Letters to the Editor
S.A., via email
I’m an 18 year old boy – just completed my second PUC and waiting for result. I have a classmate. It’s a girl. And we are very good friends MashaAllah.
A Muslim does not say Masha Allah on such occasions but rather, Astaghfirullah. But perhaps you do not know the meaning of either of the two words, being so young.
Her parents know I’m her good friend. I helped her a lot. Her dad recognizes me. My mom knows we are friends. Now we have begun to exchange messages on cell-phone. But the thing bothering her is that her parents don’t know this. Just they know I’m her good friend. We message each other through cell only, when we are free, and have casual talks such as ‘what your doing,’ ‘what studied,’ etc. But we both want to be in Islamic way….. Just friends…. So please advice.
Whether the parents know about it or not, the exchange of message by you two, is undesirable.
Being classmates, she must be of your age, and, therefore, much more mature than you. But, on your part, you are too young at 18 to have girl-friends.
Exchange of messages is bound to increase attachment; leading to greater contacts, meetings, etc. You will begin to think about her more and more, leading to loss of interest in studies. She being more mature, will probably complete her graduation, but you will fail. You will be spending your time in beautifying yourself, visiting her at some place or the other, and returning home thinking all about that happened when you met. Ultimately you will fail in your studies, while she will pass. Consequently, either she herself will lose interest in a drop-out, or her parents will disapprove of you and marry her off to a better educated man.
How could we say all this? Well, your story is not the first. Tens of thousands of young men have been through these episodes, and have ended on the pavements selling handkerchiefs, pens, and nail cutters.
Talk to the street vendors. Many of them will tell you that this is what they were doing 10-15 years ago, although they might not be able to connect their pavement salesmanship and romance of the past years.
Beware! Even if the girl’s parents approve of it, you should shut this door to destruction completely. Concentrate on getting a worthy degree, spending your free time studying Islam and taking part in sports to build a healthy body.
There is no shortage of women. When you have succeeded in studies and got a good job, any number of them will be available for you to choose from.
How should we react to blasphemy of Islamic faith and the targeting of Muslim practices?
Waqar Shah, Tamil Nadu
First and foremost, Muslims should not over-react in the face of insults hurled at Islam, the Prophet of Islam, or the Muslims. They need to understand that the Media is ultimately controlled by the West; and the West needs targets in order to provoke reaction. Every new provocation engages the Muslims in protests, defensive actions, engagement in arguments, debates, marches, and so forth. This takes the people’s minds off the main problem of occupation of Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other Muslim states. It helps the Zionists to divert public attention and derail peace-process. Another objective of the Western governments is to create frenzy among their masses to divert their attention from unemployment, economic failures, and social problems. Islamophobia is yet another reason. The West is terrified by the prospect that its masses could start turning Muslims in droves. It must create hatred for Islam and Muslims.
What we mean by over-reaction is that the masses should leave the intellectual class, scholars, other leaders, and Islamic organizations to deal with the issue. These will respond in civilized manner, write to the authorities, newspapers, and so forth.
If these authorities suggest such measures as boycott of products of certain countries or manufacturers, the masses must faithfully act according to the instructions. Or, if they suggest that e-mails or letters of protests may be sent to such and such authorities, it must be done in effective numbers.
The masses themselves should not try to right the wrong at their own level. It should not be made a tit for tat match.
The common people must also realize that the West has nose-dived into the mud. At present it is at a pretty low level of lechery. It has lost much of its sense of decency, good moral behavior, and dignity. The great majority have succumbed to street culture. While a minority laments the situation and writes articles on decline dipping its pens in its own tears, for the rest to make fun of a Prophet is nothing. They can write worse things about Christ and Christianity. (If they write anything about Jews or Judaism, the Jews will tear them apart with their money). Therefore, when the Western Media cracks a joke at the cost of Islam, it must be ignored as the crude prank of a coarse street boy.
If there has to be a protest, it should be by authorities mentioned above.
Again, common Muslim must realize that on many occasions he is correctly a true targeted for criticism. The picture of Islam that he presents through his daily living, he or his nation, invokes disdain. There is much correction to be attempted before emotional reaction to fiendish provocations. Muslims must set their house in order – at the individual, societal, and national level. If they refuse, then a greater humiliation awaits them in the Hereafter. And, who knows, this could be the prologue.
Finally, Muslims must completely avoid provoking the other religious groups, publicly criticizing them, or mentioning their beliefs or practices in irrespective manner. Islam prohibits it. Scholars say that Muslims should not even enter into public debates because other religious denominations are not on sound intellectual footing to be able to successfully defend their faith. They are bound to be defeated in debates, and end up angry. In their anger they are less likely to treat the message of truth with any seriousness. In such a case, the debater will earn the sin of deflecting non-Muslims away from Islam.
Religion is sublime and its issues must be dealt with in a sublime manner. If the Western men and media have emptied their bucket of decency, Muslims must not pour out their sublimity in the streets of protest.
I request you to have a column in young muslim digest magazine, where we are informed about the fazilat of different surahs, ayats… from the Qur’an, like there is hadith which I have come to know, where prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has said that starvation never comes to him who recites surah Waaqi`ah after maghrib daily.
Hafeez Ahmad Halwoor, via email
The prime origin of the hadith you have quoted concerning Surah al-Waqi`ah, is Baihaqi’s “Shu`ab al-Iman.” But there is no difference in opinion among the Hadith experts that this report is not trustworthy. Any other hadith of similar meaning does not exist.
In truth, the only way one can drive away starvation is through hard work and efficiency maintained through and through the life: from school days to college days to job days.
Hard work and efficiency do not assure a Muslim that he will never face poverty in his life. This is because everyone has to go through trials in his life which consist of both ease as well as discomforts. A life of ease and comfort is not written in the Books. But with hard work one is qualified to receive Allah’s mercy, which finds its ways to compensate for the losses delivered by the ruthless rules of life.
If hard work is given up, then, no amount of recitation of this or that Surah, this or that Dhikr-words, or resorting to supplications will drive away poverty.
As regards a column on Faza’il of Qur’anic chapters and verses, that is a good idea, and, some time or another we hope to attempt it.
The Prophet (SAWS) prayed Taraweeh in private; he prayed only for three nights at a stretch as noticed by the Sahabah. When he noticed people started following him, on the fourth night he stopped. This is a consistent reliable and accepted report, RIGHT?
That is in short, a) he prayed Taraweeh in private .. (and therein is the debate about 8, 12, 20, + rakaths), b) didn’t invite or make it public (and I presume this based on the facts: NO BODY has reported this attendance for the month, announcement of qiyamul layl, congregational presence in the mosque after ISHA in Ramadan), and c) the Prophet did not continue the fourth day.
Don’t you notice from the Traditions, that never did he say Taraweeh as we do today, consistently, persistently and devotedly for all the month, all our life, in Jamah; and resultingly, most have taken this as more imp than Isha (they even come late, so as not to miss the Taraweeh), and even miss all four Jamat salah of the day, all over the month–the mosque is not flooded in every prayer and everyday. I am not exaggerating. Ramadani (Read as Taraweeh) Musally force the masjid administrators, everywhere, to think of emergency planning.
How come that we do the opposite of his idea, practice and his recommendation; whereas, we so systematically arrange, inspire and influence to say TARAWEEH EVERYDAY, non stop. Reportedly Hadrath Umar (RA) saw this happening, and said this is BIDAH. How come we don’t see any thing about this blatant BIDAH. Are we not suppose to pray as the Prophet did, in private, and in our own time and space, why Jamah and why every single day? Ask the people of the Remembrance if you do not know.
M. T., Canada
You seem to misunderstand several issues.
The Companions and the two generations that followed them (the Salaf), understood the religion of Islam as no generation will ever after them. If not for them, the Qur’an and Sunnah would have been rendered like Torah and Talmud: texts, with no lead to piety and goodness.
One of the great achievements of the Salaf was that they understood the “spirit of Islam,” the “soul of it,” the “heart of the matter” – in short, in what lies Allah’s Approval.
The point you miss here is about the “private” prayer of the Prophet.
We know that usually he did his Sunnah-prayers privately, in his apartment; not in the mosque. But the three nights that he did, he did them in public.
That should lead us to sit up and ask, why?
Why did he break his rule, and did it in public?
Commonsense leads us to believe that it was to demonstrate the need and the importance.
Commonsense tells us too that the best way of encouraging action, is to do what you are advising, demonstrate it yourself.
So, there was a lot of meaning in the Prophet offering the three nights of Prayers in Ramadan, in congregation.
Now, as soon as we hear the word “congregation”, we should lend a sharp ear. “Congregation? God! Is it not that only five prayers of the day that are done in congregation?
But here is the Prophet doing another in congregation.
So, it must be hugely important.
The Prophet knew that .. that this is how his Ummah will think and conclude.
So as soon as the importance of these special Ramadan Prayers was established in the hearts and minds of his followers, he promptly withdrew to his chamber. The “congregational” idea hung in the hearts of those who have hearts.
With his withdrawal, the Prayers lost their obligatory status.
What was the new status then?
Discard them? No.
Make them compulsory? No.
So, what’s the status?
The answer the Salaf gave is that they are Mustahab, i.e. desirable.
But does that settle the issue? It does not. Because, the Prophet issued statements of their importance. Whenever he spoke of Siyam, he also spoke of Qiyam.
Therefore, `Umar promptly established the Qiyam. He was a man of heart.
He appointed two Imams, one for men and another for women: two separate congregations.
That demonstrated the importance.
When that was well established, he combined the two congregations under one Imam.
The Companions agreed with him. None disagreeing; because they knew the meaning of the Prophet deliberately offering them in congregation, hinting, that if you ever do it, think of doing it in congregation.
The Ummah picked up the hints from the Prophet, from `Umar and from the Salaf.
You put together all these pieces of information, and the status of the Taraweeh Prayers is better established. It is something to be felt.
But if some Muslims are treating them (though not regarding them) as more important than the five daily Prayers, then, it is not Bid`ah. It is Kufr. But it seems to be a Kufr in your part of the world. You must work to eradicate it there, before it spreads to other parts of the world.
There are several other erroneous notions in your letter (which we have underlined). But we cannot attempt to answer them now because most readers do not like long answers, although the great majority of them like to make long questions, obliging us to shorten them.
First of all let me pay my sincere thanks to the YMD team for taking the initiative of publishing this magazine which is very informative and clear lots of misunderstandings and doubts about Islam. My favorite section is (Q&A) section.
My question is: Is Fatwa allowed in Islam? Can any Islamic scholar issue Fatwa about any Muslim involved in an anti-Islamic action? If yes, on what grounds and for what activities? What if the person against whom the Fatwa was issued repents, although he does not announce his repentance publicly? What if such person dies, shall Muslims join his burial as per Islamic law? Please brief me about this.
Mudasir Sidique, via email
You could have made easier for us to give a precise answer by citing an example.
We suspect that you are seeking to know about the validity of a Fatwa regarding irtidaad i.e., a fatwa denouncing a Muslim as Kafir (murtad).
If that is so, then a clear answer is difficult to issue. We will have to know what exactly the person did, or say, before judging him.
To judge that somebody has become a murtad is a serious affair, and to make public announcement to that effect all the more serious. The correct procedure is as follows:
The person suspected of Kufr should have stated in public (and not in private), and reconfirmed when asked to repeat, something that contradicts the basic tenets of Islam such as, to cite a few: Oneness of Allah, Messengership of the Prophet, finality of his office; the other four articles of faith as the basis of Iman; or, other well-known beliefs such as the five pillars of Islam as inseparable elements of Islam; or that the Qur’an and Mutawatir ahadith are infallible, or that the Law of Islam cannot be regarded as inferior to any other law; or that the Hereafter is true to happen, etc.
If a Muslim openly, consistently, and repeatedly denies any of the above, then, there can be two situations: He does it in open and calls public’s attention, to testify that he stands by it. In this case, he might be contacted by a few scholars (preferably, nominated) who may talk to the man in person to find out whether he is serious, is not cranky, does not suffer any psychological disorder, or is completely ignorant of Islam and its demands. They may offer him books to read and, in privately held sessions, attempt to remove his doubts. Ultimately, if they feel that the man is truly a murtad, then inform the state authorities for further action. They will imprison him, take their own steps, and nothing proving fruitful, deliver the execution orders.
But if it is a non-Islamic state, the team may announce on its own responsibility that the man is a murtad. Consequently, the relationship between the man and his Muslim wife is severed.
In contrast, if a man announces his apostasy, but does not wish to attract public attention, the same process of inquiry as delineated above should be adopted. However, the difference is that, if the man has not taken the matter to public, his apostasy should be announced to his near ones alone, and his wife should be asked to consider the marriage dissolved. There is no need for public announcement of his apostasy.
If the renegade sincerely repents, he has to re-enter into Islam publicly, and his sin of apostasy will be forgiven. If he wishes, and the woman agrees, he can re-marry his former wife, on new terms.
But if he dies as a renegade (murtad), without having publicly announced his repentance, he will not be buried in Muslim burial ground, and his Janaza rites will not be performed by Muslims.
Should an individual Muslim scholar announce the apostasy of a person? The answer is, he should not, unless he has done the kind of inquiry we have stated above. At best he could say that he has heard someone (not naming him) saying such things, which is tantamount to committing Kufr. If the matter has been reported by the press, or other media, the scholars might say that whoever says such and such a thing (without naming the person) is a murtad.
However, if the apostasy of a person is likely to adversely affect the common people, then, his statements of Kufr must be repeated in public and denounced.
Is removal of pubic hair compulsory? Or, is it discouraged?
S. Haq, via email
It is neither compulsory, nor discouraged, but a good hygienic practice.