Letters to the Editor
Kissing the Feet
Q: Two main points from the YMD letters are here. First, about touching the feet (irrespective of kiss or touch, you are bowing to do so, right): It is narrated by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad (p.144) that Sayyidina ‘Ali, radi Allahu `anh, used to kiss the hands and feet of Sayyidina al-Abbas, radi Allahu `anh. You had read about this authentic/ verified Muslim practice. But in the current YMD letters-to-the-editor, you forgot this citation (told the poor ignorant guys: touching feet is ONLY HINDU-INDIA…add your own fatwa: Muslims as who practice it closer to Shirk). Allah alone knows why that happens to you — your short-term memory is like a computer’s RAM (Random-Access-Memory), Wallahu Alam.
Dr. MT, Canada
The report as in Adab al-Mufrad has been declared weak, apart from the fact that a junior kissing hands and feet of the relative elders is permissible, although not as a practice.
Therefore, one cannot use the report to justify the practice (though low in occurrence), in the sub-continent, encouraged by the pseudo Peers and pseudo Sufis, who do not prevent their mureeds from kissing their hands and feet; or for that matter, another practice (more common) of the mureeds of bowing down and butting their heads against the stomach of the Peers.
These are signs of foreign influence on the Muslims which take them nearer to pagandom, or, at least, blurt the outstanding differences between Islam and pagandom.
The justification offered is that these are merely manners meant to show respect to the peer or sheikh. But this is a flimsy argument. In actual fact, these practices are designed to make the people humble before the Shuyukh, while expression of humbleness is reserved for Allah alone. In our times, the Peers, Shuyukh and other professionals of this class, attempt to take their followers closer to themselves instead of closer to Allah.
Further, to understand the report of Adab al-Mufrad better, it might be remembered that `Abbas was Ali’s uncle. Even today, if someone kisses the hands and feet of his father, mother, uncle, or other close relatives, as spontaneous expression of love, it is allowable. But if it is adopted as a practice for so-called Peers, Sufis, Sheikhs, Awliya’, or others of this class, and done in public, then the act is strongly reprehensible. The Peers, Sufis, Sheikhs, Awliya’ and others should themselves – in the love of Allah – strictly prohibit it.
When Sa`id ibn Jubayr – a long-time student of Ibn `Abbas – requested his master and mentor Ibn `Abbas permission to kiss his forehead, he refused.
Whenever somebody requested Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanwi, the last great Sufi of India, for prayers, he would say, “You too pray for me.” Do the Sufis, Shuyukh, Peers of today respond to their mureeds in this manner?
He of the Sufis, Shuyukh, or Peers whose first concern – before he will teach the Shari`ah or the Tariqah – is not spread of uncompromising Tawhid, is trying to be a little deity himself.
(We shall be dealing with the second part of your letter before next Ramadan, Allah willing).
Reading the Sihah Sittah
Q: I would like to read the six original authentic hadith books with Urdu translations, but I don’t know which of the publications is correct. Several books are available in the bookstores. I’m confused which ones to buy. And, can you tell me, in how many volumes Sahih Bukhari and other books are divided?
Mohammed Ishaaq (On Email)
Reading the Sihah Sittah is a life-time project; and explaining to you details of the volumes is not a useful venture.
We suggest you start with the smallest. This is the Arba`oon of Nawawi. Actually, it is a booklet. Thereafter, you may choose to read Al-Adab al-Mufrad of Imam Bukhari. Next, you may take up Riyad al-Saleheen of Nawawi. These books are available in Urdu. If they are not available in a bookstore, the dealers can always supply them on order.
If you know English enough, you are advised to read Fake Pearls by Syed Iqbal Zaheer. It covers the commonly spread untrustworthy ahadith.
You may write to us for further guidance when you are through with the above mentioned books.
Q: Recently there was a conflict regarding the eating of animals (cow, ox, etc). Somebody said they are haram in Islam. Please guide.
Tanveer Iqbal Jan (On Email)
The new generation is known for creating conflicts where it does not exist. As Mawlana Mujahid al-Islam Qasmi once said, “When today’s Muslims are finished with their TV programs, cricket, social functions, etc., they like to sit down and discuss every conflicting, divisionary, and contradictory issue.”
Your statement that the lawfulness of beef is being discussed is some measure of foreign influence on Muslim mind and culture. Some time back, it used to be that under the same influence, some Muslims would avoid eating beef. (So, although we neither believe in it nor recommend it as a wise measure, Mawlana Mawdudi had declared that after a Hindu embraces Islam, he may be fed with some beef).
The point is that there was a time when some Muslims merely avoided eating beef. But now you say some are declaring it Haram altogether. This they are attempting under the idea that this is what it means to be true, patriotic Indians. This is at a time when those Indians who had for thousands of years declared it Haram for themselves, have now begun to consume it with great relish, and are ready to go to war on this issue, if necessary.
As usual, Muslims are more ignorant of this world, than the ignorant. They are not aware that the Vedic times can be divided into historical phases when beef-eating was allowed, disallowed, then allowed, then disallowed.
They are also not aware that beef is more popular in the West and East – for nutritional reasons – than mutton. While the average world height grows, Muslims in India could grow into pigmies, if they do not shrug off unhealthy influences.
Hop, Step and Jump
Q: Please tell me about all the collection of Hadith (like Bukhari, Muslim etc.) with the number of volumes. If, possible tell me from where I can get them.
Hamza Naseem (On Email)
If we do not learn to place our foot firmly on the first step of the ladder, we are likely to slip from the second. We need to go up in gradual steps. If we cannot walk at a fast pace, we cannot run. If we cannot run, we cannot “hop, step and jump.” We suggest you follow the steps we have suggested to Br. Mohammed Ishaaq above.
But, of course, first, for both of you, be sure and be firm.
Climbing up is never easy; and climbing up the ladder of knowledge is all the more difficult. Even those who swear by the Sunnah in our society, fall off from the tenth, or so, step of the thousands of steps of the first ladder – let alone the Sihah Sittah, which they did not have the occasion to place their sight on. Firm up then, and follow them not in their footsteps in your attempts and aspirations.
Group Dhikr on Seeds
Q: I would like to ask you regarding the practice of group dhikr where the devotees gather around a heap of seeds, and recite the words of dhikr until all the seeds are over. Then they disperse. This is done both at home as well as in homes. Is this allowed? Someone here is opposed to it because the Prophet never used beads or seeds. He used his fingers. Is that correct?
Reema al-Quaiti (On Email)
Yes, the Prophet never used beads or seeds. But, there seems to be no harm in using the Tasbeeh for dhikr purposes, or seeds in place, since counting becomes easier. Counters also appeared in Makkah and other places, and for a while sold well, but nowadays, this mode of devotion (the dhikr) is on the decline and so both Tasbeeh as well as counting gadgets are not in great demand.
So, there need not be any objection to the use of seeds or beads (Tasbeeh) – whether strung or not. But, the question of getting together and performing mass-tasbeeh needs to be considered. Is it Bid`ah?
The answer is that it comes close to being defined as Bid`ah. Bid`ah is that devotional act which has no basis in the Qur’an and Sunnah, which did not exist during the time of the Prophet and his Companions, their Followers and their third-generation Followers, and which is carried out, at regular intervals, as a mode of worship under the belief that is part of the Shari`ah.
The above definition cannot be fully applied to the practice under discussion; but, firstly, it partially meets with the definition, and, secondly, there is every chance of it off-shooting other practices. Therefore, whether attempted in a mosque, or at home, group dhikr on seeds or beads may be avoided.
There are reports that say that Ibn Mas`ud (ra) strongly disapproved of some people who were doing dhikr in chorus in the mosque. Another report says that some people began to sit in the mosque after Maghrib with a man heading them. He would tell the group, “Say Allahu Akbar, so many times,” and they would begin saying, Allahu Akbar, so many times. Then he would say, “Say SubhanaAllah so many times,” and they would say, SubhanaAllah so many times. When Ibn Mas`ud came to know, he was very upset, and threw them out of the mosque.
It is easy to note that group dhikr defies dhikr. It defeats the purpose, viz., remembrance of Allah. His remembrance must come from the heart. That can only be attempted when the mind is free of all distractions, and is attentively turned and tuned to Allah. Group dhikr distracts the mind from Allah and entangles in the formalities of the assembly, watching over how much is accomplished and how much remains, and so, how soon a participant would be free to leave, etc. These concerns occupy the mind and defeat the purposes of remembering Allah, His greatness, His qualities, etc.
Q: I am very much worried about my brother’s behavior! He is a person who has good character, good academic and Islamic knowledge. Even his intentions with every person are good and his appearance is also good. But his behavior changes towards me, my sister and my mother!
I am seventeen and my young sister is fourteen. When I was fourteen, his attitude was the rudest one and same is going on with my younger sister. He speaks very rude with my mother though she has loved him and cared him more than us. He speaks rubbish words to my mother and my sister!
We are very much worried as to why his behavior changes towards us! My mother has cared for him as a flower, and till now she cares him as if he is a nursery child though he speaks ill about her character! Can you help me by printing an article about mother’s and sister’s values? He is regular reader of Young Muslim Digest and advises others to read it!
Fatima S. T (On Email)
At first thought, we believe these are vagaries of age. Teens are restless, energetic, and craving for physical action. When opportunities are not available, they are angry and disappointed, and, must spend their anger on someone. That someone can only be one who cannot, or will not, retaliate. If he, or she, were to behave in the way you describe with say friends, they will fire back doubly power-packed salvos to wound him out of action for several days. This is especially the case with boys in their teens. In many parts of the world, they form gangs and expend off their energies in fighting with each other. Realizing this, schools and colleges provide physical activities such as compulsory games, exercises and outings of treks, mountain climbing, etc. In some countries, they force them into military training.
In India, most avenues for expending youth energy are missing, and so, the youth must play the odd and noisy tune at home, especially where the father is not tough and strict. This is what we think is the case with your brother whom you describe as otherwise perfectly normal and well-behaved.
However, if the behavior persists over twenty years of age, then he might be referred to a psychiatrist/ psychologist to determine whether he suffers from bi-polar syndrome, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, paranoid, or the like.
Chatting on Net
Q: I had a chat on the computer the previous day, but now repent because I realize that being a Muslim girl, I should not have done it. Please let me know whether this is a sin; and what should I do to prevent this happening.
Z. K (On Email)
You have not stated who it was that you were chatting with, whether a male or female. If it was a male, then you are right, you shouldn’t be chatting with males; and it is good that you feel bad about it. Your feeling of guilt and thoughts of repentance will not merely be written in your accounts as good deeds, but also will strengthen you against future evil.
You are one in a thousand lucky girls who realizes that contacts with the males before marriage, might be very exciting, and pleasing to the ego, but in the longer run, it forebodes risks and dangers of various kind.
Contacts with the male are not exciting merely because they are males, since, after all, your father, brothers and others around you are males, but it is the sexual undertones that make it exciting. For example, exchange of thoughts, ideas and opinions with a married old man is not exciting; although there is much to learn from him. So, it is the sexual aura and flavor which makes conversation with an unmarried of the same age but opposite sex, so very exciting. His voice runs like current through the entire body.
Gradually, the person and personality begin to occupy the thought and mind ending with a place for him in the tender heart. With that, one tends to become blind, imagining non-existent virtues in the other. Meetings are arranged, and serious commitments follow. The loss of vision comes back only after marriage, when alone, the defects become visible, some of which are serious, but it is too late. The rest of the years are a life of regret.
So, you are lucky, and blessed by Allah, that at the first false step, you have realized the error. For everything there is a time in life. Maturity of mind is an essential tool for making right decisions in life.
Q: Every day I promise I will not do it, but I commit the same sin. Again I promise I will break off, but I do the same thing. I pray five times daily. I’ve also gone in the Jama’at and attempt all five things that we are taught in tableegh. My sin is that I work in a firm where we have internet connection; and I go to some restricted sites. I also chat. This happens when my boss in not in office. This habit has led me to practicing ..bation, which makes me unhappy. Please give an advice about how to get out of this bad habit. I am your regular reader.
Muhammad Zubair (On Email)
If every time you go out and it is raining cats and dogs, we cannot advise you how to avoid getting wet and catching cold.
If you are sitting before a computer, and it is connected to the Net, you do not have to search for excitable sites. They pop up on the screen. In a split second, your mind has to make the decision to click or not to click. If you click, you are suddenly in a world of pimps, whores and prostitutes. It could be an hour before the devil in you will let you think that you are in the wrong place. By then the psyche would have undergone some damage. In the least, it saps your strength, and gradually renders the real less interesting than the virtual on the screen. A variety of perversions are consequences of the Satanic game.
We cannot say that you do not sit at the computer, nor that you disconnect from the Net; nor that you do not click, neither can we advise your boss that he be never out of your sight. But you could attempt one or two things in office. Move your table to where you are visible to all. Place the screen in a prominent place, visible to any passer by. Finally, get married earlier than you have planned. If you are financially not ready, getting married will mean working overtime, or taking up more than one job. But, it will save you from the Devil’s Net.
The sapping of your masculinity, damage to your sensibilities, and perversions that ruin your relationship with the future (or present) spouse, are all real dangers. For every Site and every sight of eye, the Devil will draw his fees in full; and like the money lender, will not shed a tear at your physical and moral bankruptcy.
Q: How can we refute the claims of Hadith-rejecters? We see that they started with the concept of renewal of Islamic thought. But now they have reached a point where they call the scholars like Bukhari, Muslim, etc. criminals of Islam.
Mohammad Ilyas Mir (On Email)
First, you need to establish the points of arguments. Talk to them in patience, and collect together those points. Do not lose your temper with them and do not try to refute them right at start. But rather, collect the doubts and arguments they raise. Then, write them down and give each of them cool consideration, until your mind has exhausted all answers. Next, study the literature available in their refutation.
Then, discuss the objections raised by them, and the responses you have prepared, with those of your friends, acquaintances, scholars etc., whom you trust will not be misled by the arguments raised by them. Ask these people to find fault with your responses. When they will attempt, modify your answers in the light of the discussions.
Now, try to trap one of the Hadith rejecter among a couple of knowledgeable people. Normally, he will evade sitting with intelligent people. Be sure he has committed some time to you, so that he does not escape when he feels that he is trapped by the arguments, and is exposed to the intelligent. Make him switch off his mobile so that he does not use it to close the discussion on pretext of an urgent call. Then ask him to open up with his doubts. By now he will be much subdued and will either try to put off, or meekly utter one or two arguments. Refute him from your notes. Then ask him to refute your answers. He will once again try to escape by saying, “Let me think about it.”
At this stage, tell him not to lose faith in himself. Tell him, “After all, you are no fool. So, think of some answers now.” Observe a tea-break, ask him to relax and think. If he tries to shy off, tell him at this point, point blank that he is no scholar himself, nor knowledgeable, that he is a well-trained parrot, and that he fishes the simpletons. Tell him to come back with well-considered arguments, and, until then, stop his preaching on threat that if he carries on with his mission, you will expose him to the general public and would even write to Islamic magazines about him.
Hopefully, this will work to shut up some of them.