Radiant Reality

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

Editor, Printer & Publisher: Mawlana Hamidullah Lone.

October 2006.  VOL.7, No: 10.


1. Editorial - The Present Polytheism
2. Questions & Answers

3. From a Sister's Desk

4. Lesson from Al-Qur'an

5. Lesson from Bukhari Sharief

6. The Issue of Inheritance

7. The Season of Achieving Piety

8. Islamic finance

9. Endless Earnings From Ramadhan

10. Fasting

11. The Inner Dimensions of Fasting
12. Saviours of Islamic Spirit

13. News Around the World

14. There is another anti-Islamic site


1. EDITORIAL

 The Present Polytheism (Shirk)

         Worship of the self (nafs) and pocket and stomach is the new Polytheism of the new age for which there is no place in the Islamic pattern of things. To all the Polytheists, old or new, the answer is:

"We are clear of you and of whatever ye worship besides Allah. (Surah Mumtahina 1)

              At the root of all false and misconceived worship lies the worship of the "self'. To care nothing for the commands of Allah before our own selfish interests and sensual desires is the main source of evil. The biggest idols are our own inordinate appetites.

In the Qur'an, also, sensual desires and impulses have on an occasion been referred to as ilaah (meaning "god").

"Seest thou such a person as taketh for his god his own passion (or impulses}? (Surah Furqan 4)

A Tradition of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) reads,

"Your deadliest enemy is your own 'self which lies between your own sides. "

Let La ilaaha-illallah, then, be our instrument for the repudiation of all things that may contain the remotest possibility of assuming to themselves the status of divinity, and for guarding ourselves against the least encroachment by Polytheism (Shirk) in any form or manner; let it be the means to the attainment of perfection by us in our belief in Monotheism (Tawheed) because just as nothing is more repugnant to Allah than the ascribing of plurality to Him, faith in His Unity, Oneness and Uniqueness is the very life-breath of religion.

Since Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is the last of the Prophet's and no other divine apostle is going to be raised up after him, Allah Ta'ala has brought the concept of Monotheism to the highest degree of evolution and complexion through so that now it has become totally fortified even against a suspicion of contamination by polytheistic untruths. All the paths through which the devil could possibly bring them in, have been firmly blocked.

The greatest danger in this connection was that like the Christians who had slipped into the folly of attributing divinity to Isa (Alaihi-s-Salam). The Muslims might also be misguided into entertaining polytheistic notions about the personality of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). The holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) accordingly, missing no opportunity to eliminate the possibility of it. He never got tired of warning his followers against the evil and the imprudence of associating exaggerated feelings of respect and veneration with him. He said: Do not utter such exaggerated words of praise for me as the Christians do for the Prophet lsa (Alaihi-s-Salam), the son of Maryam (Alaihi-s-Salam). I am nothing more than Allahs servant apostle. So call me that. And "Some communities before you have converted the graves of their Prophets into objects of worship. You must not do so. Beware. I have warned you ".

In the same vein was the following prayer of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):

"O Allah! do not let my grave be made into the idol to which worship may be offered. "

To a request by Salman of Persia, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

"(Then) don't prostrate yourself before me. Keep it for Him - Who can be touched neither by decay nor death. "

But polytheism is a far cry. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) did never allow the companions to stand up in his presence as a mark of respect. All these precautions were aimed slowly to keep polytheism to the arm's length from the Muslims.

Typical, also, of the Prophets (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) prudent foresight and  his  earnest  concern to make Islam safe for all time against polytheistic infiltrations is the following  incident:  It so  happened that on the day the Prophets (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) infant son, Ibrahim, died there occurred a total eclipse  of   the  sun  and  it  grew  quite  dark.

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) feared that, under the influence of the former superstitious beliefs, people might be persuaded to think that the event was the outcome of the bereavement he had suffered. He, thereupon, summoned the Muslims immediately, the virtues of Islam where extolled, addressed them in these words: "Surely, the sun and the moon are two signs of Allah. and they do not suffer an eclipse on account of the birth and death of anyone. "

Every conceivable precaution has been taken by the Shariah against the infiltration of polytheistic beliefs and practices into the body of Islamic faith. As an example of it, Muslims are forbidden to offer Salah at sunrise, midday and sunset so that their was nothing in common between them and the fire worshippers in the matter of faith, even outwardly a no rnis-understanding could arise. Further, kneeling and touching the ground with the forehead are essential features of the Salah. No Salah can be complete without them. Yet, they have been omitted from the funeral Salah for the simple reason that the participants might not have an occasion to suppose that they were kneeling and prostrating themselves before the dead body.

How utterly sad and shocking really is the victory of the devil that Polytheistic modes of thought and behaviour, which have beenac the ruin of the earlier communities, are now stealing in among the followers of a religion that had taken such pains to seal up all the passages they could enter by!

May Allah Azza Wa Jal protect us from all modes of Polytheism (Shirk) -Aameen.

 

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2. Question and Answer

 Masaail pertaining to Wudhu

 Question. If a person performs Ghusl; is it right for him to offer Salaah after it or is he supposed to perform Wudhu and then offer his Salaah?

Answer. Here two things are to be understood: firstly, if while performing Ghusl water is flowed over the whole body then Wudhu also gets completed along with the Ghusl. In other world, it can be said that Wudhu by itself comes under Ghusl. Secondly, it is Makruh to perform another Wudhu until one utilizes the first Wudhu. Utilising the Wudhu means that one should perform atleast two Rakats of Salaah after it or do some act for which Wudhu is must e.g., Salaah al-Jinaazah or Sajdah at-Tilaawat.

 

Question. If a person performs Wudhu with the intention to recite Quran; is it permitted for him to offer Salaah with this Wudhu?

Answer. Whether Wudhu is done for any reason or deed; it is permitted to offer Salah with it, also any Ibadat for which Wudhu is necessary can be performed with this Wudhu.

 

Question. Is it necessary to perform Wudhu for every Salaat e.g., zuhr, asr, magrib etc?

Answer. If a persons Wudhu has not broken then any number of Salaahs can be performed by a single Wudhu. It is not necessary to perform Wudhu for every Salaah. If anyone does so it is also good.

 

Question. Wadhu that has been performed to offer Salaatul Janaazah; is it permissible to offer regular five times Salaah with this?

Answer. It is permitted to perform Salaah with this Wudhu. But if a person has performed Tayammum (due to any Shari reason) to offer Salaatul Janaazah, it is not permitted to offer regular five times Salaah with this. 

Question. If a person has performed Wudhu before Ghusl and while performing his Ghusl, his Wudhu breaks; has he to repeat his Wudhu after completing Ghusl?

Answer. If he performs Ghusl after breaking his Wudhu and while performing Ghusl all the parts of body that are necessary to be washed in Wudhu, then his Ghusl as well as Wudhu is valid. He can also perform Salaah after this.

 

Q. We are having a bathroom where all the inmates of our home take bath, and during night we also urinate in this bathroom. Is it permissible to perform Wudhu in it?

Answer. It is not good to urinate in bathroom; it creates sickness of Waswasah. If anyone has urinated in a bathroom, it should be cleansed before performing Wudhu etc.

 

Question. Is it permissible to perform Wudhu with warm water?

Answer. There is no problem in doing so.

 

Question. If any area of any part of body has remained dry while performing Wudhu; is Wudhu to be repeated or only that area is to be washed?

Answer. It is enough to wash the dry area only but it is necessary to make the water flow on this area. Merely wiping wet hand over it will not suffice.

 

Q. If a person performs Wudhu and leaves some water in the utensil from which he had used the water for Wadhu; is it permissible for some other person to use this water for Wudhu?

Answer. This left over water is quiet pure and can be utilized for Wadhu without any problem.

 

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3. From a Sister's Desk

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

 We the Muslims of Traders and Shopkeepers

 Muhammad Asad a convert who became a Muslim after travelling through the Muslim world and observing the light of Islam in the hearts and deeds of Muslims, recounting the impression of his stay in Damascus in his admirable book, 'The Road to Mecca' writes, 'It was with the excitement of a new understanding, with my eyes opened to things I had not suspected before, that I wandered in those summer days, in the alleys of the old bazaar of Damascus and recognized the spiritual restfulness in the life of its people. Their inner security could be observed in the way they behaved towards one another in the warm dignity with which they met or parted; ..in the manner in which the shopkeepers dealt with one another. Those traders in little shops... seemed to have no gasping fear and no envy in them, so much so that the owner of a shop would leave it in the custody of his neighbour and competitor when even it becomes necessary for him to be away for a whole day, I often saw a potential customer shop before an unattended stall, obviously debating within himself whether to wait for the return of the vendor or to move on to the adjoining stall-and invariably the neighbouring traders, the competitors, would step in to enquire after the customer's wants and sell him the required goods- not his own goods, but those of his absent neighbour- and would leave the purchase price on neighbours' bench. Where in Europe could one have witnessed a like transaction?

This is the account of Muslim trade less than a century ago. A time when Muslims were great traders and trade in Islamic countries was at its peak.

Trade flourished because its foundations (i.e) truth, faith, mutual trust and transparency were strong. It hardly mattered whether transactions were big or small, but the Islamic principles regarding trade and commerce were given due consideration. A trader would compete with another trader, neither to let his competitor down, to seek his assets, nor to pull down his leg but to compete with him in adherence to the code of conduct or Islamic guidelines regarding trade. What a competition!

Looking at the present state of Muslim traders whether big one or small ones, we wonder as to where did that legacy go?

Honesty, faith, mutual trust, transparency and truth have been replaced by dishonesty, mistrust, cheating, usury besides the most important consideration (i,e) money, name and fame.

A street hawker selling fruits or vegetables is as heedless to Islamic principles as an MD of a big business establishment. No trade seems to be fair, no transaction just, the bellies are fed with Haram no wonder this fed has caused dust to be accumulated on our minds making us heedless of His commandments and fearless of His Wrath.

We are heading the Aad and Samod way, Alas! Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

"A trader who trades with truth and honesty fully, will be with Prophets, Siddiqeen and Martyrs on the day of Judgement." (Tirmidhi)

 

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4. Lesson from the Qur'an

Hadhrat Mawlana Mohammad Shaifi Sahib (RA)

 

(Verses 47-48)

ٰ ٰ () ()

 O Children of Isra'il (the Israelites), remember My blessing that I conferred upon you, and that I gave you excellence over the worlds. And guard yourselves against a day when no one shall stand for anyone for anything, nor shall intercession be accepted on one's behalf, nor shall ransom be taken from one and neither shall they be given support.

    Verse 47 asks the Israelites to call to their minds the blessing of Allah, so that the recognition of the benefits they have received may induce them to be thankful to Allah and thus to obey Him. The verse is addressed to the Jews contemporaneous with the Holy Prophet (S), while the blessing had been received by their forefathers. The point is that when a man receives a special favour, his children and grand children too usually partake of the benefits flowing from it; in this sense, the Jews who are being addressed may be said to have received the blessing themselves.

As for Allah giving preference to the Israelites "over the worlds", the phrase means that they were given preference only in certain matters, or only over a large part of men - for example, over the contemporaries of the earlier Israelites.

The day referred to in verse 48 is the Day of Judgment. As for no one being able to suffice another on that day, the phrase should be understood in the sense of one man paying the dues on behalf of another man. Let us, for example, suppose that a man is found wanting in the performance of obligatory acts of worship like Salh and Sawm (fasting), and another man should suggest that his own prayers and fasts may be transferred to the account of the former in order to make up the deficiency. Such a transaction shall not be possible on that day. Ransom, of course, means the money paid for securing the release of a criminal - this too shall be out of the question. As for intercession (Shahdah) not being accepted, the phrase does not totally deny the possibility of intercession on the Day of Judgment; it only means that if a man does not have Imn (faith), no intercession in his favour shall be accepted. For the Holy Qur'an makes it clear in certain other verses that Allah will allow intercession to be made on behalf of some people (53:26, 34:23, 2:55 etc.), and will disallow it in the case of those who do not possess Imn (21:28, 20:109). Since there would be no intercession on behalf of the latter, the question of its being accepted does not simply arise. 'Receiving support', in usual terms, means getting oneself released from a difficult situation with the help of a strong and powerful friend or patron. In short, none of the ways of receiving help possible in this world will be effective in the other world unless one possesses Imn.

 

A doctrinal point

On the basis of verse 48, the Mu'tazilah and some other groups of a more recent origin have denied the possibility of all intercession in favour of Muslims. But, as we have shown above, the negation of intercession applies only to disbelievers and infidels. (Bayan ai-Qur'an)

 

Verse 49

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And when We delivered you from the people of the Pharaoh! They had been inflicting on you grievous torment, slaughtering your sons and leaving your women alive. And in all that there was a great trial from your Lord.

Verse 47 had spoken of the special favours shown to the Israelites by Allah. Now, with Verse 49 begins the account of these favours.

Someone had made a prediction to the Pharaoh () that a child was going to be born among the Israelites who would destroy his kingship. So, he began slaughtering all the male infants as soon as they were born. But he would spare the females, as there was nothing to fear from them, and, moreover, they could, on growing up, serve as maid-servants. So, even this leniency was motivated by self-interest. What the verse refers to as "a great trial" is either the slaughter of the sons - which was a calamity, and it is the quality of patience that is tested in a calamity - or the deliverance from the people of the Pharaoh - which was a blessing, and it is the quality of thankfulness which is tested when one receives a blessing.

The next verse gives us the details about this deliverance.

 

Verses 50-51

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 And when We parted the sea for you; then We rescued you, and drowned the Pharaoh's people as you were looking on! And when We appointed forty nights for Musa, then you took to yourselves the calf thereafter, and you were unjust!

 

Verse 50 refers to certain things which had happened in the days of Sayyidna Musa (AS) (Moses). He, in his capacity as a messenger of Allah, continued efforts for a long time to make the Pharaoh and his people see Truth, but when they persisted in their denial, Allah commanded him to take the Israelites along with him and leave Egypt surreptitiously. On their way, they came across a sea while the Pharaoh was behind him with his army in hot pursuit. Allah commanded the sea to split, and make way for Sayyidna Musa and his people. So, they went over smoothly. But when the Pharaoh and his army followed them into the sea, it gathered the water back so that the Pharaoh and his men were drowned then and there.

Verse 51 refers to other incidents in the same story. When the Pharaoh had been drowned, the Israelites, according to one report, went back to Egypt, or, according to another, began to live somewhere else. Having at last found a peaceful existence, they now wished they could receive a Shari'ah, or a religious code of laws, from Allah which they should follow. Allah answered the prayer of Sayyidna Musa (AS), and promised that if he came to the Mount Tur (Sinai) and devoted himself to worship for a month, he would receive a Divine Book. He gladly obeyed the Commandment, and was granted the Torah. But he was ordered to continue to worship for ten days more, because he had broken his fast after a month and thus lost the special odour which rises from the mouth of a fasting person and which is very pleasant to Allah; so Allah commanded him to fast for ten additional days and regain that odour. Thus, Sayyidna Musa (AS) completed forty days of total fasting and devotion. While he was on Mt. Sinai, something very odious happened to the Israelites. Among them there was a man called Samiriyy. He fashioned the figure of a calf out of gold or silver, and put into it some of the dust which he had picked up from under the hooves of the horse of Jibra'il (the Archangel Gabriel AS), at the time when the Pharaoh and his army had been drowned by the Archangel. The golden calf immediately acquired life. The ignorant among the Israelites were so impressed that they started worshipping it.

Verse 51 calls them "unjust" for having committed this sin, for 'injustice' lies in putting things in the improper places, and idolatory is essentially just that.

 

A doctrinal point

Verse 50 speaks of the splitting of the sea, and clearly proves that miracles do occur at the hands of prophets, which some Westernized Muslims have been trying to deny. (Bayan ai-Qur'an)

 

Verse 52

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 Then We pardoned you, even after that, so that you be grateful. (Verse 52)

 

The Israelites were forgiven only when they had offered Tawbah (repentance), as recounted in Verse 54. In saying that they were pardoned so that they might learn gratefulness, the present verse employs the Arabic word La'lla which indicates expectation. In the present context it does not mean that Allah had or could have any doubt or misgiving about this or any other matter; what the word implies here is just that when a man receives a pardon, the onlookers may expect him to feel grateful.

 

Verse 53

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 Then We gave Musa the Book and the Criterion (of right and wrong) so that you find the right path.

 

Torah is the book which was given to Sayyidna Musa (AS).

In the language of the Holy Qur'an, al-Furqan is a term signifying something which separates truth from falsehood or distinguishes the one from the other. In the present verse, it refers either to (a) the injunctions of the Shari'ah which are to be found in the Torah, for the Shari'ah resolves all the differences that may arise with regard to the doctrines or the practice of good deeds; or to (b) miracles which decide between a true or a false claim in a palpable manner; or even to (c) the Torah itself which has the twin qualities of being a Book of Allah and of being an instrument for separating truth from falsehood.

 

Verse 54

 And when Musa said to his people: "My people, you have wronged yourselves by your taking the calf (as God). So, turn in repentance to your Creator and slay yourselves. That will he better for you in the sight of your Creator" Then, He accepted your repentance. Indeed He is the Most-Relenting, the Very-Merciful. (Verse 54)

 

This verse describes the special mode of offering their Tawbah (repentance) which was prescribed for the Israelites in this situation, that is to say, those who had not indulged in the worship of the golden calf should execute those who had. Similarly, in the Islamic Shari'ah too, certain major sins necessarily entail capital punishment even when the sinner has offered this Tawbah for example, life in return for a life in the case of intentional homicide, or death by stoning in the case of adultery established through proper evidence.

Then the Israelites acted upon this divine commandments, they became worthy of receiving the mercy and favour of Allah in the other world.

 

Verse 55

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 And when you said, "Musa, we will never believe you till we see Allah openly!" So, the thunderbolt took you while you were looking on. (Verse 55)

 

Then Sayyidna Musa (Moses AS) brought the Torah from Mount Tur (Sinai) and presented it to the Israelites as the book of Allah, some of them were insolent enough to say that they could not believe it until and unless Allah Himself told them in so many words. With the permission of Allah, Sayyidna Musa (AS) replied that even this condition would be fulfilled, if they went with him to Mount Tur. The Israelites chose seventy men for this purpose. Arriving there, they heard the words of Allah with their own ears. Now, in their perversity, they invented a new ruse. It was not enough, they said, to hear the speech, for they could not be sure whether it was Allah Himself who had spoken to them or someone else. But they promised that they would be finally convinced if they could see Allah with their own eyes. Since it is beyond the power of a living being to be able to see Allah in the physical world, they had to pay for their impertinence, and were killed by a thunderbolt the next verse reports their death.

 

(Verse 56)

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 Then, We raised you up after your death, so that you be grateful.

 

This verse refers to death, which suggests that the thunderbolt had killed them. Since the Israelites had always been mistrusting Sayyidna Musa (AS), he feared that they would suspect him of having taken the men to a solitary place and got them slaughtered. So, he prayed to Allah to save him from such a vile accusation. Allah granted his prayer, and gave those a new life.  

    

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5. Lesson from Bukhari Sharief

 Dr. Rafiq Ahmad

 Hadith 48 Contd

 Prophethood of Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam)

             Prophet Muhammad (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) was sent for all people of all times. Prophethood was sealed upon him.

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We have not sent thee but as a (Messenger) to all mankind, giving them glad tidings, and warning them (against sins), but most men know not. (34:28)

()

Say: O men! I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of Allh, to whom belongth the dominion of the heavens and the earth: there is no god but He: it is He that giveth both life and death. So believe in Allh and His Messenger. The unlettered Prophet, who believeth in Allh and His Words: follow him that (so) ye may be guided. (7:158)

Blessed is He Who sent down the criterion to His servant, that it may be an admonition to all creatures (25:1)

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Say: it has been revealed to me that a company of jinns listened ( to the Qurn) they said, We have really heard a wonderful recital. (72:1)

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Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allh, and the seal of the Prophets: and Allh has full knowledge of all things. (33:40)

 

Prophethood (Nubuwat) is a gift of Allh

Allh chooses whomsoever He wills for this great task. It is not achieved by ones struggle and effort in His cause. Allh Tal says:

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It is never the wish of those without faith among the people of the book nor of the polytheists. That anything good should come down to you from your Lord. But Allh will choose for His special Mercy whom He will-for Allh is Lord of grace abounding. (2:105)

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Allh chooses Messengers from angels and from men for Allh is He Who hears and sees (all things). (22:75)

 

Belief concerning the resurrection

Along with the teachings of Taw-heed (Oneness) and Rislat (Prophet-hood) all the Ambiy (AS) were unanimous in their teaching regarding the concept of a physical Qiymah and a physical resurrection. Qiymah refers to the period which will follow the destruction of the present order of the universe. The entire universe as is known to us will come to an end. On this day, the stage for the affairs of reckoning will be set up. Man will be rewarded for his good deeds and punished for his evil actions.

 

The life hereafter has two stages

1. From death to resurrection known as Aalam-i-Barzakh.

2. From resurrection to eternity known as Aalam-i- Mahshar.

The Qurn and Hadith inform us that man is sometimes punished during the time between death and resurrection. Death means the separation of the soul from the body. The soul is then transmitted to another world.

 Question

Everyday many people die in different parts of the world. How is it possible for only two angels to question them at one and the same time?

 Answer

Just as Hadhrat Izraeel (AS) has many angels working under his supervision, similarly Munkar and Nakeer (AS) are a group of angels.

 

Tell me about Islm

This was the second question of Hadhrat Jibra'eel (AS) to Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam).

 

Tawheed (Oneness of Allh)

Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) once when asked about Islm by Hadhrat Jibraeel (AS) said that Islm means to testify the article of faith, La-ilaha-il-lal-lah Muhammad-ur-Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) ( ), which means that there is no god but Allh and Muhammad (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) is His Messenger. First step in Islm is La which means nothing i.e., first step in Islm is to achieve the state of nothingness. There are some religions like Buddhism which talk of nothingness. They, after shunning away the world, meditate in solitude to achieve this state of nothingness but they achieve nothing  except some illusive imaginations. On the other hand a Muslim has to achieve state of nothingness practically while living an active practical life. A Muslim, by way of this article of faith, believes very firmly that there is nothing but Allh, He is the only being Who has His own existence and the existence of everything other than His, is dependent upon His existence. No one has any power, strength or existence of its own and whatever anything has, that has been given to it by Allh. So a Muslim observes the hand of Allh in the essence of everything and in every action. He sees that any deed performed by anyone is actually commanded by Allh, so, he gets so much engrossed in the thought of Allh that he thinks, he feels and he sees that there is none but Allh. At this stage it is said that this Muslim is tasting the Tawheed. Imm al-Ghzali (RA) says that there are two outer kernels and two inner fruits of Tawheed. To utter the faith of article, the Kalimah, with the tongue is the outermost kernel and to have its firm faith in the heart is the next kernel. One fruit of Tawheed is that the secret of Tawheed gets manifest with the help of Divine Noor (illumination) to such an extent that such a person sees Allh as the Ultimate cause of all actions that are taking place around him and sees His Ultimate Causative Hand in all the effects. The other inner fruit of Tawheed is that one does not appreciate existence of anything except that of Allh and such a person gets engrossed in Allh to such an extent that he forgets every other thing.

Imm-al-Ghzali (RA) gives an example of this as, there was a clean sheet of white paper and something was written on it with a black pen. Someone asked this sheet of paper as to what made your face black, you were just now clean white and now you look black. The paper replied that I was all done by ink and better ask the ink. The ink was asked as to why you blackened the face of white paper. Ink said, I was at rest in my home (i.,e inkpot), the pen came and pierced my body and took me away from my home and then spread me on the paper. You better ask the pen. The pen was asked about the complaint of the ink. It replied, I was at my home (i.e., tree), a hand came, brutally broke me away from my parent (tree) and skinned me off and cut my tongue with a sharp knife (the tip of wooden pen is cut in the centre). Now the same hand is making me to walk on the paper headlong. What is my fault, you better ask the hand. The hand was asked about the pens complaint against it. The hand replied, I was resting quietly and the will (Iradha) came and asked me to do it. I dont do anything unless commanded by will to do that. I am helpless, what is my fault, you better ask the will. The chain of these question - answers continues till it ends with Allh Tal. The person, who has been bestowed upon with the blessing of Tawheed (of higher degree), observes Allh Tal even in the ink which is being spread on a sheet of paper with a pen. Same way such a person observes Allh Tal as the Ultimate cause of every deed that is being executed by him or around him.

 

Fan and Baq

There comes a time when I (self) is lost in He (Allah). I no more remains there and there is only He. Sufis call it Fan and Baq. Fan means that I no more commands, that means - that such a person does not act as per the commands of I. Baq means that one acts as per the commands of He and not I. It does not mean that I is replaced by He in body and soul as some ignorant pseudo mystics believe, such a belief is Kufr (infidelity). It simply means that evil instincts of I or baser self get completely suppressed and it no longer incites for evil. These evil instincts are replaced by pious instincts and it becomes very easy for such a person to do good deeds, rather it becomes his nature to do good and to follow the commands of Shariah in letter and spirit.

 

Wahdat-ul-Wujud (Unity of Existence)

When it is said that nothing exists other than Allh, ignorant people take it as if everything is god, so they worship everything, which is an evident Kufr. These people call it Wahdat-ul-Wujud (Unity of Existence); such an interpretation is totally wrong and unfounded. One may ask a question as to what is the meaning of nothing exists other than Allh? Well, it means that nothing exists itself other than Allh. The existence of every other thing is dependant upon the existence of Allh and latter is not dependant on anything other than Himself. We see millions of stars in the sky during night, when sun rises in the morning, we see no stars. Where have they gone? They are very much there but in the presence of the sun they become invisible, though they do exist during day as well. Similarly, we can say that the existence of creatures becomes insignificant in the presence of the existence of Allh, though all living creatures do have their existence. So, to say that creatures are actually creator is not correct.

Some saintly people sometimes experience a wonderful state in which they loose all demarcations of self and non-self and get absorbed in the Reality to such an extent that it becomes difficult for them to differentiate between the one who looks and the one who is looked upon. This state is a momentary state and does not last long. Such an experience is something extra-ordinary and cannot be described in words, only those who experience it can understand it, for others it is wastage of time to discuss such things.

 

Salh

Establishment of Salh is next to the article of  faith i.e., Kalimah. After having firm faith in Allh and His Messenger (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam), the next most important constituent of Islm is the establishment of Salh. Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) said in a Hadith that one who deliberately leaves Salh, does an act of Kufr and that Salh distinguishes a Muslim from a non-Muslim. Salh is the most complete and the best form of worship one can think of. It involves all faculties viz., mental and spiritual for the act of worship in the real form. Best way of asking somebody about Mercy and Kindness is to stand in front of him quietly, nicely with folded hands and one may bow before him in reverence and extreme form of physical respect is shown by prostrating before him, placing ones head of pride on the ground. Since Islm teaches that the only Helper, Merciful and Benevolent is Allh, so it has banned from bowing in front of any other being other than Allh. Islm teaches that Allh alone fulfills all needs from the smallest to the biggest, so a Muslim is asked to bow before Allh only and this he does in Salh, in the form of Qiym, Ruku and Sajdah. The contents of Salh, the Qurn and other words which one is supposed to recite in Salh, express greatness of Allh, His countless bounties and gratefulness for the same with Tawheed (monotheism) and Ikhlas (sincerety) and in the remaining part the bondsman, the performer of Salh, prays to Almighty Allh with full respect from the core of his heart and asks His help and Mercy. The wording is such that it looks as if the bondsman is having a direct conversation with Almighty Allh. It is for this reason that Salh is called Meraj-ul-Mumineen. In Meraj Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) was taken up into the Heavens even above them where he got the highest nearness to Allh and talked to Allh at the closest range, it was at this moment that Allh gave Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) Salh as a gift for his Ummah, so that the Ummah can get nearness of Allh and His pleasure in Salh.

 

Aqeem-us-Salh

Rasulullah (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) used the word Aqeem-us-Salh which means to establish the Salh and did not say to offer the Salh. Ulema say that establishment of Salh means to offer Salh along with all its ideal conditions, for example, to offer Salh in time with proper cleanliness of mind,  soul, body, clothes and place. To offer Salh slowly with grace and not in haste manner, and with presence of mind humility, with fear and love of Allh and in Jamat (congrega-tional) etc.

 

Zakh

Third constituent of Islm after Salh is to pay Zakh (poor tax). Every Muslim is supposed to pay two and a half percent of his/her yearly savings as poor tax if that exceeds the prescribed limit. Zakh is an Arabic word which means purity, so this tax has been imposed on wealthy Muslims so that the rest of their wealth gets purified from the impurities of sins etc. The tax is so much less that it becomes very easy to pay. The main difference of Islmic Tax of Zakh and that of modern taxation is that former is on saving while the latter is on income. It is easy to pay from saving than from that income which has already been spent.

For those who strive for higher states of Imn, the word Zakh means something more. For them it means to purify the exterior (Zhir) and interior (Btin) by shunning away wealth and spending that for the pleasure of Allh and to purify the Qalb from everything other than Allh so that it can perceive the rays of Divine light.

 

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 6. The Issue of Inheritance

Compiled by Majlisul Ulema South Africa

 

Meerath is not discretionary

             Meerath (Inheritance) is not an act which has been assigned to the volition and discretion of man. The Muslim has absolutely no choice in the disposal of his assets after his demise. Even the one third, in which he is allowed to bequeath to non-heirs, is by divine dispensation. Allah Ta'ala, by His Volition, permitted the Mu'min to act by his discretion in one third of the bounties (assets) in his possession.

Inheritance is a right which is confirmed for the heirs without the directive of the miirith (testator) and without the volition and acceptance of the heirs. The heirs assume ownership of their shares simultaneously with the death of the murith. Regardless of the pleasure or displeasure of the testator or of his heirs, the latter become the owners of their respective Shar'i shares. Even if a heir voices his dissociation from his share of the inheritance, he/ she remains the owner of his/her respective share.

If a man for some reason says that he does not wish to be the heir of his murith, his wish is of no significance. His wish does not cancel his right of inheritance. He automatically becomes the owner of his share whether he accepts or rejects it. Example: A man in an argument with his murith, said: "If I accept anything from you by way of inheritance then my wife is divorced. II On the death of the murith, this person (the heir) automatically becomes the owner of his share of inheritance and the talaq comes into effect whether he accepts his share or not.

If a man refuses his share of inheritance it is not transferred to the other heirs. The Qadhi or ruler will deliver the heir's share to him and compel him to accept. If necessary the Qadhi will order forceful entry into his home to deliver his share of the estate. Once the wealth gained by inheritance has been placed in the heir's custody and possession, he/she may do with it as he/she peases.

It should now be clear that every will, testament or codicil drawn up in conflict with the Shariah is haraam and not valid.

 

What to do if the will is un-Islamic

When a man has left a will contravenes the Shariah, the heirs should understand that they are accountable to Allah l for any usurpation of the rights of the other heirs who have been wronged by the mayyit. It devolves on them as an incumbent duty to rectify the injustice directed in the will. The heirs should fear Allah Ta;ala and understand that according the the Quran Majeed they will be devouring haraam and consuming fire if they rob and defraud any heir of his/her rightful share. There is no difference between a robber/theif and one who robs the heirs of their proper SharI shares. In fact, the latter is worse in that he transgresses in his final worldly act before meeting Allah Taala. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Actions will (be guided) with the end (i.e., final deed).

When life closes with flagrant transgression, the destination is only Jahannum. The Quran Majeed is categorical in this assertion. Allah will cast him into the Fire; for ever will he dwell therein, and for him will be a disgraceful punishment.

The law of the land of the kuffar requires the distribution of the deceaseds estate according to the directive of the testator. Notwithstanding this lawful directive and demand of the kuffar law, there is no way in which the haraam distribution could be enforced on heirs who opt to submit the Law of Allah Taala. Among themselves they should arrange the distribution of the estate in terms of the Islamic Laws of inheritance while signing the fictitious documents required by the non-Muslim authorities.

 

Disposing of the estate during ones lifetime

If for some reason a person wishes to dispose of his estate during his lifetime by distributing his assets among his heirs, this may be done. However, he should bear in mind the following two important requisites:

a. The motive for disposal of his estate should not be to deprive any heir. Allah Ta 'ala has fixed the heirs and their shares by His wisdom. It is most unworthy of a Muslim to attempt any interference in this divine dispensation. Any plan aimed at depriving a heir is an unholy conspiracy which is tantamount to a flagrant act of rebellion against Rabbul Aalameen (The Creator and Sustainer of all worlds). The consequence of such a satanic scheme is stated in the Qur'an:  Allah will cast him into the Fire; forever will he dwell therein, and for him will be a disgraceful punishment.

b. Sons and daughters should be given in equal measure. While a son inherits twice the where of a daughter, this rule should not be adopted when making gifts to one's children during one's lifetime. During one's lifetime discrimination in gifts to one's offspring is not permissible although valid. Sons and daughters should be given gifts of equal value.

Inspite of such discrimination in gifts being sinful, the gifts made will have legal validity in the Shariah, i.e., the one to whom the gift is made becomes the owner thereof. But, such discrimination is punishable offence in the Akhirah.

 

Wealth excluded from inheritance

Certain types of wealth although in the possession of a man does not form part of his estate because the Shariah does not recognize his ownership of such wealth. Only such wealth, of which a man is the true owner in terms of the Shariah, is the subject of Meerath. Wealth excluded from inheritance are:

Wealth acquired by haraam  means,  e.g.,  gambling, prostitution, bribery, misappropriation, theft, riba, etc.  Such wealth does not enter into a man's ownership.  If the rightful owner or his/her heirs are living, the wealth should be compulsorily restored to them. If the owners or their heirs are no longer living or contact with them is not possible, the money or assets should be compulsorily given as Sadqah to the Muslim poor on behalf of the untraceable owners.

An asset pledged as security for a debt by the deceased. If there are insufficient funds in the estate to release the pledged asset, it can be sold to recover debt. Any amount in excess of the debt will form part of the inheritance.

Insurance/Endowment policies are riba contracts which are haraam.   Only the actual sum of premiums paid by the mayyit forms part of the inheritance.   The excess, i.e. the amount more then the total premiums, is riba which should be compulsorily eliminated by distributing it in avenues permitted by the Shariah. Such permissible avenues for elimination of this riba are: the poor; public works, e.g. public toilets, wells, boreholes; payment of government taxes; rates on property; death-duty levied by the government.

In view of some difference of opinion among the Ulama on the question of disposal of riba funds in one's possession, the best option is to give the money to the poor since there exists unanimity of our Ulama regarding this avenue of disposal of interest funds.

Funds acquired from a government pension belong to the estate only if possession was taken by the mayyit.   If a pension cheque is received after a man's death, such money will not form part of his estate. Whoever the beneficiary of the fund is after the person's death, will be the owner of such funds.

Rights are not the subject of Meerath.   The business partnership between the existing partners and the deceased partner dissolves with his death.  The heirs do not inherit any right of partnership. Their rights are related to only the share of their murith in the assets of the partnership enterprise. They have no rights in future profits of the business.

A lease automatically lapses with death. The lease is not inherited by the heirs.

There are, however, certain exceptions to which the rights of inheritance are extended. Such rights are rights inextricably connected to a fixed property, e.g. a common access road to a house or farm; the right of drawing water from a borehole, etc. owned by several partners.

Haqq-e-Shufah (the preemptive right of purchasing an adjacent property) is not inherited by the heirs. If a man sells his fixed property, his immediate neighbour has the first right to purchase it at the price asked by the owner. If the owner sells his property to a person other than the one enjoying the preemptive right of purchasing, the latter has a legal right to apply for the cancellation of the sale. However, if he dies, this right is not inherited by his heirs. But if the owner offers the building for sale, then the new owners, viz the heirs, will have the Shufah right to purchase. They gain this right not by way of inheritance, but by virtue of them having become the owners of the property.

The right to use a borrowed item is not inherited by the heirs, e.g. a man borrowed an item for a month's use. However, before expiry of the month he dies. The item has to be returned to the owner immediately.

An option to purchase is not inherited by the heirs. If an item was purchased with the option of returning it within a specified period, e.g. three days, and the purchaser dies before the expiry of the specified period, the heirs cannot return the item. The option of returning it lapses with the death of the purchaser. However, the item may be returned if it is defective.

 

Wealth which was not alienated

Any wealth or asset set aside for a particular period or specific person remains part of the mayyit's estate as long as it has not been finally alienated from his ownership in the way of alienation stipulated by the Shariah. If a man sets aside, for example, a sum of money for his Hajj, but dies before he was blessed with the opportunity of performing Hajj, this money forms part of his estate for distribution among his heirs.

If he sets aside money for the purpose of making a gift thereof to any of his children or anyone else, but before handing the money to the intended beneficiary, he dies, then this money forms part of the estate.

If he sets aside money for building a Musjid or contributing it to a Madrasah or any other charitable institution, but dies before assigning the money to the trustees of these institutions, then such money forms part of his estate.

If for example, jewellery or garments are purchased for a particular daughter soon to marry, but before she takes possession of the items her father dies, than all these items form part of his estate. She cannot claim these as being her property.

If money is set aside as Zakat, but before it is given to the poor (masakeen), the man dies, then this money forms part of the mayyit's estate.

 

Prior rights

There are three things which have priority over Meerath. The distribution of the mayyit's estate will take place only after execution of these three rights. These are:

Burial Expenses

Debts

Bequests (wasaya)

 

Burial expenses

This is the first item of expenditure related to the mayyit's estate. The burial expenses will be taken from the estate. However, waste and unnecessary expense are not permissible. Only the amount required for the Masnoon Kafan and necessary attendant expenses such as the bricks/timber to be used in the Qabr, the transport cost if a vehicle has to be hired to transport the mayyit to the qabristan, paying the ghasil (the one who bathes the mayyit) if no one else is prepared to render this service, price of the grave, etc.

It is not permissible to spend anything from the mayyit's estate for any function whatsoever. In fact, it is not permissible to organise any function such as the innovations in vogue. Care should be taken to spend only what is necessary for the burial.

If an heir utilizes the funds of the estate for an unnecessary expense, he is liable for the misappropriation and is obligated to pay into the estate the amount spent unnecessarily.

The cost for transporting the mayyit to another town for burial is an unnecessary expenditure which may not be taken from the mayyit's estate. Since it is not permissible to transport the mayyit unnecessarily to another city or town for burial, the expenses incurred for such transport are wasteful and expended sinfully.

The prohibition of spending unnecessarily from the funds of the mayyit's estate is so severe that if the estate is insolvent (i.e. the liabilities exceed the assets), then the creditors are entitled to authorise only two sheets for the male mayyit's Kafan instead of the masnoon three sheets. Since the assets in an insolvent estate belong to the creditors, they have the right to prohibit any excess expenditure.

Burial expense is a prior and an incumbent claim on the mayyit's estate whether solvent or insolvent. Thus, if someone offers to pay these expenses, it is not obligatory on the heirs to accept even if the estate is heavily in debt. The creditors cannot compel the heirs to accept such aid nor can they debar the heirs from taking the necessary burial expenses from the funds of the estate. However, it is permissible for the heirs to accept outside aid.

If some of the heirs are nabaligh (minors), acceptance of outside aid will be incumbent. But, if the baligh (adult) heirs agree not to take anything from 'the shares of the minors for the burial expenses, it will be permissible for them to refuse the aid offered.

The burial expense of a female mayyit is the responsibility of her husband. Only if she has no husband, may the expenses be taken from her estate.

If the mayyit is a pauper, leaving behind no estate whatever, the responsibility of providing the burial expenses devolves firstly on his heirs in proportion to their respective rights of inheritance, e.g., if he leaves behind three sons, a daughter and a wife, these heirs will bear the expenses in the following proportions:

His wife will contribute one eighth, each son two eighths and the daughter one eighth. It is permissible for any one or more of them to provide the full burial expenses.

In the absence of relatives, the burial expense of the pauper will be responsibility of the people of the neighbourhood.

   

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 7. The Season of Achieving Piety

Mufti Yousuf Panchbyahya

            

 O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun Holy Quran ( 2. 183)

              Allah the Almighty has made the fasting incumbent during the month of Ramadan. But He has presented it to us in a very wise manner. Man is made to leave his desires, such desires which man is habitual to. The invitation towards fasting has been presented with such great wisdom that it becomes easy for the servant to fast. Allah says: O you who believe (2.183)

O those people who have a bond/attachment of Imn with us, it is obvious that duties exist in return of some relationship, attachment, or connection. The duties and demands that the servant establishes are whatever command is directed from the divine court of Allah. One bows the head to them in obedience and brings it to action and pursues it. How many great sacrifices are undertaken in result of relationships and connections of this petty material dunya (world)? So what objection can there be with regards to the connection and relation of the servant with his Lord? All the relations and connections of this world are but to perish whereas the connection and relation of Imn is eternal, thus the word believe was presented to make this relationship apparent. It is through this very same relation that the forthcoming demands are encouraged towards and the servant is prepared to carry out the divine orders. Furthermore, when a difficulty is common and widespread it becomes easy. This is the nature of man. So with the command of fasting, Allah stated that the instruction of fasting has not been prescribed only upon you but rather this was also prescribed for the previous nations. This sacrifice was also laid upon those who were before you, stating: as it was prescribed for those before you (2:183)

But the case is such, that when the servant takes an initiative step, then the spirit and enthusiasm of man is, that he searches for some sort of benefit, benefit is sought, thus the holy Qurn gave a desire towards a very great thing, man's attention is directed towards a highly honored wealth, and that wealth is the wealth of Taqw (piety). Fasting becomes the means of achieving Taqw. Thus Allah states: that you may become Al-Muttaqun (2:183)

Furthermore, it was additionally simplified, by not prescribing the fasts for the entire life or of a major portion of life, but in fact Allah exclaimed: Observing Saum (fasts) for a fixed number of days (2:184)

Many a times the significance and honor of something is increased due to the nobility of the location or period of time and the occurrence of it is in that specific time or place. Ramadan is that blessed month wherein the Holy Qurn was revealed in, so this month has attained its honor in result of the revelation of the Holy Qurn and this month is also the month of fasting. Allah the Almighty says: The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qurn(2:185)

With all that has been mentioned above Allah has permitted the postponing of the fasts for the one who embarks on a journey of a specific distance or more, and similar is the case of the one who is inflicted with a severe illness. The permission to compensate and make up for the missed fasts in other days is granted for them. Therefore Allah says: but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number should be made up from other days (2:184)

In brief, Allah has given this form of worship to man with great mercy, and compassion. How simplified has Allah presented it to His servants.

 

The Season For Achieving Piety

All worship of the religion Islam comprise of innumerable religious and materialistic benefits. One of the significant worships of the religion Islam is also the fasting. It also comprises of numerous benefits. A great benefit of fasting is Taqw, which the Qurn has mentioned. By the means of fasting one is made to suppress the internal Nafs /desires and its various demands. And the consistency of this habit is the basis of Taqw. Therefore by the medium of fasting one achieves the great wealth of Taqw and the doors of goodness of this world and the hereafter are opened through this very same Taqw. Taqw is of such importance that it was the common practice of the pious predecessors, when departing from each other would advise each other of Taqw. Taqw is that kimya (essence/ingredient) that when in difficulty opens a path for man. Allah has made various promises upon Taqw. Allah has elaborated thirteen benefits of Taqw in the holy Qurn. Some of which are as follows: And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). (2:65)

Allah opens the way for man in difficulty. Another promise is stated: And he will provide him from sources he never could imagine (3:65) Allah the Almighty blesses man with rizq (provisions) from such a source which cannot be thinkable or comprehended that I can attain my provisions from this direction, yet one achieves it from there.

 

The third promise:

And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will expiate from him his sins, and will enlarge his reward (5:65) Allah forgives a person of his sins upon his attaining taqwa The forth promise which is based on Taqwa and will enlarge his reward (5:65) Allah increases reward and returns of the one who develops taqwa. In the above-mentioned verses Allah has made four promises.

Opening of ways in difficulties. .

Achieving provisions from incomprehensible sources

Forgiveness of sins.

Increasing of rewards

 

Taqwa is Responsible For Tranquility of the World

Nowadays there is no deficiency around the globe of regulations, laws, weaponry and means of protection. Such sophisticated tools, laws and gear of protection exist today which were never heard of amongst the people before us, yet there was never peace in the world by the means of these things. In fact crimes increased. People became thirsty for peace and tranquility. If the people abstained from crime in open, there is nothing to stop them in isolation. The government of law and tools is merely limited to the apparent show. There is no brake for them in isolation. Similarly, naturally and physically there are certain bad characters, that if the brake is not slammed on them then peace and tranquility is lifted from society. Thus, the society becomes a pit of hell. Leading a life for man becomes difficult and uneasy. It is apparent that if there exists anything that can put a brake on the above, it is Taqw (piety), the fear of the Almighty, awareness of the hereafter, the understanding of this fact that there will come a day wherein man shall stand in the court of Allah before the Almighty and will have to answer. If this cautiousness is present, then if perchance anything is done then man immediately repents. Thus he will sink in tears out of regret and remorse. This was the very same thing that brought goodness in the golden era. People were thankful and in happiness like honey and milk amongst themselves. The spirits of preference and caring were radiant. There were no guards or security at every possible place for the preventing of crime. Taqw is that asset, which man whether in open or isolation, in fact in every circumstance and situation this will be inimitable. The secret of this is that the continence of Almighty Allah is aware of every action of man. Unlike the worldly laws security, guards, and tools of protection are vacant from this. To obey the prescribed orders of Allah and abstain from the unlawful, Taqw is necessary. It is with the foundation of Taqw that man will rise to pursue the orders of Allah and abstain from the unlawful. It is with the Taqw that servant and master will maintain integrity in dealings. By the means of Taqw servants amongst themselves will also be fair in dealings. Thus, whether it be the rights of Allah or rights of fellow man Taqw is of utmost importance to pursue them both.

 

The Purpose of The Fasting Of Ramadan

During the blessed month of Ramadan, in the state of fasting, man is made to abstain from various lawful things. And this is not for the period of a single day but rather for a complete month. This is because for the practice of something, repetition and recurrence is necessary. The practice was made this way for the control and braking upon desires so that it becomes easy for man to abstain from unlawful things upon the order of Allah. If one, during the month of Ramadan abstains from indulging in these things which were permissible for him before, and now in the blessed month of Ramadan is forbidden to use these things, but he does not abstain from such things which are forbidden on a permanent basis for man, then man has not achieved anything besides leaving food and drink, and staying away from fulfilling one's kernel desires. And Allah the Almighty is not in need of such type of fasts. That lord upon whose order man abstains from things which were previously lawful for him, and during the month of Ramadan these things are pronounced unlawful for him while in the state of fasting. Thus for the believing servant, it is most definite, during the month of Ramadan to abstain from those things which are made unlawful permanently from the one great Allah.

In accordance with the nobility of time and location the reward and return of worship increases, similarly severeness of evil and committing sin in that time and location also increases. For example one is the prayer offered in the house of Allah (Mecca) and one is the prayer offered outside the baitullah. There lies a great difference in both prayers. The prayer offered in baitullah is far greater. This is the same case with sin and evil. A sin, if committed in places other then the baitullah and that sin committed in baitullah, it is apparent that the sin committed in baitullah is far abhorrent and severe in evil. This is the very same condition in the blessed month of Ramadan. Considering the nobility and honor of the period of time, the reward and returns of worship is increased. Similarly if an individual commits the crime of sin then it will be very abhorrent and evil. From Allah, upon the servants there is great mercy and consideration on man's condition that during this blessed month man is prohibited from various Hall and permissible items so that by the practice in this manner it becomes easy and simple to abstain from Harm and unlawful things. Along with this, one who is fasting will keep this in his mind that if I have been prevented from engaging in some halal/permissible actions then how is it possible that I involve myself in haram and prohibited actions? In this manner it is simplified for one to abstain from sin during this blessed month of Ramadan. Therefore if one does not stay away from sin during this month of Ramadan, then the motive and aim of fasting is perished and not found. Thus the effort of man remains without result and benefit.

 

Great Reward And Return

Whatever commands man has received from Almighty Allah when observed, are responsible for the salvation of this world and the hereafter. There remains no doubt that, to carry out these orders there may be difficulty, but those who observe these orders, Allah grants them with a pleasant life in this world, contentment of the heart is awarded to them, and in return Allah will bless them with such rewards in the hereafter, that it is impossible for man to conceive or even think about. In the state of fasting one is prevented from food, drink, and fulfilling one's desire with his or her lawful partner, but in the hereafter Allah will grant paradise in return. Thus, in paradise such food, drink, and fulfillment of desires that the extent of which man's imagination is unable to reach.

Abu Hurairah (r.a.) has reported that verily the Prophet Mohammed (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) had stated that fasting is a shield (from hell fire), in the state of fasting neither speak ghastly nor ignorant talk, if one argues with him or swears to him, he should say I am fasting. By the oath of the being that holds my life, in the mouth odor of the fasting person is dearer to Allah then the fragrance of musk. Allah says that the fasting servant leaves his food, drink, and desires for my sake and his fasting is solely for me, thus I will give its reward. In return of one good a person receives the reward ten fold (Bukhari)

Sahl Ibn Saedee (r.a.) narrates that the Prophet Mohammed (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) had said that in paradise there is a door which is named Rayyan, those who fasted will enter paradise through it . None but the fasting servant can enter through it. It will be announced where are the fasting servants?, thus, they will rise. None other then them, will be able to enter. When they would have entered, the door will be shut closed and none would be able to proceed from it. (Bukhari)

It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraurah (r.a.) that verily the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said when Ramadan arrives the doors of paradise are opened. (Bukhari)

Abu Hurarah (r.a.) is also responsible for the hadith that the Prophet Mohammed (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) had said when the blessed month of Ramadan approaches the doors of the heavens are opened and the doors of hell are closed and the Shayateen are tied. (Bukhari)

It has also been narrated by Abu Hurairah that whosoever worships Allah on the night of power with Iman and the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven and whosoever fasts in Ramadan with Iman and hope for reward, Allah will forgive him from his previous sins. (Bukhari)

A hadith explains that the Prophet Mohammed (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam)said: For the fasting servant there are two joys where by he rejoices, when he opens his fasts he is in joy and when he meets his Lord, upon seeing the reward of his fasting, he will be in joy. (Bukhari)

 

The Crescent Of Happiness And Joy

With an in depth eye if one is to observe, then this fact will be radiant that during the complete blessed month of Ramadan the control upon desires, it's rectification, and it's occasion of being lightened and liven is present. In the day it was habituated by the means of fasting to create a control over desires and during the night, by means of recitation of the Noble Qur'n in the taraweeh prayers, the shine of divine light was created. It was much similar to the carving man who heats the pot, removes the dirt, and then carves into it. Similarly, during the day by fasting the desires were heated, it's dirt was removed and in the night, by the means of Qur'nic recitations in the taraweeh prayers, it was carved through which the shine is increased and becomes the center for divine light. After this sacrifice of the day and night, at the end it is now time for the results. Thus, Allah shows the crescent of Eid, which in reality is the crescent of happiness.

In this very same manner if a believer, leads his entire life upon the demands of fasting controlling his desires and slamming the brake upon whims & fancies, bowing down to the order of Allah, then because of his consideration during his life , Allah will present to him the crescent of joy and pleasure at the time of death. Man will observe the crescent of contentment in the grave, He will be apparent and full of joy in the plains of Hashr. He will be blessed with salvation at every junction of the journey to the hereafter. May Allah grant us all the divine ability to practice and bless us with the achievement of the objectives of fasting.

 

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8. Islamic Finance

 Justice Mawlan Mufti Taqi Usmani (DB)

 

 No Roll Over in Murabahah

              Another rule which must be remembered and fully complied with is that murabahah transaction cannot be rolled over for a further period. In an interest-based financing, if a customer of the bank cannot pay at the due date for any reason, he may request the bank to extend the facility for another term. If the bank agrees, the facility is rolled over on the terms and conditions mutually agreed at that point of time, whereby the newly agreed rate of interest is applied to the new term. It actually means that another loan of the same amount is re-advanced to the borrower.

Some Islamic banks or financial institutions, who misunderstood the concept of murabahah and took it as merely a mode of financing analogous to an interest-based loan, started using the concept of roll-over to murabahah also. If the client requests them to extend the maturity date of murabahah, they roll it over and extend the period of payment on an additional mark-up charged from the client which practically means that another separate murabahah is booked on the same commodity. This practice is totally against the well-settled principles of Shariah.

It should be clearly understood that murabahah is not a loan. It is the sale of a commodity the price of which is deferred to a specific date. Once the commodity is sold, its ownership is passed on to the client. It is no more a property of the seller. What the seller can legitimately claim is the agreed price which has become a debt payable by the buyer. Therefore, there is no question of effecting another sale on the same commodity between the same parties. The roll-over in murabahah is nothing but interest pure and simple because it is an agreement to charge an additional amount on the debt created by the murabahah sale.

 

Rebate on earlier payment

Sometimes the debtor wants to pay earlier than the specified date. In this case he wants to earn a discount on the agreed deferred price. Is it permissible to allow him a rebate for his earlier payment? This question has been discussed by the classical jurists in detail. The issue is known in the Islamic legal literature as "" (Give discount and receive soon). Some earlier jurists have held this arrangement as permissible, but the majority of the Muslim jurists, including the four recognized schools of Islamic jurisprudence do not allow it, if the discount is held to be a condition for earlier payment.

The view of those who allow this arrangement is based on a hadith in which Abdullah ibn is reported to have said that when the Jews belonging to the tribe of Banu Nadir were banished from Madinah (because of their conspiracies) some people came to the Holy Prophet ? and said, "You have ordered them to be expelled, but some people owe them some debts which have not yet matured." Thereupon the Holy Prophet said to them (i.e., the Jews who were the creditors).

Give discount and receive (your debts) soon.

The majority of the Muslim jurists, however, does not accept this hadith as authentic. Even Imam al-Baihaqi, who has reported this hadith in his book, has expressly admitted that this is a weak narration.

Even if the hadith is held to be authentic, the exile of Banu Nadir was in the second year after hijrah, when riba was not yet prohibited.

Moreover, al-Waqidi has mentioned that Banu Nadir used to advance usurious loans. Therefore, the arrangement allowed by the Holy Prophet was that the creditors forego the interest and the debtors pay the principal sooner. Al-Waqidi has narrated that Sallam b. Abi Huqaiq, a Jew of Banu Nadir, had advanced eighty dinars to Usaid Ibn Hudayr payable after one year with an addition of 40 dinars. Thus, Usaid owed him 120 dinars after one year. After this arrangement, he paid the principal amount of 80 dinars and Sallam withdrew from the rest.

For these reasons, the majority of the jurists hold that if the earlier payment is conditioned with discount, it is not permissible. However, if this is not taken to be a condition for earlier payment, and the creditor gives a rebate voluntarily on his own, it is permissible.

The same view is taken by the Islamic Fiqh Academy in its annual session.

It means that in a murabahah transaction effected by an Islamic bank or financial institution, no such rebate can be stipulated in the agreement, nor can the client claim it as his right. However, if the bank or a financial institution gives him a rebate on its own, it is not objectionable, especially where the client is a needy person. For example, if a poor farmer has purchased a tractor or agricultural inputs on the basis of murabahah, the bank should give him a voluntary discount.

 

Calculation of Cost in Murabahah

It is already mentioned that the transaction of murabahah contemplates the concept of cost-plus sale, therefore, it can be effected only where the seller can ascertain the exact cost he has incurred in acquiring the commodity he wants to sell. If the exact cost cannot be ascertained, no murabahah can be possible. In this case, the sale must be effected on the basis of musawamah (i.e. sale without reference to cost).

This principle leads to another rule: the murabahah transaction should be based on the same currency in which the seller has purchased the commodity from the original supplier. If the seller has purchased it for Pakistani rupees, the onward sale to the ultimate purchaser should also be based on Pakistani rupees, and if the first purchase has occurred in U.S. dollars, the price of murabahah should be based on dollars as well, so that the exact cost may be ascertained.

However, in the case of international trade, it may be difficult to base both purchases on the same currency. If the commodity intended to be sold to the customer is imported from a foreign country, while the ultimate purchaser is in Pakistan, the price of the original sale has to be paid in a foreign currency and the price of the second sale will be determined in Pak. Rupees.

This situation may be met with in two ways. Firstly, if the ultimate purchaser agrees and the laws of the country allow, the price of the second sale may also be determined in dollars.

Secondly, if the seller has purchased the commodity by converting Pakistani Rupees into dollars, the exact amount of Pak rupees paid by the seller to convert them into dollars can be taken as the cost price and the profit of murabahah can be added thereon.

In some cases, the bank purchases the commodity from abroad at a price payable after three months or in different installments, and sells the commodity to his client before he pays the full price to the supplier. Since he pays the price in dollars, its equivalent in Pakistani Rupees are not known at the time when the commodity is sold to the client. Due to fluctuation in the price of dollars in Pak Rupees, the bank may have to pay more than it anticipated at the time of murabahah sale. For example, the rate of U.S. dollars at the time of murabahah was Rs. 40/- for one dollar. The price of murabahah was settled according to this rate, but when the bank paid the price to the supplier, the dollar rate increased to Rs. 41/- for one dollar, meaning thereby that the cost of the bank increased by 2.5%. In order to meet this situation, some financial institutions put a condition in the murabahah agreement that in case of such fluctuation in currency rates, the client shall bear the additional cost. According to the classical Muslim jurists, murabahah based on this condition is not valid because it leads to uncertainty of the price at the time of sale. Such uncertainty continues upto a date after three months when the buyer actually pays the price to the supplier. Such uncertainty renders the transaction invalid. Therefore, there are following options open to the bank in this issue:

(a) The bank should purchase that commodity on the basis of L/C at sight and should pay the price to the supplier before effecting sale with the customer. In this case no question of fluctuation in currency rates will be involved. The murabahah price can be determined on the basis of the market rate of dollars on the date when the bank has paid the price to the supplier.

(b) The bank determines the murabahah price in US dollars rather than in Pak rupees, so that the deferred murabahah price is paid by the customer in dollars. In this case the bank will be entitled to receive dollars from the customer and the risk of the fluctuation in dollar's price will be borne by the purchaser.

(c) Instead of murabahah, the deal may be on the basis of musawamah (a sale without reference to the cost of the seller) and the price may be fixed as to cover the anticipated fluctuation in the currency rates.

 

Subject - matter of Murabahah

All commodities which may be subject matter of sale with profit can be subject matter of murabahah, because it is a particular kind of sale. Therefore, the shares of a lawful company may be sold or purchased on murabahah basis, because according to the Islamic principles, the shares of a company represent the holder's proportionate ownership in the assets of the company. If the assets of a company can be sold with profit, its shares can also be sold by way of murabahah. But it goes without saying that the transaction must fulfil all the basic conditions, already discussed, for the validity of a murabahah transaction. Therefore, the seller must first acquire the possession of the shares with all their rights and obligations, then sell them to his client. A buy back arrangement or selling the shares without taking their possession is not allowed at all.

Conversely, no murabahah can be effected on things which cannot be subject - matter of sale, For example murabahah is not possible in exchange of currencies, because it must be spontaneous or, if deferred, on the market rate prevalent on the date of the transaction.1 Similarly, the commercial papers representing a debt receivable by the holder cannot be sold or purchased except at par value, and therefore no murabahah can be effected in respect of such papers. Similarly, any paper entitling the holder to receive a specified amount of money from the issuer cannot be negotiated. The only way of its sale is to transfer if for its face value. Therefore, they cannot be sold on murabahah basis.

 

Rescheduling of payments in murabahah

If the purchaser/client in murabahah financing is not able to pay according to the dates agreed upon in the murabahah agreement, he sometimes requests the seller / the bank for rescheduling the installments. In conventional banks, the loans are normally rescheduled on the basis of additional interest. This is not possible in murabahah payments. If the installments are rescheduled, no additional amount can be charged for rescheduling. The amount of the murabahah price will remain the same in the same currency.

Some Islamic banks proposed to reschedule the murabahah price in a hard currency different from the one in which the original sale took place. This was proposed to compensate the bank through appreciation of the value of the hard currency. Since this benefit was proposed to be drawn from rescheduling, it is not permissible. Rescheduling must always be on the basis of the same amount in the same currency. At the time of payment however, the purchaser may pay with the consent of the seller, in a different currency on the basis of the exchange rate of that day (i.e. the day of payment) and not the rate of the date of transaction.

 

Securitization of murabahah

Murabahah is a transaction which cannot be securitized for creating a negotiable instrument to be sold and purchased in secondary market. The reason is obvious. If the purchaser/client in a murabahah transaction signs a paper to evidence his indebtedness towards the seller/financier, the paper will represent a monetary debt receivable from him. In other words, it represents money payable by him. Therefore transfer of this paper to a third party will mean transfer of money. It has already been explained that where money is exchanged for money (in the same currency) the transfer must be at par value. It cannot be sold or purchased at a lower or a higher price. Therefore, the paper representing a monetary obligation arising out of a murabahah transaction cannot create a negotiable instrument. If the paper is transferred, it must be at par value. However, if there is a mixed portfolio consisting of a number of transactions like musharakah, leasing and murabahah, then this portfolio may issue negotiable certificates subject to certain conditions more fully discussed in the chapter of "Islamic Funds".

  

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 9. Endless Earning from Ramadhan

   Mufti Yousuf Badat

                        

              The great mercy and love which Almighty Allah has for his sinful slaves is clearly evident by the verses of the Holy Qur'n and Ahdith of the Prophet Mohammed (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam). Let us take for example the Hadith al Qudsee wherein the Prophet (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) states that Almighty Allah says O my servants , if your sins reach the peaks of the heavens and then you seek forgiveness, I am prepared to forgive you and this will not bother me in the least

Almighty Allah says in His holy book Say (Oh, Prophet of Allah ) Oh my servants that have transgressed, do not become despondent from the mercy of Allah , Allah is prepared to forgive all the sin of mankind Almighty Allah is so merciful that He cannot tolerate it that anyone should lose hope in His mercy. Which parent can ever say to his child that no matter what injustice you do to me, I always guarantee you that the door of my favour is open to you?

In fact, even a cursory perusal of Hadith literature will convince the scholar that an impression is created as if Almighty Allah is looking for opportunities to allow His slaves to somehow gain His favour, no matter how great sinners they may be. The rotation of specific occasions of profound mercy throughout the lunar Islamic year is for the purpose so that one may reap these blessings and benefits from the Almighty. Perhaps the most sublime and majestic display of divine tolerance, love and mercy is the annual appearance of the month of Ramadan.

The Holy month of Ramadan approaches us every year but is it of any value to us? Do we regard the days and nights as any other day and night? Do we go about to work, school and our daily routines without any change besides staying hungry and thirsty? How do we actually regard this month? Knowledge of the virtues and benefits of the blessed month of Ramadan will develop the understanding of the value and importance of this month, which in turn will create enthusiasm and eagerness to make this month a fruitful one. I do not want to list before you the endless list of authentic narrations explaining the virtues and benefits of this holy month but for a reminder a hadith is mentioned at this junction:

The Prophet Mohammed (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said: The month of Ramadan, the month of blessings has come to you, wherein Allah turns towards you and sends down to you His special mercy, forgives your faults, accepts prayers, observes your competition for doing good deeds and boasts to the angels about you. So show to Allah your righteousness; for verily, the most pitiable and unfortunate one is he who is deprived of Allah's mercy in this month. (Tabrani)

If one studies the Ahdith and teachings of the Prophet Mohammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) concerning Ramadan then we can come to a conclusion that there are certain guidelines which , if followed correctly , will make the month of Ramadan prosperous for us.

 

Abstain From Sin

Firstly, we should not commit any act of disobedience to Allah in this blessed month. When one abstains from sin, this is also regarded as worship and Ibdat. If one worships Allah in the day or night but at the same time commits sin, then this causes ones worship to go unrewarded. Our Prophet Mohammed (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said:

Many of those who fast, obtain nothing through such fasting except hunger; and many of those who perform Salh during the night, obtain nothing by it, except the discomfort of staying awake. (Ibn Majah)

It can be clearly understood in the light of this hadith that the consequences and effects of committing sins are so great that they destroy good deeds. Therefore it is necessary to stay away from as well as doing good.

 

Engage In Worship

Once we have saved ourselves from disobedience and sins, we should endeavour to spend as much time as possible in worship and Ibdat such as Tilawaah (recitation of the Holy Quran), Fardh & Nafl salah, zhikr, tasbeeh, reading Hadith etc. If one has any qadha Salh (missed Salh) one should try and make up for them by completing them. We have to value our time and spend it doing good deeds. This is why we have to exert all efforts to devote ourselves for every precious second of Ramadan for the worship of Almighty Allah. Sheikh Mohammad Saleem Dhorat, rector of the Islamic Dawah Academy U.K. said in one of his talks regarding Ramadan: This is the season for gaining rewards. Consider the following example and try and learn a lesson from it. During the months of Hajj, the shopkeepers in Makkah and Madinah direct all their energy towards their businesses in order to gain maximum profits during what is thought to be an exceptionally busy period. Some shopkeepers will even sleep in the shop so that they do not miss out on the business that the pilgrims generate. They are aware that once the Hajj season is over, trade will slow down for another year. By putting all their efforts into these months, they earn profits sufficient for the rest of the year. Similarly, Ramadan is the season for earning rewards for the Hereafter. Remember that once these thirty days are over, gaining rewards will not be that easy. In this month, not only does it become easy to perform good deeds but also the rewards of these deeds are manifold.

In order to make the worship easy for us and profit from the holy month of Ramadan we should set out a timetable or schedule which will assist us in our goals. A suggested timetable has been outlined below:

Wake up for Suhoor/sehree. (This is a Sunnah).

Perform few rakaahs of tahajjud

Engage in Dua (for at least 10 min. Do not forget the oppressed Muslims all over the globe)

Pray Fajr salah in congregation. Sisters should also perform their obligatory salah.

Engage in Ibaadah after Fajr until a little after sunrise (such as zhikr or tilawah)

Perform salatul Ishraq

Perform Dhuha salat (Chasht)

Perform Zhur salat with congregation (even at work or school if possible)

Perform Asr salat with congregation and remain in the mosque until Maghrib.(The time between Asr & Maghrib is very valuable, the dua of a fasting person is accepted especially near the time for opening the fast. We should not waste this time in worrying about food or in the kitchen but rather in dua and supplication)

Open the fast (Iftar beginning with a date or water)

Perform maghrib salat in congregation

Return to the Mosque and make Ibaadah until Esha salat

Perform the Esha salat & 20 rakaat of Taraweeh in congregation. (after Taraweeh engage in ibaadah or go straight home instead of wasting time by loitering around)

Besides the above one should take out time for rest so one can be fresh while performing worship etc. One should also set goals to try and complete one recitation of the Holy Qur'n in the least if not more. During this blessed month Tahleel (Kalimah Tayyibah), Durood, Istighfar and repentance should be made frequently. This is the month in which sympathy should be shown to the needy and poor by means of charity, sadaqah and Zakh. One should practise to control the nafs and desires and continue this throughout the year. We ask Allah to accept our efforts and make every moment of this month a means of attaining mercy and forgiveness.

  

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10. Fasting

Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (RA)

 

              Fasting, like Salaat and Zakaat, is fundamental institution of Islam. The Fardh Fasting is a practice of vital importance. Allah Taala states in the Quraan Shareef: O people of Imaan! Fasting has been decreed compulsory for you.

              The importance of fasting is abundantly established by numerous narrations of the Quraan and Hadith. It is clear from the narrations of the Quraan and Hadith that for attaining salvation, Salaat, Zakaat and Hajj and not sufficient. It is essential to fast the Fardh fasts of Ramadhaan.

Fasting is distinguished from other acts of ibaadat by its inconspicuous nature. Whereas other acts of ibaadat, e.g. Salaat, Zakaat, Hajj, are conspicuous in varying degrees. Fasting is totally concealed. Only Allah Taala is aware if one is fasting or not. Only those who truly have the love or fear of Allah Taala in their hearts will fast.

Experience proves that weakness in love and fear for Allah could be remedied by engaging in such acts which produce muhabbat (love) and azmat (respect honour and awe). Fasting is greatly efficacious in this regard. Thus weaknessin ones Imaan and love for Allah is strengthened by fasting. One in whose heart the love and fear of Allah Taala become embedded, will be strong and steadfast on the Deen. The natural effect of fasting is to produce strength in ones Deen. This effect is referred to in the following two hadith:

1. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Allha Taala said: Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that Allah Taala said: All good deeds are for the one who renders them, but fasting. Fasting is exclusively for Me (Allah). (Bukhari)

2. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that Allah Taala said: The one who fasts, abstains from eating, drinking and sexual relations for My Sake. Another narration states that Allah Taala said that the fasting person leaves off his desires and pleasures for His Sake. (Ibn Khuzaimah).

Fasting being exclusively for the sake of Allah Taala reflects the high degree of sincerity underlying the act of ibaadat. The high degree of sincerity coupled with abstention form evil and futility produce glitter and strength in the Imaan of the fasting person. Great emphasis is therefore laid on fasting. This is very clear from the fact that Allah Taala described the act of mans fasting as being only for Him (Allah Taala).

1. Hadhrat Abu Ummaamah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that he asked Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to impose on him some deed of great significance Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said. Adopt fasting, for there is no act greater than it. Hadhrat Abu Ummaamah repeated his request second time Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) again advised him to adopt fasting. Hadhrat Abu Ummaamah put forward his request again, a third time, and Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: Adopt fasting, for there is no deed equal to it. (Nisaai, Ibn Khuzaimah)

The superiority of fasting is in relation to certain special characteristics of fasting such as degree of sincerity, efficacy in strengthening weak Imaan, inculcating love and fear of Allah and its acting as a barrier against sin. These special benefits of fasting are attainable only if one fasts consciously and observes the respects and rights of fasting.

2. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: Fasting is a shield and a powerful fortress. (Ahmad, Baihaqi)

Like fasting is a shield of protection against internal (spiritual) diseases, viz., sins. so too, is it a protection against external sicknesses, i.e. physical illness. In the majority of cases, physical sickness is the result of excessive eating. This cause is arrested in fasting.

3. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

Every person has a zakaat (to pay) and the zakaat of the body is fasting. (Ibn Majah)

Like wealth is purified by means of paying Zakaat, the body is purified by means of fasting. Zakaat is the elimination of impurities from wealth while Fasting is the elimination of impurities from the body. And, the role of fasting as indicated already, operates in both the physical and spiritual spheres of mans life.

4. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: Keep fasting; you will remain healthy.  (Tibrani)

Fasting produces both physical and spiritual health. Fasting produces spiritual peace and exhiliration.

5. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) in a lengthy hadith, narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: The fasting person experiences two (occasions of) delights: At the time of iftaar and at the time when he will meet his Rabb.(Bukhari)

During the month of Ramadhan an additional ibaadat, viz., Taraaweeh Salaat, has also been decreed. The performance of Taraweeh is Sunnatul Muakkadah which is an act, the performance of hich is obligatory although it may be omitted for a valid SharI reason. One who is neglectful of Sunnatul Muakkadah is guilty of sin and is termed in the Shariah a faasiq. Taraweeh reduces sleep to some extent. Sleep is an act highly pleasing and loved by the nafs. Hence, by means of Taraaweeh Salaat one strives against the nafs and in so doing the nafs is disciplined. This ibaadat of Taraweeh is an act which is greatly efficient in the spiritual training of the nafs. During the month of Ramadhan, Allah Taala hs united two great and highly efficacious spiritual exercises in the form of fasting and Taraaweeh Salaat.

6. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: Allah Taala has ordained fasting in Ramadhan compulsory, and I have decreed (by the command of Allah) wakefulness at night (i.e. Taraaweeh, etc.) Sunnat. Whoever in the state of Imaan and the belief of thawaab fasts in Ramadhan and stays awake at night (i.e. forTaraweeh), emerges from sin, purified as the day when his mother gave birth to him. (Nisaai)

7. Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Umar (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said. Fasting and the Quraan will intercede on behalf of one on the Day of Qiyaamah. The Fast will proclaim: O Allah! I prevented him form eating and carnal desire. Therefore, for my sake accept my intercession on his behalf. The Quraan will proclaim: I prevented him from sleep. Therefore, intercession of both will be accepted.  (Ahmad, Tibrani, Hakim)

8. In a lengthy aayat Allah Taala says: For the fasting man and for fasting woman Allah has prepared a great reward and forgiveness. (Surah Ahzaab)

9. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (adiallahu anhu(, in a lengthy hadith, narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: I swear by that Being in Whose possession in the life of Muhammad! The odour of the mouth of a fasting person in sweeter to Allah Taala than the fragrance of musk.(Bukhari)

10. Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radiallahu anhu) narrates, in a lengthy hadith, that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: Fasting is exclusively for Allah Taala. The thawaab of it (being limitless) no one knows besides Allah Taala. (Tibrani Baihaqi)

11. Hadhrat Abu Saeed Khurdi (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: The Doors of the Heavens are opened up on the first night of Ramadhan. Not a single Door (among the Doors of Heavens) is then closed until the last night of Ramadhan. For every Salaat performed (this refers to Taraaweeh Salaat) during the nights of Ramadhan, Allah Taala records one and a half thousand good deeds for every Sajdah (of that Salaat). And, for the fasting person, Allah Taala creates in Jannat a mansion of red Yakoot (a precious stone in Jannat). This mansion will have seven thousand entrances. (So huge will be these entrances that in each entrance will be located) a palace of gold adorned with red Yakoot. When the Muslim fasts the first day of Ramadhan, Allah Taala forgives all his sins committed from the first of the previous Ramadhan. Daily (i.e. during Ramadhan) from the time of Fajr Salat until sunset, seventy thousands Malaaikah supplicate for his forgiveness. In return for every Sajdah which he (the fasting person) makes of any Salaat, whether during the day or night, he will obtain (such a wonderful) tree 9so huge) that a horseman will take five hundred years to pass under its shade.  (Baihaqi

12. Hadhrat Salmaan (radiallahu anhu) narrates that during the last Juma of the month of Shabaan Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) recited a Khutbah in which he said: O People! An auspicious month has dawned over you. In that month is a night which is susperior to a thousand months (i.e. ibaadat in this night is superior to the ibaadat rendered in a thousand months. Allah Taala has made compulsory fasting in this month and has decreed fasting in this month and has decreed wakefulness at night (i.e. Tarawaeeh Salaat) Sunnat. A Nafl (non-obligatory or optional) act rendered in this month for attaining proximity to Allah, is equal to a Fardh act rendered in other months. A Fardh act rendered in this month is equal to seventy Fardh acts of other months. Whoever gives to a fasting person something for iftaar, his sins will be forgiven and he will be saved from Jahannum: he obtains as much thawaab as the fasting person (to whom he had given something for iftaar) while the thawaab of the person is not reduced in any way.

The people asked: O Rasulullah! All of us do not have the means to give something for the iftaar to another. (They were at the time under the impression that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) referred to a full meal.) Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: This thawaab is even for the man who gives another a date, a drink of water or milk (for iftaar) (Ibn Khuzaimah)

Another special ibaadat during the month of Ramadhan is Itikaaf during the last ten days. Itikaaf during Ramadhan is an ibaadat which belongs to the class of Sunnat known as Sunnatul Kifaayah. This ibaadat is a collective Sunnat upon all. However, if a few, even one perons, renders the Itikaaf, the Sunnat obligation will be discharged on behalf of the whole community. The Ibaadat of Itikaaf consists of secluding oneself inside the Musjid for the last ten days of Ramadhan. The time has to be passed in ibaadat. Some ahadith regarding the significance of Itikaaf are enumerated hereunder.

1. Hadhrat Ali Ibn Hussain narrates from his father that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: He who observes the ten days Itikaaf during Ramadhan will obtain the thawaab of two Hajj and two Umrah.

2. Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said in regard to those who observe Itikaaf: They are prevented from all sins and they obtain thawaab as if they are rendering all good deeds. (Mishkaat)

By the practice of Itikaaf, one gains the opportunity of continuous residence in the Musjid. The significance of remaining in the Musjid for Ibaadat has already been explained in Rooh number

12. Women who intend to observe Itikaaf should do so at home. They should seclude themselves in a particular place at home.

The special acts of Ibaadat of the month of Ramadhan terminate with the coming of Eid. The hadith explains great significance of the Day of Eid as well. In a lengthy hadith, Hadhrat Anas (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: When Eid arrives, Allah Taala addresses the Malaaikah: They (Muslims) have fulfilled My Fardh. They have emerged to make dua. I take oath by My Splendour, by My Grandeur, by My Grace and by My Loftiness that I will most certainly accept their petition. Allah Taala then proclaims to the Believers

Return! I have forgiven you and I have exchanged your evil deeds with virtues. They thus return from the Musalla (whenever the Eid Salaat was performed) forgiven. (Mishkaat)

 

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11. The Inner Dimensions of Fasting

By Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali

 

Three Grades

             It should be known that there are three grades of Fasting: ordinary, special and extra-special.

 Ordinary Fasting means abstaining from food, drink and sexual satisfaction.

 Special Fasting means keeping one's ears, eyes, tongue, hands and feet -- and all other organs -- free from sin.

 Extra-special Fasting means fasting of the heart from unworthy concerns and worldly thoughts, in total disregard of everything but Allah, Great and Glorious is He. This kind of Fast is broken by thinking of worldly matters, except for those conducive to religious ends, since these constitute provision for the Hereafter and are not of this lower world. Those versed in the spiritual life of the heart have even said that a sin is recorded against one who concerns himself all day with arrangements for breaking his Fast. Such anxiety stems from lack of trust in the bounty of Allah, Great and Glorious is He, and from lack of certain faith in His promised sustenance.

To this third degree belong the Prophets, the true awliya and the intimates of Allah. It does not lend itself to detailed examination in words, as its true nature is better revealed in action. It consists in utmost dedication to Allah, Great and Glorious is He, to the neglect of everything other than Allah, Exalted is He. It is bound up with the significance of His words: 'Say: "Allah (sent it down)": then leave them to play in their vain discussions.' [al-An'am,6:91]

 

Inward Requirements

As for Special Fasting, this is the kind practiced by the righteous. It means keeping all one's organs free from sin and six things are required for its accomplishment:

 

1. See Not What Displeases Allah

A chaste regard, restrained from viewing anything that is blameworthy or reprehensible, or that distracts the heart and diverts it from the remembrance of Allah, Great and Glorious is He. Said the Prophet, (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam): "The furtive glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Satan, on him be Allah's curse. Whoever forsakes it for fear of Allah will receive from Him, Great and Glorious is He, a faith the sweetness of which he will find within his heart."

Jabir relates from Anas that Allah's Messenger, (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), said: "Five things break a man's Fast: lying, backbiting, gossiping, perjury and a lustful gaze."

 

2. Speak Not What Displeases Allah

Guarding one's tongue from idle chatter, lying, gossiping, obscenity, rudeness, arguing and controversy; making (the tongue) observe silence and occupying it with remembrance of Allah, Great and Glorious is He, and with recitation of Quran. This is the fasting of the tongue. Said Sufyan: 'Backbiting annuls the Fast.' Layth quotes Mujahid as saying: 'Two habits annul Fasting: backbiting and telling lies.' The Prophet, (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), said:

"Fasting is a shield; so when one of you is Fasting he should not use foul or foolish talk. If someone attacks him or insults him, let him say: "I am Fasting, I am Fasting!"'

According to Tradition: "Two women were Fasting during the time of Allah's Messenger, (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). They were so fatigued towards the end of the day, from hunger and thirst that they were on the verge of collapsing. They therefore sent a message to Allah's Messenger, (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), requesting permission to break their Fast. In response, the Prophet, (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), sent them a bowl and said: "Tell them to vomit into it what they have eaten." One of them vomited and half filled the bowl with fresh blood and tender meat, while the other brought up the same so that they filled it between them. The onlookers were astonished. Then the Prophet, (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), said: "These two women have been Fasting from what Allah made lawful to them, and have broken their Fast on what Allah, Exalted is He, made unlawful to them. They sat together and indulged in backbiting, and here is the flesh of the people they maligned!"'

 

3. Hear Not What Displeases Allah

Closing one's ears to everything reprehensible; for everything unlawful to utter is likewise unlawful to listen to. That is why Allah, Great and Glorious is He, equated the eavesdropper with the profiteer, in His words, Exalted is He: "Listeners to falsehood, consumers of illicit gain." [al-Ma'idah, 5:42] Allah, Great and Glorious is He, also said: "Why do their rabbis and priests not forbid them to utter sin and consume unlawful profit?" [al-Ma'idah, 5:63] Silence in the face of backbiting is therefore unlawful. Allah, Exalted is He, said: "You are then just like them." [al-Nisa, 4:140] That is why the Prophet, (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), said: "The backbiter and his listener are copartners in sin."

 

4. Do Not What Displeases Allah

Keeping all other limbs and organs away from sin: the hands and feet from reprehensible deeds, and the stomach from questionable food at the time for breaking Fast. It is meaningless to Fast -- to abstain from lawful food - only to break one's Fast on what is unlawful. A man who Fasts like this may be compared to one who builds a castle but demolishes a city. Lawful food is injurious in quantity not in quality, so Fasting is to reduce the former. A person might well give up excessive use of medicine, from fear of ill effects, but he would be a fool to switch to taking poison. The unlawful is a poison deadly to religion, while the lawful is a medicine, beneficial in small doses but harmful in excess. The object of Fasting is to induce moderation. Said the Prophet, (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam): "How many of those who Fast get nothing from it but hunger and thirst!" This has been taken to mean those who break their Fast on unlawful food. Some say it refers to those who abstain from lawful food, but break their Fast on human flesh through backbiting, which is unlawful. Others consider it an allusion to those who do not guard their organs from sin.

 

5. Avoid Overeating

Not to over-indulge in lawful food at the time of breaking Fast, to the point of stuffing one's belly. There is no receptacle more odious to Allah, Great and Glorious is He, than a belly stuffed full with lawful food. Of what use is the Fast as a means of conquering Allah's enemy and abating appetite, if at the time of breaking it one not only makes up for all one has missed during the daytime, but perhaps also indulges in a variety of extra foods? It has even become the custom to stock up for Ramadan with all kinds of foodstuffs, so that more is consumed during that time than in the course of several other months put together. It is well known that the object of Fasting is to experience hunger and to check desire, in order to reinforce the soul in piety. If the stomach is starved from early morning till evening, so that its appetite is aroused and its craving intensified, and it is then offered delicacies and allowed to eat its fill, its taste for pleasure is increased and its force exaggerated; passions are activated which would have lain dormant under normal conditions. The spirit and secret nature of Fasting is to weaken the forces that are Satan's means of leading us back to evil. It is therefore essential to cut down one's intake to what one would consume on a normal night, when not Fasting. No benefit is derived from the Fast if one consumes as much as one would usually take during the day and night combined. Moreover, one of the properties consists in taking little sleep during the daytime, so that one feels the hunger and thirst and becomes conscious of the weakening of one's powers, with the consequent purification of the heart. One should let a certain degree of weakness carry over into the night, making it easier to perform the night Prayers (tahajjud) and to recite the praises (awrad). It may then be that Satan will not hover around one's heart, and that one will behold the Kingdom of Heaven. The Night of Destiny (Laylat al-Qadr) represents the night on which something of this Kingdom is revealed. This is what is meant by the words of Allah, Exalted is He: "We surely revealed it on the Night of Power." [al-Qadr, 97:1] Anyone who puts a bag of food between his heart and his breast becomes blind to this revelation. Nor is keeping the stomach empty sufficient to remove the veil, unless one also empties the mind of everything but Allah, Great and Glorious is He. That is the entire matter, and the starting point of it all is cutting down on food.

 

6. Look to Allah with Fear and Hope

After the Fast has been broken, the heart should swing like a pendulum between fear and hope. For one does not know if one's Fast will be accepted, so that one will find favor with Allah, or whether it will be rejected, leaving one among those He abhors. This is how one should be at the end of any act of worship one performs. It is related of al-Hasan ibn Abil Hasan al-Basri that he once passed by a group of people who were laughing merrily. He said: "Allah, Great and Glorious is He, has made the month of Ramadan a racecourse, on which His creatures compete in His worship. Some have come in first and won, while others have lagged behind and lost. It is absolutely amazing to find anybody laughing and playing about on the day when success attends the victors, and failure the wasters. By Allah, if the veil were lifted off, the doer of good would surely be preoccupied with his good works and the evildoer with his evil deeds. I am too full of joy to indulge in idle sport, while for one who has suffered rejection laughter will be precluded by remorse."

Of al-Ahnaf ibn Qays it is reported that he was once told: "You are an aged elder; Fasting would enfeeble you." But he replied: "By this I am making ready for a long journey: Obedience to Allah, Glorified is He, is easier to endure than His punishment." Such are the inwardly significant meanings of Fasting.

  

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12. Saviours of Islamic Spirit

(Ibn al-Jawzi)

 S. Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi (RA)

 

Ibn al-Jawzi presents another striking example of a preacher, reformer and renovator of the faith. He was the most reputed and profound scholar of his time and a prolific writer of voluminous books on exegesis of the Quran, Traditions, history and literary criticism.

 

Early Life

Born in 508 AH at Baghdad, Ibn al-Jawzi was 38 years younger than Abdul Qadir. His father died when he was still young but his mother sent him to study under a reputed traditionist of the day, Ibn Nasir. He committed the Quran to memory and learnt its recitation, studied the Traditions and calligraphy. Describing his childhood days to his son, Ibn al-Jawzi says:

I quite recollect that I was admitted to the primary school at the age of six. Boys much more elder than me were inmates. I do not recollect if I had ever spent my time in playing or laughing with other boys. Instead of witnessing the performance of the jugglers who frequently held their shows in the field in front of the mosque where I studied, I used to attend the lectures on Traditions. Whatever Traditions or biographical accounts of the Prophet were related in the Iectures, those were memorised by me and then I also used to take them down on reaching home. Other boys spent their time in playing along the banks of the river but I invariably used to sit down with a book in my hand in a corner and read it from cover to cover.

I was always so anxious to attend the classes in time that often I doubled up to reach the school before the lectures began. It was not un-often that I had nothing to eat for the whole day but I am thankful to God that I have never had an occasion to be grateful to anybody in that connexion.

 

Zeal for the Traditions

Ibn al-Jawzi had an intense enthusiasm for acquiring knowledge and propagating the Traditions of the Apostle of God. His works on the subject were so numerous that, as the chroniclers of his time report, Ibn al-Jawzi had made a will that the water for the ritual washing of his dead body should be heated by burning the clippings and ends of his pens used for writing the Traditions. It is further related that these clippings were found more than sufficient for the purpose.

Ibn al-Jawzi was a voracious reader from an early age. In his time Baghdad had well-stocked libraries where he used to spend most of his time. He read whatever book he could lay his hands on. In one of his books entitled Said al-khatir, an auto-biographical memoir, he writes:

Il may state here my own cast of mind. I am never tired of reading books and my joy knows no bounds whenever I find a new book. It would appear to be an exaggeration if I say that I had gone through 20,000 books during my student days. I came to know of the courage and large-heartedness, erudition and tenacious memory, piety and eagerness for prayer cherished by the savants of the old, which I could not have learnt without reading those books. The study of the books in those days also revealed to me the shallow knowledge of the scholars in our times and the dull spirits of the students now-a-days.

 

Penmanship of Ibn al-Jawzi

Ibn al-Jawzi turned to writing from an early age. He began writing four folios daily and continued the practice throughout his life. Ibn Taymiyah relates that when he took a stock of Ibn al-jawzi's books, they were found to be more than one thousand in number. Ibn al-Jawzi had such a profound knowledge of the science of Traditions that he claimed to tell the authenticity or otherwise of any Tradition with reference to the character of those through whom the Tradition had been handed down or with reference to the manner in which it had been narrated. He was also without a peer as a litterateur and as an orator.

 

His Piety

Ibn al-Jawzi was as much celebrated for his moral uprightness, devotion and piety as for his literary attainments. His grandson, Abul Muzaffar, relates that Ibn al-Jawzi completed recitation of the Quran every week; he never spent his time in fun or frolics during his childhood and never ate anything unless he was sure that it had been obtained through lawful means. Ibn al-Najjar records that in religious devotion and observance of prayers he presented a sublime picture of saintliness. Another annalist, Ibn al-Farsi says that Ibn al-Jawzi kept vigils by night and was never forgetful of the recollection of God. The works of Ibn al-Jawzi present an striking example of his fervent devotion and the heartfelt love of God. In an autobiographical passage included in the Said al-Khatir he writes:

"From early childhood I had an inclination towards devotion to religious contemplation and worship. I zealously observed obligatory as well as supererogatory prayers and preferred seclusion. Spending my days thus, I felt peace and enlightenment. I extremely regretted the time spent otherwise for I had an ardent desire to utilize every moment or my life under a diligent consciousness of the Omnipresent Lord. In those days I felt my heart attuned to God while my supplications and benedictions were a source of indescribable pleasure to me. My lectures and discourses, quite effective in those days, it appears, attracted a few high officials and chiefs who wanted to come closer to me by paying homage and putting themselves at my service. As it were, I too felt inclined towards them but in their company I lost the sense of peace and sanctifying grace that I enjoyed earlier in my supplications. Thereafter other functionaries of the government started gaining my favour with the result that the precautions I used to take earlier in regard to avoiding everything unlawful and doubtful, gave place to a sense of complacency. It was still not so deplorable but gradually my specious reasoning made the doubtful objects appear as perfectly lawful and, then, I realised that I had lost the sublimity and purity of my heart; instead, it seemed, as if a profaneness had taken its place which gave rise to restlessness and disquietitude in me. I witnessed that my sermons too bore a mark of my anxiety which caused an ever larger number of persons to offer penitence for their sins while my own guilt weighed heavily on my consciousness. This, obviously, made me still more disturbed, but there seemed to be no way out. I visited the tombs of the saints and earnestly beseeched God to show me the right path. Ultimately, God helped me and I again felt an inclination to spend more of my time in prayer and solitude. Now I came to know what was wrong with me and I thanked my Lord, the Most Compassionate and Merciful, for His kindness.

 

Character of Ibn al-Jawzi

He is reported to have been a well-built man with handsome features and all imposing countenance. Favoured with easy circumstances he possessed a refined taste", says Muwaffaq Abdul Latif, "in dress and dietary habits and was charming and graceful". Another annalist, lbn al-Dayni relates that Ibn al-Jawzi was soft-spoken, handsome and of medium height, reputed for his clemency and generosity. Extremely careful of his health, he liked what may be called the "good things of temperate quality."

In the Said al-Khatir and the Talbis-o-Iblis he has mentioned his numerous clinical experiences and advised against penance and arduous religious practices which had then been introduced by the Iranian mystics.

 

Encyclopedic Knowledge

The most outstanding feature of Ibn al-Jawzi's character is his versatility. He towered over his contemporaries in his ardent desire to be well versed in almost every branch of learning. He has himself described it in some detail in the Said al-Khatir.

"The greatest trial for man lies in the loftiness of his ambition: the higher is one's ambition, the loftier aspiration for advancement or success one has. However, he is sometimes unable to achieve it owing to unfavourable circumstances, or because he lacks the means, and this causes dissatisfaction. God has, however, made me so ambitious that I have always a hankering for something higher. But I have never wished that God might not have made me too ambitious. It is true that life can be fully enjoyed only by a care-free, imprudent and a listless fellow but nobody endowed with brains would ever like retrogression of his intellect simply for the sake of getting more fun out of worldly pleasures. I know of many people who are boastful of their lofty ambitions but I have found their aspirations really limited to only one field of their activity in which they are ardently desirous of achieving success. These people are completely indifferent to their deficiency in other fields. A poet by the name of Sharif Radhi once said in a couplet: 'Ill health is never without a cause, but in my case it is because of too high an aspiration.' However, on going through his biographical accounts I found that he had no ambition save achieving power and position.

"It is related that Abu Muslim Khurasani could not sleep well during his youthful days. When asked about the reason for it, he replied, 'How can I sleep? Brilliant and ambitious though I am, I have been condemned to lead a life of poverty and obscurity'.

Then, what would satisfy you? asked someone. He replied, I would be satisfied only if I achieve greatness and power.'

'Then try for it,' he was told. 'This would not be possible without putting my life at stake', replied he.

He was asked again, 'But why dont you do so?' He said, 'Intellect asks me not to run into danger.' 'What would you do then?' was demanded of him. 'I would not accept the advice of my intellect,' replied Abu Muslim, 'and would give myself up to my folly. I will play a desperate game at the bidding of my ambition and seek the help of intellect only where imprudence fails me. I have no other course left, as poverty and obscurity are interdependent '.

"On giving further thought to this self deluded yet ambitious man I came to the conclusion that he had not given thought to one of the most important factors, and that was the question of life-to-come. He was mad after political power for which he had to be cruel and unsparing of innocent human lives. He got just a fraction of the worldly power and glory, the things he aspired, for a short duration of only eight years. Thereafter he fell an easy victim to the treachery of al-Saffah, and then his intellect did not come to his aid. It was the same with al-Mutannabbi too who was so pretentious of his ambitions, but he was also enamoured of worldly success.

"My ambition is, however, quite different from theirs. I aspire for a profound knowledge embracing the entire field of learning, which, I know, I cannot attain. I want to achieve a thorough and complete knowledge of every branch of learning which is obviously not possible in the short span of human life. I do not consider anyone perfect in the knowledge of a science so long as he lacks perfection in another branch, as, for example, if a traditionist is not a master of jurisprudence too I consider his knowledge to be incomplete.

"The imperfection of knowledge, I think, can be attributed to the lack of ambition alone. Not only that, to me the end of knowledge means an ability to act on it. Thus, what I want is that I should be able to combine with my knowledge the assiduity of Bishr Hafi and piety of Maaruf Karkhi. But it is hardly possible to achieve these along with the pre-occupations of studying and teaching and attending to other mundane affairs. And this is not all; I aspire to oblige others but do not want to lie under their obligation; my pre-occupation with the studies is an impediment in the way of my earnings but I detest to be indebted to anyone or to accept gifts from others. I ardently desire to have children as well as to be an author of merit and distinction so that these may commemorate my memory, but both these pursuits stand in the way of solitude and contemplation. I also do like to enjoy the lawful pleasures but do not possess the means for achieving these and if I devote myself to get at these; I would lose the contentment and peace of mind. Similar is the case with other matters, as, for example, I like the delicacies and refinements which my good taste desires. All these in fact mean aspiring for diametrical ends. What have those persons to do with these lofty ideals who aspire simply for worldly success, wealth, power and position? I too want worldly success but in a manner that I do not have to, impair my faith or to expose my learning or virtuous action to any risk or injury. Who can appreciate the demands of my ambition: on the one hand I relish contemplation and prayer, divine manifestation and illumination of heart, but, on the other, I have an inclination for the cultivation of knowledge, teaching and penmanship. The first requires penance, fasting and seclusion while the latter demands nourishment and mixing with the people. Spiritual contraction is unbearable for me, but making the both ends meet for my dependents stands in the way of my spiritual progress. I have endured these strains all through my life and submitted to the will of God for, it seems, the path to success and perfection lies through struggles and afflictions. For the loftiest ideal is to seek the pleasure of God Almighty, I guard myself of every defilement and take care that not a single moment of my life is spent in any vain effort. Glory be to God, if I succeed in my endeavours; but I wont mind if I fail for the Prophet has said that the intention of the faithful is better than his action.

 

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13. News around the World

 

KUALA LUMPUR Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi called for a more robust role by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in fighting corruption in the Muslim world and globally.

             "I would like the see the OIC play a more active role in the global fight against corruption," Abdullah told the opening session of the 1st OIC Anti-Corruption and Enhancing Integrity Forum 2006, reported Bernama news agency.

"The current condition that Muslim countries find themselves in is deeply alarming and distressing," he said.

Abdullah, the current OIC chair, lamented that the best Muslim country on the Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index (CPI) ranks 29th out of 158 countries surveyed.

"More than half of the bottom 10 places were occupied by Muslim countries," he regretted.

"If we average the total score of Muslim nations as a whole, we would only score 3.06 out of 10 points, placing us at 89th place," Abdullah noted.

The three-day forum was organized by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and is attended by 250 people, including senior officials from OIC member countries.

The 57-member OIC comprises 1.8 billion people, ranging from wealthy Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to poor African states such as Chad, which ranks as the world's most corrupt country.

 

WASHINGTON Five years after spending billions of dollars on security and invading two Muslim countries as part of the so-called war on terror, many Americans still feel vulnerable and caught between the rock of terrorism and the hard place of losing long-cherished personal freedoms.

"There is a tremendous amount still to be done," Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Monday, September 4.

The Bush administration has created the Department of Homeland Security after the 9/11 attacks to shore up security and a National Counterterrorism Center to boost much-criticized intelligence services.

It has also arranged a partnership with more than 40 foreign ports so that US customs agents are allowed to inspect US-bound shipments.

But the larger part of security efforts concentrated on the aviation sector to avoid a repeat of the 9/11 nightmare, in which hijacked passenger planes were turned into weapons, killing nearly 3,000 people.

US airports have been equipped with state-of-the-art technology to detect dangerous objects and the government authorized the Transportation Security Administration to robustly expand its workforce.

Many expected the heavy surveillance of commercial aviation would discourage terrorist attacks involving aircraft or airports.

However, an alleged terrorist plot recently unveiled by the British police renewed concerns about air transport vulnerability and the capacity of terrorists to evade security measures.

 

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14. Magic, Fortune-telling and Divination

 

Magic (sihr) is an act of kufr, and one of the seven sins which doom a person to Hell. It causes harm but no benefit. Allaah says of the one who learns it (interpretation of the meaning):

. . . And they learn that which harms them and profits them not . . . [al-Baqarah 2:102]

. . . and the magician will never be successful, no matter what amount (of skill) he may attain). [Ta-Ha 20:69]

The one who deals in magic is a kaafir, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

. . . Sulayman did not disbelieve, but the shayaateen (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things as came down at Babylon to the two angels, Haaroot and Maaroot, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) things till they had said, We are only for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us). . . . [al-Baqarah 2:102]

The prescribed punishment for the one who practices magic is death, and his income is haraam and impure. But people who are ignorant wrongdoers and weak in faith go to magicians to help them harm someone or take revenge on someone. Some people commit the sin of going to a magician to ask his help in undoing the magic of someone else, when they should turn to Allaah to help them and heal them, by reciting His words, such as the soorahs that offer protection (al-Falaq and al-Naas), and so on.

Fortune-tellers and their ilk are kaafirs who disbelieve in Allaah, because they claim knowledge of the Unseen, but no one has knowledge of the Unseen except Allaah. Many of these fortune-tellers take advantage of simple-minded people and take their money. They use many methods such as drawing lines in the sand, throwing sea-shells, reading palms, teacups (or coffee cups), crystal balls and mirrors, and so on. If they get it right one time, they get it wrong ninety-nine times, but ignorant people remember only the one time when these liars get something right. They go to them to find out about the future, whether they will be successful in marriage or business, or to help them find something they have lost, and so on. The ruling concerning the person who visits a fortune-teller is: if he believes what he says, he is a kaafir who has left Islaam, on the basis of the hadeeth in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: Whoever goes to a fortune-teller or a soothsayer and believes in what he says has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad. (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 2/429; see also Saheeh al-Jaami, 5939). If a person does not believe that they have knowledge of the Unseen, but he goes out of curiosity or whatever, he is not a kaafir, but his prayers will not be accepted for forty days, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: Whoever goes to a fortune-teller and asks him about something, his prayers will not be accepted for forty nights (Saheeh Muslim, 4/1751) - even though it is still obligatory to pray and to repent for this sin. 

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