Radiant Reality

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Regd. No.: JKENG/2000/4174
Published From  Srinagar.

Editor, Printer & Publisher: Mawlana Hamidullah Lone.

Jaa. 2007.  VOL.8, No: 01


1. Editorial - Right or Wrong
2. Questions & Answers

3. From a Sisters Desk

4. Lesson from Al-Quran

5. Lesson from Bukhari Sharief

6. Life After Death

7. The Issue of Inheritance

8. Erection of Masjid

9. Islamic Finance

10. Can the Pope be Reformed

11. The Spirit of West

12. To Veil or Not to Veil
13. To My Muslim Sister

14. Saviours of the Islamic Spirit


EDITORIAL

Right or Wrong

A big hang up of our times --- sometimes found even in those involved in Islamic work --- is the focus on doing something big. We want to be associated with big projects. We want to serve the cause of Islam in a big way. Big deeds, big rewards. Big success, here and in the hereafter. Who can argue with that?

Well, though the logic appears to be bullet proof, there actually is a problem with it. It assumes that the reward for a good deed is based on its value as perceived by us. That is the problem. The reward for every good deed is based on the actual goodness in it and only Allah can judge that. That is why even after performing the greatest meritorious acts, our salaf (predecessors) used to be worried whether or not their deeds would be accepted. At the same time they approached even the smallest virtues with the enthusiasm of a desperate person who knows he needs all the help he can get. They had fully understood the message that many seemingly great deeds may not carry much weight in the hereafter because of some inherent flaw that the doer may not even be aware of. Yet it is possible for some apparently minor charitable act to save a believer from hell. For example one hadith in Bukhari and Muslim mentions the case of a woman of ill repute who once helped a thirsty dog by making extra effort to fetch water from a well. She was saved from hell for that small kindness alone.

That is the point of this hadith? It is beautifully stated in another hadith: "Never belittle any good deed." [la tahqiranna min almaroofe shaea]. We should always remember these golden words of wisdom from the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Every good deed, no matter how small, has the potential of becoming our ticket to paradise. It just depends upon the situation in which it was performed and the level of sincerity in our heart. Feeding water to a thirsty dog is not an extraordinary event per se, but in the particular case mentioned in the hadith it became large enough to wipe out all the sins of a very sinful person.

It certainly does not mean that we should become complacent with sins in the hope that some small kindness will wipe them out. No one who remembers this warning by the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, can do that: "Really frustrated will be the person who follows his own desires (in violation of Allah's commands) yet entertains the wishful thinking that Allah will forgive him." Rather the point is that we should never miss an opportunity to do some good by considering the act too small. We should never consider any good act beneath us.

For who knows the true value of a small kindness or small virtue? One may simply say Alhamdu-lillah (Praise be to Allah) with such an intense feeling that it alone tilts the scale in his or her favor in the hereafter. Helping a destitute person with small amount of money or just some kind words, greeting a stranger, visiting the sick, joining in the funeral, consoling someone going through difficulty, removing something harmful from the path, making a quiet prayer for someone in need of help, forgiving a person who has hurt us --- none of these will make big headlines but all of them can bring about major change in our lives.

What is true about good is also true about evil. What seems to be a minor evil may not be small in terms of its consequences both here and in the hereafter. As the Qur'an mentions:

"You thought it to be a light matter while it was most serious in the sight of Allah."[Al-Noor, 24:15].

Small sins, if we become comfortable with them, may lead us to bigger and bigger sins. "The difference between a major and a minor sin is like the difference between a big and a small burning piece of charcoal," says Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi. "Who would willfully pick the burning charcoal with their bare hand because it is small?"

The Qur'an does make a distinction between minor and major sins, but that distinction is meaningful only when the sin just happened, not when it was committed on purpose. A sin, any sin, is by definition an act of disobedience. It may be forgiven when it resulted from human weakness. But when performed with a "so what" attitude, it becomes defiance --- and thus a major sin.

We can begin to grasp the wisdom behind this teaching by considering what happens in real life. Our minds are fascinating machines that are always receiving and generating all kinds of ideas. It would be a rare person who never received any idea for either virtue or vice. An action idea can come from any source. Something we read or heard. A conversation with a friend or a stranger. Some quiet reflection. Something we saw on the street. Anything. While these things may just happen to us, what we do with them can make all the difference in our life. If the inspiration is for some good, normally Satan counters it by suggesting that it is too small to be of any consequence in our life. Why bother. You are not that pious anyway, he assures us. If it is for some vice and we are reluctant to do it, Satan assures us that in light of other vices already in our life, it won't make any big difference. Either way the cornerstone of this Satanic strategy is the trivialization of both vices and virtues.

But the person who listens to this Prophetic teaching will be able to counter this strategy. Small or big, a virtue is a virtue. I need it. I must cease the moment. This person will find that good deeds are connected to each other through an invisible web. Each one is a window to the world of virtue. The goodness generated in the heart by a seemingly small good deed may lead us to a much bigger good deed later. Thus through this regenerative and multiplicative process, even small acts may gradually bring a total change in one's life.

We should certainly go for the big virtues. But we should also remember that no virtue is too small.

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Question & Answer

Question: If the used and unused water gets collected in a container and there is no completely pure water available to perform Wudhu. Is it permissible to perform Wudhu with this collected water?

Answer: If the used and unused water gets collected then the dominant one gets credence. That is one has to be sure which kind of water is moreused or unused. If the used water is more then it is not permissible to perform Wudhu with this water. If unused water is more then it is permissible to perform Wudhu with this.

Note:- Used water is that water which falls down from the parts of body when one performs Wudhu or Ghusl.

Question: If one has a difficulty to sit; is it permissible for him to perform Wudhu while standing?

Answer: If there is apprehension of sprinkles of used water in performing Wudhu while standing, that is why it is recommended to perform Wudhu in a sitting position; but if there is any kind of problem or there is such an arrangement that keeps one safe from used water sprinkles then there is no harm in doing so.

Question: Is it permissible to perform Wudhu in a washbasin while standing?

Answer: Wadhu can be done in this way without any problem and one can also perform Salaah with this Wudhu. But it is better to perform Wudhu a sitting position while facing Qiblah.

Question: I am a book binder by profession and am often required to bind Holy Quran. I consulted few people and asked if I am supposed to perform Wudhu before binding the Quran or not. They suggested that it is neither Fardh nor Waajib to peform Wudhu before this act. But I am not satisfied with this, I would like to ask you whether they are right or not?

Answer: It is not permitted to touch the pages of Quran without proper Wudhu. Dont consult many a people regarding this issue. You should take it serious to perform Wudhu before binding the Quran. In case of any difficulty this matter should not be taken as lightly.

Question: Is there any loss of Thawaab if one wipes off his face and hand after performing Wudhu?

Answer: No.

Question: A person used Miswaak before doing Wudhu to perform Asr Salaah; is it necessary for him to use Miswaak again before doing Wudhu to perform Magrib Salaah even if he has not eaten anything between Asr and Magrib Salaah?

Answer: It is Sunnat to use Miswaak when one has to do Wudhu. Also, it is a separate Sunnat to use Miswaak after eating.

Question: Like males, is it Sunnat for females also to use Miswaak before doing Wudhu?

Answer: It is Sunnat for females also to use Miswaak before doing Wudhu. But if anyones gums are not strong enough to sustain Miswaak then for them to use a special tree bark (Dandaas) will also suffice if used with the intention of Miswaak.

Question: Will a person earn Thawaab if he uses toothbrush and paste instead of Miswaak. Or it is necessary to use the specific kind of Miswaak to earn the blessings of Sunnah?

Answer: It is better to use Miswaak to earn the blessings of Sunnah. There is disagreement among the scholars whether brush and paste will compensate as Sunnah.

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From a Sister's Desk

This column is not meant for mere reading, but it is meant to knock at the doors of your conscience, if the article has knocked, don't just sit and ponder but the time demands action right now!

The Truth of The Tower of Silence!!

I could not help the horror that engulfed me when I read about The Tower of Silence episode which attracted then attention of the media the world over. The message was cleara need was felt by the members of Parsi community to disperse off their dead in a dignified waythe dignity that a human being deserved ever after his death. It created ripples obviously an age old religious practice was under fire!

Parsis claim to be inheritors of worlds oldest religion namely Zoroastrianism. They disperse off their dead on a tower named Tower of Silence and leave them there to be taken care of by vultures. Parsis have been following this age old religious ritual over the centuries. Mumbai is a home to Indias economically robust and sophisticated Parsi community. These people too have been following the tradition in Mumbais posh Malabhar Hills. The times have changed but the tradition has not. Mumbai has ballooned out with sky scrapers, with industries, with an enormous immigrant population which has as a consequence chocked away the vultures. Yes, the bad news is that the vultures have become extinct. So what will happen to the dead of Parsi community? No one thought over it till a bold initiative by a Parsi lady dropped all the skeletons in the cupboard and sent shock waves both within and outside the community. This lady had lost her mother and was keen to know her fate the tower of silence. With a video camera she captured the horrifying site of half decomposed bodies some bloated, some shrunken some decayed, some decayinglying there on top of another without a respect or dignity. The vultures were not there and half decaying bodies were lying helplessly in the tower of silence for years. The surrounding posh area residents were nostalgic with the smell coming from the last destiny of Parsi community. They were helpless too.

The revelations by the Parsi lady have called for a debate within and outside the community i.e., offering the body to vultures is against human dignity, so what is the alternative, an incinerator, offering body to flames or a burial? The age old order is tumbling under its own odour!

We Muslims don't claim to be superior but the fact s that every religious ritual of ours guarantees a human being the respect he/she deserves. Out method of disposing off the dead in a graceful white cloth and lower him down in the earth so deep that no human ear can see his fate. No expenses incurred, no resources involved only the earth is enriched. Our yardstick is same, rich, poor, ruled and the ruler all share the same fate. A look at the graveyard makes you remember the purpose of your life but never horrifies you to loathe your existence! A graveyard fills the air with fragrance of daffodil and not the putrid aura!

If logic is used as a guide and human dignity as a standard Parsis should not only follow our method of disposing off the dead but entire Islam in letter and spirit as their living and dead deserve the best. They owe dignity to their living and dead. Their age old traditions have failed them!

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Lesson From The Quran

Commentary: Mawln Mufti Mohammad Shafi Sahib (RA)

Verse 63

And when We took pledge from you, and raised high above you the (Mount of) Tur: "Hold fast to what We have given to you, and remember what is there in it, so that you may become God-fearing."

Having received the Torah from Allah, Sayyidna Musa (Moses) (AS) returned from Mount Tur (Sinai) and recited it to the Israelites. The injunctions contained in the Book were rather rigorous, but their conduct and habits of mind really called for such strict discipline. To begin with, they replied that they would not obey the injunctions until and unless Allah Himself told them that it was His book. Seventy men, as we have related above, were selected to go to Mount Tur and to hear Allah attest the authenticity of the Torah. On their return, they bore witness to the Torah being a Book of Allah, but added something on their own to what Allah had actually said. For, they told the Israelites that Allah had allowed them to act upon the injunctions only as much as they could, and had promised to forgive them for what they could not accomplish. They had always and instinctively been prone to rebellion against Allah, then, the injunctions were, no doubt, stern, and now they got a new pretext for being negligent. So, the Israelites flatly refused to obey the injunctions, insisting that it was beyond their endurance to act upon such harsh regulations. In reply to this insolence, Allah commanded the angels to raise Mount Tur and let it hang in the air above their heads as a threat that if they did not fulfil their covenant with Allah, it would fall on them and crush them. The Israelites, then, had no choice but to submit.

A doubt is quite likely to arise here. The Holy Qur'an says in another place that force should not be used to make a man change his religion, while in the present instance it appears that force is being used. But, in fact, force is not being used to make the Israelites change their religion, for they had already accepted Sayyidna Musa (Moses) (AS) as a prophet of Allah, and willingly made a covenant with Allah that they would act upon the Book of Allah, if one was given to them. So, they now stand as rebels, and are being threatened with dire punishment for persisting in their rebellion. This is exactly how even a secular state deals with rebels, and how it adopts towards them an attitude quite different from that towards aliens or enemies, for it leaves only two ways open to the rebel either to submit himself, or to lose his life. That is why it is only an apostate (Murtadd) who is, according to the Islamic Shari'ah, condemned to capital punishment, and not an outright disbeliever. Moreover, the Israelites were being threatened with death as criminals and offenders against the law which they acknowledged to be the divine law, but which they refused to obey.

Verse 64

Then even after that, you did turn away. So, had it not been for the grace of Allah upon you, and His mercy, you surely would have been among the losers.

The Israelites went against the Covenant they had made with Allah. The sin was so grave that one could have expected utter destruction and ruin to descend on them as a punishment. But Allah, in His mercy, spared them in so far as physical life is concerned, although they will have to pay for their treason in the other world. Allah's mercy is of two kinds. One is general and extends to believers and disbelievers alike its action is to be seen in the shape of worldly well-being and prosperity. The other is special, and pertains to believers alone it will manifest itself particularly in the other world in the shape of salvation and closeness to Allah.

It appears that the last phrase of the present verse has been addressed to the Jews who were the contemporaries of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Since having faith in him is also a part of the Covenant, these Jews too have been included among those who had been guilty of infringement. In this verse, Allah asks them to realize that it is in His mercy alone that he has not, in spite of their treason, sent down on them the kind of catastrophic punishment in this world as used to descend on the other infidels and traitors who have gone before.

Since a number of authentic ahadith declare that it is the barakah of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that catastrophic punishments no longer descend on any people, some commentators have identified this particular mercy and grace of Allah with the sending down of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as a Prophet and Messenger of Allah.

In order to emphasize what the present verse has said, the next verse tells the story of another group of earlier transgressors and of the dreadful punishment which overtook them all of a sudden.

Verses 65 - 66

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And certainly you have known those among you who transgressed in (the matter of) the Sabbath. So, We said to them, "Become apes, living in disgrace." Thus, We made it a deterrent for those around and after them --and a lesson for the God-fearing.

This episode belongs to the time of Sayyidna Dawud (David) (AS). Allah had appointed Saturday as the Sabbath, or the sacred day, for the Israelites; it was specially set apart for prayers and worship, and hence fishing was prohibited on this day. But these people lived on the sea-shore, and were very fond of fish. Al-Qurtubi says that the Israelites, at first, invented all sorts of clever pretences for catching fish on Saturday, and gradually started doing so openly. There now grew a division amongst them on this point. On the one hand were these transgressors, and, on the other, some scholars and pious men who tried to dissuade them from such disobedience. When the former paid no heed to them, the latter broke away altogether from the sinners, and began to live in a separate part of the town. One day they felt no sound was coming from the other part of the town. Growing curious, they went there and found that all the transgressors had been changed into apes. Qatadah says that the young ones had become apes, and the old ones swine. The apes could recognize their relatives and friends, and would approach them weeping out of remorse, and seeking their sympathy and help. Then all of them died after three days.

As to the question whether the apes and the swine we see today bear any kinship to these Israelites who had been metamorphosed, the correct position is that people who have been metamorphosed into beasts by Allah as a punishment cease to breed, and leave no progeny behind. According to a hadith reported by Imam Muslim from the blessed Companion 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (RA), some people asked the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) whether the apes and the swine were the descendants of the metamorphosed Jews. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) reminded them that apes and swine existed in the world even before, and said that when Allah sends down this particular kind of punishment on a people, the race comes to an end with this, and there is no further breeding. (Some 'modernizing' Muslims have tried to explain away this metamorphosis by suggesting that these disobedient Jews did not actually and physically turn into beasts, but that the change was only psychological in so far as they acquired the evil characteristics of apes and swine. To say such a thing is to deny an explicit statement of the Holy Qur'an, which no Muslim can do, if he wishes to remain a Muslim. Moreover, in denying the possibility of physical change, the 'modernizers' are also denying the power of Allah, and putting limitations on it. Even as a piece of literary exegesis, the 'modernist' interpretation is flimsy. For, even before the punishment fell on them, these Jews had been displaying the moral and psychological traits of beasts: the greed of swine and the craftiness of apes. Where was, then, the change which the Holy Qur'an declares to be a punishment for the offenders and a warning for others? Our 'modernists' are, in fact, all too ready to swallow without batting an eye-lid the most preposterous and unfounded notions, only if they come from the West. So, they have complete certitude with regard to Darwin's speculation, that the apes evolved into man, although no verifiable data has yet been gathered to support the contention; but when it comes to the statement in the Holy Qur'an that men were changed into apes, they look askance at it, although this kind of change is rationally and logically as possible as the other).

Let us now go back to the verse under discussion. The people who witnessed the event, or heard of it, were of two kinds - the disobedient and the obedient. For the disobedient, it served as a 'deterrent', an example and a warning, which persuaded them to repent of their disobedience. For the obedient, it was a lesson and a reminder that they should be steadfast in their obedience. It serves these two purposes even now.

Injunctions and related considerations

We have been saying that the Jews who were changed into apes had used certain ruses or pretences to justify their sin in their own eyes. This brings us to a rather delicate question of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). Certain 'modernists' have quite shamelessly been busy maligning the master-jurists of Islam by suggesting that these masters have invented very intricate "stratagems" (Hiyal, plural ofHilah) for helping the rich and powerful to infringe the laws of the Shari'ah and get away with it. This is a petty calumny, and should not have been worthy of consideration except for the fact that such 'modernists' have had some success with the gullible and the ignorant by playing upon the Arabic word Hilah. As everyone knows, the lexical meaning of a word is one thing, and its technical signification, when it is used as a term in some science, is another. In its literal sense, the word Hilah no doubt means "a trick, a stratagem", but as a technical term in Fiqh it signifies a device for and a means of giving legitimacy to an action in a contingency by making certain necessary modifications in it in consonance with the Shari'ah. Thus, it is not a way of by-passing the Shari'ah, but of helping people to conform to it even in a situation where necessity or human weakness would compel them to go against it.

The present verse has a particular relevance to the question, and would help to clarify it a great deal. The transgression on the part of the Jews which the verse speaks of, and which drew upon them such dreadful punishment, was not a clear and explicit infringement of divine law, but the use of certain "tricks" which necessarily involved the negation of the divine commandment. For example, on Saturday they would tie one end of a cord to the tail of a fish and the other end to something on the shore, and leave the fish in the water; on Sunday, they would take it out and eat it. Such a ruse not only negates an injunction of the Shari'ah, but is actually a mockery. That is why those who practised such "stratagems" were considered to be disobedient and rebellious, and subjected to dire punishment.

But this particular instance does in no way go to prove that the Hiyal are impermissible. We have explained the nature and purpose of such "devices" alone. Not only do they form an integral part of Fiqh, but some of them have actually been suggested by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) himself. For example, bartering a kilo of good dates for two kilos of bad dates is, according to the Shari'ah, a kind of usury. The Holy Prophet (S has suggested a "device" (Hilah) for avoiding the infringement of this regulation in a situation where such a transaction becomes necessary - that is, instead of bartering one commodity for another, one may employ the exchange value of money: first sell two kilos of bad dates for two rupees, and then with the two rupees thus obtained buy a kilo of good dates. The intention in using this "device" is to conform to the Shari'ah, and not to by-pass it. The negation of the Shari'ah is neither intended here, nor does it actually take place. This principle holds good in the case of all the Hiyal which the Fuqaha' (jurists) have proposed in order to save people from practicing what the Shari'ah has prohibited. It is a travesty of the truth to compare them to or represent them as the "tricks" employed by the Jews to negate and mock the Shari'ah.

Verse 67

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And when Musa said to his people, "Allah commands you to slaughter a cow." They said, "Are you making us a laughing stock?" He said, "I seek refuge with Allah that I be one of the ignorant."

According to Mirqat, a commentary on Mishkat, a man among the Israelites wanted to marry a girl, but her father refused. The suitor was so incensed that he killed the father, and disappeared. It is mentioned in Ma'alim al-tanzil which says on the authority of Kalbi that Allah had not yet sent down any injunction with regard to man-slaughter. If it was so, this shows that the incident happened before the Torah was revealed. Anyhow, the Israelites requested Sayyidna Musa (AS) to tell them how to trace the culprit. Under the commandment of Allah, he asked them to sacrifice a cow. As was their regular habit, they started raising all kinds of doubts and objections, of which the next verses give us the details.

Verses 68 - 71

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They said, 'Pray for us to your Lord that He makes it clear to us what sort she be." He said, "He says she be -a cow neither too old, nor too young - of some middle age in between. Now, do what you are being asked to do." They said, "Pray for us to your Lord that He make it clear to us what colour she be." He said: "He says that she be a yellow cow, rich yellow in her colour, pleasing for all to look at." They said, "Pray for us to your Lord that He makes it clear to us of what sort she be, for we are confused about this cow, and if Allah wills, We shall certainly take the right course." He said, "He says that it be a cow which is not tractable for tilling the soil or in watering the fields, sound and without blemish." They said, "Now, you have come up with the truth." Then, they slaughtered her, although it did not appear they would do it.

These Verses show how the Israelites were disposed to disobedience, and how this inclination expressed itself in different forms. The Hadith says that if these people had obeyed Allah's commandment without raising so many doubts and asking unnecessary questions, such strict condition would not have been imposed on them, and the sacrifice of any cow whatsoever would have been accepted.

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Lesson From The Bukhari Sharief

Dr. Rafiq Ahmad

Hadith No. 48 Contd

Haudhi Kawther

On the day of Qiymah every Nabi will be given a gift as a special mark of his Nubuwat. Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) will be given the Haudhi Kawther. It will be the most distinguished gift on this day. The Qurn speaks of this in the following manner.

Verily we have given you kawthar (abundance). (108:1)

There are also may Ahdith which speak about this great gift.

In another Hadith it is reported that those parts of the body of a Mumin that he used to wash while making Wudhu, will glitter on this day as a mark of being the followers of Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam).

When people will rise from their graves they will be extremely thirsty.

Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said the length of my Haudh will be the equal to the distance covered in a months journey. Its water will be whiter than milk and sweeter than honey. There will be goblets to the magnitude of the stars in the sky. Whoever drinks of it once will never be thirsty again.

Some are of the opinion that attendance at this well will be before reckoning while others are of the opinion it will take place after reckoning.

It seems that some will drink from it as they rise from their graves whilst others will be delayed due to their sins. While some believers will drink after getting salvation from Jahannam and before entrance into Jannah.

What will Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) intercede for?

Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) will intercede for the following:

For the commencement of the reckoning.

For ease of reckoning.

Salvation for those destined for Jahannam.

Salvation for those who have been entered into Jahannam.

Elevation in the ranks of many of his followers:

The Ambiy (AS), Ulema, Awliy, Shuhad, Huffz and the pious will be granted permission to intercede for the unfaithful believers who have been destined for Jahannam. Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) will be first to be allowed to intercede.

Hadhrat Anas (RA) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) has said:

When the Last Day will dawn and all the former and latter ones will be gathered together on the plain of reckoning, there will be great anxiety among the people. Thus, they (i.e., some of their representatives) will approach Hadhrat Adam (AS) to intercede on their behalf, and Hadhrat Adam (AS) will reply, I am not worthy of it. You better go to Hadhrat Ibrahim (AS), he is the friend of Allh and may be able to help you. They will accordingly approach Hadhrat Ibrahim (AS) and make the request of intercession to him. He too, will reply, I am not worthy of it. You better go to Hadhrat Mus (AS), he is the speaker with Allh and may help you. They will accordingly approach to Hadhrat Mus (AS) and make the request to him. But he again, will reply, I am not worthy of it. You better go to Hadhrat Eis (AS), he is the spirit of Allh and may be able to help you. They will accordingly approach to Hadhrat Eis (AS) and place same request to him. But he will also say I am not worthy of it. You better go to the Last Divine Ambiy (AS), Muhammad (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam). They will thereupon, come to me and ask me to intercede, I will say, This is my task.

I will then, seek an audience with the Al-Merciful which will be conceded. Allh will communicate to me the knowledge of some of His praises (which are not known to me at present). I shall Glorify Him through those praises and bow low, touching the ground with the forehead in reverence.

(According to report in Musnad-i-Ahmad), Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) will remain in this posture for a week. It will then be said to me, O Muhammad! Raise your head and ask what you want. Your prayer will be heard. Ask for anything and it will be granted. Make what ever intercession you wish to make and it will be allowed. I shall say, My followers, (Meaning mercy be shown to them today, and they may be forgiven). I will be told to go and take them out of Jahannam even those who have faith equivalent to weight of a mustard seed. I shall go and do so. After wards, I shall return to the benevolent presence of Allh Tal, and again praise Him with the words inspired to me and fall into prostration before Him, It will, once more, be said to me, O Muhammad! Raise your head and say what you want. Your prayer will be heard. Ask for anything you like and it will be granted. Make whatever intercession you wish to make and it will be allowed. I shall say My followers. I will be told to go and take them out of Jahannam in whose hearts there is faith even of the weight of a dust particle. I shall go and do so. Afterwards, I shall return to the benevolent presence of Allh Tal and again praise Him in the words inspired to me and fall in prostration before Him. It will once more be said to me. "O Mohammad raise your head and say what you want . Ask for anything you like and it will be granted. Make whatever intercession you wish to make and it will be allowed. I shall say My Followers. I will thereupon, be told to go and take them out of Jahannam in whose hearts there is faith even of a lesser weight than a dust-particle. I shall go and do it. After it, I shall return for the fourth time, to the benevolent presence of Allh Tal and praise Him in the words inspired in me and fall in prostration before Him. It will be said to me, O Muhammad! Raise your head and say what you want. your prayer will be heard. Ask for anything you like and it will be granted. Make any intercession you wish to make and it will be granted. Make any intercession you wish to make and it will be allowed. I will then say O Allh allow me to intercede on behalf of all those who may have said la-illaha-illalah . Allh will thereupon, remark. It is not your task. By my Power and Glory and by My Majesty and Magnificence, I shall take out of Jahannam all those who have said La-illaha-illAllh .

It is reported by Hadhrat Abu Huriarah (RA) that Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

On the Day of Qiymah such people will also benefit from my intercession who have committed major sins".

On the Day of Qiymah Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) will be crowned with the position of Maqme Mahmood ( ), the status that all the Ambiy (AS) wished for. On this day Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam), on being implored by his followers and moved by their pathetic state will step forward with fullest faith in the Mercy of Allh and entreat Him humbly that the state of anxious uncertainty be ended and judgment be pronounced. On this day the high and elevated position of Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) will be manifested.

Once the door of intercession will be opened by Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) and other Ambiy (AS), angels and pious servants of Allh will also be allowed to intercede for the believers.

Hadhrat Abu Saeed Khudri (RA) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Among my followers there will be some people who will intercede on behalf of nations and communities and some will intercede on behalf of groups, and some who will intercede on behalf of one person and Allh will accept the intercession of everybody, eventually all the believers shall enter Jannah.

In some Ahdith it is also indicated that even the children who have died in their infancy will intercede on behalf of their parents.

Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) assured intercession for the following people:

The believer who visits the grave Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam).

He who sends Durood and Salm abundantly on Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam).

He who passes away in Makkah and Madinah thereby regarding dying in these two blessed places as a reward.

Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) will not intercede for non-believers, similarly he had indicated not to intercede for certain sinful Muslims e.g., oppressive ruler and those who transgress the boundaries of Shariah.

May Allh bestow us death with Imn and may all the Muslims benefit from Rasulullahs (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) intercession.

A'rf

There is a place called Arf between Jannah and Jahannam where the dwellers of Jannah and Jahannam will converse with the one another. Allh Tal says in Qurn:

Between them shall be a veil. (7:46)

And on the height will be men who would know every one by his marks. (7:46)

The Ulema are of the opinion that the dwellers of Arf will be those who have good and evil actions in equal. These people will express their wish to entered Jannah. Allh will finally order their entrance into Jannah.

Enter into Jannah no fear shall be on your nor shall ye grieve. (7:49)

Jahannam has been already created

Allh Tal says in the Qurn:

It (Jahannam) has been prepared for the Non-believers (3:131)

It comprises of severe physical and spiritual chastisements and tortures. The dwellers of Jahannam who posses a little bit of Imn will gain entrance into Jannah after being punished for their sins while the non-believers and Mushrikeen will remain in Jahannam eternally. Allh Tal says in Qurn:

Allh forgives not that partners should be set up with Him but He forgive anything else (4:48)

For those who reject their Allh is the penalty of Jahannam and evil is such destination (67:6)

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Verily the tree of Zaqqom will be the food of the sinful like molten brass; it will boil in their insides, like the boiling of scalding water. (44:43-45)

In front of such a one is Jahannam and he is given for drink boiling water. (14:16)

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And verily Jahannam is the promised abode for them all to it are seven gates. (15:43-44)

It is related in Bukhari that the mildest punishment to be inflicted to a person in Jahannam is that he will be made to wear a pair of sandals of fire and due to its intense heat his brain will boil up.

Non believers will not get salvation from Jahannam. The Qurn is replete with the words:

Those who reject (the Truth) among the people of the Book and among the polytheists will be in hell-fire, to dwell there in (forever). They are worst of creatures (98:6)

Proofs for the physical existence of Jannah

Allh Tal says in Qurn:

It (Jannah) has been prepared for the pious. (55-46)

The incident of Hadhrat Adam (AS) and Hadhrat Hawa (AS), when they were taken out of Jannah and placed on earth proves the physical existence of Jannah.

Also, Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) himself saw Jannah and Jahannam on the occasion of Meraj.

 

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Life After Death

Courtesy : WAMY

The question of whether there is a life after death is not an issue of scientific concern, for science only deals with the classification and analysis of sense data. While man has been conducting scientific inquiries and research, in the modern sense of the term, for only the last few centuries, he has been familiar with the concept of life after death since time immemorial.

All of the prophets sent by God for the benefit of humanity called upon their people to worship God and to believe in life after death. They laid so much emphasis on this last belief that even a slight doubt about its reality was considered a sign of denying both God and all other beliefs. The very fact that they have dealt with this metaphysical question of life after death so confidently and so uniformly, despite the fact that they appeared over thousands of years and in different places, proves that the source of their knowledge about this reality was one and the same: divine revelation. We also know that these prophets of God were opposed strongly by their people on this very issue, as many considered it impossible. Despite such opposition, however, the prophets were able to convince many people of its truth.

This raises the following question: what made those followers forsake the established beliefs, traditions and customs of their forefathers notwithstanding the risk of being totally alienated from their own community?

The simple answer is: they analyzed the issue with their minds and hearts and came gradually to the realization that the prophets were speaking the truth. Did they realize the truth through perceptual consciousness?No, for a perceptual experience of life after death is impossible. What they used was their rational, aesthetic, and moral consciousness, which God has given to every individual in addition to a perceptual consciousness. These additional faculties guides an individual through those realities that cannot be verified by sensory data. That is why all prophets of God appeal to the aesthetic, moral, and rational consciousness of man when discussing metaphysical matters. For example, when the idolaters of Makkah denied even the possibility of life after death, the Qur'an exposed the weakness of their stand by advancing very logical and rational arguments in support of it:

And he has coined for us similitude, and has forgotten the fact of his creation, saying: Who will revive these bones when they have rotted away? Say: He will revive them who produced them at the first, for He is the knower of every creation, Who has appointed for you fire from the green tree, and behold, you kindle from it. Is not He who created the heavens and the earth, able to create the like of them? Yes, and He is indeed the Supreme Creator, the All-knowing. (36: 78-81)

In another verse, the Qur'an says very clearly that non believers do not have a sound basis for their denial of life after death. It is based on pure conjecture:

They say, 'There is nothing but our present life; we die, and we live, and nothing but Time destroys us. Of that they have no knowledge; they merely conjecture. And when our revelations are recited to them, their only argument is that they say, 'Bring us our fathers, if you speak truly.' (45:2425)

Surely God will raise all those who have died, but only when He chooses to do so. A day will come when the whole universe will be destroyed and then the dead will be resurrected to stand before God. This day will be the beginning of the life that will never end, and on that day every person will be rewarded by God according to his or her good or evil deeds. This day is called the Day of Judgment.

The Qur'an states that there will be a life after death because the moral consciousness of mankind demands it. If there is no life after death, any belief God Himself becomes irrelevant. Furthermore, such a situation would mean that God is unjust and indifferent, for how could He create mankind and then lose interest in His creation? As God is just, those people who have committed crimes must be punished. All of those tyrants who have killed scores of innocent persons, unleashed great corruption and evil within their societies, enslaved their people to serve their whims, and other terrible deeds must be brought to justice.

As man's life is so short and the world is not eternal, true justice can only be meted out in the afterlife, which will have none of these limitations. The Qur'an states that the Day of Judgment must come and that God will decide the fate of each soul according to his or her record of deeds:

Those who disbelieve say: The Hour will never come unto us.' Say: Nay by my Lord but it is coming unto you surely' (He is) the Knower of the Unseen. Not an atom's weight, or less than that or greater, escapes Him in the heavens or in the earth, but it is in a clear record, that He may reward those who believe and do good works. For them is pardon and a rich provision. But those who strive against Our revelations, challenging Us, theirs will be a painful doom of wrath. (34:3-5)

The Day of Resurrection will be the manifestation of God's justice and mercy. He will shower His mercy on those who suffered during their lives for His sake, believing that eternal bliss was awaiting them. Those who abused the bounties of God and did not care about the life to come will be in the most miserable state. Drawing a comparison between them, the Qur'an says:

Is he, then, to whom we have promised a goodly promise the fulfillment of which he will meet, like the one whom We have provided with the good things of this life, and then on the Day of Resurrection he will be of those who will be brought arraigned before God?(28:61)

The Qur'an also states that this worldly life is a preparation for the eternal life after death. But those who deny it become slaves of their passions and desires and make fun of virtuous and God-conscious persons. Such persons realize their folly only at the time of their death, a time when their wish to be given a further return to this life and make amends will be in vain. Their miserable state at the time of death, the horror of the Day of Judgment, and the eternal bliss guaranteed to sincere believers are presented very clearly and powerfully in the Qur'an:

Until, when death comes unto one of them, he says, 'My Lord send me back, that I may do right in that which I have left: behind. But nay! It is but a word that he speaks; and behind them is a barrier until the day when they are raised. And when the Trumpet is blown there will be no kinship among them that day nor will they ask of one another. Then those whose scales are heavy, they are successful. And those whose scales are light are those who lose their souls, in hell abiding, the fire burns their faces and they are alum therein. (23: 99-104)

The belief in life after death guarantees success in the Hereafter and also makes this world a place of peace and happiness by transforming people into individuals who are more responsible and dutiful in their activities.

Consider the example of the people who lived in the Arabian Peninsula before the appearance of the Prophet Muhammad. They were great lovers of gambling, wine, tribal feuds, plundering, and murdering. As they had no concept of an afterlife, why not enjoy themselves as they saw fit? But as soon as they accepted the belief in the One God and an afterlife, they became a very disciplined nation. They gave up their vices, helped each other when requested to do so, and settled all their disputes on the basis of justice and equality.

The denial of life after death also has consequences in this world. When an entire nation denies belief in the afterlife, all kinds of evils and corruption are unleashed and the society is set on the path to ultimate destruction. The Qur'an mentions the terrible end of such pre-Islamic peoples as the Aad, the Thamud, and the Pharaoh of ancient Egypt:

(The tribes of) Thamud and 'Aad disbelieved in the judgment to come. As for Thamud, they were destroyed by the lightning and as for 'Aad, they were destroyed by a fierce roaring wind, which He imposed on them for seven long nights and eight long days so that you might see the people laid prostrate in it as if they were the stumps of fallen down palm trees. Now do you see a remnant of them? Pharaoh likewise and those before him and the subverted dines. They committed errors and they rebelled against the Messenger of their Lord, and He seized them with a surpassing grip. Lo, when the waters rose, We bore you in the running ship that We might make it a reminder for you and for heeding ears to hold. So when the [trumpet is blown with a single blast and the earth and the mountains are lifted up and crushed with a single blow, then on that day the [error shall come to pass, and the heavens shall be split for upon that day it shall be very frail. Then as or him who is given his book in his right hand, he shall say: Here, take and read my book! Certainly I thought that I should encounter my reckoning' So he shall be in a pleasing life in a lofty garden, its clusters nigh together 'Eat and drink with wholesome appetite for that you did long ago, in the days gone by.' But as for him who is given his book in his left hand, he shall say: -Would that I had not been given my book and not known my reckoning! Would that it had been the end. My wealth has not availed me; my authority is gone from me. (69:439)

There are very convincing reasons to believe in life after death.

First: All the prophets of God have called their people to believe in it.

Second: Whenever a society is built on the basis of this belief, it has been the most ideal and peaceful society, free of social and moral evils.

Third: History bears witness that whenever this belief has been rejected collectively by a group of people in spite of the repeated warning of the prophet, the group as a whole has been punished by God even in this world.

Fourth: The moral, aesthetic, and rational faculties of man endorse the possibility of life after death.

Fifth: God's attributes of justice and mercy have no meaning if there is no life after death.

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The issue of Inheritance

Compiled by:- Majlisul Ulema, South Africa

THE KINDS OF WASIYYAT

There are four kinds of wasiyyat: Wajib, Mustahab, Ja-iz and Haram.

WAJIB WASIYYAT (COMPULSORY)

It is obligatory for a person to make a Wasiyyat if he has liabilities to discharge. He should declare his liabilities verbally to witnesses or reduce these to writing so that rights of others are not plundered or lost after his death. Such liabilities are debt, articles of trust (Amanat) in his possession or any other right owing to others.

It is obligatory for a person to make a Wasiyyat in regard to Fardh Salat, Zakat, Fardh Saum, Kaffarah etc. which he had not discharged. It is a grave sin to refrain from a Wajib Wasiyyat.

MUSTAHAB WASIYYAT (PREFERABLE)

It is Mustahab to make Wasiyyat that the kafan (burial shrouds) and dafan (burial) be in conformity with the Sunnah and that no un-Islamic and bid'ah customs be organized.

If one's assets are considerable, it will then be Mustahab to bequeath any sum up to one third the value of the estate to charitable works, e.g., Musjid, Madrasah, etc. However, if one's estate is not considerable it will not be Mustahab to make a Wasiyyat for charity since such a Wasiyyat will prejudice the heirs. It is more meritorious to leave the entire estate to the heirs if the estate is small and the heirs are needy.

JA-IZ WASIYYAT (PERMISSIBLE)

It is permissible to make Wasiyyat of all things which are permissible, e.g. a certain person should conduct the Janazah Salat, etc.

HARAM WASIYYAT (UNLAWFUL)

It is haram to make wasiyyat of anything which is not permissible in Islam, e.g. to bury one's body in another city; to bequeath wealth to such a person or institution which will utilize the funds in haram activities; making a wasiyyat which interferes in any way whatever with the shares of the heirs.

It is also haram to dispose of one's estate during one's lifetime if the intention is to deprive one's heirs. A man who has no sons sometimes is averse to his brothers or step-brothers inheriting. In such an attitude he-shows displeasure with the decree of Allah Ta'ala. Consequently, he either disposes of his assets in his lifetime or he makes haram bequests to deprive the rightful heirs. This type of transgression will be severely punished in the Akhirah.

A Wasiyyat in favour of a person who has committed murder of the benefactor (i.e. the Musi or the one who makes Wasiyyat) is not valid whether the killing was by design or by error. Example: A man bequeaths a sum of money to his friend Zaid. After the Wasiyyat was made, Zaid kills his friend. The Wasiyyat which was made for Zaid now becomes null and void.

EXECUTING THE WASIYYAT

1. The Wasiyyat will be attended to after payment of the funeral expenses and debts.

A Wasiyyat is executed in one third of the value of the estate. After payment of funeral expenses and debts i.e. in one third of the remaining estate.

The amount of a Wasiyyat in excess of one third is not valid unless voluntarily approved by the adult heirs. The approval of minor heirs is not valid. The excess shall be paid from the shares of only the consenting adult heirs.

If more than one Wasiyyat have been made for an amount in excess of one third and the heirs refuse approval of the excess, the Wajib (compulsory) Wasiyyat will be attended to first. Example: A man made a Wasiyyat of Rs. 10,000 for a Musjid as well as Wasiyyat to pay Rs. 5,000 as Fidyah for his Fardh Salat which he had not discharged. However, after payment of funeral expenses and debts the value of his assets is Rs. 30,000. One third is Rs. 10,000 which is insufficient to execute both Wasiyyats in full, therefore, the Wajib Wasiyyat being the Fidyah of Rs. 5,000 will be paid first and the remaining Rs. 5,000 will be given to the Musjid.

If a third is sufficient for only the Wajib Wasiyyat, the Mustahab Wasiyyat (e.g. for the Musjid) will be cancelled.

When the third is insufficient for execution of more than one Wasiyyat, priority will be accorded to the Wasiyyat of greater importance. Example: Wasiyyat was made to pay the Fidyah for unfulfilled Salat/Saum and unfulfilled Qur'bani. Since Salat/Saum is more important than Qur'bani, payment of the Fidyah of Salat/Saum has priority. Salat and Saum are Fardh whereas Qur'bani is Wajib.

When all the Wasiyyats are of equal category, the Wasiyyat which was made first will be discharged and the others will be cancelled, i.e. if the third cannot accommodate them. Example: Wasiyyat was made to pay the Fidyah of Saum and Fidyah of Salat. Both these are in the same category of importance. Since the third is insufficient, the Fidyah of the Saum will first be paid because the mayyit had made this Wasiyyat first. If there remains anything of the third after payment of the Fidyah of the Saum, it will be used for paying the Fidyah of the Salat.

Example: Wasiyyat was first made to give a sum to the Musjid and a sum to the Madrasah. Both these are in the same category. If the third is insufficient for both, the Wasiyyat for the Musjid will be attended to first because the mayyit had made this Wasiyyat first.

If Wasiyyat was made to perform Hajj, it should be from the mayyit's hometown. If the third is insufficient for the expenses from the mayyit's hometown, the Hajj should be performed from any other place from where the amount of the third will suffice. A person should be appointed at that place to perform the Hajj.

If Wasiyyat of equal amounts were made for two persons and the third is insufficient to execute both Wasiyyats, the third will be equally shared between the two.

If the Wasiyyat of different amounts were made for several persons and the third is insufficient to execute all the Wasiyyats, the third will be distributed among the beneficiaries proportionally.

Example: (i) Rs. l,000 was bequeathed to Zaid, Rs. 2,000 to Amr and Rs. 3,000 to Bakr. However after payment of the mayyit's, funeral expenses and debts there remained only Rs. 9,000. The third of Rs. 3,000 will be distributed among the beneficiaries as follows:

Zaid 1/6 = Rs. 500

Amr 2/6 = Rs. l,000

Bakr 3/6 = Rs. 1.500

               = Rs. 3.000

(ii) Rs. 3,000 was bequeathed to Zaid and Rs. 5,000 to Amr. The third is insufficient for both Wasiyyat and the adult heirs refuse to approve of the excess. Therefore, the third will be divided proportionately as follows: Zaid will receive 3/8 of the third and Amr 5/8.

(iii) Rs. l,500 was bequeathed to Zaid and Rs. 500 to Amr. However, after payment of funeral expenses and debts, the value of the remaining assets is Rs. 3,000. One third, therefore, is Rs. 1000 which is insufficient for the Wasiyyats (Rs. 1,500 + Rs. 500 = Rs. 2,000). The Rs. l,000 will, therefore, be shared proportionally by the two beneficiaries as follows:

Zaid's bequest = Rs. l,500

Amr's bequest  = Rs. 500

                           = Rs. 2,000

Zaid's proportionate share = Rs. 1500  x  100
                                                         2000       1

                                                = 1500
                                                        2

Zaid     Rs. 750

Amr     Rs. 250

A Wasiyyat in favour of the children will be shared equally by male and female children. Example: The mayyit had bequeathed Rs. 2,000 for the children of Zaid who has two sons and three daughters. Each one of Zaid's children will receive Rs. 400.

If the Wasiyyat stipulates that an item of a specific value be given, it will be permissible to give that value in lieu of the item, e.g. the mayyit had made Wasiyyat that Rs. 500 worth of rice, etc. be given to the poor.

9. It is not binding to execute the Wasiyyat by giving rice, etc. The amount of Rs. 500 in cash could also be given to the poor.

Similarly, if the Wasiyyat stipulates a sum of cash to be given, it is not binding to give the beneficiary cash. The amount may be given in kind as well.

The heirs are not bound to hand over to the beneficiary of the Wasiyyat the specific asset which was bequeathed for him/her, e.g. the mayyit had bequeathed a certain vehicle to his friend Zaid. The heirs are entitled to retain the vehicle and give Zaid the value of the vehicle in cash.

The sum in excess of the amount necessary for the execution of the Wasiyyat is the property of the heirs, e.g. the mayyit had bequeathed R8,000 for Hajj to be performed on his behalf. However, if the Hajj could be performed with R6,000, the excess of R2,000 belongs to the heirs.

The Wasiyyat of a Mayyit who is insolvent shall not be executed because all the assets of the estate belong to the creditors.

If a man says to his debtor: "After my death you are absolved of the money you owe me, this will be in the category of Wasiyyat and the debt up to one third of the value of the estate will be waived.

NOTE:

1. In any Wasiyyat of more then one third the value of the remaining estate, the excess can be executed with the approval of the adult heirs.

The consent of the minor heirs is not valid.

The excess (i.e. more than one third) will be paid from the shares of only those adult heirs who have given their voluntary approval.

The Shariah does not oblige the heirs to approve the excess amount.

REVOKING A WASIYYAT

1. While the Musi (the one making a Wasiyyat) is alive, he has the right of revoking a Wasiyyat he has made. When revoking a Wasiyyat it is essential that the Musi uses such terms which clearly indicate that the Wasiyyat has been revoked, e.g. 'I am revoking this Wasiyyat', 'I am cancelling this Wasiyyat', 'I have cancelled/revoked this Wasiyyat'

The mere denial of the Wasiyyat will not constitute a cancellation. Thus, if the Musi says: 'I don't know anything about the Wasiyyat you are talking about', it will not cancel the Wasiyyat which is confirmed by the testimony of witnesses. If he has no intention of honouring the Wasiyyat, he should revoke it in clear terms.

2. An operation which indicates that the Musi has revoked his wasiyyat, constitutes cancellation of the Wasiyyat, e.g., After having bequeathed a plot of land to Zaid, the Musi erects a building on the spot or sells it. This action constitutes cancellation of the Wasiyat.

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Erection of Masaajid

Hadhrat Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (RA)

Among the rights (huqooq) of the Masjid are:

Performing Salaat in the Masjid.

Estabilishing performance of Salaat in jamaat.

Cleaning and maintaining the Masjid in good condition.

Visiting the Masjid in abundance.

Respecting and revering the Masjid.

Some Quraanic aayaat and Ahadith in this regard will now be narrated.

1. Allah Taala states in the Quraan Majeed: Who is more unjust than the one who prevents (others) from the thikr of Allah in the Masaajid and who prevents (others) from visiting the Masaajid (for purposes of ibaadat)? (And who is more unjust than the one) who strives to ruin the Masaajid?

2. In reality, construction and maintaining the Masaajid of Allah are the duties of only those who believe in Allah and the Last Day; who establish regular Salaat; who pay Zakaat and who fear none besides Allah. Such people shall attain their goal (Jannat and Najaat in the Aakhirah). (Taubah)

This aayat conveys the glad tidings of Jannat and Najaat (salvation) for those who erect, administer and maintain the Masaajid.

3. They (the people of Hidaayat) are in such places (for purposes of ibaadat) in regard to which Allah has ordered respect. In these places the Name of Allah is remembered.(Surah Noor)

The places mentioned in this aayat refer to the Masaajid. The way of respecting the Masaajid is explained in the Ahadith which appear hereunder.

4. Hadhrat Abu Saeed Khurdi (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: When you observe any person concerning himself with the Masjid, then bear witness that he is a believer because Allah Taala says:
Verily, only those who believe in Allah, the Last Day, perform Salaat pay zakat and fear none besides Allah, erect (and maintain) the Masaajid of Allah. (Surah Taubah)

Performing Salaat in the Masjid, visiting the Masjid in abundance, cleaning the Masjid, maintaining the Masjid, etc, all come within the scope of this hadith.

5. Hadhrat Utmaan (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Whoever erects a Masjid purely for the sake of gaining Allahs Pleasure, Allah will erect for him a mansion in Jannat.(Bukhari, Muslim)

Sincerity of intention is conditional for the obtainal of this thawaab. This promise of reward applies to the erection of new Masaajid as well as to the repair and renovation of existing Masaajid. This is clear from the fact that Hadrat Uthmaan (radiallahu anhu) narrated this hadith on the occasion of renovating Masjidun Nabwi. Other ahadith too confirm that this great reward is even for those who assist in the construction of the Masjid no matter how small their contribution may be. Allah Taala rewards on the basis of the sincerity of ones intention.

6. It is narrated that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) himself carried bricks on the occasion of the construction of Masjidun Nabawi. In the hadith it is stated that no matter how small ones contribution may be towards the construction of a Masjid, Allah Taala will erect a mansion in Jannat in return for the contribution. (Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Majah)

7. Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Whoever erects a Masjid for Allah Taala (with sincerity), Allah Taala will erect for him a mansion in Jannat, far greater than the Masjid. (Ahmad)

The quality and size of the palace which Allah Taala will bestow on the one contributing towards the erection of a Masjid will be commensurate with ones sincerity.

8. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Allah Taala will erect a palace of pearls and emeralds in Jannat for one who erects with halaal (lawful) earnings a house (Masjid) for Allah Taala. (Tabraani, Ausat)

The sanctity of the Masjid demands that only lawful and wholesome wealth and materials be expended in its erection. Lawful in this context applies to all things which go into the erection of the Masjid. Nothing haraam should be employed in the Masjid.

In some places, especially rural areas, people build Masjids on land which belong to others. When the owner objects, the builders of the Masjid take offence and brand him as being anti-Islam. If the owner happens to be a non-Muslim, the builders of the Masjid consider it a great act of thawaab in confronting him and refusing to hand over his land. When the owner happens to be a non-Muslim the errant Muslims responsible for the structure, consider their dispute and intransigence against the non-Muslim landlord as a conflict between kufr and Islam. This attitude of the Muslim is unjust and sinful. Remember well, that a structure reared on the land of a person without his consent is not a Masjid. The Shariah does not accept such a building erected on usurped ground as a Masjid.

9. Hadhrat Abu Saeed (radiallahu anhu) narrates: There was an African woman who used to sweep the Masjid. One night she passed away. In the morning Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was informed of her death. He said: Why did you not inform me? Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) then accompanied by the Shaabah went to her grave and recited takbeer there (he made dua for her). (Ibn Majah, Ibn Khuzaimah)

In one narration it is said that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) asked her (i.e. the dead woman who was buried this was one of the miracles of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam): Which act did you discover to be of great significance The dead woman replayed: Sweeping the Masjid. (Abu Shaikh Isbahaani)

This hadith indicates the great significance of caring for the Masjid. Even the simple task of sweeping the Masjid was an act honoured greatly by Allah Taala and Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). The importance and significance of this act of sweeping rendered by the little-known and forlorn African lady were such that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) voiced his displeasure at not being informed immediately of her death. Her service of sweeping the Masjid was so noble that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) specially went with a group of Sahaabah to her grave. Allah Taala and Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) regard the service of sweeping the Masjid most highly. But, alas! Nowadays, people consider this task lowly and below their dignity.

10. Hadhrat Abu Qursaafah (radiallahu anhu) narrates a lengthy hadith in which Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Removing dust particles and waste from the Masjid is the mahr (dowry) of large-eyed damsels of Janat. (Tibraani, Kabeer)

11. Hadhrat Abu Saeed Khudri (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
Whoever removes from the Masjid any offensive item, Allah Taala will in return erect for him a palace in Jannat. (Ibn Majah)

12. Hadhrat Aishah (radiallahu anhu) narrates: Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) commanded us to build Masaajid in all neighbourhoods and he ordered us to maintain the Masaajid clean. (Ahmad, Tirmizi, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, Ibn Khuzaimah)

The existence of Masaajid in all neighbourhoods facilitates the regular and easy performance of Jamaat Salaat by all residing in the neighbourhood. In this way everyone can acquire the maximum benefits of Salaat and all other advantages attendant to Jamaat Salaat. Since Masaajid are places of sanctity, nothing impure should be taken in. Impure garments and people in the state of impurity should not enter the Masaajid. Regular cleaning of the Masaajid also comes within the scope of the command stated in the abovementioned hadith.

(It should now be clear that the practice of taking into the Masjid groups of kuffaar tourists on sight-seeing, is not permissible. Firstly, the kuffaar are constantly in the state of ceremonial impurity (the states of hadith and jananabat); secondly, the kuffaars attire is not in accord with the reverence of the Masjid; thirdly, the garments of the kuffaar are generally najis (impure); fourthly; the kuffaar visitors attend the Masjid in mixed groups of male and female. This in an act of the greatest immorality in so far as Islam is concerned. Translator)

13. Hadhrat Waathilah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Perfume the Masaajid on Fridays. (Ibn Majah, Kabeer, Tibraani)

This hadith does not mean that the act of perfuming the Masjid should be restricted to only Fridays. Friday has been mentioned because more people are present for Juma Salaat, hence the greater significance of cleaning the Masjid on Fridays.

14. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
When you see someone trading (buying and selling) in the Masjid, then say: May Allah not grant you profit in your trade. When you see someone calling out in the Masjid for his lost article, then say: May Allah not return your article.
(Tirmizi, Nisaai, Ibn Khuzaimah and Haakim)

In another hadith it is said: The Masaajid are not made for this.
(Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah)

The Masaajid are not places for mundane activities. Masaajid are not places for mundane activities. Masaajid are erected purely for the thikr and ibaadat of Allah Taala, hence worldly activities such as buying, selling and making announcements pertaining to worldly affairs are not permissible. The hadith mentions the prohibition of searching for lost articles inside the Masjid. By this is meant making an announcement inside the Masjid regarding an article lost outside the Masjid. The curse ordered by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) for such announcements and worldly activities inside the Masjid is to serve as a warning. However, if there is fear of creating a commotion inside the Masjid by uttering the curse which Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has commanded for such occasions, then utter the curse (via., May Allah not return your lost article.) silently. The sanctity. The sanctity of the Masjid does not allow the perpetration of mundane acts in it.

15. Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: There are several acts which are improper in regard to a Masjid. The Masjid should not be used as a thorough-fare (a short-cut to get to the other side of the road); weapons should not be borne inside the Masjid; raw meat should not to be taken in; punishment should not be meted out inside it; and, it should not be made a place of trade.
(Ibn Majah)

All such worldly acts are negatory to the sanctity and respects of the Masjid, hence forbidden. The prohibited activities are not restricted to those mentioned in this hadith. Everything which is in conflict with the sanctity and dignity of the Masjid is not allowed in the Masjid.

16. Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Masood (radiallahu anhu) narrate that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
Soon will there be such people who will indulge in (worldly) conversation inside the Masjid. Allah cares not for them.
(Ibn Habbaan)

This hadith refers to the prohibition of worldly talk inside the Masjid. It mentions the displeasure of Allah Taala. Such people are deprived of His Mercy and instead invite Allahs Wrath.

17. Hadhrat Abudullah Ibn Umar (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: For every step taken by one who proceeds to the Masjid for Jamaat Salaat, a sin (which he had already committed) is wiped out and a good deed is recorded. This happens in going to as well as in returning from the Masjid.

The thawaab for proceeding to and even returning from the Masjid is indeed colossal. There is no limit to Allahs mercy.
18. Hadhrat Abu Darda (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Whoever walks to the Masjid in the darkness of the night, will meet Allah with Noor on the Day of Qiyaamah. (Tibraani)

19. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that he heard Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) say: Allah Taala will grant His Shade to seven (types) of persons on the day when their will be no shade besides His Shade. (Among the seven) one is a man whose heart is attached to the Masjid. (Bukhari, Muslim)

20. Hadhrat Anas (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Refrain from these foul-smelling (vegetables) before coming to our Masaajid. If you wish to eat these, then eliminate the bad odour with fire. (i.e. by means of cooking). (Tibraani)

This hadith prohibits the eating of raw garlic, onions and the like before coming to the Masaajid. Other ahadith specifically mention garlic and onions.

21. Hadhrat Abu Umaamah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Whoever proceeds to the Masjid having only the intention of learning or teaching some goodness (something of the Deen), will receive the thawaab of a perfect Hajj.
(Tibraani)

From this hadith we learn that a Masjid while it is a place of Salaat is also a place of acquiring knowledge of the Deen. It is therefore highly beneficial and meritorious if in the Masjid there always remains a person who can impart teachings of the Deen.

From all the aforementioned narrations, the following program of actions is established for Muslims:

a) In all places-cities, towns and villages-Masaajid should be built in accordance with the needs of the place.

b) All means and agencies employed in the contruction of the Masjid must be halaal.

c) The Masjids must be respected and honoured. They have to be properly maintained and kept free of all offensive odours and uncleanliness or any activity which causes offense and violates the sanctity of the Masjid.

d) Males must perform Salaat in the Masjid. They must not forgo jamaat (congregational Salaat) without valid reason. In addition to the increased thawaab for performing Salaat in jamaat in the Masjid, there is also the benefit of fostering good ties with Muslims. One remains informed of the condition of the community. This is clear from the ahadith.

e) The community should retain in the Masjid the service of such a man who is competent enough to instruct the community in the teachings of the Deen.

f) Whenever one finds the opportunity, proceed to the Masjid and become engaged there in Deeni activity.
The ahadith make it abundantly clear that it is far better for women to perform Salaat at home. (In fact, it is no longer permissible for women to attend the Masjid for performance of their Salaat. Translator)

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Islamic Finance

Justice Mawlana Taqi Usmani (DB)

Lease as a mode of financing

Like murabahah, lease is not originally a mode of financing. It is simply a transaction meant to transfer the usufruct of a property from one person to another for an agreed period against an agreed consideration. However, certain financial institutions have adopted leasing as a mode of financing instead of long term lending on the basis of interest. This kind of lease is generally known as the 'financial lease' as distinguished from the 'operating lease' and many basic features of actual leasing transaction have been dispensed with therein.

When interest-free financial institutions were established in the near past, they found that leasing is a recognized mode of finance throughout the world. On the other hand, they realized that leasing is a lawful transaction according to Shariah and it can be used as an interest-free mode of financing. Therefore, leasing has been adopted by the Islamic financial institutions, but very few of them paid attention to the fact that the 'financial lease' has a number of characteristics more similar to interest than to the actual lease transaction. That is why they started using the same model agreements of leasing as were in vogue among the conventional financial institutions without any modification, while a number of their provisions were not in conformity with Shariah.

As mentioned earlier, leasing is not a mode of financing in its origin. However, the transaction may be used for financing, subject to certain conditions. It is not sufficient for this purpose to substitute the name of 'interest' by the name of 'rent' and replace the name of 'mortgage' by the name of 'leased asset'. There must be a substantial difference between leasing and an interest-bearing loan. That will be possible only by following all the Islamic rules of leasing, some of which have been mentioned in the first part of this chapter.

To be more specific, some basic differences between the contemporary financial leasing and the actual leasing allowed by the Shariah are indicated below.

The commencement of lease

1. Unlike the contract of sale, the agreement of Ijarah can be effected for a future date.1 Thus, while a forward sale is not allowed in Shariah, an 'Ijarah' for a future date is allowed, on the condition that the rent will be payable only after the leased asset is delivered to the lessee.

In most cases of the 'financial lease' the lessor i.e. the financial institution purchases the asset through the lessee himself. The lessee purchases the asset on behalf of the lessor who pays its price to the supplier, either directly or through the lessee. In some lease agreements, the lease commences on the very day on which the price is paid by the lessor, irrespective of whether the lessee has effected payment to the supplier and taken delivery of the asset or not. It may mean that lessee's liability for the rent starts before the lessee takes delivery of the asset. This is not allowed in Shariah, because it amounts to charging rent on the money given to the customer which is nothing but interest, pure and simple.

The correct way, according to Shariah, is that the rent be charged after the lessee has taken delivery of the asset, and not from the day the price has been paid. If the supplier has delayed the delivery after receiving the full price, the lessee should not be liable for the rent of the period of delay.

Different relations of the parties

It should be clearly understood that when the lessee himself has been entrusted with the purchase of the asset intended to be leased, there are two separate relations between the institution and the client which come into operation one after the other. In the first instance, the client is an agent of the institution to purchase the asset on latter's behalf. At this stage, the relation between the parties is nothing more than the relation of a principal and his agent. The relation of lessor and lessee has not yet come into operation.

The second stage begins from the date when the client takes delivery from the supplier. At this stage, the relation of lessor and lessee comes to play its role. These two capacities of the parties should not be mixed up or confused with each other. During the first stage, the client cannot be held liable for the obligations of a lessee. In this period, he is responsible to carry out the functions of an agent only. But when the asset is delivered to him, he is liable to discharge his obligations as a lessee.

However, there is a point of difference between murabahah and leasing. In murabahah, as mentioned earlier, actual sale should take place after the client takes delivery from the supplier, and the previous agreement of murabahah is not enough for effecting the actual sale. Therefore, after taking possession of the asset as an agent, he is bound to give intimation to the institution, and make an offer for the purchase from him. The sale takes place after the institution accepts the offer.

The procedure in leasing is different, and a little shorter. Here the parties need not effect the lease contract after taking delivery. If the institution, while appointing the client its agent, has agreed to lease the asset with effect from the date of delivery, the lease will automatically start on that date without any additional procedure. There are two reasons for this difference between murabahah and leasing:

Firstly, it is a necessary condition for a valid sale that it should be effected instantly. Thus, a sale attributed to a future date is invalid in Shariah. But leasing can be attributed to a future date. Therefore, the previous agreement is not sufficient in the case of murabahah, while it is quite enough in the case of leasing.

Secondly, the basic principle of Shariah is that one cannot claim a profit or a fee for a property the risk of which was never borne by him. Applying this principle to murabahah, the seller cannot claim a profit over a property which never remained under his risk for a moment. Therefore, if the previous agreement is held to be sufficient for effecting a sale between the client and the institution, the asset shall be transferred to the client simultaneously when he takes its possession, and the asset shall not come into the risk of the seller even for a moment. That is why the simultaneous transfer is not possible in murabahah, and there should be a fresh offer and acceptance after the delivery.

In leasing, however, the asset remains under the risk and ownership of the lessor throughout the leasing period, because the ownership has not been transferred. Therefore, if the lease period begins right from the time when the client has taken delivery, it does not violate the principle mentioned above.

Expenses consequent to ownership

As the lessor is the owner of the asset, and he has purchased it from the supplier through his agent, he is liable to pay all the expenses incurred in the process of its purchase and its import to the country of the lessor. Consequently, he is liable to pay the freight and the customs duty etc. He can, of course, include all these expenses in his cost and can take them into consideration while fixing the rentals, but as a matter of principle, he is liable to bear all these expenses as the owner of the asset. Any agreement to the contrary, as is found in the traditional financial leases, is not in conformity with Shariah.

Liability of the parties in case of loss to the asset

As mentioned in the basic principles of leasing, the lessee is responsible for any loss caused to the asset by his misuse or negligence. He can also be made liable to the wear and tear which normally occurs during its use. But he cannot be made liable to a loss caused by the factors beyond his control. The agreements of the traditional 'financial lease' generally do not differentiate between the two situations. In a lease based on the Islamic principles, both the situations should be dealt with separately.

Variable Rentals in Long Term Leases

In the long term lease agreements it is mostly not in the benefit of the lessor to fix one amount of rent for the whole period of lease, because the market conditions change from time to time.

In this case the lessor has two options:

(a) He can contract lease with a condition that the rent shall be increased according to a specified proportion (e.g. 5%) after a specified period (like one year).

(b) He can contract lease for a shorter period after which the parties can renew the lease at new terms and by mutual consent, with full liberty to each one of them to refuse the renewal, in which case the lessee is bound to vacate the leased property and return it back to the lessor.

These two options are available to the lessor according to the classical rules of Islamic Fiqh. However, some contemporary scholars have allowed, in long-term leases, to tie up the rental amount with a variable benchmark which is so well-known and well-defined that it does not leave room for any dispute. For example, it is permissible according to them to provide in the lease contract that in case of any increase in the taxes imposed by the government on the lessor, the rent will be increased to the extent of same amount. Similarly it is allowed by them that the annual increase in the rent is tied up with the rate of inflation. Therefore if there is an increase of 5% in the rate of inflation, it will result in an increase of 5% in the rent as well. Based on the same principle, some Islamic banks use the rate of interest as a benchmark to determine the rental amounts. They want to earn the same profit through leasing as is earned by the conventional banks through advancing loans on the basis of interest. Therefore, they want to tie up the rentals with the rate of interest and instead of fixing a definite amount of rental, they calculate the cost of purchasing the lease assets and want to earn through rentals an amount equal to the rate of interest. Therefore, the agreement provides that the rental will be equal to the rate of interest or to the rate of interest plus something. Since the rate of interest is variable, it cannot be determined for the whole lease period. Therefore, these contracts use the interest rate of a particular country (like LIBOR) as a benchmark for determining the periodical increase in the rent.

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Can the Pope be Reformed?

By Khalid Baig

When Pope Benedict XVI was installed last year, Jerusalem Post predicted a radical change in Vatican's relations with Islam: "The era of subtle, discreet, yet firm confrontation has begun." It noted with joy that in his greeting the new pope welcomed fellow Catholics, other Christians, and Jews --- but not Muslims.

There was nothing subtle or discreet in the Pope's calculated diatribes against Islam in his University address this month, but there were indications that these may have been opening salvos in the Pope's predicted crusade. He was fulfilling the expectations of Islamophobes of all persuasions. This includes Oriana Fallaci, an author with a venomous pen, who dedicated her life to slandering and vilifying Muslims. The Pope --- considered to be occupied with the issues of faith --- had no problem granting a secret audience to this self declared atheist. This was in August, a month before her death. It is difficult to imagine what brought her and the Pope together except their common hatred of Islam. The racist author, who said "Muslims multiplied like rats," was all praise for the new pope, who in her words was urging Europe to value their Christian (read: medieval) roots. Interesting that an atheist should be jubilant over Christian roots. Hatred, it seems, can produce hypocrisy.

We can gain further insight into the mindset of the new pope by listening to Father Joseph Fessio, a student and friend of Pope Benedict XVI, who gave an hour long interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show (January 2006) on the problems Christianity, especially in Europe, faced with the spread of Islam. Read this:

Hugh Hewitt: Great to have you. I wanted to talk to you today, because Mark Steyn, a tremendous writer, wrote a piece yesterday on the loss of the West, because of depopulation, and because of a lack of seriousness. And I believe that this has been a theme in your teacher, Benedict XVI's first nine months as Pope. Am I right about that?

Joseph Fessio: Absolutely right, Hugh.

The problems mentioned above are diminishing Western populations and their decreasing faith in Christianity. In contrast Muslims are both increasing in numbers as well as in their faith in Islam. Later in the interview Joseph Fessio makes it explicit: "[in] 2005, there were more Muslims born in France than people of traditional French background. Within four years, the top four cities in Holland will be...most populous cities, will have a Muslim majority. I mean, if we look at the demographics, which can change, but they change slowly, I don't see any other issue for Europe, or any result, than looking like North Africa, you know? Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Egypt."

So Muslims are a problem. But the bigger problem is their faith. Benedict XVI himself sees that as a major challenge. In his interview based book, Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium (1997), written when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he notes that in the post colonial world (since 1960 in his words) Muslims have been coming back to Islam:

So the Muslims now have the consciousness that in reality Islam has remained in the end as the more vigorous religion and that they have something to say to the world, indeed, are the essential religious force of the future. Before, the shariah and all those things had already left the scene, in a sense; now there is a new pride. Thus a new zest, a new intensity about wanting to live Islam has awakened. This is its great power: We have a moral message that has existed without interruption since the prophets, and we will tell the world how to live it, whereas the Christians certainly can't. We must naturally come to terms with this inner power of Islam. [emphasis added]

Unfortunately, this inner strength of Islam leads to rage rather than reflection in the Islamophobic quarters. Hence the campaign to vilify Islam.

Apparently, the Pope's address was his way of coming to terms with the inner power of Islam.

It is interesting that Benedict XVI chose the issue of faith and reason for his attack on Islam. For unlike Christianity, Islamic faith contains no mysteries or perplexing constructs like Trinity or the dual nature of Jesus, peace be upon him (at once human and divine). Ask those who are coming back to Islam in the Western world and on the top of their list you will find the simplicity and reasonableness of Islamic teachings and doctrines. They find here a belief system that immediately resonates with their own intellect. That is why the Qur'an repeatedly urges its readers to think and reflect, and says that those who will face eternal doom in the Hereafter will be the ones who failed to use their intellect.

They will further say: 'Had we but listened or used our intelligence, we should not (now) be among the Companions of the Blazing Fire!' [Al-Mulk 67:10]

The Pope managed to use the issue of faith versus reason to attack Islam not by reading the Qur'an or listening to the Prophet, Sall-Allahu Alayhi wa sallam, but by invoking a medieval emperor's polemics against Islam. (The emperor had been defeated by the Ottomans and it stands to reason that he was bitter.)

The propaganda machine that immediately rushed to his aid stated that the Pope had not approved the statement. He was clumsy, but he committed no offence. As if quoting a diatribe without clearly rejecting it can have some purpose other than propagating it. But here the Pope had done more. He called Manuel II erudite --- a clear word of praise --- and approvingly reported the conclusion he drew, implying the validity of the emperor's reasoning.

Then came the explanations. First there was the Pope's disingenuous regret over the "reaction" of Muslims. Not over his words or actions but their reactions. A few days later the Pope justified his slander by asserting that it was a necessary rhetorical device. He said the offending quote was necessary "to introduce the audience to the drama and relevance" of his talk, reported Stacy Meichtry, of Religion News Service on 21 September 2006. Interestingly the media machine kept on berating Muslims for not accepting an apology that had never been offered.

In the midst of all this the Vatican condemned those who were misinterpreting the Papal quote. We need to ask them, in how many different ways can one interpret a quote like the following: "Show me just what Christianity brought, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, like inquisitions, forced conversions of millions of aborigines in America and Australia, and a brutal slave trade that decimated Africa."

Although the media machine cleverly missed it completely, the real issue is Islamophobia. This is not an issue that can be swept under the rug. The currents of Islamophobia are strong in the West today; especially so in Europe. And with the Pope putting the weight of his office behind this, it can only get uglier.

This ominous development threatens not only Muslims. Muslims have been natural allies of Catholics on moral issues like abortion. But by pointing its guns at them, the Vatican is going to weaken its own position. For those who value that alliance as well as tolerance and peace in the world, the big question remains: Can this Pope be reformed? Can he be made to see reason?

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The Spirit of West

Mohammad Asad

Contd from previous issue

Whatever was best in the culture of old Greece and the later Hellenistic period the Arabs had revived in their learning and improved upon in the centuries that followed the establishment of the early Islamic Empire. I do not say that the absorption of Hellenistic thought was an undisputed benefit for the Arabs, and the Muslims at large, because it was not. But for all the difficulties which this revived Hellenistic culture may have caused to the development of Muslims in a truly Islamic sense, it acted, through the Arabs, as an immense stimulus for Europe. The Middle Ages had laid waste Europe's productive forces. Sciences were stagnant, superstition reigned supreme, the social life was primitive and crude to an extent hardly conceivable to-day. At that point the cultural influence of the Islamic Worldat first through the adventure of the Crusades in the East and the brilliant universities of Muslim Spain in the West, and later through the growing commercial relations established by the republics of Genoa and Venicebegan to hammer at the bolted doors of the European Civilisation. Before the dazzled eyes of the European scholars and thinkers another civilisation appearedrefined, progressive, full of passionate life and in possession of cultural treasures which were long ago lost and forgotten in Europe. But what the Arabs did was far more than a mere revival of old Greece. They created an entirely new scientific world of their own, they found and developed new avenues of research and philosophy. All this they communicated through different channels to the Western World. It is not too much to say that the modern scientific age in which at present we are living was not inaugurated in the cities of Christian Europe, but in the Islamic centres of Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo and Cordova.

The effect of these influences on Europe was tremendous. With the approach of the Islamic Civilisation a new intellectual light dawned on the skies of the West and infused it with fresh life and thirst for progress. It was no more than a just appreciation of its value that European history termed the period of regeneration which resulted of the invigorating contact with the Islamic culture, the Renaissancethat is, " re-birth. " It was a re-birth of Europe, in fact, and nothing less.

The rejuvenating currents emanating from the Islamic World enabled the best minds of Europe to fight with new strength against the disastrous supremacy of the Christian Church. In the beginning this contest had the outward appearance of reform movements which sprang up, almost simultaneously, in different European countries, with the object of adapting the Christian way of thinking to the new exigencies of life. They were sound and reasonable in their way, and, if they had met with real spiritual success, they might have produced a certain reconciliation between science and religious thought in Europe. But, as it happened, the wrong caused by the Church of the Middle Ages was already too far-reaching to be repaired by mere reformation which, moreover, quickly degenerated into political struggles between interested groups. And as the decades and the centuries advanced, the spiritual hold of the Christian religious thought grew weaker and weaker, and in the 18th century the predominance of the Church was definitely swept overboard by the French Revolution and its cultural consequences in other countries.

At that time again it appeared as if a new spiritual civilisation, freed from the tyrannical gloom of the scholastical theology of the Middle Ages, had a chance of growth in Europe, In fact, at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century we encounter some of the best and spiritually most powerful European personalities in the domain of philosophy, literature and music. But this new spiritual, religious conception of life was and remained restricted to a few individuals. The great European masses, after having been for such a long time imprisoned in religious dogmas which had no connection with the natural endeavours of man, could not, and would not, once those chains were broken, find their way back to a religious orientation so soon.

Perhaps the most important factor which prevented Europe's religious regeneration was the current conception of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Philosophically minded Christians, of course, never took this idea of sonship in its literal sense ; they understood by it a manifestation of God's Mercy in human form. But, unfortunately, not every one has a philosophical mind. For the overwhelming majority of Christians the expression " son " assumed a very direct meaning, although there was always a mystical flavour attached to it. For them, Christ's sonship of God quite naturally led to an anthro-pomorphisation of God Himself, who assumed the shape of a benignant old man with white flowing beard: and this shape, perpetuated by innumerable paintings of high artistic value, remained impressed upon the European's subconscious mind. During the time when the dogma of the Church reigned supreme in Europe, there was not much inclination to question this strange conception. But, with the intellectual shackles of the Middle Ages once broken, the thinking among the Europeans could dot reconcile themselves to a humanised God-Father; on the other hand, this anthropomor-phisation had become a standing factor in the popular conception of God. After a period of enlightenment, Europe instinctively shrunk back from the conception of God as presented in the teachings of the Church: and as this was the only conception to which it had been accustomed, it rejected the very idea of God, and with it, religion.

In addition to this, the beginning of the industrial era with its glamour of a stupendous material progress directed men towards new interests, and thus contributed to the subsequent religious vacuum of Europe. In this vacuum the development of the Western Civilisation took a tragic turntragic from the view point of one who regards religion as the strongest reality in human life. Freed from its former serfdom towards Christianity, the European mind in the 19th and 20th centuries overstepped the limit and settled itself, by degrees, into a decided antagonism against any form of spiritual claim upon man. Out of the subconscious fear of being once overwhelmed by forces claiming spiritual authority, Europe has become the champion of everything anti-religious in principle and action. It has returned to its Roman inheritance.

One cannot be blamed for the contention that it was not a potential superiority of the Christian religion over other creeds which enabled the West to attain its brilliant material achievements, because those achievements are due to the opposition of Europe's intellectual forces against the very principles of the Christian Church. The materialist conception of life is Europe's revenge on Christian spirituality which went astray from the natural truths of life.

It is not within our scope to go deeper into the private relations between Christianity and the modern Western Civilisation. I have only tried to show three of the reasons, perhaps the main reasons, why that civilisation is so thoroughly anti-religious in its conceptions and methods: one is the inheritance of the Roman Civilisation with its utterly materialistic attitude as regards human life and its inherent value; another, the revolt of the human nature against the Christian world-contempt and the suppression of natural desires and legitimate endeavours of man; and, lastly, the anthropomorphic conception of God. This revolt was entirely successfulso successful that the various Christian sects and churches were gradually compelled to adjust some of their doctrines to the changed social and intellectual conditions of Europe. Instead of influencing and shaping the social life of its adherents, as is the primary duty of religion, Christianity has resigned itself to the role of a tolerated convention and a garb for political enterprises. For the masses it has to-day only a formal meaning, as was the case with the gods of ancient Rome, which were neither allowed nor supposed to exert any real influence upon society. No doubt, there are still many individuals in the West who feel and think in a religious way and make the most desperate efforts to reconcile their beliefs with the spirit of their civilisation,but they are exceptions only. The average Europeanhe may be a Democrat or a Fascist, a Capitalist or a Bolshevik, a manual worker or an intellectualknows only one positive " religion," and that is the worship of material progress, the belief that there is no other goal in life than to make that very life continually easier or, as the current expression goes, "independent of Nature." The temples of this "religion" are the gigantic factories, cinemas, chemical laboratories, dancing halls, hydroelectric works; and its priests are bankers, engineers, film-stars, captains of industry, record-airmen. The unavoidable result of this craving after power and pleasure is the creation of hostile groups armed to the teeth and determined to destroy each other whenever and wherever their respective interests come to a clash. And on the cultural side the result is the creation of a human type whose morality is confined to the question of practical utility alone, and whose highest criterion between good and evil is the material success.

In the profound transformation the social life of the West is at present undergoing, that new, mechanised society which has a tendency to abolish all privileges of one individual over another, and in the logical development of this ideaalso the privileges caused by family relationship; and the old relation between father and son is becoming obsolete.

Parallel to this goes the progressive dissolution of the so-called "old sexual morality." Sexual fidelity and discipline are quickly becoming a thing of the past in the modern West, because they were enforced by ethics alone: and ethical considerations have no tangible, immediate influence on the material well-being of society. So the place of the "old," ethical, morality endorsed by religion is gradually being taken by the "new" Western morality which proclaims the unrestricted individual freedom of the human body. Ethical discipline and control of sexual relations are rapidly losing their importance. The only possible restriction in future will be, at the best, derived from considerations of demography and eugenics.

It is not without interest to observe how both these changesthe one concerning the relations between children and parents, and the other concerning the relations between the sexeshave been brought to their logical climax in Soviet

Russia, which, on her cultural side, does not represent a development essentially different from the rest of the Western World. On the contrary, it seems that the Communist experiment is nothing else but of the culmination and the beginning of the fulfilment those decidedly anti-religious andultimately anti-spiritual tendencies of the modern Western Civilisation. It may even be that the present sharp antagonism between the Capitalistic West and Bolshevism is, at its root, only due to the different pace at which those essentially parallel movements are progressing towards their ultimate goal. Their inner similarity will, no doubt, become more and more pronounced in future; but even now it is visible in the fundamental tendency of both the Western Capitalism and Bolshevism, to surrender the spiritual individuality of man and his ethical morality to the purely material requirements of a collective machinery called " society, " in which the individual is but a cog in a wheel.

The only possible conclusion is, that a civilisation of this kind must be a deadly poison for any culture based on religious values. Our original question, whether it is possible to adapt the Islamic way of thinking and living to the exigencies of the Western Civilisation, and vice versa, must be answered in the negative. In Islam, the first and foremost goal is the inner, moral progress of man, and therefore the ethical considerations overrule the purely utilitarian. In the modern Western Civilisation the situation is just reversed. The consideration of material utility dominates all manifestations of human activity, and ethics are being relegated to an obscure background of life and condemned to a merely theoretical existence without the slightest power of influencing the human community. Their very existence, under such circumstances, is a hypocrisy; and thus the intellectually decent among the modern European thinkers are subjectively justified if, in their speculations on the social destinies of the Western Civilisation, they avoid any allusion to transcendental ethics. With the less decentthat is, with those who are less clearly defined in their moral attitudethe conception of transcendental ethics survives as an irrational factor of thought, much in the same way as the mathematician is obliged to operate with certain "irrational" numbers which represent in themselves nothing tangible, but are, none the less, required to bridge the gaps of imagination due to the structural limitations of the human mind.

Such an evasive attitude towards ethics is certainly incompatible with a religious orientation ; and, therefore, the very foundations of the modern Western Civilisation are incompatible with Islam. This should in no way preclude the possibility of Muslims receiving from the West certain impulses in the domain of exact and applied sciences; but their cultural relations should begin and end at that point. To go further and to imitate the Western Civilisation in its spirit, its mode of life and its social organisation is impossible without dealing a fatal blow to the very existence of Islam as a theocratic polity and a practical religion.

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TO VEIL OR NOT TO VEIL THAT IS THE QUESTION!

Afra Jalabi

This article is meant for Muslims, those who have submitted themselves to their Creator, Allah Taala. As for those who hold enmity to Islam and Muslims, they will not be able to understand it as the contents are far beyond their shallow and corrupted minds. Never mind the subtle points raised in this article, non-Muslims are unable to understand or accept even the most obvious truths.

Firstly,

we start off with the belief that the Deity we submit to is Allah Taala, Who is Unique, Perfect, has no partners, no family; and that whatever He does is perfect and has perfect wisdom.

[This is not something new that Islam has come with. This is a Truth that was accepted and taught from day one, with the creation of Hadhrat Ádam (AS) and repeated throughout the history of mankind by all the messengers of Allah Taala. Therefore, no nation has any excuse for not accepting this truth. However, as stated above, there are countless people who reject this obvious Truth.]

Secondly,

we believe that Muhammad Rasúlulláh (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was the last in the line of sinless messengers sent by Allah Taala for the guidance of mankind. Among the unique features of his mission, was that he came as a mercy unto the whole of mankind, with Divine laws which, if adhered to, would bring about peace and harmony to the people of the earth. Needless to say, these laws, emanating from Allah Taala, are perfect and far superior to anything that human beings can promulgate.

[The statements of the "learned" and "religious" pope are enough indication of the state of mind of the "educated" people among the non-Muslims. One can imagine the state of the minds of the brainwashed masses! The truth is that the Ahle-Kitáb, the Jews and the Christians, were given clear descriptions of Rasúlulláh (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in their scriptures, so much so that Allah Taala states that they recognised him better than their own children!]

Thirdly,

when it comes to crime, it is an accepted axiom that the punishment will be commensurate with the seriousness of the crime. For example: In any country, the act of treason will carry the heaviest penalty. A person committing a minor crime may be given just a warning or a nominal penalty. Similarly with Allah Taala, that the act of treason - a person dying in a state of kufr - will be cast into Jahannam forever, never ever to come out from it. A person guilty of an offence at a different level may not be punished at all by an Islamic court, but it may be that his evidence in future will carry no weight in the Islamic court.

ZINÁ

Bearing the above in mind, we now come to the question of ziná: there are two situations, one is where the persons are unmarried, referred to as fornication; and the other situation is where the people involved are married, referred to as adultery. The punishment for fornication is lashing with a whip; whereas the punishment for adultery is stoning to death, referred to as rajm. Rajm - stoning to death of the adulterer, is a punishment that Allah Taala had prescribed even for the Jews and Christians, and remained a command under Islam. As mentioned, the seriousness of the crime will determine the seriousness of the punishment. We can thus gauge the seriousness of ziná by the seriousness of the punishment. Ziná must be having far reaching consequences for the individuals, the family, the community and the society at large for Allah Taala to have set down this severe punishment.

Having accepted that ziná is a very serious crime in the eyes of Allah Taala, we have been warned against committing this sin. Whereas others state that their scriptures say that thou shalt not commit adultery, Allah Taala has told us that we must not even go near ziná! The emphasis in this instruction is even greater with regard to the seriousness of ziná - do not even go near ziná, nevermind committing ziná.

[Readers may be excused of they did not know that the Jews and Christians were also forbidden from committing adultery and that the punishment for this sin was stoning to death. Judging from what is happening in western society. Nobody can be blamed from thinking that this command had been expunged from their scriptures, because we see hardly anybody mentioning it. Instead of it, the modern-day command is: Thou shalt practise safe sex!]

As mentioned above, seeing that non-Muslims can neither understand nor accept the obvious truths of Islam, it is unlikely that they will understand the finer points that will now be discussed: The gravity of ziná has been further emphasised to Muslims by being told by their Rasúlulláh (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that do not think that ziná is only the act of copulation, but there are other types of ziná as well. These are ziná of the legs, ziná of the hands and ziná of the eyes! These are also evil. Although there may not be the punishment of rajm for these acts of ziná, they are not to be taken lightly. Allah Taala knows what we are up to. He knows where our feet are stepping to and why. He knows what our hands are touching and why. He knows where our eyes are roving and why. He knows what our hearts are harbouring. There is no escape from Allah Taala! Therefore, we have to abstain from these acts of ziná as well. There may not be any punishment in this world by an Islamic court of law for these acts of ziná, but there will be a reckoning in the hereafter. In this world as well there are effects felt: a black spot appears in the heart and the spiritual radiance in a person diminishes and finally disappears; poverty and famine are experienced.

[These are concepts either not understood by non-Muslims or rejected by them. In actual fact, these acts of ziná have become integral parts of western society. "Flirting

" is not considered to be an evil. Public displays of kissing is nothing to lift ones eyebrows about. Ziná of the eyes is not only acceptable, but has becoming an essential and indispensable item in western society. We just have to see the women displayed in adverts, billboards, glossy magazines and newspapers; flimsy apparel on the beaches and no apparel in nudist colonies; unclad women in fashion parades - in fact, wherever one goes - the message is: commit ziná of the eyes! It is encouraged and promoted to an extent that anyone who tries to avert his eyes would be considered to be "abnormal"!]

Let us now touch on the question of ziná of the eyes: Our teaching is that ones gaze should be lowered. One should not stare at a ghair-mahram. This applies to both males and females. There is absolutely no room for debate on this issue. The first accidental glance is excusable, but not the second deliberate one.

The question now arises: fine, one will try and follow this injunction of lowering the eyes, but how can women stop the next person from ogling them? The answer is simple: use the method that the wives of Rasúlulláh (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) were instructed to adopt by none other than Allah Taala! That is, by wearing a veil. How else are the women going to avoid others from looking at them? When we know that ziná of the eyes is an integral part of the culture of others, can any woman say that she is the exception and that others will not look at her with evil intent?

[From here, it is obvious why non-Muslims feel uncomfortable when they are with women who are veiled. The simple answer is that they are prevented from committing ziná of the eyes. The excuse that it is difficult to "communicate" with her if one cannot see her face is so much hogwash. They communicate quite well over the phone or by letter or by sms or e-mail, where they do not see the persons face at all, so why the desire to see the face of the woman sitting in front? One can see how shaitán has deceived such people.]

It is often said, "There is nothing wrong at looking at the opposite sex if your intention is clean. Beauty is a creation of Allah Taala - by looking at members of the opposite sex we are appreciating the beauty that Allah Taala has created in them." Our masháikh have long ago answered this argument: This is nothing but shaitání deception! It is like saying, "One can place a dry stick in a fire and it will not burn!" Have they not heeded the grave warning that Allah Taala has issued through the mouth of his Nabí Yusuf (AS), "Verily, the nafse-ammárah enjoineth unto evil.."?

Of course, these are subtle issues of a spiritual (rúhání) nature which Muslims should find no difficulty in understanding and accepting. As mentioned earlier, one should not expect non-Muslims to understand these points or accept them. Hayá (modesty and chastity) is part of ímán and very much a part of our Dín. Of course, non-Muslims cannot understand this. The words "modesty" and "chastity" have long ago disappeared from their vocabulary, just like the word "sin" is not to be found in their writings anymore. So, it is even more remote that they will understand this further instruction in the Sharíah that a person, never mind not looking unnecessarily at the satr of others, even though they may be of the same gender, but a person is also not to look at his own satr without a good reason.

[Do not even dream of discussing this point with non-Muslims! They have no concept of what is a satr. In their lopsided society where men get married to men and women get married to women, even to mention that the thighs of a man form part of his satr is going to expose you to ridicule. In their society there is hardly any activity where the satr is not exposed, possibly men playing bowls, cricket and tiddly winks may be exceptions!]

We make duá that Allah Taala removes the blinding shaitání veils from our eyes, hearts and minds, and grant our community (and right-thinking people) the taufíq to restore the true núrání veils of hayá as worn by the wives of Rasúlulláh (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

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To My Muslim Sister

Joanna Francis

Every time anyone says that Israel is our only friend in the Middle East, I can't help but think that before Israel, we had no enemies in the Middle East.

-- John Sheehan, S.J. (a Jesuit priest)

Between the Israeli assault on Lebanon and the Zionist war on terror, the Muslim world is now center stage in every American home. I see the carnage, death and destruction that have befallen Lebanon, but I also see something else: I see you. I cant help but notice that almost every woman I see is carrying a baby or has children around her. I see that though they are dressed modestly, their beauty still shines through. But its not just outer beauty that I notice. I also notice that I feel something strange inside me: I feel envy. I feel terrible for the horrible experiences and war crimes that the Lebanese people have suffered, being targeted by our common enemy. But I cant help but admire your strength, your beauty, your modesty, and most of all, your happiness. Yes, its strange, but it occurred to me that even under constant bombardment, you still seemed happier than we are, because you were still living the natural lives of women. The way women have always lived since the beginning of time. It used to be that way in the West until the 1960s, when we were bombarded by the same enemy. Only we were not bombarded with actual munitions, but with subtle trickery and moral corruption.

They bombarded us Americans from Hollywood, instead of from fighter jets or with our own American-made tanks. They would like to bomb you in this way too, after theyve finished bombing the infrastructure of your countries. I do not want this to happen to you. You will feel degraded, just like we do. You can avoid this kind of bombing if you will kindly listen to those of us who have already suffered serious casualties from their evil influence. Because everything you see coming out of Hollywood is a pack of lies, a distortion of reality, smoke and mirrors. They present casual sex as harmless recreation because they aim to destroy the moral fabric of the societies into which they beam their poisonous programming. I beg you not to drink their poison. There is no antidote for it once you have consumed it. You may recover partially, but you will never be the same. Better to avoid the poison altogether than to try to heal from the damage it causes.

They will try to tempt you with their titillating movies and music videos, falsely portraying us American women as happy and satisfied, proud of dressing like prostitutes, and content without families. Most of us are not happy, trust me. Millions of us are on anti-depressant medication, hate our jobs, and cry at night over the men who told us they loved us, then greedily used us and walked away. They would like to destroy your families and convince you to have fewer children. They do this by presenting marriage as a form of slavery, motherhood as a curse, and being modest and pure as old-fashioned. They want you to cheapen yourself and lose your faith. They are like the Serpent tempting Eve with the apple. Dont bite.

I see you as precious gems, pure gold, or the pearl of great value spoken of in the Bible (Matthew 13: 45). All women are pearls of great value, but some of us have been deceived into doubting the value of our purity. Jesus said: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you (Matthew 7: 6). Our pearls are priceless, but they convince us that theyre cheap. But trust me; there is no substitute for being able to look in the mirror and seeing purity, innocence and self-respect staring back at you. The fashions coming out of the Western sewer are designed to make you believe that your most valuable asset is your sexuality. But your beautiful dresses and veils are actually sexier than any Western fashion, because they cloak you in mystery and show self-respect and confidence. A womans sexuality should be guarded from unworthy eyes, since it should be your gift to the man who loves and respects you enough to marry you. And since your men are still manly warriors, they deserve no less than your best. Our men dont even want purity anymore. They dont recognize the pearl of great value, opting for the flashy rhinestone instead. Only to leave her too.

Your most valuable assets are your inner beauty, your innocence, and everything that makes you who you are. But I notice that some Muslim women push the limit and try to be as Western as possible, even while wearing a veil (with some of their hair showing). Why imitate women who already regret, or will soon regret, their lost virtue? There is no compensation for that loss. You are flawless diamonds. Dont let them trick you into becoming rhinestones. Because everything you see in the fashion magazines and on Western television is a lie. It is Satans trap. It is fools gold.

Ill let you in on a little secret, just in case youre curious: pre-marital sex is not even that great. We gave our bodies to the men we were in love with, believing that that was the way to make them love us and want to marry us. Just as we had seen on television growing up. But without the security of marriage and the sure knowledge that he will always stay with us, its not even enjoyable! Thats the irony. It was just a waste. It leaves you in tears. Speaking as one woman to another, I believe that you understand that already. Because only a woman can truly understand whats in another womans heart. We really are all alike. Our race, religion or nationalities do not matter. A womans heart is the same everywhere. We love. Thats what we do best. We nurture our families and give comfort and strength to the men we love. But we American women have been fooled into believing that we are happiest having careers, our own homes in which to live alone, and freedom to give our love away to whomever we choose. That is not freedom. And that is not love. Only in the safe haven of marriage can a womans body and heart be safe to love. Dont settle for anything less. Its not worth it. You wont even like it and youll like yourself even less afterwards. Then hell leave you.

Sin never pays. It always cheats you. Even though I have reclaimed my honor, theres still no substitute for having never been dishonored in the first place. We Western women have been brainwashed into thinking that you Muslim women are oppressed. But truly, we are the ones who are oppressed; slaves to fashions that degrade us, obsessed with our weight, begging for love from men who do not want to grow up. Deep down inside, we know that we have been cheated. We secretly admire and envy you, although some of us will not admit it. Please do not look down on us or think that we like things the way they are. Its not our fault. Most of us did not have fathers to protect us when we were young because our families have been destroyed. You know who is behind this plot. Dont be fooled, my sisters. Dont let them get you too. Stay innocent and pure. We Christian women need to see what life is really supposed to be like for women. We need you to set the example for us, because we are lost. Hold onto your purity. Remember: you cant put the toothpaste back in the tube. So guard your toothpaste carefully!

I hope you receive this advice in the spirit in which it is intended: the spirit of friendship, respect, and admiration. From your Christian sister with love.

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Saviours of Islamic Spirit

S. Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi (RA)

Ibn Jawzi (RA)

Ibn al-Jawzi was primarily a traditionist and jurist but he always emphasised the importance of the study of biographical accounts of the pious and saintly masters of the olden times for the purpose of purification of soul and implanting a religious zeal. He has advised the scholars, jurists and traditionists in the Talbis-o-Iblis and the Said al-Khatir to pursue this branch of learning. Speaking of his own experience in this regard, he writes in the Said al-Khatir:

"I feel that the study of juristic sciences and Traditions is not sufficient to instil a tenderness of heart which enables it to attract the divine grace. The only way to acquire this faculty is to study the inspiring biographies of the masters who were pure of heart. The knowledge pertaining to the lawful and unlawful matters does not produce the warmth and tenderness of heart. This is brought about by effective incidents narrated in the Traditions and the biographical accounts of the mentors of yore. Those teachers of the olden times had realised the true content of faith and lived up to it instead of simply acquiring a knowledge of it. What I am recommending to you is my personal experience. I have seen that the traditionists and their students generally devote their entire attention to the chain of narrators and the canons framed for the reception or rejection of the Traditions. Similarly, the jurists are extremely fond of the science of dialectics for gaining a victory over their opponents. How can these make one tender-hearted? Formerly the people used to visit the men of God to pattern their behaviour after the example set by these pious souls instead of acquiring knowledge from them. And, indeed, this is the end of knowledge. Therefore, let it be understood very clearly that it is absolutely necessary for you to include the study of the biographies of the pious and reverend souls in your curriculum of the Law and the Traditions."

Biographical Writings:

Ibn al-Jawzi has accordingly written the biographies of a number of luminaries such has Hasan al-Basri, Caliph Umar ibn Abdul Aziz, Sufyan Thauri, Ibrahim ibn Ad'ham, Bishr Hafi, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Maruf Karkhi and others. In addition to these biographies, he has also written a compendium of reputed scholars, writers, saints, etc., in four volumes under the title of Sifat us-Safwah. This book is really a revised edition of the Hilyatul Awliya by Abii Nuaim Asbahani which was edited by Ibn al-Jawzi. In revising the book he has kept in view the principles of historical criticism and deleted the spurious accounts related by Abu Nuaim.

Study of History:

Ibn al-Jawzi held the view that along with the study of religious sciences like the Law and the Traditions, History should also be studied by the students because the lack of knowledge in this branch of learning had led certain scholars to commit unpardonable mistakes. He, therefore, advised that every student should have at least as much knowledge of history that he does not commit any grevious mistake. Writes he in the Said al-Khatir :

"A scholar-jurist must be conversant with all the related sciences. A jurist has to have the knowledge of other sciences like History, Traditions, Lexicology, etc., on which he has very often to rely upon. I heard a jurist saying that Sheikh Shibli and Qadi Shuraik had once got together in a meeting. I wondered at the ignorance of the jurist who did not know that the two were not contemporaries. Another scholar once said in a lecture that since Caliph Ali had bathed the dead body of Fatima, their marriage did not terminate even after the death of the latter. I thought, God may help this man, for he does not know that Caliph Ali had married the niece of Fatima, Umamah bint Zainab, after Fatima had passed away. How would it have been possible if their marriage had continued after the death of Fatima? I have seen similar grevious mistakes committed by al-Ghazali in the Ihya Ulum id-Din. I was surprised to see how he could mix up the incidents happening at quite different times. I have compiled all such errors of lyha in one of my books. Another scholar, Sheikh Abul Maali al-Jawa'ini has mentioned another curious story in his book entitled Ash-Shamil, on the subject of jurisprudence. He writes that certain Batinites have related that Hallaj, Abu Said al-Janabi Qarmati and Ibn al-Muqanna had conspired to overthrow the then government by creating dissatisfaction among the masses. Each one of them undertook to raise insurrection, in a certain country and in accordance with that agreement al-Janabi went to Ahs'a, Ibn al-Muqanna to Tarkistan and Hallaj to Baghdad, The two confidants of Hallaj, were, however, of the opinion that he would surely lose his life because it was not possible to dupe the people of Baghdad. If the narrator of this story only knew that Hallaj was not a contemporary of Ibn al-Muqanna, he would not have given credence to this story. Mansur had ordered the execution of Ibn al-Muqanna in 144 A.H. while Abu Said al-Janabi Qarmati came to prominence in-286 a. h. and Hallaj was killed in 309 a. h. Thus Qarmati and Hallaj were almost contemporaneous but Ibn al-Muqanna was born much earlier. There is thus no question of the three meeting and conspiring together.

This would amply make it clear that every scholar should have a grounding in the sciences related to his own. It is discreditable for a traditionist that he should not be able to give a legal opinion in any matter simply because he has been engrossed in the study of Traditions and has no time to pay attention to other branches of religious learning. Similarly, it does not behove a jurist to be unable to explain the meanings of any Tradition. I implore God that He may endow us with an ambition that may not allow us to put up with the least indolence".

Historical Writings :

Ibn al-Jawzi did not merely criticise the scholars for not being well versed in history, but he also wrote a comprehensive history of Islamic peoples from the inception of Islam till 574 a. h. in ten volumes. In this work entitled as al-Muntazam fi-Tarikh il-Muluk wal-Umam. Ibn al-Jawzi first gives the year and then narrates the important incidents and events of that year along with the preeminent personages who died during the year, followed by an account of their achievements. This work of Ibn al-Jawzi thus combines chronicle with scientific history interwoven with a harmonious account of the notable personalities.

Another historical work of smaller size by Ibn al-Jawzi is Taiqih-o-Fuhum-i-Ahl-il-Athar Fi-Ayun At- Tarikh Wa-Sayar. This is a compendium of historical information which has also been published.

Oratory of Ibn al-Jawzi :

The chroniclers of his time agree that Ibn al-Jawzi was a gifted orator who could draw large crowds. In the Said al-Khatir he has mentioned his internal struggle which once almost prevailed upon him to pay absolutely no attention to the rhetoric and the choice of words in his speeches as this could be construed as a show of oratory. However, he gave up the idea since on further reflection he came to the conclusion that eloquence was a God given gift, a perfection and not a defection, which ought to be employed for the propagation of faith. Similarly, Ibn al-Jawzi entertained a desire, more than once, to give up preaching and withdraw himself to a life of complete seclusion and meditation. However, he won over his self to follow the right path by arguing the issue with it. He ultimately decided that this was a suggestion hinted at by the Satan who did not like to see thousands of persons carried away by his eloquence towards the path of moral and spiritual reformation. The prophets of God were primarily preachers and they also associated with the people. The self of the man being indolent and abhorring exertion wants to turn its back upon the world. It is also tempted by the love of fame, honour arid popularity which can easily be gained through winning over the hearts of the people by retiring from the world. Thus Ibn al-Jawzi reasoned with his Self to counter the whisperings of the Satan who wanted him to abandon his mission of preaching and inviting people towards the path of divine guidance. Ibn al-Jawzi thus continued to press his intellectual gifts for more than half a century to the task of serving his people and revivification of the faith.

Ibn al-Jawzi died on a Friday night in 597 A.H. The entire population of Baghdad suspended its work to attend his funeral prayers which was held in the mosque of (Jama) Mansur. It was a memorable day in the history of the metropolis; innumerable people were found sobbing for the departed teacher. The annalyist reports that quite a few inhabitants of Baghdad spent their nights throughout the ensuing month of Ramadhan at his grave offering prayers and reciting the Qur'an for the peace of his soul.

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DARUL ULOOM ILAHIYAH
INSTITUTE OF ISLAMIC RESEARCH
ILAHI BAGH, BUCHPORA, SRINAGAR, 190011, KASHMIR, INDIA