Letters to the Editor
Q. Is it necessary to pay Zakah only during Ramadan or can it be given in any other month of the lunar year?
Yes, Zakat may not be tied up to Ramadan. It can be offered anytime during the Lunar year. It could even be split and offered in two or more installments, with the final installment coming at the end of the Lunar year.
Q. What is the meaning of ‘Yajuj wa Majuj’ that are mentioned in the Qur’an?
Yajuj and Majuj are the names of two peoples’ who have been mentioned in chapters Al-Kahaf, verse 94 and Al-Anbiya’, verse 26 in the Qur’an. They used to raid lands adjoining theirs. Dhu al-Qarnayn, a king so far unidentified, was requested help in construction of a barrier between them and the victims of their raids. He obliged and a massive wall was built which kept them – Yajuj and Majuj – locked into their own territory preventing raids on their neighbours. The barrier, also so far unidentified, remains till today. It will be breached a little before the end of the world, after the arrival of ‘Isa the son of Mary, and the two peoples’ will overrun the world, far and wide, taking destruction with them. They would be irresistible because of their sheer numbers forming an unstoppable human sea. They will be so many that when they pass by ponds and lakes, they would drink off their water. Unable to face their onslaught, ‘Isa (asws) will retreat to mountain tops. Finally, they will die off en masse from a disease that Allah (swt) will send upon them.
Q. Why is music prohibited in Islam?
We do not know all the reasons why music has been prohibited in Islam. A few points are however, obvious.
Firstly, music and musical sessions go against the way of life promoted by Islam, its culture and its ethos. Islam envisages a life which is primarily dedicated to the Hereafter. The Qur’an reminds us, quite persistently, that this is a short life and that its pleasures are ephemeral. It therefore advises us to spend this life in endeavors that help build the Hereafter. Accordingly, it recommends ways and methods of spending time in constructive and useful activities. The time that still remains on hand, after the constructive activities, may be spent in activities that afford pleasure as well as achieve other objectives.
Music on the other hand is a kind of opium. In fact, it is so closely related in its effect on the human mind that many music-lovers turn to drugs when music no more leaves the same effects on their minds as it used to do in the earlier stages. It is similar to a man who is used to feeling “high” after a peg of whisky. However, after some time he needs two because one peg does not anymore produce the same effect. Similarly, those addicted to music, have to go for a stronger dose of anti-depressant which only drugs can provide.
Music takes time off constructive and useful activities and helps forget the worries of life and its tensions. In fact, that is the main reason of its popularity in modern times. The stress of modern life, the anxieties, worries and the resulting tension, leading a man to a situation in which he is always at the edge, needing a dose of drug to forget. Either they have to go for Retalin, Prozac, or at least music. Nonetheless, the effect is for a short while. Once the music is off, the mind is back to wretchedness.
Islamic life is in complete contrast with the modern life. In Islam, there is no conflict between an individual and another, or between individual and the society, or the individual and the natural world around, or between the individual’s mind and his soul. A Muslim is at peace with himself, he is at peace with others of his kind, with the surroundings in which he lives, and is not at war with God. Being in total peace, he stands in no need of music, drugs or sedatives.
Indeed, music can be easily made the standard of judging a man’s faith in Islam. The more that he needs music, for soothing his mind, the weaker his faith in Islam is. The relationship is direct
Islam is not the modern life based on scientific principles. This kind of life gives rise to problems, diseases, and then comes up with suggestions of relief: without ever curing a single malady. Rather, in the Islamic way of life, problems are stubbed in the bud. The mental and psychological problems that the modern life gives rise to, do not simply exist in the Islamic system of life, and hence, the need for soothing therapy of music is not an item on its inventory.
Q. There are some areas in which the Qur’an and science conflict such as masturbation. How is that science has not been able to prove that masturbation is harmful to man’s health?
Whenever you find a conflict between what is stated in the Qur’an and proven Sunnah on the one hand, and Science on the other, then one of the two things is possible: either you do not know the Qur’an and Sunnah, or you do not know science – or of course, you don’t know both.
In this case, guess what’s wrong. The issue of masturbation is not discussed in the Qur’an. It is only the Hadith that speaks of it. Further, the Hadith does not discuss the medical aspect of the question. It informs us of the spiritual consequence of the act.
Therefore, to look to science for confirmation or rejection of what is stated in the hadith betrays, apart from mental slavery to men of our own kind, the same kind of logic at work as of those who say that excessive emission renders the mind weak. It is similar to looking into medical journals for confirmation or rejection of the Prophetic statement that when sexual promiscuity becomes common in a people, Allah (swt) sends them diseases that were unheard of before. The connection between sexual promiscuity and appearance of entirely new diseases, is not what the scientists can establish – even if the poor fellows were guided from matter to the Creator of the matter.
To say that science has not found anything wrong with masturbation, and sees no deleterious effects on the indulgent is to betray ignorance of science also. Which scientist has said that? When were the tests conducted? Where are the results of the tests? At best, you have the statement of maybe some medical practitioner who expressed his personal opinion. He has the right to hold his opinion. But not all the statements of all the medical men are statements of scientific facts.
Masturbation is very clearly a case where no scientific opinion is tenable. Even if a team of scientists studied a thousand young men who indulge in the act, gathered lots of data, computed the findings, made their pie and graph charts, attempted the usual analysis, they still wouldn’t be able to come to any conclusion, or present a defendable theory because of the simple reason that you cannot test a man indulging in the act, and then say what he could have been if he hadn’t indulged in it. The alternative would be for them to compare the data of the indulgent ones against the non-indulgent ones which is like comparing a banana with an apple. Can you take a pint of blood from a young man’s body everyday for ten years and then say after a dozen tests that the results would have been exactly the same and the young man would have been totally unaffected, even if that pint of blood hadn’t been taken from him every day for those ten years? How do you know what he would have been if that pint of blood hadn’t been taken from his body? So, any scientist who says there is no effect of masturbation on a man is not speaking science. He is only trying to say that he is not opposed to the habit.
Anyone – be he a scientist or not – who says that masturbation has no effect on the humans is goofing. For, all human acts have their psychological after-effects. And those psychological after-effects have in turn their physical effects. Any scientist who applies a few tests on a young indulgent man – although he wouldn’t know what tests to apply – and said that masturbation has had no effects on him, is still in the eighteenth century when psychology had not yet been established as a discipline of study.
Q. After attending to every call of nature and ablution following it, I feel that one or two drops ooze out. This forces me to either keep a separate set of clothes for Prayers, or not to go to the toilet before Prayers. I am eager to go with the Tablighee work, but this problem troubles me and I can’t decide to go, since I cannot observe such when not at home.
A single hadith will solve this problem. It is in Ibn Majah. Versions close to it are found in other books. It says that Jibril (asws) went to the Prophet at the start of the Revelations coming down to him. He taught him how to make ablution and perform the Prayers. When he had done his ablution, he (i.e., Jibril) took some water and sprinkled the spot on the cloth covering the sexual organ. Another version says, “(Jibril ordered me do that) because of the (drops of) urine (that ooze out) after ablution.”
Other versions report a Companion seeing him do that. Yet other reports say that the Prophet ordered his Companions do that. Although all the reports have some transmission problem or the other, put together they gather strength and become reliable in substance and are a proof of the completeness of the religion of Islam that attended to this common problem, less real, more imaginary, but persisting, faced by the males.
Q. In fact, whenever I travel, I am not able to pray because of this problem. I am reminded of the hadith about a person receiving punishment in the grave for reasons of not being careful with urine.
Because of your refusal to study the Sunnah, Satan was able to fool you all along depriving you of your valuable sessions with your Lord. Had you known the hadith stated above, you would have never missed doing those Prayers. As for the hadith concerning the man who was being punished in the grave for not being careful with urine, this is where you come to need the commentaries written by the Hadith scholars. If the study of the Hadith is necessary, so is necessary the study of the commentary on it. The hadith in question applies to those who do not use water in the closet, or some other way of absorbing the urine.
Q: Kindly enlighten me on the following. There are many ahadith regarding remembering death 21 times every day. I request you to suggest a method of remembrance.
If there was a formula for reminding people of something, they will need another for reminding them of that formula…ad infinitum.
There are trustworthy ahadith that recommend that we do not forget death. One hadith calls it the “destroyer” of pleasures. But the hadith you have quoted, about the 21-gun salute to it every day, is a fabrication.
Q: I have a few questions which I hope you can answer: on Provident Fund papers I noticed that interest was added along with the money deposited as PF. I asked for cancellation of the interest. I was told that the legislation doesn’t allow for that. I am suggested to donate the same to a charitable organisation. Can the amount of interest of PF be donated to any Muslim organisation/ orphanages?
Yes: without hope of rewards. Also, do not announce the origin of the charity money to the beneficiaries or others.
Q: Can the money be directly donated by us or should it be disposed off without adding into the account.
You can handle it either way.
Q: Can the interest on bank balance be disposed in the same fashion as PF interest?
There are two opinions. Some scholars say, leave it there, others say it might be disposed in charity without expectation of rewards, and seeking forgiveness for the act.
Q: Your news item on Qur’anites in [in an earlier] issue was timely. I would like to know more about them; your information can also make your readers beware of Qur’anites. Where all is this sect prevalent? How strong is their population? Who is supreme leader at present? How about their presence in India and rest of the subcontinent their HQ and leader? What are their beliefs? How are they variant from those of mainstream Muslims? When and where did they originate? Who was their founder? Who were the personalities who fought them in the past? Is there a movement to counter them at present? Where? Who, besides Al‑Azhar’s President, are the campaigners against them at present? What works are available about the movement (for/against)? Which Islamic nations support or oppose them? Have they taken action against them? Who are their counter‑movements and opponents in India..?
M. I. Liqath Ali,
As individuals – who reject the Sunnah – they are everywhere in the Islamic world. Some call themselves Qur’anites and join an active organisation, most do not.
In simpler words, there are two kinds of those who reject the Sunnah: the silent and the vocal. The Qur’anites are the vocal. To the silent category belong those who do not make their proclivities known, rather quietly treat the hadith as a mass of information of little practical worth. The great majority of the Ummah today belongs to this category.
Q: Qur’an says about Pharaoh that he will be presented to the fire in the morning and evening and a hadith narrated by Abdullah Bin Umar clarifies this verse saying Ahl‑e-Jannah will be shown their place in Jannah when they will be placed into the grave and Ahl‑e-Jahannum will be shown their place in Jahannum and will be told that this is the place in which you shall live in hereafter after judgement‑it means that they will be only shown their places and not that they will be tortured in it.
When a mind is set on something, it stops thinking. Read the story of the past Prophets and their nations. Why did their nations refuse to believe despite all the signs shown them? That was because they refused to think any further once they had assumed a position vis-a-vis the truth. The Qur’an asks the people repeatedly, “Why don’t you think?”
In the present case you have connected two unconnected issues: one of them in a verse and another, a statement of a Companion.
With regard to the Qur’anic verse you have said that Fir‘awn and his folk are shown the Fire every morning and evening. Now, firstly, your translation does not match with the Qur’anic text. The Qur’an said, “they are presented.” But you have rendered it as, “They are shown.” Secondly, you stopped thinking at that point. It did not occur to you that since the time Fir‘awn left this world it is 1,460,000 days. Twice that figure is 2,920,000. So, according to you, so far Fir‘awn has been shown the Fire 2,920,000 times. Can you think of a wisdom?
If it didn’t strike you that there has to be a reason for this “showing” (as you have presented), it is because you have already taken a position – not withstanding what the Qur’an or the Sunnah say about it. With that your mind stopped thinking.
Let us assumed Fir‘awn and his folk are not being punished. They are just taken to the Fire morning and evening. How many times till now? Well, 2,920,000 times. Don’t you think that being taken backward and forward is itself a torture? So, after all, the Qur’an confirms punishment in Barzakh, doesn’t it?
Again, you have tried to explain a Qur’anic verse with a Companion’s opinion. But who deserves a hearing better? A Companion, or the Prophet himself? Obviously, the Prophet. Now, a hadith in Musnad Ahmed reports ‘A’isha that the Prophet used to seek refuge from the punishment in the grave. Should the Prophet’s words not be used to explain a Qur’anic verse rather than the opinion of a Companion? You will say yes. And we will say, that’s what happens when you stop thinking.
Q. If Azab‑e‑Qabr is so dreadful, why we have not been asked to seek refuge from it, like Wa Qina Azab‑an‑Nar or Azab‑ul‑Jaheem or Azab‑al‑Akbar, etc.?
The answer is, whenever you don’t find a thing in the Qur’an, look for it in the Hadith.
Q. Secondly, I would like to say that when a criminal commits a crime, he will not be punished before the judgment. He will be given punishment after the judgment, even though the judge knows his crime ‑ be it Islamic law or Secular law. The,n why this Azab‑e‑Qabr before the Day of Judgment?
Once again, there is failure on your part to proceed further on the line of thought, rather, hold on to the position that you have already decided should be held on to.
Now, when a criminal is caught, he is first reprimanded into police custody. And, once in their custody, the criminal is not given ice cream, morning and evening, especially if he is a state criminal, that is, someone who rebelled against the state.
Q. Thirdly, do all the people who died receive the punishment with full justice, i.e., people who died at the time of Adam or the people who are dying today? Are they being continually tortured, whereas those people who shall die till the Doomsday will not get the same punishment in the grave as much as the other people who died earlier, even though their crime is same. Since Allah (swt) is Just, how can He give the punishment in such an unjust manner?
If you had full faith in Allah’s Quality of Justice, your mind would have worked out the answer.
The answer is, in what hadith is it stated that the “quality” of punishment administered is the same to all sinners of the same class – those who died earlier and those who died later? Why can’t a “known quantity” of punishment be spread over two sinners for different lengths, so that although the length is increased for one, the quantity (or intensity) remains same for both?
To explain further, let us assume there are two criminals in lock-up: both for the same crime. Let us assume they are to be given 100 lashes each. Let us also assume that one of them is in the lock-up for 100 days, and another for ten days. Now, what’s the problem in administering 100 lashes to each? The former can be whipped once every day, and the latter 10 lashes everyday. In the end both would have received 100 lashes each.
So, what’s the lesson? Well, the lesson is, never lose your reason. Be rational. Never stop thinking. When you find something in the Qur’an or the Sunnah that you can’t understand, then say to yourself, “There is something wrong with my head.”
Q. Further, because Azab‑e‑Qabr, falls under the category of Aqaid (creeds) for which it is unanimously accepted that the creeds should rely upon Yaqiniyat, the source of which is only the Qur’an.
Firstly, punishment in the grave is proven by the Qur’an. You will have to read the whole of the Qur’an.
Secondly, the hadith is of the Yaqiniyyat (certainties).
Q: I have been a great fan of your magazine for the past several years and I feel you are doing a great job in the propagation of Islamic values and ethics among the young and the old of the country. However I have some doubts. Is the stockbroker’s trade permitted in Islam? If no, why not?
If the rules of halal and haram are observed in the trade, such as, not dealing in the stocks and shares of banks, distilleries, etc., the trade is lawful in Islam.
Q. Is dealing in Foreign exchange permissible as it involves charging commission?
Foreign exchange dealing is perfectly lawful, as also accepting or offering commissions in that trade.
Q. Should a woman observe Purdah against her brother‑in‑law, distant cousins and other non‑mahram male relatives?
Yes, she should. They are more dangerous for a woman to expose herself to, than others. Where pressing need requires joint living, the rules of decorum, and proper covering of the body should be strictly observed.
Q. Where is Nikah best performed ‑ in the house or in the Mosque?
Name and Address withheld
It is better to perform the Nikah in the mosque. However, it should not be followed by another session in which various ceremonies are performed with the bride and the bridegroom on the stage. Filming of the event is considered as another great achievement. This is strictly prohibited and more so if followed by Nikah in the mosque because it betrays hypocrisy.
Nikah in the mosque is better. But if somebody wishes to perform those ceremonies, let him not pollute the mosque with his Nikah ceremony there.
Q: I am a regular reader of your esteemed magazine. May Allah shower His blessings upon you for the great job you are doing. Please clear my doubts. Is it Islamically permissible to construct schools, hospitals, memorial trusts, etc. in memory of the dead and give their respective names to these institutions?
Yes, it is perfectly alright, in fact, commendable that Sadaqaat Jariyyah be spent in projects stated above. However, there is no need to tag their names to those projects. Allah (swt) knows their names and your intentions.
Q: Sketching human beings and animals is not permissible in Islam but drawing is taught as a subject in schools in the lower classes. What should be done in this case if Muslim students are made to draw living beings? Please comment.
They might draw but remind themselves that what they are doing is disallowed in Islam. This message is to be firmly delivered to the children by their elders.
Q: Is giving interest permitted in exceptional circumstances? I am asking this question as I am paying my computer course fees in installments which are inclusive of interest. Would it is Islamically legal to pay in such a manner as I am financially unstable?
Name and Address withheld
No, paying interest is not allowed, even in such circumstances. A Muslim should work harder than others to gain top positions, so that institutions vie for him rather than he begging them for admission. And, if he fails to study hard, he should opt for courses which do not require paying of interest.