Radiant Reality

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

Editor, Printer & Publisher: Mawlana Hamidullah Lone.

July 2006.  VOL.7, No: 7.


1. Editorial - Muslims - People for the Aakhirah
2. Questions & Answers

3. Lesson from Al-Qur'an

4. Lesson from Bukhari Sharief

5. Islamic beliefs

6. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb : Bad Ruler or Bad History

7. Islamic finance

8. Abstaining from Sins

9. Advice of Hadhrat Sheikh

10. Islam Solves the AIDS Problem
11. Saviours of Islamic Spirit

12. News Around the World

13. Historic Judgement on Interest


1. EDITORIAL
MuslimsPeople for the Aakhirah

The life of this world is nothing but futility and play. Verily, the Abode of the Akhirah most certainly is the original life.

Every person will taste death. Thereafter you will be returned to Us.

Those who have Imaan and practice righteous deeds, most certainly, We shall grant them lofty palaces beneath which flow rivers; therein will they dwell forever. Indeed, wonderful is the reward of those who act virtuously. (Qur'an: Surah Ankaboot)

According to the Qur'an Majeed the true life, the original life, the actual life is in Jannat in the Akhirah (Hereafter). In relation to the Abode of the Akhirah, the Qur'an describes this transitory and defective material world as an entity of play and futility. In relation to the Akhirah there is no reality in this ephemeral existence for which the Mu'mineen have never been created. Mu'mineen, according to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), have been created for the everlasting life of bliss, comfort, purity and happiness in the Aakhirah, hence Nabi-e-Kareem {Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) declared:

The world has been created for you, but you have been created for the Aakhirah.

The Qur'an teaches us, as is clear from the aforementioned Aayaat and many other Shar'i narrations, that the life in this world is a temporary and an empty affair which is futility as compared to the reality of the Aakhirah. Maut (death) convincingly demonstrates the transitory nature of this earthy existence, hence to this day no denier of Allah has ever refuted the existence of Muat inspite of refuting the existence of the Creator of Maut.

The Qur' an further tells us that our journey in the direction of Aakhirah is in fact a "Return". Man's original abode and homeland is Jannat where Aadam (AS) and Hawwaa (AS) were created The original home of man is Jannat from whence he was constrained to depart under direction of Allah's Wisdom. There, on his onward journey back home, this world is a temporary halting station, the similitude of which Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) described most eloquently. Man, said Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), is like a traveller journeying in the vast spans of hot and desolate desert. He reaches a tree, rests a while in its shade and then takes leave of the tree to issue into the wilderness in the direction of his destination. He does not make the tree and its shade his permanent halting place for he understands that such folly will lead to his destruction. He intelligently departs from the shade and comfort of the tree and braves the hardships and difficulties of the journey in the desert and wilderness to reach home because he knows that in relation to the comfort of his home, the shade and the tree are mere futilities.

Thus, in like manner we shall soon, one day, depart from the futility of this earthly abode to return to our everlasting home in the Aakhirah the comfort and pleasure of Jannat. Although all Muslims intellectually subscribe to this belief in the Aakhirah and that we have not been created to live on this earth in a state of forgetfulnessforgetting about the true and original home in the Aakhirahfew of us are truly conscious of this fact. Jannat and the Aakhirah are remote concepts hidden somewhere in our minds. The belief in the Aakhirah in most Muslims is not strong and vivid enough to deter them from the wrongful and unlawful activities of this world. Our belief in our return to Allah is of such a feeble nature that most of us have made this world an end and a goal to cultivate. Our behaviour and attitude betray our actual disposition. The fact that we are oblivious of Allah's Law in the process of worldly pursuits is a clear indication of the fact that we have no firm belief in the Meeting with Allah Ta' ala. We, therefore, proceed with this worldly life trampling on the laws and commands of Allah Ta' ala as if we shall never have to answer .  

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2. Question and Answer

Interest in Present Times

Q: A friend believes that in the present day and age the Muslims cannot progress economically without interest. According to him since other communities are making tremendous strides in the economic field on the basis of interest, Muslims should also follow suit.

             A: Each person views the things around him and formulates his opinion according to his level of intelligence, knowledge and wisdom. Thus a toddler sees the cat droppings on the floor and thinks it is something to devour. An adult, however, knows the reality and regards consuming such filth as repugnant and extremely harmful.

Repugnant

Likewise Allah Ta'ala in his infinite wisdom forbade interest. So repugnant is interest that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: "The sin of Riba (interest) has seventy categories, the lowest of which is equal to having committed incest with one's mother" (Mishkaat). Hazrath Jaabir (R.A.) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: "Allah Ta'ala has cursed the one who consumes interest, the one who gives it, the one who records the transaction and the one who witnesses it - and all are equal in the sin" (Sahih Muslim).

Object on earth

Furthermore, Allah Ta'ala has not created us for economic advancement. Our primary object on earth is to recognise our Creator and establish His Deen everywhere. Even if we do not make any material progress but manage to fulfil our primary object on earth, we are successful. If we fail in our primary objective we are dismal failures even if we own the world. While economic progress in a lawful manner is permissible, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) also drew the attention of the Sahaaba (R.A.) away from focussing in this direction. After the Battle of Khaibar a person came to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and exclaimed: "No one else has earned so much profit today (in buying and selling the booty that was gained) as I!" When he informed Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) that he earned 300 ouqiyah of silver, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) remarked: "Two rakaats of nafil salaah after the fardh is better than that (Abu Dawood)."

Circumstances

One should also consider the situation and circumstances of the Sahaaba (R.A.) when the prohibition of interest was revealed. Many Sahaaba (R.A.) were deep in debts which they owed to the kuffaar. There were those who had stones tied to their bellies due to hunger. Some Sahaaba (R.A.) would faint due to starvation. Many could not afford even two pieces of cloth to cover their bodies. A Sahaabi (R.A.) wishes to get married but does not have anything to give even as the mehr. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) himself had to keep his armour as security with a Jew for a debt to fulfil the needs of his household. Yet in these conditions also transacting in interest, whether taking or giving, was forbidden.

In this state of abject poverty Allah Ta'ala also forbade the Muslims from even raising their gazes to look at the "economic advancement" of the enemies of Allah Ta'ala. The Qur'an declares: "Do not raise your eyes in longing for what we have given for enjoyment to various groups among them (the disbelievers), (it is) the splendour of the life of this world so that we may test them thereby" (20:131).

Therefore we should not bother about the economic advancement of the kuffaar. Furthermore, in the light of the prohibitions of the Qur'an and Hadith we should harbour a deep aversion and hatred for interest and all that is associated with it - far more intense hatred than the aversion for animal droppings. The very thought of indulging in interest should make us shudder out of fear of incurring Allah Ta'ala's punishment.

 

Immodest Garments

Q: I have read an article concerning the evil of wearing immodest clothing. I have many garments which I agree can be classified as immodest. Comparatively my dressing is considered modest though I am sure if Hazrath Fatima (R.A.) were alive, she would have found them disgusting. What should I do with these clothes? Can I give them away?

A May Allah Ta'ala reward you abundantly for taking this courageous step. Remember, you may face taunts, criticism, sarcastic remarks and may even be given nick names for having taken this decision. In this age of immodesty and shamelessness you may be regarded as "odd" when you dress according to the dictates of hayaa (Islamic modesty). Someone may even comment that you are dressing as if you are living in the time when "granny's great-grandmother was young!" Do not take any notice of these comments which are actually the whisperings of shaitaan. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said: "A time will come when the one who is steadfast on deen will be like one holding on to a burning coal." This simply means that one will have to exercise a great deal of patience. However this patience will not go unrewarded. The reward will be equivalent to that of fifty Sahaaba, as reported in the Hadith.

With regard to the immodest clothing that you have discarded, the advice below is not a universal ruling pertaining to every situation and to every garment. The ruling may differ from garment to garment. Nevertheless, some people of courage are required to take a bold step and reverse the tide of immodest and shameless dressing that is sweeping through even Deeni conscious homes.

Bonfire

Our advice is to take each garment and, as you have stated, sincerely ask yourself if Hazrath Fatima (R.A.) would have declared it modest or immodest? If your heart attests to it being immodest, leave it aside. If you are not sure what Hazrath Fatima's (R.A.) verdict would have been, apply the rule "when in doubt, leave it out." It is almost certain that she would have regarded such "doubtful" garments as immodest. Thereafter, gather all the immodest and shameless clothing the jeans, tops, western style pants, see-through garments, tight-fitting clothes, etc. and make a bonfire of them. Insha-Allah, this fire will greatly contribute towards burning the trend of immodesty and shamelessness. This bonfire will Insha Allah be a means of coolness for you in your grave and on the day of Judgement. It is thus clear what you should do with the immodest garments simply burn them. Do not give them away. By giving them away, you will merely be passing on the immodesty to others and you will share in their sin.

Basis

The basis of throwing the immodest garments into the fire can be deduced from the following incidents. Once Hazrath Hafsa Bin Abdul Rahman (R.A.), the niece of Hazrath Aisah (R.A.), came to visit her. She had a very thin scarf on her head. Hazrath Aisah (R.A.) took the scarf from her, tore it and gave her another scarf of a thicker material to use (Ma'ariful Hadith, Vol. 3, pg. 530). On another occasion, Hazrath Abdullah Bin Amar Bin Aas (R.A.) also destroyed a garment which Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had disapproved of by burning it.  

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3. Lesson from the Qur'an
Hadhrat Mawlana Mohammad Shaifi Sahib (RA)

() () ()

O children of Israil (the Israelites), remember My blessings that I conferred upon you, and fulfill the covenant with Me, so I fulfill your covenant, and have awe of Me alone. And have faith in what I have revealed, confirming what is already with you, and do not be the first to deny it, nor take a paltry price for My signs. And fear Me alone. And do not confound truth with falsehood, and do not hid the truth when you know. Verses 40-42)

Contd

7.          Verse 42 explicitly shows that it is not permissible to mix truth and falsehood together in such a way that the addressee falls into a confusion as to what the truth is, and that it is forbidden to conceal the truth because of fear or greed.

             Imam al-Qurtubi has, in his commentary, related a very illuminating story in this contexta story which has come down to us through a chain of reliable reporters, and has been taken from the "Musnad" of Darimi.

During one of his visits to the Holy town of Madinah, the Ummayyid Caliph Sulayman ibn 'Abd al-Malik wanted to meet someone who had lived with a Companion of the Holy Prophet (S), if such a man was still alive. On being informed that Abu Hazim was the only man of this kind left in the town, he sent for him.

The Caliph said to him, "Abu Hazim, why have you shown such discourtesy and disloyalty?"

"How have I been discourteous or disloyal to you?"

"Everybody who is anybody in Madinah has come to see me, but you haven't", complained the Caliph.

"O chief of the Muslims, may Allah protect you against saying something which is not true to the fact", replied Abu Hazim "You have not been familiar with my name before today, nor have I ever seen you. Things being what they are, how could I come to meet you? Is it disloyalty or discourtesy?"

The Caliph looked around questioningly. Imam Zuhri spoke up: "Abu Hazim is right, and you are wrong."

Changing the subject, the Caliph asked: "Abu Hazim, how is it that I don't like to die?"

"The reason is simple," Abu Hazim said "You have made your world flourish, and turned your habitation in the other world into a desert. Naturally, you don't like to leave a flourishing city for a desert."

The Caliph admitted that it was true, and came out with another question: "What would it be like when we have to appear before Allah tomorrow?"

Said Abu Hazim, "The man who has been doing good deeds will present himself before Allah like the man who returns from a travel to his loved ones, while the man who has been doing evil deeds will appear like the slave who had run away and has now been brought back to his master. "

The Caliph burst into tears, and said with a sigh, "I wish we could know how Allah would deal with us."

Abu Hazim replied, "Assess your deeds in the light of the Book of Allah, and you will know ."

"Which verse of the Holy Qur'an can help us to do so?" () () Surely righteous shall be in bliss, and the transgressors shall be in a fiery furnace." (82:13-14)

The Caliph remarked: Allah's mercy is great; it can cover even the wrong-doers."

Abu Hazim recited another verse:   "Surely the Mercy of Allah is close to those who do good deeds.  (7:56)

The Caliph advanced another question: "Tell me, Abu Hazim, who is the most honorable among the servants of Allah?"

"Those who are mindful of their fellow-human beings, and possess the right kind of understanding to know the truth." "Which is best among good deeds?"

"Fulfilling the obligations laid down by Allah, and keeping away from what He has forbidden."

"Which is the prayer that is likely to be accepted by Allah?" "The prayer of a man for him who has done him some good." "Which is the best form of charity?"

"Giving as much as one can, in spite of one's own need, to a man in misery without trying to make him feel grateful and without causing him pain by trying to put him off."

"Which is the best form of speech?"

"Speaking the truth plainly and unreservedly before the man who can harm you in some way or from whom you expect a favour."

"What kind of man is the wisest among the Muslims?"

"He whose actions are governed by obedience to Allah, and who invites others as well to it."

"What kind of man is the most stupid?"

"He who helps another man in committing some injustice, which comes to mean that he has been selling off his faith for serving the worldly interests of that man."

The Caliph agreed with all this, and then asked him pointedly, "What do you think of me?" Abu Hazim wanted to be excused from replying to such a question, but the Caliph insisted that he should say a word of advice. Abu Hazim said:

"O chief of the Muslims, your forefathers established their rule over the people with the help of the sword and against their will, after killing hundreds of men. Having done all this, they departed from the world. I wish you could know what they themselves are saying after their death and what people are saying about them."

Fearing that the Caliph would be displeased by such plain talk, one of his courtiers rebuked Abu Hazim for having spoken so rudely. He replied: "No, you are wrong. I have not said anything rude but only what Allah has commanded us to say. For Allah has enjoined upon the Ulema to speak the truth before the people and not to conceal it." And he recited this verse of the Holy Qur'an: "You shall make it clear to the people and not conceal it." (3:187)

The Caliph asked, "Alright how can we reform ourselves now?"

Abu Hazim said, "Give up your pride, acquire a spirit of fellow-feeling for the people, and give them justly what is due to them."

"Abu Hazim, is it possible that you come to live with us?" "May Allah protect me from it!" "Why?"

"Because I am afraid that if I live with you, I might begin to like your wealth and your grandeur, and have to suffer a grievous punishment for it in the other world."

"Well, is there anything you need? What can we do for you?"

"Yes, I have a need. Please help me to save myself from Hell and to enter Paradise."

"This is not in my power."

"Then, there is nothing you can do for me. "

The Caliph asked him to pray for him. Abu Hazim made this prayer: "O Allah, if you approve of Sulayman, make the well-being of this world and the next easily accessible to him; but if he is your enemy, drag him by the hair towards the deeds you approve of."

The Caliph then asked him for some special advice. Abu Hazim said: "I shall make it short. You should have the fear of your Lord and reverence for Him to the degree that He never finds you present at the place He has forbidden, and never finds you absent from the place where He has commanded you to be."

Later on, the Caliph sent one hundred gold dinars to him as a present. Abu Hazim sent the money back with a letter, saying: "If these dinars are the wages for my words, then blood and pork are, in my eyes, cleaner than this money. If you believe that this money is my due from the public exchequer, then there are hundreds of Ulema and servants of Islam. If you have sent the same amount to each one of them, I can accept the money, otherwise I do not need it."

Abu Hazim's refusal to accept the wages for giving advice clearly shows that taking wages for an act of worship or obedience to Allah is not permissible.

Verses 43-46

() () ()

And be steadfast in Salah, and pay Zakah, and bow down with those who bow. Do you bid others to righteousness while you ignore your own selves,although you keep reciting the Book? Have you then no sense? And seek help through patience and prayer. And it is indeed exacting. but not for the humble in heart who bear in mind that they are to meet their Lord. and that to Him they are to return.

(Verses 43 - 46)

In the last three verses and these four, Allah reminds the Israelites of the blessings He has bestowed upon them, and invites them to Islam and to good deeds. The earlier three verses were concerned with the true faith and doctrines; the present verses speak of good deeds, mentioning only the most important of them. It was usually the love of money and power that made it difficult for the Jews, specially for their scholars, to accept Islam. The verses prescribe the remedy for the twin diseases they should fortify themselves with Sabr (patience) and Salaah (prayer).

"Patience" is a very weak translation of the Arabic word Sabr , which has three connotations: (a) bearing pain and misfortune patiently (b) restraining oneself from sin (c) being steadfast in obeying Allah.

Now, patience, in this wide sense, is the perfect remedy for the love of money. For, money cannot be an end in itself, but is sought only as a means of satisfying one's appetites; when a man has made a firm resolve not to follow his appetites like a slave, he will no longer need much money, nor will the love of money blind him to the distinction between his gain and loss. Similarly, Salaah is the remedy for ambition and the love of power. For, outwardly and inwardly both, Salaah involves the exercise of humility; naturally, the more one tries to perform it in the proper manner, the more it purifies him of the love of money and power and of ambition and pride. These being the real substance of all spiritual disorder in man. once they are brought under control, it becomes easy for one to accept Islam and to be steadfast in one's faith.

Let us add that while patience (sabr) requires only the restraining or giving up of excessive appetites and unnecessary desires, Salaah, in addition to all this further requires the performance of certain actions and also a temporary renunciation of perfectly lawful desires and of many human needs which the Shari'ah allows one to fulfill, e.g., eating, drinking, speaking, walking etc. and, at that, making such a renunciation five times during the day and the night regularly at fixed hours. Thus, Salaah means performing certain prescribed actions and restraining oneself from all lawful or unlawful activities at fixed hours.

Once a man has decided to give up unnecessary desires, the instinctive urge itself loses its intensity in a few days. So, the exercise of patience is not, after all, so difficult. But offering Salaah entails submitting oneself to the conditions laid down by the Shari'ah, observing the fixed hours, and giving up the basic human activities and desires, all of which is quite exacting for the instinctive disposition of man. So, one may very well raise an objection here for the purpose of making it easy for a man to accept Islam and to be steadfast in his faith, the Holy Qur'an prescribes Sabr and Salaah, but to use this remedy is in itself a difficult thing, specially the Salaah and its restrictionnow, how can this difficulty be overcome? The Holy Qur'an admits that performing Salaah regularly and steadfastly is, no doubt, exacting, and proceeds to show the way out of this impasse  -Salaah is not a burden to the humble in heart.

To know the effectiveness of the remedy, we must know the disease, and find out why Salaah should be so burdensome. The human heart loves to roam about freely in the vast spaces of thought and fancy; all the organs of the human body being subservient to the heart, it requires them to be equally free. On the other hand, Salaah demands the renunciation of such freedom, and prohibits eating, drinking, walking, talking etc. -a restriction which annoys the heart and is also painful for the human organs governed by it.

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4. Lesson from Bukhari Sharief
Dr. Rafiq Ahmad

Status of Hadith (Hadith No. 48)

             This Hadith is called Hadith-e-Jibrael as it was Hadhrat Jibrael (AS) who was asking questions to Rasulullah (AS) in this Hadith. Qurtubi says that this Hadith should be called Ummu-Sunnah (Mother of all Ahaadith) in similar way as Surah Fatihah is called Ummul Qur'an. All other Ahaadith seem to be the explanation of this Hadith, same way as whole Quran is said to be the explanation of Surah-al-Fatihah. All authentic authorities of Hadith agree upon the authenticity of this Hadith. Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim and authors of other Hadith books have quoted this Hadith from different Sahaabah-al-Kiram and author of Mishkaat has quoted it from Hadhrat Umar ibn al-Khataab (RA).

 

Purpose of Tarjamatul Baab

By establishing this Baab here Imam Bukhari wants to convey that Islam, Iman and Ahsaan are synonymous and that these all constitute Deen as Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) told Sahaabah after Jibra'eel (AS) left and Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) labelled all these as Deen.  Imam Bukhari also substantiates his point by quoting the verse of the Qur'an which says:

"If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah) never will it be accepted of him" (3:85)

 

Comments

There is consensus amongst Ulema that this incident took place in last part of the life of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), most probably after Haja-tul-Widah (last Haj of Rasulullah). It was during this last Haj that the following verse of the Qur'an was revealed,

"This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." (5:3)

As this verse says that the Deen i.e., Islam has been perfected on that very day. Similarly this Hadith, which Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) stated during his last days, comprises of almost all aspects of Deen. Iman denotes all things related to beliefs, Islam denotes all Ibaadaat like Salah, Saum and Zakat etc. and Ahsaan includes all things related to spiritual upliftment with excellences what is called Sulook.

Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA) says that one day they (companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) were sitting around Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) when a stranger came dressed in shinning white dress with jet black hair and there were no signs of travelling upon him. He was not a local as no Sahaabi recognised him, so he aught to have come from a far-off place either on foot or on camel (those days camel was the only means of transportation). Had he come on foot or on a camel, there would have been lot of dust on his clothes and hair and other signs of tiredness of long journey should have also been noticeable. When Sahaabah saw none of these things, they were surprised. Imam Muslim, while narrating the background of this Hadith, says that once Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) asked the Sahaabah to ask questions but they could not dare to ask anything because of fear and then Hadhrat Jibra'eel (AS) appeared. Abu Dawood quotes that the stranger came to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) when Sahaabah were sitting around by his side and while he was sitting on an elevated place of mud which the Sahaabah had constructed for him. Imam Qurtubi derives a lesson from this that it is proper for an Aalim to sit on an elevated place for reverence. This stranger whom the Sahaabah could not recognise was Hadhrat Jibra'eel (AS) who had come in the form of a human being resembling one of the most handsome Sahahbi namely Dhahya-al-Kalbi (RA) as is reported in a narration quoted in Nasaee Shareef.  Hadhrat Jibrael (AS) came in the form of a young man dressed in white clean clothes, from this Ulema have derived the lesson that

1. The young age is most suitable for learning.

2. The student should stick to the cleanliness and

3. That the white clothes are preferable.

It is reported in Musnad-al-Imam-al-Azam on the authority of Hammad from Alqama from Ibne Masood (RA) that Jibra'eel (AS) came in the form of a young man dressed in white clothes and said, Assalam-u-Alikum Ya Rasulullah and Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied, Wa-Alaika-s-Salam. From this Ulema have derived the lesson that an incomer can first greet Salam to all those who are present and then can greet specific Salam to someone calling him by name. After entering, Hadhrat Jibra'eel (AS) came near Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and sat in front of him on knees as one sits in Tashahud in Salah in such a way that his knees were touching the knees of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Ulema say that this is the best way of sitting for a student and helps in concentration and also shows his for learning.

 

Tell me about Iman

This was the first question that Hadhrat Jibraþeel (AS) asked Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). In reply to this question Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

"Faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, (the) meeting with Him, His Apostles, and to believe in Resurrection."

This imperative sentence of Jibra'eel (AS) does not imply order but implies request. There is consensus amongst all Ulema that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is superior than angels and humans (Mirqat).

 

Belief in Allah

It means to believe in Oneness and Uniqueness of Allah Taala both in His Essence and His Attributes. To believe in His Self Existence and that His Existence is not dependent upon the existence of any other thing whereas the existence of every other thing is dependent upon His Existence. Iman in Allah means to acknowledge His bounties, His Mercy and the extreme excellence of all His attributes as is worth His Jalal and Jamal.

Different people have Iman of different grades. Common people recite the article of faith i.e., Kalimah by tongue while having faith in their hearts whereas the people possessing higher grade of Iman find themselves in the presence of Allah thus forgetting the world and remain busy in preparation for Hereafter. Those people having even higher state of Iman, get so much enlightenment from Allah that they even forget themselves and the dualism is lost to them.

Allah is the name of Essence of Allah, the other names like Ar-Rehman, Ar-Rahim, Al-Gaffer are the names of His Attributes. So, in His name i.e., Allahall His Attributes are also included i.e., when one calls Him by the name of Allah, he is calling Him by all His Attributes. Allah alone is worth worshipping, as He alone is the Creator of every creature. He has no partners, no children and no parents, there is none like unto Him. He knows everything and listens everything at the same time. To listen one thing does not make Him unable from listening others. Similarly, seeing one thing does not make Him incapable to see others. He is Omnipotent and does not need any advisers or helpers. He is beyond human comprehension. He is present everywhere but cannot be seen in this world. He has no beginning or end, everything other than Him has a beginning and an end. Nothing happens in this universe out of His Knowledge and Will. He created things from nothing. He says, be and it becomes. He is the Real Creator, Designer, Planner and Operator of the whole universe and what is beyond that. No slumber seizes Him nor sleep. Nothing is beyond His kingdom. He is nearer to man than his jugular veins.

His Attributes are also beyond our comprehension. When we say Hand of Allah, it does not mean something like our hands, similarly when we say He sees, listens or speaks, it does not mean that He has eyes, ears and tongue like ours, but these words are used only for our easy understanding otherwise nobody can comprehend their real meaning, as the way He is Unique in His Essence so is He in His Attributes. His Attributes cannot be compared with that of His creatures. As is the difference between the Creator and the creation, so is the difference between the Attributes of the Creator and the creation, e.g., difference between our seeing and listening and His seeing and listening.

Allah is beyond time and space as these are created things. There is no present, past or future before Him, these are things for the creatures. One cannot attribute a particular direction to Him, as He is everywhere. It is not proper to attribute words like ascent or descent to Allah. It is narrated in some traditions that Allah descends to Aasman-e-Duniya (lowest heaven) during the last part of the night and also during Shabb-e-Qadr. By this descent it should not be understood that Allah descends physically down as ascent and descent are not worth His Excellency. This word descent again is from Mutashbihat and Ulema say that by this word descent is meant that Allah pays special attention towards the world.

Nothing can make him helpless or overpower him. Allah Taala says in Quran:

It is Allah Who has created you, further, He has provided for your sustenance; then He will cause you to die; and again He will give you life. Are there any of your (false) partners who can do any single one of these things? Glory to Him! and High is He above the partners they attribute (to Him)! (30:40)

And Allah is not to be frustrated by anything whatever in the heavens or on earth: for He is All-Knowing, All-Powerful.(35:44)

For accomplishing any task one needs two things, power to do that task and the knowledge; Allah has both, hence can do anything and everything.

Our eyes can see material things only and our minds can understand those things only which are related to matter and can be felt. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said that Jannat is such a thing which no eye has seen, no ear has heard of and its idea has not passed through anybodys heart as to what it exactly looks like. When we cannot see or comprehend Jannat, which is material thing and also created one, how will we be able to see or comprehend Allah who has no material body? Hadhrat Junaid Bagdadi (RA) has well said: Whatever idea come to your mind about the being of Allah, think that He is not like that, as He cannot come in our minds and is above all these imaginations.

Allah Taala says:

No vision can grasp Him (6:103)

And they shall not compass it with their knowledge (20:110)

And,

There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the one that hears and sees (42:11)

Nothing is like unto Him neither in essence nor in attributes, nor in deeds. His Knowledge is not like our knowledge, His seeing in not like our seeing, His listening is not like our listening. His being on throne is not like our being on throne, His laughing is not like our laughing and His power is not like our power. In short, there is nothing that can be compared with Him or can be given as an example.

 

Allah is the Creator free of wants

Allah Taala says:

() () ()

I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me. No, sustenance do I require of them, nor do I require that they should feed me. For Allah is He Who gives (all) sustenance, Lord of Power, Steadfast (forever).

O ye men! it is you that have need of Allah: but Allah is the One free of all wants, worthy of all praise (35:15)

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 5. Islamic Beliefs
Hadhrat Sheikh-ut-Tafseer Mawlana Idris Kandhlawi (RA)

A SPECTACLE OF QIYAAMAH

As the night falls, all humans and animals retreat to their homes, nests, etc. and retire for the night in rest, without any movement or sensory perception. This is a spectacle of the first blowing of the Trumpet. At the time of dawn all awaken and spread out upon the earth. This is a spectacle of the second blowing of the Trumpet. As for those who deny the termination of the system of the sun and stars, the following is a refutation for them:

"When the sun 'Kuwwirat (wound round and lost its light and is overthrown)."

"And when the stars shall fall."

"And when the stars have fallen and scattered."

"When the heaven is split asunder."

"When the heaven is cleft asunder."

"And the heavens shall be opened, and it will

become as gates.

"And the mountains will be like carded wool."

Like these, there is a multitude of Aayaat, wherein Allaah Ta'ala has refuted the claims of the atheists. These things are from the necessities of the Deen, to believe in. It is necessary to bring Imaan in them. Without believing in this, one cannot be a Muslim.

Allaah Ta' ala says:

"The disbelievers pretend that they never be resurrected (for the Account). Say (O Muhammad - sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam)! 'Yes! By my Rabb, you will certainly be resurrected, then you will be informed of (and recompensed for) what you did, and that is easy for Allaah,"


HOW CAN CLAIMANTS TO ISLAAM DENY RESURRECTION?

The philosophers openly deny the concept of resurrection. Some atheists, there exists a group of them, who outwardly claim to be Muslims but they, like the kuffaar, deny the concept of resurrection This group hide behind a screen and dupe the Muslims. The trick of these people is that they hide behind a screen and act as Muslims and then they create such doubts regarding the Qur'aan and Ahaadith in the minds of unwary and unlearned Muslims, even though these Muslims may be educated worldly. Sometimes these people twist and turn the Aayaat and Ahaadith to such an extent that they give a completely different interpretation to what is actually meant and they thereby alter the beliefs of Muslims.

These people's claim is that the Aakhirah is a spiritual realm. In this way also they misinterpret the pleasures of Jannat and the punishments of Jahannum. These pseudo Muslims are more of a threat to Islaam than the general kuffaar. Outwardly they appear as Muslims but they mock and jeer at the Qur'aanic Aayaat and the Ahaadith, which one will not even find amongst the Jews or Christians.

 

AQEEDAH # 2

The firm belief and consensus of all the Ahle Islaam is that the resurrection will be in this present human body form. The Qur'aan and Ahaadith are replete with proofs that the souls will be returned into this same bodies that we have in this world. These Aayaat and Ahaadith are as clear as daylight, that there remains no leeway for any other interpretation. In this world, the body and soul are both united in being liable for carrying out actions and Commandments, and in the Hereafter, too they will be united in receiving reward or punishment for their actions. Just as this body and soul were together in this world, so too will they be in the Hereafter.

 

AQEEDAH # 3

It is a fact that on the Day of Qiyaamah, there will be reckoning for actions. For the purpose of weighing the actions on that Day, there will be scales which will be placed, and this is also Haqq. Whoever has the tray in the scale of good actions in his favour, he will be successful and whoever does not will be unsuccessful and at a loss. The limbs of the bodies will testify on that Day as to the various actions carried out by them. This is also Haqq. It is also Haqq that the books of deeds of the good people will be given in their right hands and that of the evil doers will be flung into their left hands.

The scales of actions will be in reality a scale (as we know it). It will have two trays, one will be illuminated, which will be for the good deeds and the other will be dark, which will be for the evil deeds. There will be actual Weighing. The method of weighing is only known to Allaah Ta'ala. This basic information is sufficient for the purposes of bringing Imaan. After the second blowing of the Trumpet, Allaah Ta'ala will gather all- the creation at the place of Judgement. The name of this place is "Saahirah", as it is mentioned in the Qur'aan:

"Then suddenly they will be at Saahirah The dictionary meaning of `Saahirah" is the face of the earth. The earth (land) where The judgement will take place will be another one, and not the earth we have at present. After they will be gathered there, a period of time will pass, wherein the people will find difficulty and they will be. in distress. They will then go to Hadhrat Aadam (alaihi salaam) and request him to intercede on their behalf, so that the reckoning can begin and the present condition be over with. Hadhrat Aadam (alaihi salaam) will send them to Hadhrat Nooh (alaihi salaam), who will in turn send them to Hadhrat Ebrahim (alaihi salaam), who will send them to Hadhrat Moosa (alaihi salaam), who will send them to Hadhrat Isaa (alaihi salaam). At that juncture, Hadhrat Isaa (alaihi salaam) will say: "Indeed Muhammad, the Seal of Nabis has presented himself today."

Hadhrat Isaa (alaihi salaam) will take the entire creation and present themselves in the company of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). They will make a request that Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) intercede on their behalf, and rescue them from the intense heat and stress of that Day. This intercession is known as "Shafaa'at-e-Kubra". The place where Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) will stand to make this intercession is known as "Maqaam-e-Mahmood". As Allaah Ta'ala says: "Soon your Rabb will place you in the Maqaam-eMahmood."

THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE BOOKS OF DEEDS

After this intercession of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), the books of deeds will be distributed in such a way that it will fly into the right or left hands of the people:

Then each one will be ordered to read his book of deeds.

"Read your Kitaabs! Your Naffs will be sufficient reckoning for you on this Day."

This is to show each person, that whatever he did in this world has been recorded in the Book and here it is there for him to witness:

AFTER READING THE BOOKS OF DEEDS, THE RECKONING WILL BEGIN

As soon as every person has seen and read his book of deeds, his reckoning will begin. As is borne out by the following Aayat:

"And that person who is given his book in his right hand, he will soon be reckoned with an easy reckoning."

From this we see that the reckoning will take place after the books are given out.

 

THE PRESENCE OF KIRAAM AND KAATIBEEN AND THE AMBIYAA AT THE TIME OF RECKONING

At the time of reckoning, Kiraam and Kaatibeen and the Ambiyaa (alaihimus salaam) will be present (as witnesses on the witness stand). As Allaah Ta'ala says:

"The Nabis and the Witnesses will be judgement will be brought forth, and judgment will be made with justice."

In this Aayat, the word "witnesses" refers to Kiraam and Kaatibeen.
On that Day other angels will also be present to taunt and testify against the kuffaar.

"On the Day when they see the angels, there will be no joy or glad tidings on that Day for the wrongdoers."

The Nabis will testify that they have conveyed the Message but the people belied them. The people will deny that they falsified the Nabis and Allaah Ta'ala will call the Nabis to be witnesses. Our Nabi (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) and his Ummat will bear witness that the Nabis had indeed conveyed the Message. It is for this reason the following Aayat was revealed:

"And in this way We had made you a just nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad - sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) be a witness over you."

When Kiraam and Kaatibeen will present the Book of deeds of the people they will refute it and then Allaah Ta'ala will order the organs and limbs of the people to speak and it will testify against the person. In this regard Allaah Ta'ala says:

"On that Day their tongues, hands and feet will testify against them for whatever they have done. They will say to their limbs 'Why do you testify against us. The limbs will reply, 'Allaah has made us speak, He who makes all things speak.'

Besides the Nabis and the angels, the limbs of the evildoers will speak and testify as to all the evil perpetrated through them. In this way, the case will be complete.

 

MEANING OF MUHAASABA (RECKO- NING)

The meaning of Hisaab' and `Muhaasaba' is that a person is made aware of his deeds, and he will be shown and told that on a certain day you had carried out a particular act. Every small act will be accountable. After the reckoning of the kuffaar and mushrikeen will be completed, they will be ordered to be thrown into Jahannum.

As for the reckoning of the Muslims, it will be done in a different way, some will be easy and light and others will be difficult. Therefore, it is reported in a Hadith that a Muslim recite the following du'aa:

"O Allaah! Reckon me with an easy reckoning."
           It is ascertained from the Qur'aan and Hadith that one group will enter Jannat without reckoning, and they will be the Mutawakkileen (those who relied solely on Allaah). During the reckoning Allaah Ta'ala will even speak to some of His special servants, and there will be no veil or mediator between them. When the kuffaar will belie their books of deeds, at first nothing will be said to them and when they will be addressed, it will be done in a harsh and angry way.

 

AQEEDAH # 4

'Howz-e-Kathar' is true and Haqq. It is also Haqq that the people of Imaan will drink therefrom on the Day of Qiyaamah. On the Day of Qiyaamah, Allaah Ta'ala will present each Nabi a Howz (spring) according to his status. Every Nabi's nation will have specific sign, whereby they will be identified. The Howz of our Nabi (SaIlAllaahu alaihi wasallam) is called 'Kauthar' and it will be the largest of all.

This is mentioned in the Surah 'Kauthar' and in many authentic Ahaadith. The sign of this Ummat is that their limbs of wudhu (ablution) will shine and be very luminous.

When the people arise from their graves then they will be very thirsty. Every Nabi will give the pious people from his Ummat a drink of the water from their respective springs. The Ulama have a difference of opinion as to whether this event will take place before the reckoning or after crossing the 'Pul Siraat'. The preferred opinion is that some will get this water just after arising from their graves, others after their reckoning, others after crossing the Pul Siraat', others after they have spent time in Jahannum and others just before entry into Jannat. It is also possible that some will get the water at every stage.

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 6. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb :
Bad Ruler or Bad History

          

             Of all the Muslim rulers who ruled vast territories of India from 712 to 1857 CE, probably no one has received as much condemnation from Western and Hindu writers as Aurangzeb. He has been castigated as a religious Muslim who was anti-Hindu, who taxed them, who tried to convert them, who discriminated against them in awarding high administrative positions, and who interfered in their religious matters. This view has been heavily promoted in the government approved textbooks in schools and colleges across post-partition India (i.e., after 1947). These are fabrications against one of the best rulers of India who was pious, scholarly, saintly, un-biased, liberal, magnanimous, tolerant, competent, and far-sighted.

Fortunately, in recent years quite a few Hindu historians have come out in the open disputing those allegations. For example, historian Babu Nagendranath Banerjee rejected the accusation of forced conversion of Hindus by Muslim rulers by stating that if that was their intention then in India today there would not be nearly four times as many Hindus compared to Muslims, despite the fact that Muslims had ruled for nearly a thousand years. Banerjee challenged the Hindu hypothesis that Aurangzeb was anti-Hindu by reasoning that if the latter were truly guilty of such bigotry, how could he appoint a Hindu as his military commander-in-chief? Surely, he could have afforded to appoint a competent Muslim general in that position. Banerjee further stated: "No one should accuse Aurangzeb of being communal minded. In his administration, the state policy was formulated by Hindus. Two Hindus held the highest position in the State Treasury. Some prejudiced Muslims even questioned the merit of his decision to appoint non-Muslims to such high offices. The Emperor refuted that by stating that he had been following the dictates of the Shariah (Islamic Law) which demands appointing right persons in right positions." During Aurangzeb's long reign of fifty years, many Hindus, notably Jaswant Singh, Raja Rajrup, Kabir Singh, Arghanath Singh, Prem Dev Singh, Dilip Roy, and Rasik Lal Crory, held very high administrative positions. Two of the highest ranked generals in Aurangzeb's administration, Jaswant Singh and Jaya Singh, were Hindus. Other notable Hindu generals who commanded a garrison of two to five thousand soldiers were Raja Vim Singh of Udaypur, Indra Singh, Achalaji and Arjuji. One wonders if Aurangzeb was hostile to Hindus, why would he position all these Hindus to high positions of authority, especially in the military, who could have mutinied against him and removed him from his throne?

Most Hindus like Akbar over Aurangzeb for his multi-ethnic court where Hindus were favored. Historian Shri Sharma states that while Emperor Akbar had fourteen Hindu Mansabdars (high officials) in his court, Aurangzeb actually had 148 Hindu high officials in his court. (Ref: Mughal Government) But this fact is somewhat less known.

Some of the Hindu historians have accused Aurangzeb of demolishing Hindu Temples. How factual is this accusation against a man, who has been known to be a saintly man, a strict adherent of Islam? The Qur'an prohibits any Muslim to impose his will on a non-Muslim by stating that "There is no compulsion in religion." (surah al-Baqarah 2:256). The surah al-Kafirun clearly states: "To you is your religion and to me is mine." It would be totally unbecoming of a learned scholar of Islam of his caliber, as Aurangzeb was known to be, to do things that are contrary to the dictates of the Qur'an.

Interestingly, the 1946 edition of the history textbook Etihash Parichaya (Introduction to History) used in Bengal for the 5th and 6th graders states: "If Aurangzeb had the intention of demolishing temples to make way for mosques, there would not have been a single temple standing erect in India. On the contrary, Aurangzeb donated huge estates for use as Temple sites and support thereof in Benares, Kashmir and elsewhere. The official documentations for these land grants are still extant."

A stone inscription in the historic Balaji or Vishnu Temple, located north of Chitrakut Balaghat, still shows that it was commissioned by the Emperor himself. The proof of Aurangzeb's land grant for famous Hindu religious sites in Kasi, Varanasi can easily be verified from the deed records extant at those sites. The same textbook reads: "During the fifty year reign of Aurangzeb, not a single Hindu was forced to embrace Islam. He did not interfere with any Hindu religious activities." (p. 138) Alexander Hamilton, a British historian, toured India towards the end of Aurangzeb's fifty year reign and observed that every one was free to serve and worship God in his own way.

Now let us deal with Aurangzeb's imposition ofthe jizya tax which had drawn severe criticism from many Hindu historians. It is true that jizya was lifted during the reign of Akbar and Jahangir and that Aurangzeb later reinstated this. Before I delve into the subject of Aurangzeb's jizya tax, or taxing the non-Muslims, it is worthwhile to point out that jizya is nothing more than a war tax which was collected only from able-bodied young non-Muslim male citizens living in a Muslim country who did not want to volunteer for the defense of the country. That is, no such tax was collected from non-Muslims who volunteered to defend the country. This tax was not collected from women, and neither from immature males nor from disabled or old male citizens. For payment of such taxes, it became incumbent upon the Muslim government to protect the life, property and wealth of its non-Muslim citizens. If for any reason the government failed to protect its citizens, especially during a war, the taxable amount was returned.

It should be pointed out here that zakat (2.5% of savings) and ushr (10% of agricultural products) were collected from all Muslims, who owned some wealth (beyond a certain minimum, called nisab). They also paid sadaqah, fitrah, and khums. None of these were collected from any non-Muslim. As a matter of fact, the per capita collection from Muslims was several fold that of non-Muslims. Further to Auranzeb's credit is his abolition of a lot of taxes, although this fact is not usually mentioned. In his book Mughal Administration, Sir Jadunath Sarkar, foremost historian on the Mughal dynasty, mentions that during Aurangzeb's reign in power, nearly sixty-five types of taxes were abolished, which resulted in a yearly revenue loss of fifty million rupees from the state treasury.

While some Hindu historians are retracting the lies, the textbooks and historic accounts in Western countries have yet to admit their error and set the record straight. 

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7. Islamic Finance
Justice Mawlan Mufti Taqi Usmani (DB)

2. The use of Interest-Rate as Benchmark

Many institutions financing by way of murabahah determine their profit or mark-up on the basis of the current interest rate, mostly using LIBOR (Inter-bank offered rate in London} as the criterion. For example, if LIBOR is 6%, they determine their mark-up on muraba- hah equal to LIBOR or some percentage above LIBOR. This practice is often criticized on the ground that profit based on a rate of interest should be as prohibited as interest itself.

No doubt, the use of the rate of interest for determining a halal profit cannot be considered desirable. It certainly makes the transaction resemble an interest-based financing, at least in appearance, and keeping in view the severity of prohibition of interest, even this apparent resemblance should be avoided as far a possible. But one should not ignore the fact that the most important requirement for validity of murabahah is that it is a genuine sale with all its ingredients and necessary con- sequences. If a murabahah transaction fulfils all the conditions enumerated in this chapter, merely using the interest rate as a benchmark for determining the profit of murabahah does not render the transaction as invalid, haram or prohibited, because the deal itself does not contain interest. The rate of interest has been used only as an indicator or as a benchmark. In order to explain the point, let me give an example.

A and B are two brothers. A trades in liquor which is totally prohibited in Shari'ah. B, being a practicing Muslim dislikes the business of A and starts the business of soft drinks, but he wants his business to earn as much profit as A earns through trading in liquour, therefore he resolves that he will charge the same rate of profit from his customers as A charges over the sale of liquour. Thus he has tied up his rate of profit with the rate used by A in his prohibited business. One may question the propriety of his approach in determining the rate of his profit, but obviously no one can say that the profit charged by him in his halal business is haram, because he has used the rate of profit of the business of liquor as a benchmark.

Similarly, so far as the transaction of murabahah is based on Islamic principles and fulfils all its necessary requirements, the rate of profit determined on the basis of the rate of interest will not render the transaction as haram.

It is, however true that the Islamic banks and financial institutions should get rid of this practice as soon as possible, because, firstly, it takes the rate of interest as an ideal for a halal business which is not desirable, and secondly because it does not advance the basic philosophy of Islamic economy having no impact on the system of distribution. Therefore, the Islamic banks and financial institutions should strive for developing their own benchmark. This can be done by creating their own inter-bank market based on Islamic principles. The purpose can be achieved by creating a common pool which invests in asset-backed instruments like musharakah, Ijarah etc. If majority of the assets of the pool is in tangible form, like leased property or equipment; shares in business concerns etc., its units can be sold and purchased on the basis of their net asset value determined on periodical basis. These units may be negotiable and may be used for overnight financing as well. The banks having surplus liquidity can purchase these units and when they need liquidity, they can sell them. This arrangement may create inter-bank market and the value of the units may serve as an indicator for determining the profit in murabahah and leasing also.

3. Promise to purchase  

Another important issue in Murabahah financing which has been subject of debate between the contemporary Shari'ah Scholars is that the bank/financier cannot enter into an actual sale at the time when the client seeks murabhaha financing from him, because the required commodity is not owned by the bank at this stage and, as explained earlier, one cannot sell a commodity not owned by him, nor can he effect a forward sale. He is, therefore, bound to purchase the commodity from the supplier, then he can sell it to the client after having its physical or constructive possession. On the other hand, if the client is not bound to purchase the commodity after the financier has purchased it from the supplier, the financier may be confronted with a situation where he has incurred huge expenses to acquire the commodity, but the client refuses to purchase it. The commodity may be of such a nature that it has no common demand in the market and is very difficult to dispose of. In this case the financier may suffer unbearable loss.

Solution to this problem is sought in the murabahah arrangement by asking the client to sign a promise to purchase the commodity when it is acquired by the financier. Instead of being a bilateral contract of forward sale, it is a unilateral promise from the client which binds himself and not the financier. Being a one-sided promise, it is distinguishable from the bilateral forward contract.

This solution IS subjected to the objection that a unilateral promise creates a moral obligation but it cannot be enforced, according to Shari'ah, by the courts of law. This leads us to the question whether or not a one-sided promise is enforceable in Shari'ah. The general impression is that it is not, but before accepting this impression at its face value, we will have to examine it in the light of the original sources of Shari'ah.

A thorough study of the relevant material in the books of Islamic jurisprudence would show that the fuqaha' (the Muslim jurists) have different views on the subject. Their views may be summarized as follows:

1. Many of them are of the opinion that 'fulfilling a promise' is a noble quality and it is advisable for the promisor to observe it, and its violation is reproachable, but other voluntary payments, but none of them has accepted the binding nature of a promise to effect a bilateral commercial or monetary transaction. However, based on a close study, this notion does not seem to be correct, be- cause the Maliki and Hanafi jurists have allowed 'Bai' bil wafa' on the basis of binding promise. Bai' bil wafa' is a special kind of sale whereby the purchaser of an im- movable property undertakes that whenever the seller will gjve him the price back, he will resell the house to him. The question of validity of 'Bai'bil wafa' has already been discussed in detail in the first chapter while explaining the concept of house financing on the basis of 'diminishing musharakah'. The gist of the discussion is that if repurchase by the seller is made a condition for the original sale, it is not a valid transaction, but if the parties have entered into the original sale unconditionally, but the seller has signed a separate and independent promise to repurchase the sold property, this prom- ise will be binding on the promisor and enforceable through the courts. The binding nature of the promise in this case has been admitted by both Maliki and Hanafi ..

Obviously, this promise does not relate to a gift. It is a promise to affect a sale in future. Still, the Maliki and Hanafi jurists have accepted it as binding on the promisor and enforceable through the courts. It is a clear proof of the fact that the jurists who hold the promises to be binding do not restrict it to the promises of gifts etc. The same principle is applicable, according to them, to the promises whereby the promisor undertakes to enter into bilateral contract in future.

In fact, the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) are very particular about fulfilling promises. The Holy Qur'an says:

And fulfill the covenant. Surely, the covenaqt will be asked about (in the Hereafter) (Bani Isra'il : 34)  

O those who believe, why do you say what you not do. It invites Allah's anger that you say what you not do; (al-Saf:2 to 3)

Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas has said that this verse of the Holy Qur'an indicates that if one undertakes to do something, no matter whether it is a worship or a contract, it is obligatory on him to do it.

The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said:

There are three distinguishing features of a hypocrite: when he speaks, tells a lie, when he promises, he backs out and when he is given something in trust, he breaches the trust.

This is only an example. There are a large number of injunctions in the Ahadith of the Holy Prophet (S) where it is ordained to fulfill the promises and it is clearly prohibited to back out, except for a valid reason.

Therefore, it is evident from these injunctions that fulfilling promise is obligatory. However, the Question whether or 'not a promise is enforceable in courts depends on the nature of the promise. There are certainly some sorts of promises which cannot be enforced through courts. For example, at the time of engagement the parties promise to go through the marriage. These promises create a moral obligation, but obviously they cannot be enforced through courts of law. But in commercial dealings, where a party has given an absolute promise to sell or purchase something and the other party has incurred liabilities on that basis, there is no reason why such a promise should not be enforced. Therefore, on the basis of the clear injunctions of Islam, if the parties have agreed that this particular promise will be binding on the promisor, it will be enforceable.

This is not a question pertaining to murabahah alone. If promises are not enforceable in the commercial transactions, it may seriously jeopardise commercial activities. If somebody orders a trader to bring for him a certain commodity and promises to purchase it from him, on the basis of which the trader imports it from abroad by incurring huge expenses, how can it be allowed for the former to refuse to purchase it? There is nothing in the Holy Qur'an or Sunnah which prohibits the making of such promises enforceable.

It is on these grounds that the Islamic Fiqh Academy Jeddah has made the promises in commercial dealings binding on the promisor with the following conditions,

(a) it should be one-sided promise.

(b) the promise must have caused the promisee to incur some liabilities

(c) If the promise is to purchase something, the actual sale must take place at the appointed time by the exchange of offer and acceptance. Mere promise itself should not be taken as the concluded sale.

(d) If the promisor backs out of his promise, the court may force him either to purchase the commodity or pay actual damages to the seller. The actual damages will include the actual monetary loss suffered by him, but will not include the opportunity cost.

On this basis, it is allowed that the client promises to the financier that he will purchase the commodity after the latter acquires it from the supplier. This promise will be binding on him and may be enforced through courts in the manner explained above. This promise does not amount to actual sale. It will be simply a promise and the actual sale will take place after the commodity is acquired by the financier for which exchange of offer and acceptance will be necessary.

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 8. Abstaining from Sins
   Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (RA)

             It is of vital importance for the Mumin to abstain from all sins. This is essential for developing his Imaan. sins darken Imaan and create weakness in it. On the assumption that there will not be punishment for sins, then too, it is necessary for the Mumin to abstain from sins, for sins are disobedience which is the cause of Allah's displeasure. No man wishes to displease even a worldly benefactor. The favours of Allah on man are innumerable. Allah Ta'ala is man's greatest and true Benefactor. How can the Mumin then displease Him?

Besides this consideration, there is also the danger of punishment for the commission of sins. Such punishment may be both in this world as well as in the Hereafter. One form of worldly punishment is that a man given up to sins engrosses himself fully, body and heart, in the world to such a degree that he be- comes fearful of the Aakhirah and thus detests it. He loses firmness of heart and Imaan. The Mumin should therefore, not venture near to sins, no matter what type of sins they may be, whether the sins pertain to Huqooqullah (Rights of Allah) or Huqooqul Ibaad (Rights of creation). Various types of punishments for different sins have been mentioned in the Ahadith.

1. Hazrat Abu Hurairah (RA) narrates that Rasulullah {Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: When a Mumin sins, a black spot forms on his heart. If he makes Istigafar and Taubah, the black mark is removed and his heart purified. If he increases his sin, the black mark also  increases. This is the corrosion of the heart spoken of by Allah Ta 'ala (in the Qur 'aan). (Ahmad, Tirmizi, Ibn Majah)

2. Hazrat Muaaz (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:"Guard yourselves against sin "because the Wrath of Allah descends in the wake of sin  (Ahmad)

3. Hazrat Anas Bin Maalik (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "Should I not show you your sickness and its remedy? Your sickness is sinning and your remedy is to seek forgiveness (istigafaar). (Baihaqi)

4. Hazrat Anas (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:"The hearts too become corroded (by means of sin). Its polish is istigafaa. (Baihaqi)

5. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:"Verily, man is deprived of rizq (food) because of the sins which he perpetrates. (Ahmad)

6. Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (RA) narrates that once ten of them were in the company of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and he said: "I seek the protection of Allah from five things which may overtake you. When immorality becomes rampant in a people, they will be over- taken by epidemics and such disease which never existed before. When a people are involved in giving short-weight and measure, they will be overtaken by famine, hardship and oppression of the authorities. When a people stops paying Zakaat, rain is withheld from them. If it were not for the animals in their midst, never would there have fallen rain for them. When people violate pledges and promises, Allah will overwhelm them with their enemies from other nations. Thus the enemy will take by force their wealth. (Ibn Majah)

7. Hazrat Ibn Abbas (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:"When Khiyaanat (abuse of trust) becomes rampant in a people, Allah Ta 'ala overwhelms their hearts with fear. A nation perpetrating injustice will be overpowered by its enemies (Malik)

8. Hazrat Thaubaan (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "There will soon come a time when all the nations (of the kuffar) will unite against you (Muslims)... "

Someone asked: "Will we be less in numbers at that time ? "

Rasulullah {Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam} said:"In fact, you will be numerous, but useless... Allah Ta ' ala will remove your respect and fear from the hearts of your enemies (who will then despise you and Allah will instill weakness in your hearts. "

Someone asked: "What is the cause of the weakness? "

Rasulullah (SallallahuAlaihi Wasallam) said: "Love of the world and detention for Maut. " (Abu Dawood, Baihaqi)

9. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "When Allah Ta 'ala says: 'I am the King of kings. Their hearts are in My control. When servants (i.e., Muslims) are obedient to Me, I make the rulers merciful to them. When the servants are disobedient to Me, I cause the rulers to oppress them and be cruel to them. .." (Abu Nuaim)

10. Hazrat Wahab (RA) narrates that Allah Ta'ala said to Bani Israeel: " When I am obeyed, I become pleased,' when I become r]leased I bestow limitless barkat. When I am disobeyed, I become Wrathful and I curse (the disobedient ones). The effect of My La'nat (Curse) extends to seven generations." (Jazaaual A'maal, Ahmad)

This does not mean that the curse which descended on the wrongdoers, settles on the future generations as well. However, the future generations are deprived of the goodness and barkat which world have come their way if their forbearers were pious. The beneficial effects of the evil, there will be no goodness and benefits which could be transmitted to their offspring.

11. Hazrat Wakee' (RA) narrates that Rasulullah {Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "When a man becomes disobedient to Allah Ta 'ala then those who (formerly) praised him (the man), begin to find fault with him. (Ahmad)

In general. The evils and harms which flow in the wake of sinning are stated in these ahadith. Some ahadith relating to specific harms of sins will now be cited.

Shirk means to associate any created being or object in the worship or in the specific attributes of Allah Ta'ala, such attributes which belong to Him exclusively. Among the practices of shirk prevalent in our time are:

 Worshiping of graves of the Auliya of Allah Ta'ala: The Auliya are the created beings and servants of Allah Ta'ala. Worshiping their graves by means of Sajdah, Ruku, Tawaaf of the graves is among the worst acts of shirk. Kissing the graves of the Auliya and adorning the graves with sheets also are linked to the Dractice of shirk.

 Taking a vow in the name of some Wali of Allah: Ta'ala. Vows (Mannat) can be taken in the Name of only Allah Ta'ala.

 Believing that Allah Ta' ala has assigned the affairs of the universe to created beings in such a way that the created beings act independently of the Will of Allah.

 The belief that the Auliya are able to grant children, wishes and prayers (dua). In consequence of this belief of shirk people direct their dua directly to the Auliya instead of directly to Allah Ta' ala.

 Disobedience to parents applies to all such things which are not in contradiction to the Law of Allah Ta' ala. Obedience to parents is of paramount importance, but obedience to parents is not permissible in such things which are Haraam. It is not permissible to obey parents if their wishes conflict with the Wishes of Allah.

12. Hazrat Abu Hurairah (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "(Among the major sins are): to devour the wealth of orphans, to flee from the battlefield of Jihaad and to slander innocent and chaste women (to accuse them of fornication and immorality).

In another hadith Hazrat Abu Hurairah also mentions among the great sins, stealing, banditry and fornication.

13. Hazrat Abdullah Bin Umar (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "Four qualities in a man render him a total Munafiq (hypocrite).1fone (of these four) exists in him, a share of Nifaaq (hypocrisy) is found in him; such Nifaaq will remain in him as long as he retains that quality. (These four qualities of Nifaaq are):

 Abuse of trust when trust is reposed in him.

 When he speaks, he lies.

 When he promises, he violates his promise. * When he argues, he becomes abusive. {Bukhari, Muslim)

Hazrat Safwaan Ibn Assaal (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "Do not deliver an innocent person to the rulers so that he be executed (or oppressed) and do not practice magic. .." (Tirmizi, Abu Dawood, Nasaai)

All forms of injustices committed with the aid of the authorities in the land and all forms of evil satanic practices such as witchcraft, fortunetelling, etc., come within the scope of this hadith's prohibition.

The following are some evil acts prohibited in Islam and for which grave warnings of punishment have been sounded by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

 To mock at someone. To taunt a person.

 To call a person by a degrading nick-name. To cast suspicion against someone.

 To search for the faults of others. Gheebat (scandalling). To gossip.

 To revile a person for-no proper reason. Double-talk, to be two-faced.

 To slander.

 To deceive.

 Pride, vanity.

 Cruelty and oppression.

 Refraining from aiding one in hardship inspite of having the means.

 To create loss for another in his wealth.

 To cast aspersions against a person thereby ruining his reputation.

 To be unkind to juniors and disrespectful to seniors.

 To break ties with a Muslim for some worldly motive.

 Pictures of living things, people and animals. Shaving or cutting the beard.

 Imitating the kuffar and Fussaq in dress.

 For women to imitate men in dress and for men to imitate women in dress.

Besides the above, there are many other sins and it is essential to abstain from all sin. Involvement in sin stunts spiritual development and the Noor of Imaan does not glitter. Sin darkens the heart. Sin hardens the heart and creates a detestation for Allah Ta'ala and for all pious men associated with Allah Ta'ala. Constant indulgence in sin creates in one an aversion for pious company. The consequence is that the one given up to sin recedes further and further from the Rahmat of Allah Ta' ala. He then loses all hope in rectitude and in the mercy and forgiveness of Allah Ta'ala. When overcome by this destructive condition, the Believer will be standing on the threshold of kufr.

It is essential to continuously resort to Taubah and seek the forgiveness of Allah Ta'ala. Taubah and istigafaar do not allow the darkness flowing from sin to engulf and permanently settle on the heart. Taubah secures forgiveness for all sins ofviolation of Allah's Rights. However, ifsin involves the Huqooq (rights) of others as well, a requisite for obtaining forgiveness is to rectify the rights of those whose rights were violated. This is to be done by either discharging the actual object if the Haqq is in tangible form, e.g., or by obtaining pardon if the right is intangible, slander, abuse, violence against the person.

Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Mas'ood (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "A sincere repenter of sins is like one who has not committed sins. Baihaqi

Hazrat Abu Hurairah (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "Discharge the rights of the brother (Muslim) today-whether such rights pertain to his honour or wealth before there comes the time (Aakhirah) when there will be neither gold or silver. (Bukhari)

If arrangements are not made here to fulfill usurped or undercharged Huqooq (rights), the demand for discharge will be made in the Aakhirah. But, there, man will have no means of paying his rights and fulfilling what he had cast here. Thus, he will be made to pay and discharge the rights of others in Qiyamah by means of his accepted virtuous deeds. His deeds (the sole capital of the Believer in Aakhirah) will be taken and in proportion to the rights usurped will be handed over to the Saahibul Haqq (the one who is entitled to the rights). 

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9.  Advice of Hadhrat Sheikh

Concerning thankfulness [shukr]

 Hadhrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA)

          As for thankfulness [shukr], the basic guidance on the subject is contained in the words of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) :

If you are thankful, I will surely give you more; but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is terrible indeed. (14:7)

             This is reinforced by the traditional report, transmitted on the authority of 'Ata' (may Allah the Exalted bestow His mercy upon him), who said:

"I entered the presence of [the Prophet's widow] 'A'isha (may Allah be well pleased with her), and said: 'Tell us about the most amazing experience you ever had in the company of Allah's Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace).' She wept at first, but then she said: 'Was there anything at all about him that was not a marvelous wonder? He came to me one night, and snuggled up beside me in my bed [firashi] until his skin was touching my skin. But then he said: 'O daughter of Abu Bakr, let me go, so that I may devote myself to the worship of my Lord.'

"She said: 'So I told him: "I love your nearness, but I prefer to respect your dearest wish." I therefore allowed him (Allah bless him and give him peace) to take his leave of me. So he got up, found a skin container full of water, and performed his ritual ablution [tawadda'a], pouring a considerable amount of water in the process. Then he stood erect, and started to perform the ritual prayer [qama fa-salla]. He wept as he did so, until his tears were streaming down onto his chest. Then he adopted the bowing posture [raka'a], and shed more tears. Then he prostrated himself [sajada], and again he wept. Then he raised his head, and wept still more. He went on like this (Allah bless him and give him peace) until Bilal (may Allah be well pleased with him) arrived on the scene, and so he told him about the ritual prayer [salat].

"'I then said: "O Messenger of Allah, what causes you to weep, when Allah has forgiven you your earlier and later sins?" To this he replied (Allah bless him and give him peace) :

"'"Should I not be a thankful servant ['abd shakur]? Why should I not do it, since Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has sent down to me the words of revelation:

Surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, and the ship that runs upon the sea with that which is of use to human beings, and the water which Allah sends down from the sky, thereby reviving the earth after its death, and dispersing all kinds of beasts therein, and the distribution of the winds, and the clouds set in orderly array between heaven and earth--surely there are signs for people who can understand. (2:164) "'"

According to those who specialize in ascertaining the actual facts [ahl at-tahqiq], the true nature of thankfulness [haqiqat ash-shukr] is the acknowledgment of the benefaction of the benefactor [ni'mat al-mun'im], with an attitude of humility. In accordance with this meaning, Allah (Exalted is He) has described Himself as being the Most Thankful One [ash-Shakur] in the widest sense, that is to say, in the sense that He rewards His servants for their thankfulness. For the recompense of thankfulness [jaza' ash-shukr] is also called thankfulness [shukr], just as Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said:

And the recompense of an evil is an evil just like it. (42:40)

It has also been said that the true nature of thankfulness [haqiqat ash-shukr] is the act of praising the beneficent person [muhsin] by mentioning his beneficence [ihsan]. The servant's thankfulness [shukr] to Allah (Exalted is He) is therefore expressed through the praise he offers to Him, by mentioning His beneficence [ihsan] toward His servant. As for the thankfulness [shukr] of the Lord of Truth (Glory be to Him) toward His servant, it is expressed through the praise He confers upon him, by making it known that he has acted beneficently for His sake. Furthermore, the beneficence [ihsan] of the servant represents his worshipful obedience to Allah, while the beneficence [ihsan] of the Lord of Truth (Glory beto Him) represents His bestowal of gracious favor [in'am] upon His servant. When the thankfulness [shukr] of the servant is genuine, it is not only a matter of utterance by the tongue, but also the heart's acknowledgment of the Lord's bestowal of gracious favor [in'am ar-Rabb].

Moreover, thankfulness [shukr] can be subdivided into several categories, namely:

1. Thankfulness expressed by the tongue [shukr bi'l-lisan]. This constitutes the acknowledgment of the benefaction [ni'ma] with an attitude of humble acceptance [istikana].

2. Thankfulness expressed by the body and the limbs [shukr bi'l-badan wa 'l-arkan]. This is the characteristic indication of loyalty and readiness to serve [al-wafa' wa 'l-khidma].

3. Thankfulness expressed by the inner feeling [shukr bi'l-qalb]. This requires a careful balance between the visible display of appreciation and the constant preservation of a sense of reverence.

It has also been said that thankfulness of the eyes [shukr al-'ainain] means that you overlook any fault you notice in your companion, while thankfulness of the ears [shukr al-udhunain] means that you ignore any fault you hear him accused of possessing.

In the simplest terms, thankfulness [shukr] means that you do not disobey Allah (Exalted is He) by misusing His gracious favors.

Here is another saying that clearly deserves to be quoted: "Thankfulness [shukr] may mean the thankfulness of the learned scholars [shukr al-'alimin], in which case it will be among the subjects they discuss.

"Thankfulness [shukr] may mean the thankfulness of the dedicated worshippers [shukr al-'abidin], in which case it will be a feature of their actions.

"Thankfulness [shukr] may mean the thankfulness of those who know by direct intuition [shukr al-'arifin], in which case it will be expressed through their honest devotion to Him (Almighty and Glorious is He) in all their states and conditions. It will be expressed through their firm conviction that whatever is good in their experience, and whatever is manifested from them in the way of worshipful obedience, servitude, and remembrance of Him (Almighty and Glorious is He), is entirely due to His enabling guidance [tawfiq], His gracious favor, His help, His power and His strength (Almighty and Glorious is He). It will be expressed through their detachment from all of that, and their total absorption [fana'] in Him. It will be expressed through their acknowledgment of their own inability, deficiency and ignorance, and then through their humble submission to Him (Almighty and Glorious is He) in all conditions and circumstances."

It was Abu Bakr al-Warraq (may Allah the Exalted bestow His mercy upon him) who said:

"Thankfulness for a gracious favor [shukr an-ni'ma] means feasting one's eyes on the gift received, while preserving a sense of reverence."

As someone else once put it:

"Thankfulness for a gracious favor [shukr an-ni'ma] means that you regard yourself as no more deserving of it than a parasite [tufaili]."

It was Abu 'Uthman [al-Hiri] (may Allah the Exalted bestow His mercy upon him) who said:

"Thankfulness [shukr] is the conscious awareness [ma'rifa] of the fact that you are quite incapable of thankfulness."

Let us also consider the following wise sayings:

"Thankfulness for thankfulness [ash-shukr 'ala 'sh-shukr] is more complete than simple thankfulness [shukr]. This means that you regard your thankfulness as the result of His enablement [tawfiq], and you have received that enablement on account of the gracious favors bestowed upon you, so you give thanks to Him for the thankfulness He has enabled you to experience. Then you thank Him for the thankfulness-upon-thankfulness [shukr ash-shukr], and so on ad infinitum."

"Thankfulness [shukr] is the attribution of blessings to their Master [Mawla], with an attitude of humble submission to Him."

It was al-Junaid (may Allah the Exalted bestow His mercy upon him) who said:

"Thankfulness [shukr] means that you do not look upon yourself as worthy of the gracious favor you have received."

In several wise sayings, the meaning of the simple adjective shakir [thankful; grateful] is contrasted with the significance of the intensive form shakur [very thankful; most grateful; extremely appreciative]. For instance:

"The person who is simply thankful [shakir] is someone who gives thanks for what is available [mawjud], while the person who is very thankful [shakur] is someone who gives thanks for what is unavailable [mafqud]."

"The person who is simply thankful [shakir] is someone who gives thanks for the provision of benefit [naf'], while the person who is very thankful [shakur] is someone who gives thanks for the withholding of benefit [man']."

"The person who is simply thankful [shakir] is someone who gives thanks for the granting of gifts ['ata'], while the person who is very thankful [shakur] is someone who gives thanks for trial and tribulation [bala']."

"The person who is simply thankful [shakir] is someone who gives thanks in response to immediate delivery [badhl], while the person who is very thankful [shakur] is someone who gives thanks when delivery is subject to deferment [matl]."

It was [Abu Bakr ibn Jahdar] ash-Shibli (may Allah the Exalted bestow His mercy upon him) who said:

"Thankfulness [shukr] means focusing attention on the source of the benefit [mun'im], not focusing attention on the benefit [ni'ma] itself."

Someone else had this to say on the subject:

"Thankfulness [shukr] means firmly securing the bonds of that which has been found [qaid al-mawjud], and then hunting for that which is still missing [said al-mafqud]."

It was Abu 'Uthman [al-Hiri] (may Allah the Exalted bestow His mercy upon him) who said:

"The thankfulness of the common folk [shukr al-'amma] is for food and drink and clothing, while the thankfulness of the elite [shukr al-khawass] is for the spiritual values [ma'ani] conferred upon their hearts."

Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has told us:

And few of My servants are very thankful. (34:13)

[The Prophet] David (peace be upon him) once said:

"My God [Ilahi], how can I thank You, when my thankfulness to You [shukri la-ka] is itself a blessing from among Your gracious favors [ni'ma min ni'ami-ka]?"

So Allah (Blessed and Exalted is He) conveyed to him by way of inspiration [awha ilai-h] : "Now you have thanked Me indeed! [al-ana qad shakarta-ni]."

To quote another wise saying:

"If your hand is too short to extend remuneration, let your tongue dwell at length on the expression of thanks [shukr]."

When Idris (peace be upon him) was given the good tiding of forgiveness, he is said to have asked for life. "Why?" he was asked, so he explained: "So that I may be able to thank Him, for I was previously working for forgiveness." The angel thereupon spread its wing, and carried him up to heaven.

It is said that one of the Prophets [Anbiya'] (peace be upon them all) once passed by a small stone, from which a large amount of water was gushing forth. He was astonished at the sight, but Allah caused the stone to let him know that it could speak, so he asked it about its condition. It told him: "Ever since I heard Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) speak of:

a Fire of which the fuel is men and stones. (66:6)

I have been weeping from fear of it." So that Prophet (peace be upon him) offered a prayer of supplication, pleading with Him to grant that stone asylum from the Fire. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) thereupon conveyed to him by way of inspiration [awha ilai-h] : "I have already granted it asylum from the Fire." That Prophet then continued on his way. When he returned later on, he found that the water was still gushing from the stone, but even more copiously than on his previous visit. He was bewildered, but Allah (Exalted is He) again caused the stone to let him know that it could speak, so he said to it: "Why are you still weeping, when Allah has already forgiven you?" The stone explained: "That was the weeping of sorrow and fear, but this is the weeping of thankfulness [shukr] and joy."

In the words of another wise saying:

"One who is thankful [shakir] is in the presence of superabundance [mazid], because he is going through the experience of receiving gracious favor [ni'ma], for Allah (Exalted is He) has told us:

If you are thankful, I will surely give you more. (14:7)

"And one who is patient [sabir] is in the presence of Allah, taking shelter with Him (Exalted is He), because he is going through the experience of suffering trial and tribulation [bala']. Allah (Exalted is He) has told us:

Surely Allah is with those who are patient. (2:153)"

"Praise [hamd]," it has been said, "is for the very breaths we breathe, while thankfulness [shukr] is for the blessings of the senses."

In the words of the authentic tradition [al-khabar as-sahih] :

The first of those invited to enter the Garden of Paradise will be those who are constantly praising Allah [al-hammaduna li'llah].

"Praise [hamd]," it has also been said, "is for what He has prevented, while thankfulness [shukr] is for what He has brought into being."

The following story was told by one of the righteous:

"In the course of one of my journeys, I caught sight of an old man, who was far advanced in age, so I asked him about his condition. He responded by telling me: 'In the early part of my life, I was deeply in love with a cousin of mine, the daughter of my paternal uncle, and she was equally in love with me, so it was agreed that I should marry her. [When she entered my chamber] on the night of her bridal procession [zifaf], I said to her: 'Come, let us spend the whole of this night in worship, as a way of giving thanks to Allah [shukran li'llah] (Almighty and Glorious is He) for having brought us together.' So we performed the ritual prayer [sallaina] throughout that night, and neither of us paid any attention to the other. Then, when the second night came around, we spent the whole of it in similar fashion. This came to be our constant practice, so that now, after seventy or eighty years have gone by, we are still in that same state every night.' His wife was with him at the time, so he turned to her and asked her: 'Is that not just the way it is, O So-and-so?' To this the old woman replied: 'It is just as the old man told you.'"

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10. Islam Solves the AIDS Problem
Dr. Muhammad Irfan Mirza

              According to the statistics of the World Health Organization and the UN AIDS Committee a quarter of the total population of one third of African countries is HIV-positive. In another third almost ten per cent of people are struck by this fatal disease. The situation is gradually getting worse: AIDS as well as other infections cause the death of millions of people every year. The end of the millennium is very tragic for Africa.

While many experts of various world centers and funds spend time and money to improve the situation, the very fact that the disease spreads rapidly in some particular areas has been ignored so far. Even a quick glance on the map shows that the least spread of AIDS is observed where the influence of Islam is very great. This situation is observed in Egypt, Algeria, Morocco andother states of Magrib where almost all population is Islamic. In such countries as Chad, Mali, Nigeria, and Guinea which are located further south and where more than half of the population is Muslims, the rate of HIV-positive (less that 10%) is quite low according to the African standards.

The Somali phenomenon is also very interesting. It might seem that his country which suffers from starvation and destruction and which has been at civil war for several years will provide most favourable conditions for the spread of AIDS, but Somali demonstrates a surprisingly low rate of the sick people in spite of the fact that it is surrounded by the countries which are heavily struck by the epidemic. It is one of the few countries with less that 1 % of people having AIDS.

One may object to that by saying that matters are much more complicated. For example, there are Jibuti where Muslims prevail and Ethiopia where almost half of the population practices Islam that joined the blacklist of countries with the greatest number of HIV-positive. However, there are such non-Islamic states as Cote d'Ivoire and Togo. Being surrounded by healthier Muslim neighbours, these countries are among the states with the lowest rate of those suffering from 'the plague of the 20th century'. The situation in these countries can be explained by their local peculiarities and historical conditions, and can be regarded as an exception.

Scientists have observed the following regularity: as we move down south on the African continent, the number of Muslims decreases while the number of HIV-positive steadily increases. It is astonishing that AIDS is regarded by the population as an ordinary respiratory infection in the countries where animism and local varieties of Christianity dominate.

What is the cause of this regularity and does it exist at all? Could it be accounted for by the fact that judging by the African standards Islamic countries have more developed economy and culture? Yes, it could. The North-African countries may be superior to their neighbours economically and culturally. But it is true only of the regions around big urban centers. There is no doubt that the life of an Egyptian fellah, for instance, doesn't differ much from that of a South-African Zulu. Moreover, the figures provided by sociologists prove that the newly risen big cities have become the hotbeds of the disease. Probably, the cause of such a tragic situation should be looked for elsewhere.

Many African countries have gained independence recently. The traditional cults have lost competition with the 'fruits' of civilization being imposed on the Africans. It has resulted in breaking the well-established relations and traditional taboos. The similar situation was observed in Islamic African countries, but diseases and infections didn't spread so rapidly there.

The principles of Islam are still preserved in everyday life in those countries where Muslims prevail. Despite a large number of tourists who have come flooding in lately, it hasn't led to moral degradation. On the contrary, there is the rise of Islam in these countries. Islam doesn't separate the life of its followers into secular and spiritual because it regulates all the aspects of their life. Special attention is paid to household relations which have all a certain the religious meaning. It concerns especially the relationships between the sexes. Even those who do not keep to the rules, but live among the Muslims find themselves in the atmosphere filled with faith and submission.

There is no need to speak about the outbreak of extreme moral freedom in Tunis and Morocco where the Shariat rules are often ignored and even openly violated. Nowadays homosexuals and drug addiction are exceptions. Hence there is no ground for the epidemics. Moreover, following the hygienic and sanitary norms of Islam brings its results. Those who practice Islam have to perform the ritual ablutions. They are to look after the food quality carefully, the consumption of raw meat and carrion is forbidden, etc. Of course, it won't protect people from AIDS, but it will protect them against other dangerous infections. It is the absence of sanitary norms in Africa that was the cause of the epidemics which threatened the whole world.

There is another argument in favour of Islam. Having deeply rooted on the African continent, it has been struggling against pagan superstitions, their cruel rituals and tribal conflicts which hamper the epidemic prevention.

The Muslims of Africa stick to the rules of the religion in their family and personal life. The Shariat principles are actively introduced into civilian life, and it is supported by the population. The victory of the Islamic party in Tunis is still well-remembered. There are also forces in Egypt who support the introducing of the Shariat norms into legislation. And Sudan ceased to have the Islamic government only a few years ago. The Head of the World Organization of the Islamic Appeal is M. Kaddafi, the leader of Libya.

Thus, the religion is the main factor that holds back the spread of the fatal disease. The Muslims and Africans as well as the Europeans benefit from this, the latter feeling relatively safe from the export of the infection to Europe form the Islamic states of Africa.

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11. Saviours of Islamic Spirit

 Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA)

S. Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi (RA)

Abdul Qadir was born in Gilan in 470 A. H. He was an Arab by descent, being the tenth descendent of Hasan ibn Ali, but belonged to Iran by migration of his ancestors. He came to Baghdad in 488 A. H. at the age of l8 years. It was perhaps not merely fortuitous that he arrived at Baghdad to acquire education almost at the same time when another reputed teacher, al-Ghazali, was leaving the city in search of truth. Although inclined to penance and cultivation of religious observances from an early age, he addressed himself whole-heartedly to acquire education under the most reputed teachers of the time such as Abul Wafa Ibn Aqeel, Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Baqilllani and Abu Zakariya Tebrezi. Thereafter, he turned to mysticism and was guided in its tenets and practices by Sheikh Abul Khair Hammid ibn Muslim al-Dabbass and Qadi Abu Saeed Makhrami, and was allowed by the latter to initiate others in the mystic order of his mentor.

 

Popular Enthusiasm

After completing his education of religious sciences as well as the training in mystic disciplines, Abdul Qadir began his career as a teacher in the seminary of his teacher Qadi Abu Saeed Makhrami. In his sermons which were delivered in the premises of the same institution, there was soon such a rush of people that extensions had to be carried out in the building of the institution. It appeared as if the whole of Baghdad assembled in his congregations. At the same time, he claimed such an attention and deference from the people attending his lectures that even the kings would have envied it. Sheikh Muwaffaq ud-din ibn Qudamah, author of the al-Mughni, records that he had not seen a man more revered for his piety and religious learning than Abdul Qadir. The king, his chief and ministers attended his sermons along with the rank and file and used to sit in a corner without any fanfare. Scholars and jurists rubbed shoulders with the students. The enthusiastic devotion of the people coming to his lectures can be well imagined by the fact that often as many as 400 inkpots were counted, which were brought in to take down the notes of his sermons.

 

Moral Excellence

Notwithstanding the implicit reverence cherished for Abdul Qadir by the people, he was always modest, humble and unpretentious. He often left his work to attend to the needs of a child, a destitute or a slave girl. Never evading the company of the poor he even washed their clothes or performed similar other personal services for them, yet he never stood up in the honour of any person of the rank or the elite. If the Caliph ever paid a visit to him, the chroniclers of his time report, he deliberately went inside his house so that he might not have to stand up to welcome the king! He used to come out of the house after the Caliph had seated himself. Abdul Qadir never paid back the courtesy call to any vazier or the king.

Those who have seen Abdul Qadir have paid a glowing tribute to his moral excellence and large-heartedness, modesty and hospitality, generosity and goodness of his heart. One of his contemporaries who has had the opportunity of enjoying the company of Abdul Qadir say that he had not seen a man more polite, large-hearted and charitable than Sheikh Abdul Qadir. Despite his erudition and eminence, he respected his elders, met the youngsters with a good grace, always saluted first, bailed the poor courteously with deference but never stood up to welcome the grandees or nobles, nor did he ever pay a visit to any minister or governor.

Another contemporary of Abdul Qadir, Hafiz Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Barzali reports: "His prayers were readily answered. Being extremely tender-hearted, he would burst into "tears (if anything sorrowful or touching was mentioned to him). More often he was to be found immersed in meditation and recollection of God. He was soft-hearted, courteous, cheerful, generous and compassionate. Being the offspring of a noble family, he was also highly reputed for his profound knowledge and piety."

The testimony of Muhi ud-din Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Hamid al-Baghdadi, a jurist-scholar of those times runs as follows: Always disposed to avoid things unseemly and indecorous, he only pressed for the desirable and befitting. He would boil with indignation if the Divine commandments were overstepped but remained listless to the wrongs and ill-treatments to his own person. He would never seek revenge save for the sake of God Almighty, nor send back a beggar without giving him something. If he had nothing to give he would part with the clothes he had been putting on.

Abdul Qadir took pleasure in feeding the poor and spending freely to meet the needs of the destitute. Ibn al-Najjar reports that Abdul Qadir often used to say: If I were given treasures of the whole world, I would spend it all on feeding the poor. Sometimes he said: It seems that I have a hole in my hands. I cannot keep anything with me. If I had a thousand dinars, I would spend every single shell before the daybreak. He had given instructions to his servants that as many guests as possible should be invited for the dinner. During the dinner he always sat with the poor and lowly, chatted with his students or enquired about the welfare of those who did not happen to be present there. His behaviour was so affectionate that everyone who met him gained the impression that Abdul Qadir had the highest regard for him. He overlooked the faults of others and if anyone stated something on oath, he readily accepted his statement. He never gave out the secrets of others nor stated anything before others that might put someone to shame.

Reassurance to the Dejected:

The annalists of his time agree that quite a large number of miracles were worked by Abdul Qadir. Sheikh-ul-lslam (Izz ud-din ibn Abdul-Salam and Ibn Taymiyah are of the view that Abdul Qidir was a worker of incessant miracles but his miracle of miracles was filling the heart of the despaired and broken-hearted with faith, hope and enthusiasm. He infused a breath of new life, zeal and self-confidence into countless persons through his powers of speech and the spiritual power of his heart. He was, in truth, a blessing for the world of Islam for he renovated and revived the true content of the faith and tapped the sources of moral and spiritual strength for a religious renaissance. Sheikh Amr al-Kaisani reports that there was hardly a sermon delivered by Abdul Qadir after which a number of Jews and Christians did not embrace Islam, marauders and robbers did not repent for their sins and heretics and apostates did not renounce their mistaken beliefs.

Al- Jubbai relates that Abdul Qadir once told him that he wished to lead the life of a recluse in the wilderness but God had willed that people should derive benefit from him. And, it was a blessing granted unto him that more than five thousand Jews and Christians embraced Islam and about a hundred thousand sinners and criminals repented for their misdeeds on account of him.

 

Teaching and Missionary Activities:

Gifted with divine grace and illumination, Abdul Qadir was ever conscious of the purification of spirit and rectitude of morals, yet he did not lose sight of the importance of teaching and disseminating the correct doctrines of the faith. Being a follower of the Hanbalite school of Sunni theology, he endeavoured, like his mentor, to root out innovations and deviations from the orthodox faith and practice. Because of his forceful defence of the strict orthodoxy, reports Ibn al-Samani, the traditionist and their followers came to be held in high esteem by the masses.

Abdul Qadir used to take daily a class each of the Quranic exegesis, Traditions and Jurisprudence in which he also explained the differences between various juristic schools of Islam. The classes were held in the morning and evening, while Abdul Qadir listened to the recitation of the Quran after the midday prayers and thereafter dictated fatwas on religious or legal questions referred to him. In formulating his answers Abdul Qadir generally followed the Shafeite and Hanbalite schools of jurisprudence. His juristic opinions were highly praised by the jurist scholars of Iraq for these provided a striking example of the acuteness of his intellect.

Once the question referred to him was that a man had taken an oath that he would perform a religious observance in a manner that nobody else in the whole world would be able to share the privilege with him but, if he failed to fulfill his undertaking, this would mean an irrevocable separation between him and his wife. The scholars were astounded by the strange oath taken by the man and could not suggest an observance which could be performed by him alone in the whole world. Abdul Qadir, however, replied that the man should be allowed to circumambulate Kaba alone seven times to perform the lesser hajj. Everyone agreed that this was the only authorised religious observance which he could perform alone at a time when no body else would be engaged in the same prayer.

Certitude of Knowledge:

Profound knowledge of the religious lore and meticulous observance of the Traditions of the Holy Prophet, aided by the grace of God, had unveiled the mystries of celestial world to Abdul Qadir, who had reached the stage where discrimination between truth and untruth, divine intuition and demoniacal imposition is born in a man. He had acquired the certitude of knowledge that Shariah of the Last Prophet was perfect and unchangeable, and that any claim made contrary to the divine edict was simply a satanic suggestion. Abdul Qadir himself relates an incident that he once came across. He says : "Once I saw a dazzling light which filled the entire sky. Then a human frame appeared therein and said, 'O Abdul Qadir, I am Lord, thy God. I have made everything prohibited lawful unto thee.' I replied, 'Get away from me, O Devil.' As soon as I uttered these words, the luster in the sky turned into darkness and the human frame began to fizzle out into smoke. Then I heard someone saying, Abdul Qadir, I had misled seventy mystics with this device, but God saved thee on account of thy knowledge and piety.' To this I rejoined, 'No. It was simply a grace of God.' After Abdul Qadir had related the incident someone asked, 'How did you know that it was the Satan.' Since he told me, replied Abdul Qadir, 'that he had made the things prohibited lawful for me'.

He used to tell his disciples that if any action transgresses the commandments of God, then it is surely an imposition by the Satan. In such cases one should return to the tenets of the Shariah, inculcate an unflinching faith, and firmly reject the temptations of self-indulgence; for, whatever is not permitted by the Shariah is decidedly misleading.

 

Trust in God

The unfailing and penetrating vision into the Tawhid or Unity of God had conferred upon Abdul Qadir that sublime piety which produces an absolute resignation in the will of God. He explains the state of resignation in these words: When a man finds himself in a trouble, he first endeavours to get rid of it. If he fails, he seeks the help of others, such as, kings, officials, grandees or the rich, or , physicians in the case of an illness. When this effort also fails him, he turns to God with invocations and praises, and not unoften with tears and lamentations. In other words, he does not look for the assistance of others so long as he can obtain the requisite help from his own self; similarly, he does not implore God if he can get the help from His creatures; and, finally, when he does not get any help from that source too, he surrenders completely to God Almighty. It is only at this stage that man seeks the help of God with prayers and invocations, lamentations and tears but God does not accept his entreaties till he gets tired of these too. Then, being completely dejected and broken-hearted, he is permeated by an illumination of spirit which makes him indifferent to the causes and defects. Now he has a sublimated soul, unconscious of everything save the Divine Being and aware of the true content of Tawhid (Unity); he has now a certitude of knowledge that save God nothing has any power to do or undo a thing; to Him belongs the power to move a thing or keep it stationery, to promote or debase, to benefit or harm, to give life or bring death, to give honour or indignity, or to make affluent or indigent. The man is now like a hall in the hands of a player, or a child in the lap of a nurse, or else a corpse in the hands of those who bathe it; for, these are completely at the mercy of those who possess them. Likewise, the man thus loses his identity in the Will of his Master; immersed in his higher-self he has no comprehension of anything save the acts of his Lord, nor does he witness or hear or think anything else. If he seeks anything, it is the craftsmanship of the Supreme Creator; if he hears, it is His voice; if he comprehends, it is by the knowledge vouchsafed by Him; and if he is enlivened, it is only by His nearness. Thus, in the state of total absorption, he gets peace only through the grace and blessings of God; he detests to depend on anything save his Lord; he surrenders himself completely before the will of God; acquires the knowledge of mystries hidden from the senses through intuition and illumination of heart; and overflows with the gratitude of the Lord for His countless blessings."

 

Love of Humanity:

The love of humanity, in general, and the affection for the Ummah, in particular, was symptomatic of Abdul Qadir sublimated soul and indicative of his close affinity to the successors of the Prophet. In one of his sermons he delineated the object and the mental states of different types of persons visiting a market. Coming to the last category, he perhaps describes his own feelings in these words: "And there is the fifth man whose heart is filled, when he enters a market, with the awe and reverence of the Almighty to seek His blessings for those present in the market. He becomes oblivious of everything else save his benediction for the people; he remains immersed, from the time of his entry into the market till he comes out of it, in the solemn invocation of divine blessings and in repenting for the sins of those who happen to be there, and thus he hardly gets any time to see what they are selling or buying. His heart bleeds and eyes shed tears over the ingratitude of man while his tongue remains busy in thanking God over what He has bestowed unto his bondsmen.

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12. News: Around The Globe

TokyoJapan is planning to introduce Shari`ah-compliant dealings into its beefy banking system in a bid to attract lucrative Middle Eastern oil money, a Japanese newspaper said on Sunday, June 18.

              The government-backed Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has formed a four-man advisory board of Islamic legal scholars from Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Pakistan, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said.

JBIC will also study Islamic-style finance in a tie-up with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., Mizuho Corporate Bank and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, the business daily said, quoting sources close to the plan.

Japan Asia Investment Co has separately set up an advisory panel of Muslim scholars to confirm that the Shari`ah Asian Investment Fund it manages jointly with a US firm for Middle Eastern investors conforms to religious teachings.

Islamic banking operates by sharing profit or loss between the bank and its clients, instead of interest, which is forbidden.

Islam forbids Muslims from receiving or paying interest on loans.

 

MANILA After their classes in government-run schools, Muslim students would not have to attend madrasahs, private Islamic religious schools, as the education department is offering Arabic and Islamic subjects to them as part of the state's "madrasah education" project right within their schools.

"The education of our Muslim children is an important concern of our President [Gloria Arroyo]. Our government is very much committed to ensuring a bright future for our Muslim children," Department of Education in-charge Fe Hidalgo told IslamOnline.net.

"This is why we have the madrasah education project."

The project, Hidalgo explains, will afford thousands of Muslims students, particularly those outside of the southern island of Mindanao, Islam's birthplace in the Philippines and home to most of its Muslims, the privilege of learning more about Islam within their schools.

The government came up with a "roadmap to madrasah education" in 2004 and the implementation of the madrasah program began in June 2005.

The roadmap's general objectives include the development and institutionalization of madrasah education as a vital component of the national education system.

The "Standard Basic Education Curriculum for Public Schools and Madaris" also includes development of instructional materials in five learning areas, such as Arabic language and Islamic values in all elementary grade levels in public schools as well as Qur'an, `aqeedah (creed), Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), seerah (biography of the Prophet/Companions) and Hadith in private Madaris.

 

Muslim Council of Sri Lanka condemns brutal killings of civilians

Colombo, Asiantribune.com: The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka vehemently condemns in the strongest terms the savage and brutal attack on the bus carrying civilians to Kebithigollewa which killing over 64 innocent poor unarmed civilians including many children and fatally injuring more than 75 others.

This barbaric and brutal attack by claymore mine carries the message and hallmark of terrorism and there is no iota of doubt amongst the people as to who are the perpetrators of the attack and is a blatant violation of the cease-fire agreement Muslim Council anounced

 

Human Rights Watch rejects Israeli claims over Gaza massacre

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) rejected Israeli claims that it was not behind artillery attack which caused death of at least eight innocent Palestinians picnicking on the northern Gaza beach last Friday. Marc Garlasco, a former Pentagon analyst who is now a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, said all the evidence he had gathered in Gaza pointed to an Israeli shell as the cause of the explosion. "Shell fragments found at the scene, the shape of the crater and the type of injuries all indicate the blast was caused by Israeli artillery shell," he said. Maj. Gen. Meir Klifi, head of the Israeli investigation into the incident revealed earlier that Israeli force was definitely not behind the explosion, saying that although the Israeli force fired six artillery shells onto the beach, the fatal incident occurred after that.

 

MWL announces International Award on Prophet Muhammad

The Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL) announced its decision to introduce an International Award on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The General Secretariat of MWL urged all writers, thinkers, researchers and those specialized in the Prophet's life and biography to take part in the competition for winning the grand prize.

 

Azhar allocates 30 million pounds for 57 new institutes

Sheikh Omar Al Deeb, undersecretary at the Azhar, denied rumors that there were no allocations for the construction of new institutes at the Azhar. Speaking to IINA correspondent, he said that there is no basis in such rumors. "The number of the Azhar institutes is on the rise, and is expected to reach 8000 in the next academic year. There were also allocations worth 30 million Egyptian pounds for the establishment of 57 new institutes as well as for completion of works of the ongoing 30 institutes," he said

 

Yemen contributes $3 million to Poverty Alleviation Fund

The Makkah summit entrusted the IDB Board of Governors with the task of establishing a special fund for alleviating poverty and unemployment and creating employment opportunities in member countries. The PAF, which will work under the umbrella of the IDB, will have a capital of $5 billion, of which Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, pledged $ 1 billion as Saudi Arabia's contribution. The Kuwait IDB meeting urged member countries to declare their contributions to the fund. Several countries, including some poor ones, pledged their contributions to the fund.

 

UN rights experts call for closure of Guantanamo detention center

The five experts are: Chairman Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Leila Zerrougui; Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Leandro Despouy; Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Manfred Nowak; Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Asma Jahangir; and Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health Paul Hunt. The experts, known as Special Rapporteurs, are unpaid and serve in an independent personal capacity. They received their mandate from the now defunct UN Commission on Human Rights and will report to the newly established and enhanced Human Rights Council.

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13. Historic Judgement on Interest
Justice Mawlana Mufti Taqi Usmani

The Text of the Historic Judgment on Interest Given by the Supreme Court of Pakistan

 The Text

An Objective Study of the Qur'anic Verses Dealing with Riba

* Historical Analysis of the Verses of Riba

* Surah Ar-Rum

* Surah An-Nisa

* Surah A'ali-Imran

              1. All these appeals arise out of the same judgment of the learned Federal Shariat Court dated 14 November 1991, whereby the Court has declared a number of laws of the country repugnant to the Injunctions of Islam as they have provided for charging or paying interest, which according to the findings of the learned Federal Shariat Court, falls within the definition of riba clearly prohibited by the Holy Qur'an.

2. The basic issues involved in all these appeals being similar, all of them were heard together and are being disposed of by this single judgment.

3. Most of the appellants as well as some juris-consults argued before us that interest-based commercial transactions were invented by the modern business, and their history does not go back more than 400 years, therefore they are not covered by the term 'riba' used by the Holy Qur'an, and the prohibition of riba does not include the prohibition of interest as in vogue in modern transactions.

4. This view is sought to be supported by five different lines of argument adopted before us against the prohibition of interest.

5. The first approach to interpret the term riba, as adapted by some of the appellants, was that the verses of the Holy Qur'an which prohibit riba were revealed in the last days of the life of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and he did not have an opportunity to interpret them properly and therefore no hard and fast definition of the term riba can be found in the Holy Qur'an or in the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Since the term remained ambiguous in nature, it falls within the area of Mutashabihat and its correct meaning is unknown. According to this approach the prohibition of riba should he restricted to the limited transactions expressly mentioned in the Hadith literature and the principle cannot be extended to the modern banking system which was not even imaginable at the time of revelation of the verses.

6. The second line of argument runs on the basis that the word 'riba' refers only to the usurious loans on which an excessive rate of interest used to be charged by the creditors which would entail exploitation. As far the modern banking interest, it cannot be termed as 'riba' if the rate of interest is not excessive or exploitative.

7. The third argument differentiates between consumption loans and commercial loans. According to this approach the word "Al-Riba" used in the Holy Qur'an is restricted to the increased amount charged on the consumption loans used to be taken by the poor people for their day to day needs. These poor people deserved sympathetic attitude on humanitarian grounds, but the rich people exploited their miserable condition to charge heavy amounts from them in the form of usury. The Holy Qur'an has taken this practice as a severe offence against humanity and declared war against those involved in such abominated transactions. So far as the modern commercial loans are concerned, they were neither in vogue in the days of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, nor has the Holy Qur'an addressed them while prohibiting 'riba'. Even the basic philosophy underlying the prohibition of 'riba' cannot be applied to these commercial and productive loans where the debtors are not poor people. In most cases they are wealthy or at least economically well-off and the loans taken by them are generally used for generating profits. Therefore, any increase charged from them by the creditors cannot he termed as Zulm (injustice) which was the basic cause of the prohibition of 'riba'.

8. The fourth theory advanced during the arguments was that the Holy Qur'an has prohibited riba-al-jahiliyya only which, according to a number of traditions, was a particular transaction of loan where no additional amount over and above the principal was stipulated in the agreement of loan. However, if the debtor could not pay off the loan at its due date, the creditor would give him more time against charging an additional amount. According to this theory, if an increased amount is stipulated in the initial agreement of loan, it does not constitute riba al-Quran. However, it does fall in the definition of riba-al-fadl, prohibited by the Sunnah. Its prohibition is of a lesser degree which can be termed as makrooh and not haram. Therefore, this prohibition may be relaxed in cases of genuine need and it does not apply to the non-Muslims. Being a special law applicable to the Muslims only, it falls within the category of 'Muslim Personal Law', which falls outside the jurisdiction of the Federal Shariat Court, as contemplated in Article 203(B) of the Constitution of Pakistan.

9. The fifth way of argument was that although the modern interest-based transactions are covered by the prohibition of 'riba', yet the commercial interest being the back-bone of the modern economic activities throughout the world, no country can live without being involved in interest-based transactions and it will be a suicidal act to abolish interest from domestic and foreign transactions. Islam, being a practical religion, recognizes the principle of necessity and it has allowed even to eat pork in extreme situation where one cannot live without eating it. The same principle of necessity should be applied to the interest-based transactions also, and on the basis of this necessity the laws permitting the charge of interest should not be declared repugnant to the injunctions of Islam.

10. All these different sets of arguments led us to resolve the main issue i.e. whether or not commercial interest of modern financial system falls within the definition of riba prohibited by the Holy Qur'an, and if it does, whether they can he allowed on the basis of necessity. This also led us to examine whether the modern financial transactions can be designed without interest and whether or not the proposed alternatives are feasible keeping in view the modern structure of commerce and finance. In order to resolve these issues we invited a number of experts as juris-consults consisting of Shariah scholars, economists, bankers, accountants and representatives of modern business and trade who have provided assistance to the Court in their respective areas of specialization.

 

An Objective Study of the Qur'anic Verses Dealing with Riba

11. Before analyzing the above-mentioned arguments, let us undertake an objective study of the verses of the Holy Qur'an about riba. There are four different sets of verses which were revealed on different occasions.

12. First, in Surah Ar-Rum, a Makkan Surah wherein the term riba finds mention in the following words:

"And whatever riba you give so that it may increase in the wealth of the people, it does not increase with Allah." [Ar-Rum 30:39]

13. The second verse is of Surah Al-Nisa where the term riba is used in the context of sinful acts of the Jews in the following words:

"And because of their charging riba while they were prohibited from it." [An-Nisa 4:161]

14. In the third verse of Surah A'ali-Imran the prohibition of riba is laid down in the following words:

"O those who believe do not eat up riba doubled and redoubled." [A'ali-Imran 3:130]

15. The following set of verses is found in the Surah Al-Baqarah in the following words:

"Those who take interest will not stand but as stands whom the demon has driven crazy by his touch. That is because they have said: 'Trading is but like riba'. And Allah has permitted trading and prohibited riba. So, whoever receives an advice from his Lord and stops, he is allowed what has passed, and his matter is up to Allah. And the ones who revert back, those are the people of Fire. There they remain for ever. Allah destroys riba and nourishes charities. And Allah does not like any sinful disbeliever. Surely those who believe and do good deeds, establish Salah and pay Zakah, have their reward with their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve. O those who believe, fear Allah and give up what still remains of the riba if you are believers. But if you do not, then listen to the declaration of war from Allah and His Messenger. And if you repent, yours is your principal. Neither you wrong, nor be wronged. And if there be one in misery, then deferment till ease. And that you leave it as alms is far better for you, if you really know. And be fearful of a day when you shall be returned to Allah, then everybody shall be paid, in full, what he has earned. And they shall not be wronged." [Al-Baqarah 2:275-281]

 

Historical Analysis of the Verses of Riba

16. Before proceeding further it will be appropriate to understand these verses in their chronological order.

Surah Ar-Rum

17. First of these verses is a part of Surah Ar-Rum which was undisputedly revealed in Makkah. This verse is not of prohibitive nature. It simply says that the riba does not increase with Allah i.e. it carries no reward in the Hereafter. Many commentators of the Holy Qur'an are of the opinion that the word riba in this verse does not refer to usury or interest. Ibn Jarir Al-Tabari (D310 AH), the most famous exegete of the Holy Qur'an, reports from Ibn Abbas, Radi-Allahu anhu, and several Tabi'in like Saeed Ibn Jubair, Mujahid, Tawoos, Qatadah, Zahhak, and Ibrahim Al-Nakha'i that the word riba in this verse means a gift offered by someone to a person with the intention that the latter will give him in return a greater gift. However, some commentators of the Holy Qur'an have taken this word to mean usury. This view is attributed to Hasan Al-Basri as reported by Ibn Al-Jawzi. If the word riba used in this verse is taken to mean usury according to this view, which seems more probable, because the word of 'riba' used in other places carries the same meaning, there is no specific prohibition against it in the verse. The most it has emphasized is that riba does not carry a reward from Allah in the Hereafter. Therefore, this verse does not contain a prohibition against riba. However, it may be taken as a subtle indication to the fact that the practice is not favored by Allah.

Surah An-Nisa

18. The second verse is of Surah al-Nisa where, while listing the evil deeds of Jews, it is mentioned that they used to take riba which was prohibited for them. The exact time of this verse is very difficult to ascertain. The commentators are mostly silent on this point, but the context in which the verse was revealed suggests that it would have been revealed before the 4th year of Hijra. Verse 153 of the Surah Al-Nisa is as follows:

"The People of the Book ask you to bring down upon them a Book from the heaven." [An-Nisa 4:153]

19. This verse implies that all the forthcoming verses were revealed in answer to the argumentation of the Jews who came to the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and asked him to bring down a Book from the heavens like the one given to the Prophet Musa (Moses), alayhi salam. It means that this series of verses was revealed at a time when Jews were abundantly present in Madina and were in a position to argue with the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Since most of the Jews had left Madinah after 4th year from Hijra, this verse seems to have been revealed before that. Here the word riba undoubtedly refers to usury because it was really prohibited for the Jews. This prohibition is still contained in the Old Testament of the Bible. But it cannot be taken as a direct and explicit prohibition of riba for the Muslims. It simply mentions that riba was prohibited for the Jews but they did not comply with the prohibition in their practical lives. The inference, though, would be that it was a sinful act for the Muslims also, otherwise they had no occasion to blame the Jews for the practice.

Surah A'ali-Imran

20. The third verse is of Surah A'ali-Imran which is estimated to have been revealed sometime in the 2nd year after Hijra, because the context of the preceding and succeeding verses refers to the battle of Uhud which took place in the 2nd year after Hijra. This verse contains a clear prohibition for the Muslims and it can safely be said that it is the first verse of the Holy Qur'an through which the practice of riba was forbidden for the Muslims in express terms. That is why Hafidh Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani, the most famous commentator of Sahih Al-Bukhari, has opined that the prohibition of riba was declared sometime around the battle of Uhud. Some commentators have also pointed out the reason why this verse was revealed in the context of the battle of Uhud. They say that the invaders of Makkah had financed their army by taking usurious loans and had in this way arranged a lot of arms against Muslims. It was apprehended that it may induce the Muslims to arrange for arms on the same pattern by taking usurious loans from the people. In order to prevent them from this approach the verse was revealed containing a clear-cut prohibition of riba.

21. That the prohibition of riba had been imposed sometime around the battle of Uhud finds further support from an event reported by Abu Dawood in his As-Sunan from the noble companion, Abu Hurairah, Radi-Allahu anhu. The report says that Amr ibn Aqyash was a person who had advanced some loans on the basis of interest. He was inclined to embrace Islam but was reluctant to do so on the apprehension that after embracing Islam he would lose the amount of interest and therefore he delayed accepting Islam. In the meantime the battle of Uhud broke up whereby he decided not to delay embracing Islam and came to the battlefield, started fighting on behalf of Muslims and achieved the rank of a Shaheed (martyr) in the same battle.

22. This tradition clearly shows that riba was prohibited before the battle of Uhud and it was the basic cause for the reluctance of Amr ibn Aqyash to embrace Islam.

23. The fourth set of verses is contained in Surah Al-Baqarah where the severity of the prohibition of riba has been elaborated in detail. The background of the revelation of these verses is that after the conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, had declared as void all the amounts of riba that were due at that time. The declaration embodied that nobody could claim any interest on any loan advanced by him. Then the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, proceeded to Taif which could not be conquered, but later on the inhabitants of Taif who belonged mostly to the tribe of Thaqif came to him and after embracing Islam surrendered to the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and entered into a treaty with him. One of the proposed clauses of treaty was that Banu Thaqif will not forego the amounts of interest due on their debtors but their creditors will forego the amount of interest. The Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, instead of signing that treaty simply wrote a sentence on the proposed draft that Banu Thaqif will have the same rights as the Muslims have. Banu Thaqif having the impression that their proposed treaty was accepted by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, claimed the amount of interest from Banu Amr Ibn-al-Mughirah, but they declined to pay interest on the ground that riba was prohibited after Islam. The matter was placed before Attaab ibn Aseed, Radi-Allahu anhu, the governor of Makkah. Banu Thaqif argued that according to the treaty they are not bound to forego the amounts of interest. Attaab ibn Aseed, Radi-Allahu anhu, placed the matter before the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, on which the following verses of Surah Al-Baqarah were revealed:

"O those who believe, fear Allah and give up what still remains of the riba if you are believers. But if you do not, then listen to the declaration of war from Allah and His Messenger. And if you repent, yours is your principal. Neither you wrong, nor be wronged." [Al-Baqarah 2:278-279]

24. At that point of time Banu Thaqif surrendered and said we have no power to wage war against Allah and His Messenger. 

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