Letters to the Editor
Arifuddin, via email
How can we get to know about our queries through istikharah in dreams?
The response to Istikhara does not appear in dreams but rather, one feels comfortable at heart with one of the several options available, as the most suitable one.
Are there hadith collections that explain interpretation of dreams?
No, this topic is not dealt with in the hadith literature. Hadith literature deals with real life and not dreams.
It is noteworthy that although the Prophet himself interpreted dreams that he experienced or his Companions experienced, he did not teach the discipline to anyone of them. On the other hand, and probably realizing that correct interpretations involved an element of risk, the Companions too did not ask him to instruct them, nor was there anyone among them who was known to interpret dreams.
Sin or No Sin?
M. W., via email
Is ..bation a sin in Islam? Yes or no?
Yes and no. It is one of those borderline acts about which a definite answer cannot be given.
If yes, can you please make it clear, why?
If we said yes, it would be because it has received disapproval.
Is there any other solution to it other than marriage?
[NOTE: Please hide my name and id]
There is no solution to hunger other than food.
Act of Major Shirk
Sajad Ahmed Bhat, Kashmir, via email
Islamic magazines particularly your YMD and ‘Islamic Voice’ are very much liked by Muslim youth of the valley. Recently I had the opportunity to go through YMD (Feb 2006 issue). I found the articles not only informative but also relevant to the awakening of the Ummah. Accept my congratulations and good wishes for this commendable work.
Islamic studies is not my field, I am only a humble student of Islam. I have always tried to keep myself away from the sectarian influences and accept the truth from wherever I can find it. I am writing the following few lines with the hope that you will think over with open mind and correct me if I am wrong. I have tried to be brief as these lines are addressed to a person who, alhamdulillah, is learned enough to understand what I mean.
My first question is regarding the poster in Feb-06 issue. The translation of the hadith has been correctly written as – “wrote with His own hand upon Himself” but in Urdu only “kataba bi yadihi’ has been translated and in Hindi the words have been wrongly translated as “apnay prati sayam likha“, why so?
We suppose it is by oversight and lack of skill on the part of the translators who were assigned the work.
The word ‘biyadihi’ can be taken figuratively but please explain the meaning of the words – ‘kataba biyadihi `ala nafsihi.’
That is, He made it obligatory upon Himself. In simpler words, He will not fail to give His mercy upper hand over His angers so that, it is ultimately mercy that prevails.
I think for poster purposes it would have been better to publish some other hadith expressing the same meaning.
The objective of the poster is to offer such short ahadith that can stick in the memory. This one has a powerful expression.
Under the heading ‘Sujood’ in Q-A section (feb. 06) you have written that touching the forehead in front of a grave is not permissible in Islam. You have further written “this is an act of major shirk“. In all humility I think that this part of your answer is incorrect. To prostrate before a grave is not ‘shirk’ but only ‘haram’.
We have not stated that to prostrate before graves is shirk but rather, that it is an act of major shirk. But, while stating such a view, we indulged in some sort of compromise. The crime is quite grave and the matter much more serious. This issue therefore, carries an editorial on this topic.
Some Muslims do it out of ignorance and they need to be educated.
But in our Shari`ah, ignorance of fundamentals of Islam is not accepted as an excuse.
To call this act as ‘major shirk’ is tantamount to labeling them as ‘mushrik’ and thereby throwing them out of the fold of Islam.
We neither admit people into Islam nor throw them out. We state the rules. The decision thereafter is the people’s.
We shouldn’t unnecessarily doubt the intentions of such Muslims because no Muslim can ever think of worshipping anyone besides Allah.
In such affairs intention is of no concern. If a man insults our Prophet, then, he cannot escape censor by saying – like the Danish cartoonists – that the intention is clean and healthy.
‘Sajdah ta`zeemi’ was allowed in previous Shari`ahs but in our Shari`ah it is ‘haram’. Angels prostrated before Adam (A.S) and the brothers of Prophet Yusuf (A.S) prostrated before him and in both cases it was ‘sajdah ta`zeemi’ and not ‘sajdah `ibadah.’ It is only the intention that makes the difference between the two.
In Islam, both kinds of sajdah are disallowed: “sajdah ta`zeemi” (prostration of reverence) as well as “sajdah `ibadah” (prostration of worship). Insistence on the former can change it to the latter kind.
Prostration is Allah’s own right. If we defend the actions of the deviated people, we will deserve to hear (4: 109): “Here you are, arguing on their behalf in the life of this world. But who will argue on their behalf against Allah on the Day of Judgment, or who will be their warden?”
Under the heading HOSTILITY the question about Shiekh Abdul Wahab (correct name is Muhummed bin Abdul Wahab), the founder of the Wahabi sect, you have advised to read his life.
It is wrong to say that Ibn Wahhab was the founder of a sect. He was a reformer who stood staunchly against shirk and bid`ah, and a return to the fundamentals of Islam.
It should be remembered that he and his followers did the same type of things by labeling ignorant Muslims as ‘mushriks’ ..
It was due to the strong and relentless drive against shirk and bid`ah that today the Gulf is largely free of these two evils – while we in the sub-continent face the greatest threat ever of our survival as pure monotheists. Shirk is making inroads from several directions in a dauntingly unstoppable manner.
The “excesses” of your reference attributed to the movement in the latter part of your letter are, (though undefendable), are the hallmark of all human endeavors. A perfectly balanced way and execution was the share of the Prophet and the Salaf, not to be expected of latter day Muslims.
As regards the opposition to his call, the historical truths that you have alluded to, and the present-day pathetic political situation you have commented upon, these statements are not being published because these are topic too hot for cool discussion. A scholarly unbiased and objective study has not yet been undertaken anywhere in the world, in the absence of which the debate will only inflame passions without leading us anywhere but to bitterness.
We also need to free ourselves of the past and learn to rely entirely on the Qur’an, Sunnah and the understanding of the Salaf, without discarding our rich heritage of the later centuries, but refusing any compromise over issues of fundamental importance, without referring to this or that scholar or reformer. In different words, we need not depend on scholars of the past for fundamental issues. Controversies surround many of them. We can, rather, directly refer to the Qur’an and Sunnah to reach our own conclusions.
Abida Rehman, via email
It’s been four years of my marriage. My husband works in Japan and so far I was living with my mother-in-law. My husband visits twice a year for 15 days each time. I had been complaining to him right from the beginning about his long stay abroad. But he only made excuses. I suffered a lot in his absence because of my mother-in-law. But I tolerated for three years just for the sake of my husband’s happiness. But I couldn’t bear it anymore and now I am living with my mother since a year and a half.
Your living with your parents is perfectly legitimate. You are not bound by law to stay with the parents of your husband. Your husband is required to provide you an independent housing. He cannot provide you a mere room in his parents’ house if you disagree to it. If the husband fails to provide you with a suitable house, you have the right to live elsewhere. You can even take a house on rent and ask the husband to pay for it.
Of course, the above is following the law. But it is not always possible to follow the law. Compromises have to be made for convenience of all. So, the husband could ask you to live with his parents instead of in an independent house for the reasons that he cannot afford it. But, if his parents misbehave with you then your husband should either arrange for a separate housing for you, or you could move to your own parents (which you have done). The food, clothing and medicinal allowance still remain on the husband to fulfill.
As far as I know it is not allowed in Islam that a husband stays away from his wife for a long period of time. Therefore, I made few conditions for my husband to fulfill after which I would return:
1. To return forever, or
2. To take me with him, or
3. Allow me stay away from my in-laws.
He says he will follow the Shari`ah law as he cannot accept my conditions. So please let me know the Shari`ah law.
Your demands are legitimate. In fact, even if he returns, he cannot force you against your will to live with his parents.
Although, as stated above, if he returns but cannot afford a separate house, you might have to strike a compromise deal with him.
Is talaq permissible in such circumstances? If so then I would rather get rid of him. But I want him to make the first move.
Since you have already found a solution to your living problem by moving out to your parents, this should not be the reason for seeking separation.
As for your other conditions that either he move back or take you with him, none might be practicable for him, although you have the right to make such demands, and have the right of divorce if he cannot fulfill. You might suggest to him that a grand style living is not necessary and that you are ready to lead a simple life if he returns but cannot find a well-paid job.
If your husband is out there for your sake, that is, to provide you with a good quality life, then, your assurance that you are ready for a simpler life will encourage him to return.
The laws stated, you must realize that strict application of laws is not always advisable. Separation should not be resorted to so long as all alternatives have not been tried without results.
You say you want to get rid of the man. That is bit of a strong statement and unrealistic. You may get rid of one, but without assurance that the next would not be worthy of same sentiments.
Stampede in Hajj
Shah Mohammad Aleem, via email
I lost my mother and four close relatives in the Hajj stampede of last year’s Hajj. I was able to reach Makkah within 2 days of the accident to perform the necessary duties. I inquired into the reasons that may have caused the accident. The following is what I gathered:
Some maulanas visited the camps in Mina and impressed upon everyone to make sure that they performed the stone-throwing ritual on the 3rd day during the “afzal waqt” (the preferred time). Their ‘blind insistence’ led to almost 600,000 pilgrims thronging the Jamarat.
Although it was wrong for the scholars to have recommended early visit, Indian pilgrims number no more than 120,000 and, therefore, the figure of 600,000 needs another explanation.
Many pilgrims were carrying their luggage as they wished to leave straightaway after the stoning.
Carrying the luggage makes it cumbersome to the carrier as well as to others. But it does not explain the stampede.
It is alleged that there was VIP movement of the royal class who wanted to perform the ritual exclusively. To make way for them, some 2000-odd policemen halted the flow of almost 5 lakh pilgrims until the increasing pressure resulted in the stampede. This is of course denied by the authorities and the blame is shifted to the Will of Allah.
Whatever the reason, I find it extremely shameful as a Muslim to accept the happening merely as just another calamity gone out-of-hand. This attitude goes on to indicate the lack of will in improving the ritual management for the Hajj pilgrims.
Stampede is a persistent problem during Hajj. Every time it happens, new reasons are cited. But overcrowding is obviously a common factor. The Saudi authorities have sanctioned a new design for Jamarat to ease the flow of pilgrims. Construction is underway.
I need your comments on the validity of “Qur’an-khani” (or Chaaleesween) for the deceased. In my limited understanding, it involves relatives and friends getting together at the house of the deceased and collectively reciting Quran several times and then holding the Du`a for the deceased.
To attempt something that has been questioned by the scholars, although some have allowed it, by itself demands reconsideration. But to do it on a specific day, (3rd or 40th or any other), pushes it further down to touch the borders of innovation.
I am in frequent waswaas (doubts) regarding purity of my clothes, taps in bathrooms, and even buckets and mugs. I feel that some unclean water might have splashed into them.
What do you advise me I should do?
Shozeph Shah, via email
This is a kind of phobia from which some people suffer. We are told of a doctor who suffers from this. When his wife is away and he has to manage his kitchen, he washes his dishes in a most thorough fashion, and after they are dry, repeats the operation in fear that an insect might have visited one of them. Then, when the time comes to use them, he washes them once or twice, in a thorough-going manner.
Our Shari`ah has been designed to meet with the broad-band conditions of life in which both the elitist as well as the rustic are taken into account. In other words, an elitist finds that he can meet the Shari`ah requirement without giving up his ceremonious protocols, while the rustic feels that despite the realities that dictate his humble life, he can attain to piety of the highest order. Islam accommodates all.
This applies to the question of cleanliness too. To what extent should it be taken? Should we apply the standards of the upper-most class that can afford to stay without a speck of dust on them, or should we apply the standards of the humble who are covered in dust? The answer given to both is: try for the highest possible state of cleanliness, but what you can achieve with honest application, within the limitations imposed by the realities surrounding you, is just what the Shari`ah desires of you.
The following example from the Prophet (saws) will throw some light on what we are saying. Once had stopped by a watering place. `Umar (ra) was in company. He asked a Bedu at the place: “O Shepherd, have you recently seen a wild animal drink from this water.” But before the Bedu could answer, the Prophet spoke out, “O Bedu, there is no need to tell us about it. The animal had its share and we shall have ours.” What he meant was that we need not be so meticulous and discreet that render us unable to perform our affairs. Desert is not a place where you find water. You are lucky if you have found one. But if you are meticulous, you will have to stay thirsty. So, make compromise with the situation. Here is a watering place but it might have been visited by the beasts about whom it is commonly known that they begin to urinate while they dip their mouths in water. But, if you are fastidious, which you cannot afford in view of the need, then you risk your lives. So, let us not know about the past history of the water-pool. It will only cause unpleasantness.
It was a highly rational rejoinder and we are grateful to our Prophet, on whom be peace, for his guidance.
In accordance with this spirit, the fuqahaa’ have ruled that if a man passes by a little pool which dirties his clothes, he need not inquire whether it is dirty water or clean, nor need he be told by those around as to what it is. It maybe assumed that the liquid is clean.
If we understand the rule (that if we make an honest attempt, then what best we can achieve is what Islam requires of us), then the question of the extent to which we should go in maintaining cleanliness becomes easy to understand. The Prophet has also warned us about going to extremes to try and appease the Shari`ah or get full approval. He said that “Islam will overcome, but it will not be overcome.”
Alcohol on the Head
I am using a medicine to be applied topically on scalp for hair loss. But it contains absolute alcohol. Should I give it up?
Tashbihul Azhar, via email
Alcohol, although prohibited to drink, and although nasty to smell, is no more than a chemical solution, and hence, is not najis (unclean).
But it might be added that if it reaches the brain and anytime you feel intoxicated, you may immediately wash your head!
With regard to your answer in the January 2006 issue, you have disapproved of elopement for getting married to someone disapproved of by one or both families. Now what if the girl has embraced Islam? Does your answer remain the same? What should the girl do to protect her Eimaan as her family will sooner or later get her married to a man of their religion.
Naeem, via email
Although you have cited an earlier issue, your present question does not seem to be related to the previous one, except that both speak of elopement. In the previous instance (Jan. 2006), the question was concerning two Muslims, and the reasons were low economic status of one of the two, and other social issues. But this one of yours talks of a Muslim male and a female who has converted to Islam.
Now, conversion of a woman to Islam should not be made the reason to commit a crime, for, elopement is quite near to being a crime. Decent people never resort to such ways. Islam has definitely bestowed on us much higher moral values to allow us resort to such meanly ways of doing things.
As pointed out in the January issue, a Qur’anic verse is quite specific about it. It says (2: 189), “There is no piety in that you should enter (your) houses (during Hajj) from the rear. Rather, piety is (in him) who fears Allah. Therefore, come to the houses by their doors, and fear Allah haply you may prosper.”
Commentators have pointed out that the extended meaning is that you should never do things in an indirect stealthy manner. Always be frank, straight-forward, to the point, open and visible. Do not be secretive: come to the houses by their front doors.
As regards how the girl will protect her faith if she is married off, the answer is, we are living in a world in which women have been so empowered that men have begun to fear them.The chances of a girl married off to someone disapproved by her have faded into the paleness of last century. Today, she stands face to face with her parents, and pointedly announces that if they interfere in her freedom, she will quit the house. The family has no option in such situations but to back down.
Indeed, today the state encourages inter-faith marriages, advertising them through the TV. If she conceals her faith, and announces that she has chosen a Muslim for marriage, but is opposed by the family, women’s NGOs may rush down to help her and the media to publicize a Hindu woman’s marriage to a Muslim (if there is one honest guy left in the media).
But there is no need for such extreme steps. Creating social scenes is another of those things disapproved by Islam. The pair therefore, should simply wait it out. What is not acceptable to people at one time, becomes acceptable after some time. Realities take time to impress on the people’s minds. Ultimately people come down to accepting the facts of life. So, let the two remain consistent and take no steps that are disallowed to civilized and cultured people. Let them reserve Islam for sublime affairs, and not drag it to ventures.
I do not have a question but I want to inform you about a very disgraceful site www.islamcomicbook.com. It portrays our beloved Prophet in cartoons.
I have mailed CAIR about it twice but there was no response. I also mailed the site moderators who were under the fake name of Dr. Abdullah Aziz. No such mail existed and my mail bounced back. If I knew hacking I would hack this site.
Kindly, let me know what step should be taken to halt this and expose the hosts of the site.
Mohammed Ahsan Ali, via email
In our view there is nothing you can do, nor could be done with such sites. There are a few run by non-Muslims under pseudo names. Unable to face the Islamic challenge at the intellectual level, they resort to such meanly ways of taking out revenge and venting their anger and frustration. They spit at the moon. We need to ignore them.
Their anger is not with us, but against the concept of One God and with the Revealed Book. We have no solution for this. Allah will deal with them. Let us allow them to rot themselves out, or change their attitudes.
But what we can do in response is to discover who exactly Prophet Muhammad is and then adopt his ways for our lives.
What is the best way to remove stage fear?
Aman K., via email
Recurring appearance on the stage is the best way of removing stage fear. Addressing small audiences, such as a group of friends, or moving out with the Tableeghi Jama`ah in a few short trips should also help. In fact, this last method could be the best.
I want to know what are the rights of a wife on her husband’s income/money? And what does Islam say about savings for the future?
Nida A., via email
A wife’s rights on her husband’s wealth are many. Islamic law makes a husband completely and totally responsible for the maintenance of his wife’s expenses. This includes food, housing, medicine and excursion. The quality and standard has to be that of the wife. That is, the quality she was used to before marriage. To explain, if she is from a rich family, the husband should offer her the same quality of life, even if he happens to be poor. On the other hand, if she comes from a poor family, then she cannot demand that the husband maintain her in accordance with his own rich standards, if he happens to be rich.
The above is regardless of wife’s own personal economic condition. The husband, (or his children), have no rights whatsoever on the income or wealth of his wife, whether inherited or earned. He is responsible for her maintenance in all circumstances whether she is rich or poor, whether she earns or not. If the husband is unable to support his wife, she has the right to borrow on his behalf for her expenses, which the husband is liable to pay back whenever fortune smiles on him. Accordingly, a poor husband can receive sadaqaat even if he has a rich wife.
Indeed, a man can receive sadaqaat from his wife, if she is rich and he poor: which seems to be happening around us in a few visible cases.