Letters to the Editor

Troubling Issues

Sameer Ahmed, via email

There are several questions that trouble me and for which I have not got a satisfactory answer. I hope you will be able to answer them.

Why is gold and silk prohibited for men in Islam?


When we read the first line of your letter, which speaks of a troubled mind, we anticipated questions of a different sort. We thought you will ask some soul-touching questions such as, for example, “Seeing that the TV-serials are the most corrupting influence upon Muslims, one is forced to ask how some Muslim scholars could allow watching the TV.” Or, as a young man, who is supposed to be acutely conscious of economic disparities, you could be wondering, “Why Islam has not made every saving above the basic needs, totally prohibited, (as Abu Dharr thought), so that thousands around us, who are in acute want, could be provided one square meal a day.” Or, as a child of nature, and aware of how sexual morality largely depends on women’s social behavior, you could be wondering, “Why should there not be martial law against women going about in full make-up and perfume.” But instead, you have asked about gold and silk for men!

In any case, you are right. Why should men be allowed to wear gold and silk? What would be the point, seeing that many of the modern males are quite similar to females in looks and behavior, without wearing golden bangles on their wrists and sliver anklets (with little jingling-jangling bells) around their ankles?

In addition to your own logic, we could add the following. Islam has allowed some evil to humankind in view of greater profit ensuing therefrom. Women wearing gold and silken clothes is an evil since gold is thus locked away from areas of economic activity, and silk production engages larger number of people than cotton production does. But the greater hidden benefit is that of the propagation and multiplication of humankind. Women wear attractive clothes and jewelry, whose only function is to beautify them, of which the only function is attraction of males, ending up with the final objective: human proliferation. If not for this benefit, surely wearing of gold and silk could have been prohibited for women as well.

Could the battering of the Y-Chromosome (as a modern biological study suggests), reduction of its power to influence, and a sharp drop in sperm count (a fall out of Western outfit habits) be the direct cause of appearance of rings on the ears of Western males? Way back several decades ago, but quite ahead of his time, Nirad C. Chaudhry had also speculated whether genetic changes could be the cause of feminism among males, (first appearing in the West, and now spreading among its mindless imitators in the East).

Is breeding a pet dog at home prohibited in Islam? If yes, why?


We are not sure whether you mean “keeping” by saying “breeding” or you literally mean breeding.

If it is breeding you meant to ask, then it is allowed, since dogs serve other functions besides being adopted as pets. In the civilized parts of the world, for instance, they are extremely essential to keep away stealthy night-visitors.

As for keeping them as pets, this is disallowed. Islam desires that you replace the dog as a pet, with a human as a guest. You feed the guest, educate him, teach him Islam, and when of age, marry him (or her) off, and help settle in life.

A noble religion offers noble enterprises. A dog-culture offers doggish pursuits.

Is it wrong to stretch the legs towards the Ka’bah while sleeping?



What is the Islamic ruling on astrology, palmistry and numerology?


Have you not yet known that Islam has banned all kinds of deceitful vocations, professions and occupations? The Prophet has said, “He who deceived us, is not of us.”


Mansoor S.M., via email

Is it permissible to keep birds of prey like hawks, falcons etc. as pets?


It is reported that when the Prophet saw a man flying pigeon he remarked, “A Shaytan is following a Shaytanah (female Shaytan).”

Birds look the most beautiful in the trees and twitter most delightfully in freedom.

Is it permissible to take loans from modern banks, which charge interest?



Who are Yajuj and Majuj as mentioned in the Qur’an 18:94?


They have not been identified.

Can you tell the story of dhul-qarnain in a little more detail than what is given in the Qur’an?


No other authentic source has narrated the story of Dhu al-Qarnayn. His account is unique to the Qur’an. The Prophetic traditions are also quiet about him.

In 20:40 of the Qur’an, Musa, peace be upon him, kills a man. What of it?


What of it?

Is it permissible to a single long ayah (like ayat-ul-kursi) after Surah al-Fatihah?



Does investing in shares amount to gambling?



Can you suggest a book on the life of the Prophet, in the manner of a historian’s account, along with its cost and the place where it is available.


If it is in one volume, Raheeq al-Makhtum is the best around. Shorter than that is of Syed Sulayman Nadwi. Larger than that is that of Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, and the one in greatest detail is the joint production of Shibli No`mani and Syed Sulayman Nadwi.

You could look into any Islamic bookstore and order a copy of one or all.


Sadaf Afshan, via email

I came across the following hadith Ibn-‘Umar (Allah be pleased with them) reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “A woman should not set out on three days’ journey except when she has a mahram with her.” (Source: Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Hajj, 3096). Kindly let me know whether these 3 days refer to the duration of the journey alone or the entire duration including the period of stay at the destination.


It refers to the time of travel.

Secondly, in your November 2003 issue you had mentioned that there isn’t any game that is disallowed in Islam in reference to a question by Adil Zafar Quadri. I came across the following hadith regarding this in Sahih Muslim: “Buraida reported on the authority of his father that Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: he who played chess is like one who dyed his hand with the flesh and blood of swine.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Shi`r, 5612). Kindly throw some light on the matter.


Our reference was to physical games.

Love and Istikhara

S.K., via email

I am in a very tight situation, and I need your valuable advice. The following are the questions, which need to be answered:

Does the permission for marrying Christian & Jewish women, without converting them to Islam apply to today’s Christians? Is this applicable also while they retain their belief in trinity, and Jesus as the son of god?



After my separation from my wife, who gave me a child, now I am in love with a Christian woman, who spurns my offer. I have resorted to Istikharah. But, my question is what is the result of istikhara? When I appeal through it, does my mind incline towards the particular thing or Allah [swt] makes the desired thing easier & removes the hurdles?


If the objective of a Muslim is to win Allah’s pleasure, then it is only he who can expect things to be made easy for him, and tawfiq (Divine Accord) granted. As for those who follow lust, Allah leads them to devilish ways.

Be warned: to reduce the functions of Istikhara to such profane matters as seeking a woman, is likely to provoke serious responses.

Since the last three years I am doing istekhara and also not a single day has passed wherein I haven’t prayed to Allah [swt] regarding this matter in a legal way. But my mind & heart is still totally & only inclined towards this Christian girl & I feel there is always hope & I still am waiting for her. Is this from Allah [swt] or the whispering of the shaytan?


It is straight from the Devil.

If she is really not good for me, then cannot Allah [swt] remove her from my heart and mind and also remove the false hope, which I still have?


Allah leaves those unguided who do not look for guidance, who do not remember Him but to obtain a worldly thing. Allah is not there to perform the functions of a General Manager of a joint, whom, if you saluted five times a day, would grant you an increment in salary or elevation in status.

The story that you have narrated in the long portions that we have deleted, tell us in no unclear terms that you have failed on honesty several times in your life, without any show of remorse. You need repentance and expiation more than you need your meals of the day.


S.A., via email

Having fallen into bad company I have committed adultery. I have repented. But please tell me what more is to be done?


To begin with, of course, you must change your company. You say you have repented. But there are several things you need to do by way of expiation for your repentance to be acceptable. Expend as much as you can on the poor, widows, destitute, for next couple of years. Fast a few days every month. Study Islamic literature, starting with the translation of the Qur’an and hadith, and books on life of the Prophet.

My belief is that sex out of marriage is fast gaining ground both among boys as well as girls. I wonder whether, if I marry, I will get a similar wife.


As we understand, you have asked the likelihood of your wife also being unchaste. Well, that will depend on your repentance and expiation. If you did well, Allah will bestow on you a chaste wife. If you did not, then, as you know, “birds of the same feather flock together.”

Add YMD response here.

Day Dreaming

Munis Rafiqi, via email

I am a 19-year-old Muslim currently preparing for medical entrance exams. My parents are both doctors.

My problem is that my mind keeps wandering and my heart is inattentive all the time, even during studying and praying. I always keep daydreaming about false, useless, foolish thoughts and about great ambitious plans. Due to this bad quality my concentration in studies has dipped to nearly 0% (and so have my grades and marks).

I have 100% belief in Islam and firmly believe that it is the only and best possible solution to all problems, and this is the reason that I am seeking an Islamic solution for my problems from you. I have fallen into other sins: Lying after swearing by Allah and His Prophet; missing prayers; misbehaving with my mother; watching the forbidden; backbiting, etc.


As you leave behind teenage and enter into manhood, you pass through a difficult phase of your life. It is also an important phase. Errors committed now have their life-long bearing. We are at a loss to tell you how to wade through this complicated period. You need – as do most men of your age – counseling, detailed discussions, thorough understanding of the world around you and its possibilities, and day to day guidance to safely take you through quick changing affairs and circumstances. This can only be successfully done at the personal level and with close interaction.

Your father should have been an ideal person to guide you through. But, modern materialistic civilization empties the soul, especially when religious knowledge and commitment is missing. The sick cannot heal the sick. Even if this is not the case, an additional problem is that modern life creates a huge gulf between one generation and another with communication severely impaired. The two worlds are so different: morally, culturally, and ideologically, that realities of one are fantasies of another. How can there be, in view of these factors, a useful exchange of thought between the previous generation and next, between father and son?

We suggest you look around for a matured man, in his thirties, educated both secularly as well as religiously, and a practicing Muslim, lay open your heart, and enter into long discussions with him.

Please give me the website addresses of reliable and important Islamic organizations worldwide. Also please send me the website addresses which Muslims should beware i.e. websites posing to be Islamic but are actually un-Islamic.


We do not recommend that you waste your precious energies on websites. There aren’t any around to educate you. At best they offer information, which is not substitute to what will help you build an Islamic personality. A few websites have a few books, but they are inadequate for educational purposes. Many young men – millions over the world – spend there time over the net, for months and years, without advancing intellectually, let alone morally, or spiritually, in the least. When they close the net and go to bed, it is with a confused head.

Who is She

Syed Khadir Ahmed, via email

Who is Maryam Jameelah?  Can you give some background information about her. Her email-id will be of good help.


Although not applicable to this situation as strongly, and as accurately, we are reminded of the poetical lines of Farazdaq. Imam Zayn al-`Aabideen was circumambulating the Ka`ba at a time when the Governor (of a province) was also doing it. When Zayn al-`Aabideen came to people’s view, the milling crowd automatically split apart, in complete reverence, allowing the Imam to leisurely walk around the Ka`ba. But for the Governor, those in his retinue had to shout at the crowd, “Away. Away. It is the Governor.” The Governor noticed the difference and inquired his retinue about the Imam, “Who is he?” The question provoked a beautiful short poem from Farazdaq whose fist couplet said,

هذا الذي تعرف البطـهاء وطأته

والبيت يعرفه والحـل والحـرم

i.e., (If you do not know who he is, then you might know that)

“This is the one whose footsteps Batha’ (a neighborhood in Makkah) knows

The House (of God) knows him, as do the sacrosanct borders of the Haram.”

The last line of the poem said,

ما قال “لا” قط إلا في تشهده

لو لا التشهد كانت لاءه تعم


“He never said “no” except in the testimony

If not for the testimony his “no” would have been “yes.”

(The testimony says, ‘There is “no” god but Allah..’)

The poet was of course referring to the legendry generosity of Zayn al-`Aabideen.

Now, if some of our young men and women, to whatever degree committed to Islam, do not know either Zayn al-`Aabideen or Maryam Jameela, then what tragedy awaits a generation which does not know its Salaf or Khalaf is anybody’s guess.

Maryam Jameela and Muhammad Asad – both formerly Jews, one from America, the other from Europe – were gifts from Allah to the Asian Muslims (one for everyone in general, the other for the intellectuals in particular) at a time, during the last century, when their faith and confidence in Islam were at their lowest ebb. They were in no small way responsible for uplifting the downcast spirits and up-jacking their faith.

To know more about them, speak to knowledgeable people around you. They might have their works in their personal libraries.

Corresponding Dates

I request you to please give me the date, month, and year of the Arabic calendar for the following dates:

1) 12/02/1942, 2) 15/02/1976, 3) 28/02/1977, 4) 05/04/1949, 5) 05/04/1969, 6) 14/05/2000, 7) 13/11/1974, 8) 04/11/1973, 9) 22/03/1955

Mohamed Masood Ullah, via email


There is no such thing as Arabic Calendar. What you call as Arabic Calendar (as many Arabs also think) is the Islamic Calendar.

In any case, herewith we give you the first and the last, leaving you to work out the rest:

1) 12/02/1942: 27th Muharram, 1361 A.H.

9) 22/03/1955: 28th Rajab, 1373 A.H.

Fresh Juice

A local newspaper carries the following:

Coca = Christ our creator accepted

Cola = Christ our lord accepted

Pepsi = Pay every penny save Israel

The article goes on to stress upon the readers not to consume these drinks or any other products by these companies like mineral water etc. Your comments?

Khalid Khan, via email


Considering all aspects, we would say fresh juice is far superior to any soft drink.

Tableeghi Jamat

I want to know the differences between sunnat-ul-jamat and tableeghi jamaat are. Do provide a detailed answer.

Muhammad Imran, via email


Your question is vague and shadowy. Comparison is a hard task since you have not identified the first party: sunnatu al-jamat.

Tableeghi Jamat and its activities are well-known. You meet them in Chile, Ghana, Thailand, Borneo, Chicago, Ukraine, Ireland – almost everywhere. So, locating one of them is not that too hard. They invite to Prayers, Dhikr, Knowledge, Sincerity, avoidance of the futile, and spending time in the way of Allah. So, knowing what they stand for is also not too hard.

But who are the sunnatu al-jamat? Are they the Halwa-poori party? You might say no. Are they the soyem, giyarwheen, barwheen, chahlum dinner-to-fat-bellied-parasites party? You will say no. Are they the durood chanting party? You will say no. Are they the street dancing, sword swashing, nocturnal processional party? You will say no. Are they the shroud laying coin collecting grave party? You will say no. Then, who are they? You may identify them so that we can compare them with the tablighee jamat proportionately. By proportionately we mean, our comparison will be proportionate to the details you provide: short for short, long for long.

And of course, you need not provide any details about the tableeghi party. If we wish to know more about them, we could do it by holding one of their local leaders by his beard and ask, “Fellow, what’s going on around here? Will you spell out your objectives? Put your piety in your pocket and out with all the information now.” And we will get from him all that we want.

On your part, you have to provide us the details of the other party alone. Perhaps you should try the same manner of information extraction as ours from one of those at the top of the hierarchy. Perhaps, if you attempted it, you might not find it necessary to write to us again. You would have received enough lessons in “Comparative Religion.”


I am a regular YMD reader. I have a question: What does Almighty Allah expect from a Muslim? Please explain in a short, objective fashion.

Faisal, via email


If the Qur’an has touched upon a topic, no one can do any better. It said, “O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely, and do not follow in the footsteps of Shaytan. Indeed, he is your avowed enemy” (2: 208).

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