Letters to the Editor
Zahir Shaikh, via email
In the process of seeking a job I used to sit on internet frequently. But I got addicted to the evil things watching photos of actresses on internet. I know that I am doing a wrong thing, but not able to control my desire. I have some questions regarding this.
Is it haram in Islam?
Looking at non-mahram women or their photographs is unlawful for a Muslim male.
Will my fast be complete if I continue while fasting?
A hadith says: “He who did not give up deceitful words, acting in their light, or indulging in other ignorant acts (may know that) Allah has no need of him that he should give up his food and drink.”
Fasts are a spiritual exercise designed to make us give up evil habits and thoughts. If the very purpose is defeated, the ritual is rendered futile. Fasts and pornography are conversely related.
I heard that self-satisfaction is good compared to involving in pre-marital sex. Is it right?
Your words hold good if a Muslim is left with no other choice but it. But, to postpone marriage for material reasons, such as a good career, or a well-settled job, etc., then that would not be called as a situation of no other choice.
I want to control the feelings and get rid of them. Can you suggest something?
You may try and allot little more time to devotional acts, religious reading, and add to your company one or two devoted Muslims.
Abdul Hameed Khan, via email
Since last year I am getting YMD. I was astonished that a (non-Muslim by name) Mr. Miller (Dr. Gary) of Canada wrote that there are 25 times the name of ISA (Jesus Christ) mentioned in the Holy Quran and the same 25 times for Adam (alaihisalam). Whereas actually I found 29 times the name JESUS occurring and 11 times Christ. So the name Isa (alaihisalam) (actually that name is Jesus Christ) in English, and in Arabic, Maseeh Isa…totally occurred 40 times. Whereas Sayyidina Adam’s name occurred just 20-25 (perhaps) times. But not the same time for both of them. (2) The same thing for (mathal) (likeness) (mathalullazeen…kamathal..) occurred 9-11 times and not the 8 time. Though the word mathal (equal) occurred 159 times. (Will give you correct number after re-checking by computer).
So far as we thought necessary to check, we found that Dr. Gary Miller, a Muslim, is right in his numbers.
We should never compare the HOLY QURAN either with the Bible, or Gita since we know that the other books no longer exists in their original form.
Parameters have been set for comparison. Within those parameters, it is allowable to compare the Qur’an with other claimants of similar status. And of course, many universities have been offering degrees in Comparative Religion.
What Ahmed Deedat did is more than enough, however, nowadays Mr. Zakir Naik is coming up, but you observe he always wears a necktie?! Why. This question has been raised in Jeddah in 1998 but he could not give a satisfactory answer.
Zakir Naik has tried to carry on with the work started by Ahmed Deedat.
As regards the necktie, the cap he wears takes away any doubts regarding the identity of him as a Muslim. Therefore, we do not see anything wrong in he wearing one.
One more thing: the prints of some illustrations in the YMD are not so clear.
Before you can be answered, you need correction in your question. It should be reworded in the following manner: Prints of most illustrations in the YMD are not at all clear.
Yet YMD cannot be blamed. If the paper mills cannot produce good quality white paper at costs within the subscribing limits of the readers of YMD, then it is the failure of science and technology.
Dilshad Ali, via email
What has Islam to say about health insurance? Is it haram or halal to take health insurance policy? Can I work in a Health Insurance Company, or in TPA as a medical underwriter, or medical transcriptionist, or some computer data-entry job?
Islam has a wonderful health insurance policy: stay obedient to your Lord, stay healthy. The Qur’an says, “Whatever of the calamity strikes you is by virtue of what your hands earn.”
Ahadith tell us that if people commit crimes prohibited by Allah, such diseases visit them as their forefathers had not known.
The Prophet said, “Treat your diseased with charity.” He also said, “Stomach is the source of half of the diseases.”
He was himself the best example. His example tells us: control diet by eating one-third of your fill, let the food be balanced, let only the lawful enter your mouth, fast a lot, and, in consequence, stay healthy.
Generally speaking, any insurance scheme run by a private party, which promises to pay off more than it receives as contributions is not allowable in Islam. On the other hand, if it is the government of a country, which adds to the scheme funds from the treasury, then, it is generally allowed. The point is, it is a government’s responsibility to provide for its citizens.
But, if it comes from a private party, then the question arises as to how the extra money is being brought from? Who pays for it? If the insurance company does business from premiums collected, then, it should declare itself as an investment company and share the profits and losses fairly. How can it always pay off more than the contributions without denying someone else of his dues?
In fact, some insurance companies actually place their funds in banks and manage the insurance payments out of interests earned. Again, most of them actually do not pay off what the premium papers seemingly promise. They also deny those person’s rightful contributions, who fail to pay off the premiums they signed for promising to do it in a certain period of time. But this kind of deal is disallowed in Islam since a poor man is exploited for his weak economic condition. Therefore, it is not allowable to hold insurance policies in such insurance companies.
As regards jobs in Insurance companies, firstly, it is best to avoid working for them. But where there is scarcity of jobs, and the insurance company is not an outright depositor in banks and receiver of interests, then, one may work in departments that do not promote sales and subscription.
I am an eighteen year old Muslim boy living in Kashmir, and studying in the 12th class. I was very regular in offering prayers, but now I have got distracted and don’t offerthem. I am also addicted to porn on the internet. But I regret it and want to do repent. I know the best path to follow is as described by our Prophet but I often get distracted. Can you tell me the ways by which I can repent, and lead a pure Muslim’s life. Also, can you tell me of some invocations so that I may become regular in prayers? Please don’t show my Email ID.
F. A., via email
Although young men pass through a variety of changing phases and moods, which manifest in their erratic behavior – from one extreme to another – one of the reasons for your abandoning of Prayers could be your addiction to porn.
Apart from its unlawfulness, it is also harmful for the males. Exposure to it leads them to weakening of their vigor. In the West, the inventor and mass producer of the porn, and where porn’s half sister, nudism, is also most widely practiced, males seem to have suffered ill consequences of both. Although physically massively built, they have become poor performers, if not effeminate. The sperm count among their males has come down by some 30% while in the extreme cases some are unable to perform without live porn on the screen.
If such has been the success of porn in the West, its successes will be no less remarkable in the East. With poorer nutrition its triumph will be greater. You have just entered into manhood. If you get addicted to porn from this raw age, we see little hope for your healthy sexual life ten years later.
Your way of repentance is to give up watching the porn. With that, Prayers will also come back to your life.
Noor Mohammad, via email
This is with regard to the cartoons published in the June 2006 issue with the illustration of Adam’s sons Habil and Qabil. This is really hurting because in Islam pictography is not allowed and cartoon is also a means of it. By publishing it you are crossing the limits. We oppose when the cartoons are published abroad but here we only publish all that crap. You could have used other means to narrate the story. A child may have the impression that Habil and Qabil were like those characters in your cartoons. Covering the faces of the cartoons by stripes does not mean anyone cannot make out what it is. Some Jewish websites clearly make fun of Muslims by saying we do not follow what we preach (i.e. we publish photos of men and women in prostration or in prayers published in our religious books as it is strictly prohibited in Islam) Please do make sure this is not done again as this may lead others to take things further.
The Jews and Christians will never be satisfied with us, until they have taken away all of our black and yellow gold: oil and Islam.
Using cartoons to convey the message of Islam, may not be the best way of doing it, but could be tried as another way of catching the eye, especially of the young. Musnad Ahmed carries a report that Miswar b. Makhramah entered upon Ibn `Abbas as he lay sick. Miswar pointed at the fire-place where a few (perhaps wooden) statues were resting. He objected to those statues. Ibn `Abbas replied, “Do you not notice that we have burnt the best part of them?” Yet, after Miswar was gone, he ordered that the heads of the statues be struck off?”
Again, `A’isha (ra) used to play with dolls in Makkah. One of her dolls was a horse with wings. When the Prophet inquired whether there were horses with wings, she replied, “Did not Prophet Sulayman’s horse have wings?” Our Prophet did not object to her doll.
Scholars have ruled that although it is best to avoid pictures altogether, yet, if felt necessary, the face should be disfigured, or the neck cut off, since there can be no living being whose head has been struck off.
Anonymous (name and address withheld on request of questioner)
What must be done if thoughts based in lust come to the mind. How can one control them?
You have not stated your age. We guess you are young and unmarried. Thoughts of the sort you mention are unavoidable in this age. Indeed, they will last for a while. We do not see how they can be completely suppressed. It is a physical need that cannot be fought off, nor do we think limits can be set for it. Nonetheless, such thoughts should never hinder in progressive work or performance of daily chorus and duties.
And of course, staying away from that which is luring to the base self and unduly exciting, should help in reducing their pressure to controllable level. The human environment today is entirely unfavorable for a virtuous, peaceful living. You may, therefore, try lesser exposure to the society outside the home, and attempt at spending time in devotional acts and religious studies. Engagement in the field of da`wah will also afford inner strength.
Nuh Sulaiman, via email
Our family owns some property in the heart of the city which we are planning to develop commercially. One of the lucrative options is to rent the place to the Life Insurance Company of India, which deals (as its name suggests) primarily with Life Insurance, but also invests in other area such as stocks etc. Now, given the above, would it be permissible for us to rent out property to this company?
No, it is not advisable for a Muslim to give on rent his property to banks, insurance companies, and other dealers in the unlawful. It is unlawful that a Muslim should directly aid those who destroy the moral and material structure of human society, or cause damage to it – whether such societies are Muslim or non-Muslim.
The evil of all that has been declared by Allah as unlawful economic activity, ultimately returns to the society, damaging it a variety of imperceptible ways.
I am a regular reader of your magazine, Young Muslim Digest. I want to cancel its subscription because I think it’s a waste of money. I wrote to you many times, but my questions were never answered. I think you are creating your own questions and replying to them yourself. No one writes to you. I always found your answers harsh and insulting. One example: somebody wrote to you about khazir, and your answer was so harsh. It’s not the first time; this was done many times. I have seen this. What do you think you are that people write to you? Your answer should satisfy them, not make them angry, or feel insulted. Please tell me how I can get back my money?
F. Bhat, via email
Your letter tells us something about the state of Muslim society today. Surely, deceit, lies, forgery etc., must be wide-spread in the Muslim society of today for you to imagine that here at YMD the same culture prevails.
In response to the kind of criticism that you have registered, we had decided sometime back to subject our answers to double scrutiny. We also began to consult people. Some said the answers were in good spirit, others that they were indeed a bit tough, while some others said that they really and truly enjoyed reading the answers, especially the humorous part of it, which they say is so much felt missing from the writings of the religious class.
(We might remind of a hadith: Somebody asked the Prophet whether they could write down all that he said. He answered, “Yes.” It was said, “But you joke with us.” He replied, “I may. But I always speak the truth.” The Prophet joked with his Companions. So wasn’t there room for us to be a bit humorous, if we could?)
For you to say that you would like to stop reading the magazine is humorous in its own way. The magazine has 50 plus pages. It has the Qur’anic message, Hadith explanations, an editorial which is its own class, articles of internationally acclaimed writers, interviews of world-famous personalities, thorough-going news flashes from the Muslim world, a few pages for younger readers, and a host of other things, apart from “Letters to the Editor.” Now, in what way the dislike pertaining to a small section of the magazine affects the rest of the material – is somewhat of a mystery. Supposing you do not like the answers, but surely, you cannot have any objection to the Qur’an, Sunnah, interviews, stories, etc.
Supposing you have 20 dishes on a table, one of which is not of your liking; will you abandon the table because of that one dish? Will you stop buying a newspaper because you do not like its political cartoons?
But the humor does not end here. We hear from some other people also, that they are terminating subscription because they do not approve of this or that answer. Where is the humor in this? Well, it is in the fact that the answer of their reference was not to their question. That is, they were not the questioners. It was somebody else. So, in fact, what these people were saying is, “Look YMD. I am terminating my readership because you answered someone (I do not know who it is) in unflattering tones. You better address no one in the world in terms of my dislike, or I shall stop reading your magazine.”
We appreciate the humor they create. After all, religious class of our times has pretty low stock of both humor as well as creativity and so needs to be supplied with some.
What truly is the problem then? The obvious answers leads us to believe that perhaps some people do not like the answers at all, not in the sense of the style of the answers, but in the sense of the “content” of the answers. It is true of a few groups and movements as well. They are actively engaged in discouraging the YMD. When asked why, they say the answers in the “Letters” are harsh. What they mean is that YMD does not agree with the views they believe as true but rather criticizes their beliefs and opinions. YMD is poor at serving its customers the commodities of their desire. It does not seem to know a simple business principle: “Customer comes first, principles later.”
Without meaning to boast, but by way of thanks to the Lord, we might inform our readers that when our paper reaches far off lands, into the hands of well-educated Muslims, they come back with praises. Indeed, in terms of quality of material, authenticity, variety, and forthright opinion, YMD is second to none among English religious magazines.
Nonetheless, in view of the views you have expressed, we have – since quite some time back – not only altered our style, but have also begun to conceal the names of the letter writers. If we have half done yours, it is neither because we did not wish to gamble on attributing gallantry unwarrantedly, nor because there is – so we hope – nothing harsh in this reply, but because with merely one half reduced to a single syllable, the chances of you recognizing yourself should not be wholly wiped out.
We are also sorry that we are replying to you so late. This is because we receive so much mail that we are unable to handle them all on time. In fact, if we answer them all, our magazine will be left with no space for anything else. So, first come first served rule is responsible for the late answer to you.
All said, you might have genuine reasons for not continuing. We also recognize that there are several other factors affecting the readership of not only our magazine, but the print media in general. That admitted, you have the right to demand back your money. But let it come to you with some humor: out of the Rs.15 that you pay per copy, the sales representative takes away almost one half (and he grumbles that he is wasting his time for such a paltry sum. And he is right). The Rs. 7-8 that is left helps us buy paper for printing. By the time the paper is purchased, all the Rs.15 that our subscriber so generously gives us, is evaporated. So, when the printer’s bills come, we use religion to ward off his anger. We tell him to show patience for a while, for the sake of Islam!
We are also equally humorous with the few staff that we can afford to employ, and the paltry sums we pay them out each month. With inflation having risen ten times higher in past ten years time, but the cost of YMD maintained the same, it is now becoming a joke to produce it. Soon we will be left with no wits and might stop. Well, stop doing what? Of course, stop being humorous.
Kindly give us your complete address for the sales department to make good the payment.
We are organizers of Hajj, Umrah and Ziarath tours. We are recognized by Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India and also by the Royal Consulate General of Saudi Arabia, Mumbai – India. I, the Partner of AL KHALID TOURS & TRAVELS, am a subscriber of your Magazine. I am regularly getting the issues and find them to be very informative. The April, 2006 issue of yours titled ‘THE UNKNOWN OF THE KAABAH’ was a masterpiece. Unfortunately, that particular issue has been misplaced. Firstly, I would request your good self to send me the said Magazine again or at least a PDF of the said article along with its photographs. I would also be highly obliged if your good self could share with me the information about the source of your said article.
Secondly, I have preserved the issue of March, 2006 issue about the Directions vis-à-vis Ka’bah, but that particular photograph is semi-circular and that is why other directions are not visible. I would be highly obliged if your good self can send me the PDF of the entire circle. Awaiting a quick and favourable reply.
Khalid Yusuf Kherada, via email
We are asking one of our staff to do the needful for you.
Is there any type of music/songs allowed in ISLAM? Please give the answer with reference to Holy Qur’an and Hadith.
Reyaz Wani, via email
Songs sans music is perfectly allowed. As a matter of fact, in the form of poetry it should be encouraged for the sake of literary development of the language. But for music, the following may be noted.
Like the love of the bitter (tobacco, raw coffee, etc.) and love of what is sweet to the tongue, another love: that which is sweet to the ear, music, is also embedded in the nature of man. But, just as neither tobacco is good for health, simply because its love is embedded, nor is sugar good, for the same reason. Music too is not good for mental and spiritual health. Its widespread love cannot be cited as justification for its legality.
Love of the things we mentioned here, and many others that are forbidden, is placed in man to try him out. Will he abstain – for his own and his Lord’s sake – or will he ignore His bidding? They also help him obtain a state of mind and heart that is receptive to the guidance sent and earn benefits both at the individual as well as collective level.
A few simpler musical instruments, however, are not forbidden, such as, e.g., duff, drums, tabla, etc.
I am a regular reader of your various columns. Alhamdulillah I am the father of a boy, but I have some confusion regarding his name. I would like you to please help me out. We are calling him QHEZAR and we are thinking of naming him SHAIK KHIZAR RAFEEQ. Now is the name appropriate according to its Arabic meaning, or should I change the combination to some thing like KHIZAR AHMAD SHAIK, KHIZAR RAFEEQ SHAIK or some other combination and please correct spelling of the name? Please send reply on my Email ID.
Rafiq Shaikh, via email
We must inform regretfully that limitation of staff prevents us from replying by e-mail.
As regards the spelling of Khidr, it has also been spelt as Khadir as well as Khidar. In Urdu, it is spelt as Khizr. You could adopt any of them in any combination.