with the street&cafeteria jean-wearing preachers, nor a scholar, unless the scholar is a Sheikh al-Tafsir, or Sheikh al-Hadith of Deoband, Nadwah, or Sabeelur Rashaad.
To familiarize yourself with the doctrines of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jam`ah, you may refer to the most trustworthy and accurate description made in `Aqeedah al-Tahawiyyah.