Letters to the Editor

Q: I have been reading your magazine for the last two years and I am very happy with you and your team for giving such good information about our religion. I am studying law and I am facing problems of practical nature. Why adoption is not allowed in Mohammedan law?


Firstly, we might point out that there is no such thing as Muhammadan Law. What you are taught should be properly referred to as Islamic Law, or better, the Shari`ah of Islam.

As regards the question itself, we do not know how you learnt that adoption is not allowed in Islam. It is not only allowed, it is the only religion which encourages adoption. Our Prophet himself adopted a son. Which other Prophet did?

Moreover, while every other religious literature is completely devoid of any mention of the orphans, (those who normally need adoption), the Qur’an is full of injunctions about their good treatment. It threatens those who do not look after orphans with Hellfire. Obviously, the best way of looking after orphans is to adopt them. The present system of keeping orphans in orphanages is not an Islamic solution.

You might know that there are full-time agencies in the Islamic world working on adoption of the orphans. Tens of thousands of orphans have been adopted through these agencies. They are fed, clothed and educated at the cost of the custodians, while they comfortably live with one or the other equally poor relatives.

In contrast, the non-Muslim world hardly knows about adoption. Yes, in the West they do. But West is a world that evokes wonders. They kill their own offspring and then go out and bring a child from outside for raising.

But the adoption that you have in mind is the adoption of the Jahiliyy type banned in Islam. That adoption means that the adopted son, usually an orphan, inherits the sponsor.

This is such a wrong committed against the orphan that every civilized society should immediately ban it. The reason should be obvious. For, if the law says that the adopted son be treated as real, to the extent that he inherits the person who adopted him, then nobody will adopt an orphan. Who wants to give away his wealth to someone he did not sire?

Hence, we find that adoption is non-existent in many societies. There are no welfare organizations helping orphans get adopted. The laws actively discourage it.

Another discouraging factor in the Jahiliyy (pagan) system that Islam did away with is that the adopted son was not allowed to marry within the family members of the sponsor. But, firstly, the question is, why not? Do they share the same genes? Do they share the same blood? Are they from the same womb? What’s the problem? Why bring unnecessary restrictions and discourage people?

Secondly, there is another serious objection to this. How can any person with any sense of honor adopt a boy who grows into a man and is supposed to be treated as a real son? But in everyone’s knowledge he is not a real son. How can his own daughters feel safe if left alone, with a so-called adopted brother, who has no repulsive feeling for the girls, like a real brother has?

Can one imagine a young man and a young girl under the same roof, day in and out, for years together. How are they likely to look at each other during the time when the parents are away from the home? In USA, wife’s daughters from previous marriages are routinely molested. How can any decent person, not to speak of a Muslim, ever allow a complete stranger to live in his house? So, what’s the solution? Well, people have found a solution: no adoption.

As a lawyer, and someone interested in the welfare of orphans, who are the prime beneficiaries of adoption, you should raise this question among the men of law. You must inform them that a revealed religion has appeared. It does away with all evils and is a mercy unto mankind. They should, as a people who understand the law, work in the cause of adoption of the type approved by Islam.

Q: In case of Talaq, why superiority is given to the husband?


What you mean, perhaps, is that why, in Islam, is a man allowed to divorce his wife, although, on the other hand, a woman is not allowed to divorce her husband? It is surprising that such a question should come from a man studying law.

Surely, if your law books don’t say anything (which will not surprise us), at least you should be reading newspapers. You must be often reading in the news originating from the West that the court has granted divorce to such and such two famous personalities? Don’t you read that such and such a couple has been separated by the court citing irreconcilable differences? Have you ever read that such and such a British, German, or American woman has divorced her husband? Of course you wouldn’t have.

So, did it not strike you that in no legal system a woman can divorce her husband? In the West, if a woman wishes separation, either she applies to the court of law (which only a few do), or runs away from the husband (which most do).

So, why has Islam been singled out for the question?

It is quite possible that this and the previous question are the product of your own mind. But, we have a feeling these are the products of the milieu in which you study: milieu of the legal men. It is possible that these questions are being aimed at you in order to put you to shame about your religion and to invest you with a sense of guilt leading to inferiority complex.

In a field where competition is so great, a diffident lawyer would pose no challenge to his competitors. So, we believe you should turn back the tables on your colleagues. You should issue a wakeup call to them – men of law around you, the champions of justice – to rise against this great injustice to women. It comes not from Islam, (which does not claim equality of men and women), but from the West (which claims it has already achieved parity)!

You should ask them as to when will they start writing to say “The New York Times,” the “Newsweek,” or “The Economist” placing their finger on a 200-year-old hypocrisy. But if the men of law never pose these kind of questions to the right people, then you might ask them if we are still expected to trust their integrity and honesty?

Q: Please give details of essential elements of marriage from the Qubiliyyat (Nikah) till the end. And give ideas about Talaq also.


Marriage: Qubuliyyat is the beginning and the end. There is no more to Nikah, so far as the ceremony goes.

Talaq: It is the most abominable of the lawful acts in Islam. Hence, the scholars do not like to publish its rules. When the need arises, they maybe looked into the law books. West is law, (many of them wrong). Islam is law and wisdom.

Q: Please also furnish information regarding I.A.S, I.P.S. (Civil Services), especially about the syllabus.

Abdur Rahman,


We are sorry we do not have any information on courses, exams or syllabi, although you have asked the right people. That is, a people like us should publish information of this sort. But we suffer severe lack of means.

Q: Should we, if a Muslim commits suicide, participate in the Salat al-Janaza? Please give detailed answer. What are the opinions of Imam Shafei and Imam Azam? Kindly elaborate.

Javaid Ahmad,


You see, discussions of the nature you have asked are not suitable for a magazine that has very modest objectives which does not include publishing research material. The masses simply wish to know how to behave on a particular occasion, or act in a particular situation, or what opinions to hold over current issues.

Publishing anything beyond this would drive away the common readers and open debates that serve no purpose. And since the common readers, not only in India, but over the entire globe are mostly Hanafis, common sense tells us to project the Hanafi point of law.

Yes, if someone is a Shafe`i or Hanbali, or whatever, and cannot find scholars to answer questions according to his school of thought, then we are always there to help him out.

In this case of Prayers on a Muslim who committed suicide, the Hanafi Maslak says, (ref. Fatawa ‘Alamgiriyyah) that he might be prayed over and buried in the Muslim cemetery.

We may point out, in addition, that it is also a most reasonable thing to do, i.e., to pray over and bury in the Muslim manner of burial. That is because one cannot go by what he sees or hears: a man found hung by a rope or dead because of poison consumption, is not enough evidence to conclude that he committed suicide, even if a note has been found.

It is only thorough medical and other investigations that will finally determine if there was no foul play, that it was not murder, but suicide. It has also to be determined if the man was not insane. That kind of investigation might take long. In the meanwhile, the routine may be followed.

Q: A doubt: I see that childless Muslim couples do not prefer to adopt. Instead, the husband re-marries to have a child from the second wife. When opposed, they take advantage of Islamic laws (i.e., a male can marry four wives). Isn’t it like cheating the first wife? Also, adoption solves the problem of a child.


How does a man who marries a second woman cheats the first? Cheating means to take away someone’s rights. Is he taking away any of her right by marrying a second woman? What does marriage mean? Does it mean either of them should remain stuck to the other forever? No matter what happens? Does it mean one’s life is useless, futile, unworthy of living without the other? Does it mean the two have become one, so that if one dies, the other should better follow, and burn herself on the pier? Does it mean if one of them is impotent, the other should undergo vasectomy?

Will either of them go to Paradise, simply because he or she remained the wife or husband of the other, until death? If the answer to the above questions is in negative, then how does taking a second wife amount to cheating the first?

As regards adoption, we do not know if you are married or not, and if married, whether you have children or not. It is only someone who does not have a child of his own, can speak for his feelings. Other people, whose sympathy is quickly fired up for the wrong people, in a wrong way, can neither understand, nor are expected to act in the way they advise others, when they themselves face similar situations.

Further, it sounds to us that the butt of the objection is, “Why does Islam allow four wives?”

We do not know whether you harbor the same doubts or not, but this kind of question comes from people who are in extreme doubt about Islam. Especially those who live their lives out in anti-Islamic milieu, and have no knowledge of, nor are they interested in the religion they have inherited. They are truly sorry for such inheritance and wriggle with pain as a fish out of water.

We are sure, you as someone who reads this digest regularly, do not carry these kind of sentiments. But the doubt that you have raised comes from those quarters. Islam is a pragmatic religion. It offers reasonable solutions for all kind of difficult situations. But, the quarter we have spoken of, instead of accepting Allah’s mercy, remarks, “Oh. A door to evil has been opened.”

To sire children is a natural desire in all men and women. That is the primary reason for marriage. Without one bound to the other, a man can never be sure if a child his woman-partner has brought is his or not. Therefore, they get married. But, if there is no child, then, obviously, the marriage is a failure, although not in the total sense, but surely in an important sense. If one of them suffers from a disability, what should the other do?

The answers will vary. Some people will say, well, get separated. A samaritan might suggest, suffer heroically. Another might say, adopt. Thus, there will be a variety of answers. None of them correct. And none of them will say, “Take another wife” because that is the Islamic solution. For, where there is no conscious Islam, unconscious paganism takes its place.

Islam does not expect people to become ascetics. It does not ask them to do things against their nature. It does not offer unreasonable solutions. Like the solutions given above. Islam is a complete guidance. One who follows it need not be ashamed of his actions.

Islam suggests that if a woman knows that it is the husband who is at fault, and the desire for a child is great in her, she can ask for separation. But, if it is a female who suffers the disability, then, Islam would suggest the male to keep the first wife and add another. Is that a pretext, an excuse, a chance to make the most of, or is it a merciful ruling?

You have suggested adoption as a solution. A child is also incidentally taken care of, you say. But, may we ask: why wait for a one in thousand childless couple to adopt a child? Why not healthy couples adopt uncared for children? Secondly, if a woman is ready to adopt a child from outside, why can’t she adopt her husband’s child from a second wife?

Finally, doubts of the above nature arise because Islam has been completely abandoned, but for a few external features. But, in Islam, a woman, (or man), live very different lives. Theirs is a life filled with activities. As husbands and wives also, they live independent lives, pursue independent interests.

Apart from the fact that a woman is a wife to someone, she is a personality of her own. She is an important unit of the society and performs several functions in that capacity. Child-bearing is one. If she fails in that, it means she has a vacuum in that part of her life. But, she lives among a sea of different roles in life. Like water, which fills a vacuum quickly, a Muslimah’s vacuum caused by the absence of children is quickly filled by other activities. The Prophet’s own childless wife ‘A’isha, who became a widow at 18 and lived up to 60, is a good example for Muslim women.


Q: Another doubt. Being a Sunni Muslim having friendship with the Shia, sharing food, and mingling with them as sisters and brothers is prohibited. I have heard from some people that it is wrong to have any type of relations with the Shia. Is that correct?

Name and address withheld


What you have heard is wrong. It is not only wrong but an affront to the humanity in general.

We are all children of one father and mother. However distant, we all human beings are related to each other and are bound to each other in several ways. That is the primary relationship between the human beings, whatever their religions, their regions, languages, color, etc.

We are not beasts that tear apart each other. That is something the modern Western civilization teaches by example. But, from Islamic point of view, we – the humans – are brothers and sisters in humanity who share each other’s worries, happiness, hopes and fears. That is the primary mode of relationship. Even if we disagree over many issues, the primary relationship remains.

Islam does not teach, as Christianity does, to love everyone in the world endlessly. That is not possible and is entirely unnatural. But it asks that we respect the primary relationship of being children of the same parents. Hence we see that when the Makkans, declared enemies of the Prophet, who attempted on his life several times, were passing through a phase of drought, the Prophet sent them grains and foodstuff. The Qur’an says (60: 8), “Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you on religious grounds and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous towards them and acting justly towards them. Indeed, Allah loves the just.”

Now, if that is the relationship with the commonest of the humanity, what should it be with those who believe in the same God as we, in the same Prophet as we, in the same Book of God as we? Who, as far as the opinion of great many scholars goes, are Muslims? Imam Abu Hanifa’s opinion can never be taken lightly without spreading great discord in the people. He said, “Everyone who faces our Qiblah is a Muslim.”

It is true that on the political front we, the Sunni and the Shi`ah differ over several issues as related to the earliest events. Those differences have unfortunately led the Shi`ah to develop a very different Shari`ah. But, overall, because of the Qur’an, both agree on several major issues.

How can then a social boycott be acceptable? Yes, because of the differences, some of purely religious nature, the scholars have ruled that a Sunni girl may not be given away to a Shi`ah in marriage. But they are allowed to marry Shi`ah girls. That opens up possibilities for a variety of relationships.

The sister of a child’s Shi`ah mother, is his or her aunt, a second mother. This is only one example. Endless of them can lead to many openings for close interaction. Had the Muslims not become as narrow minded as they have over the centuries, there would have been no Shi`ah today.

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