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Regd. No.: JKENG/2000/4174


Published From  Srinagar.


Editor, Printer & Publisher: Mawlana Hamidullah Lone.

 

September 2006.  VOL.7, No: 9.


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

3. From a Sister's desk

4. Lesson from Al-Qur'an

5. Lesson from Bukhari Sharief

6. The Issue of Ineritance

7. Death and Grave

8. Islamic finance

9. The Open Road to Makkah

10. Religious Tolerance

11. Saviours of Islamic Spirit

12. News Around the World


1. EDITORIAL

 

Muslims - People for the Aakhirah

              It is an incontrovertible fact that the ancient faiths which have come to the aid of mankind and furnished it with right guidance at the hour of its need and whose glorious contribution to human upliftment is unforgettable have lost their vitality owing to the vicissitudes of time, They are a spout force today and cannot be depended upon to repel onslaught of materialism in the modem age. Even the upholders of these religions have lost faith in them. They are not suited to the exigencies of the present days and religious fervour and the spirit of endeavour also is lacking in them. They are as powerless as a paralysed limb so far as meeting the menace of the modern civilization is concerned. Most of them have already laid down their arms before the Western civilization and accepted that there is no escape from materialism, which is the last stage in the evolution of human civilization.

But at this critical juncture there is a religion which is safe and unpolluted. It is both living and life giving, true and realistic, pure and free from all faults and weaknesses. Its followers know that they are responsible for the superintendence of the world, the survival of civilization and the close examination of the good and evil propensities of mankind. They will have to render account of the way they discharge their duty. This faith is distinguished from other faiths in four respects:

I. It possesses the Great Book which vibrates with life and is effulgent with human felicity. It provides a sound leadership to mankind and contains knowledge which is both profound and unbounded. For mind and intellect it is an everlasting source of joy and hopefulness, a spring-head that never dries up. It's ever flowing stream does, in no case, get isolated from life. It has wrought a mighty revolution in the lives of men and can do it again any day. It can once more infuse a new life into leadership and cause a tumult in its waves.

2. Similarly the record of the sayings and doings of the Holy Prophet, his life account, is a fragrant legacy which is extremely beautiful as well as incandescent. It makes the most shining page of the story of human advancement which can be recreated by reminding mankind of its true station. The reading of it restores the confidence of man in his self and revives in him the awareness of his nobility. The picture it presents is so exquisitely changing that anyone whose aesthetic sense has not deserted him and in whom the feeling of perfection is present cannot fail to be aroused and inspired by it He will be seized with the ambition to attain the heights by emulating the Prophet's example that may endue his life with sublimity, peace, and magnanimity. It unties the knots of intellect and unravels the hidden mysteries. This wonderful portrait of lofty virtues and splendid accomplishments is present to this day in its pristine glory and the alteration of circumstances and the passage of time have done nothing to rob it of its purity or radiance.

3. The preserved treasure of the Islamic Shariat is present, without any distortion or amendment, as it was left behind by the bringer of the Shariat, the Prophet himself.

The Shariat is the most complete and the most perfect jurisprudential system in the world. It denotes an admirable blending of the ancient with the modern and can serve the needs of all ages and climes. It is also well established for the future. It possesses such wise and sound foundations that the edifice of a healthy society or civilization can always be built on them.

4. The adherents of Islam are characterised by religious fervour and enthusiasm which no other community can boast of In spite of all their lethargy, listlessness and neglect of faith the spark of Islam is still hidden in their hearts. They are ready to the call of an earnest preacher and to make the supreme sacrifice in the path of Allah. This is the charming aspect of belief and vitality of which the western nations are totally devoid today. Anyone who has the occasion to work in any community for religious revival and reform will have no difficulty in confirming it.

 

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2. Question and Answer

 

Masaail pertaining to Wudhu

 

Q : Most of the people say that after performing Ghusl (bath) one doesnt need to make Wadhu. Kindly make it clear in the light of Quran and Hadith what is right?

A : Wadhu means to wash face, hands (upto and including elbows), feet and also to wipe the head. So, when a person takes a bath (Ghusl), Wadhu gets automatically included in it.

Hadhrat Aisah (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to perform Wadhu before Ghusl (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah).

Although, it is Sunnah to perform Wudhu before Ghusl, but, if someone does not perform Whudu before Ghusl, still his Ghusl is valid. Some people perform Wudhu after Ghusl, this practice is wrong.

 

Q : Is Niyyat (intention) necessary for Wudhu? It is mentioned in some books that in Wudhu same acts are performed which one does while washing his organs; so, if one does not intend to perform Wudhu, it is not valid. 

Apart from this, if the organs that are obligatory to be washed are left unwashed, how will the Wadhu be valid?

A :  To make (Niyyat) intention to perform Wudhu is not Fardh. If the organs that are obligatory to be washed in Wudhu are washed properly, then Wudhu is valid. But, one will get Thawab of Wudhu only when he will make a Niyyat for it.

 

Q : A person says that the organs like hands, mouth, nose, face etc., that are washed thrice in Wudhu, can be washed only twice. Kindly state if it is right.

A : To wash every organ thrice is the perfect Sunnah. Although, to wash them twice or even only once will suffice if a space equal to a hair will not remain unwashed.

 

Q : During Wudhu, after washing the face thrice; is it necessary to take water again and again in order to soak ones beard from outside as well as inside?

A : If ones beard is so much thick that the skin beneath it is not visible then it is Fardh to wash it from outside and also to do the Khilaal which is Sunnat. And if the beard is thin then it is necessary to wash whole of it thoroughly.

 

Q : Is it permissible to perform Wudhu or Ghusl with Zamzam water?

A : If a person is clean and already with Wudhu and he performs Wudhu with Zamzam water to gain Barakah (blessings), it is permissible.  Similarly it is permissible to soak a clean cloth with Zamzam water for Barakah. But it is Makrooh for a person who is without Wudhu to perform the same with Zamzam water and also for the one who is in a state of major ritual impurity (i.e., on whom Ghusl has been Fardh). In case of necessity (i.e., when there is no water available), it is permissible to perform Wudhu with Zamzam water but it is still Mukrooh to perform Ghusl that has become obligatory for someone due to major ritual impurity. It is also Makrooh to remove impurities from ones clothes with Zamzam water; some Ulema even regard this as Haraam. Same verdict stands for Istinja (i.e., to wash ones private parts). It has been related that some people developed hemorrhoids.

In short, since the Zamzam water is sacred it should receive due etiquettes. It is a matter of great blessings to drink it; besides it is also recommended to wipe it on face, head and also on ones body. But it is not permissible to use it for removing any kind of impurities.

 

 

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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!

 

 

I always feel bad for the lovely lady who had come to our relative's house as a wonderful and attractive bride. I was a child those days and I still remember the extraordinary charm she had caused me to snuggle and stick to her. She was quite unfortunate because her husband died only six months after the marriage. We all cried for her and for the baby inside her womb. The lady left the in-laws place and gave birth to a beautiful posthumous child. The lady resisted all the attempts, her near and dear ones made at her remarriage, making her young child a big excuse. That was her way of thinking. Allah had given her an option and she chose to nourish and rear her dear child and perhaps live a life for that child.

The child grew and became a young man, a handsome and obedient one. But Allah had another tragedy in store for this lady. Her son got a fatal disease - Leukemia. The lady ran from pillar to post, from hospital to hospital, from Pir to Fakir for her son but nothing doing -the young man died, leaving his mother lonely and shattered. I heard this young man before death had called his mother and asked her, 'Mother, what will happen to you now? Why didn't you remarry? Why did you make me the goal of your life? This lady had no answer to her child's question and finally this young man died.

 

"To Him we belong and to Him is our return

I don't have any track of this lady and I don't know how she is spending her life now. I remembered her because another somewhat similar incident occurred in my neighbourhood. This time the widowed lady had two kids and was comparatively older. The lady was educated, beautiful but had two immature boys who were difficult to handle. The lady exercised her option and chose to remarry. That was the beginning of the trouble for her. She was seen as a traitor, an outcast and indifferent women. It was probably unacceptable to the society that a widow was not dedicating her entire life to the memory of her late husband. This lady needed reassurance, help and encouragement to start her life fresh, but look what we as sick beings have given her, disgust and distress. People did so to the extent of poisoning the little minds of the orphans making them hate their mother. It is true that the lady had not to neglect her children, but what can she do when she's receiving no cooperation from any corner. The lady in my opinion has not sinned and had done nothing un-Islamic. So, why such a hue and cry? To me this lady appeared very forward looking because she had only tried to help herself and her children I felt happy for her because I have seen the trauma the other lady suffered.

We talk boldly against the treatment meted to the women in other religions, where widows heads are shaved off, their movement is confined and their very links loathed. Islam had taken us far away from this barberry and taken us closer towards reason and logic, but we have not changed, because we don't want to. We have our own scales for calling some sinners and some pious. And as per our criteria a widow who remarries is a sinner and one who suffers or poses a threat to the society is pious. A widow might not remarry on account of the fact that her children might get neglected but that is her option as,

 

There is no compulsion in religion

 

 

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4. Lesson from the Qur'an


Hadhrat Mawlana Mohammad Shaifi Sahib (RA)

 

 

Verses 43-46

() () ()

And be steadfast in Salah, and pay Zakah, and bow down with those who bow. Do you bid others to righteousness while you ignore your own selves,although you keep reciting the Book? Have you then no sense? And seek help through patience and prayer. And it is indeed exacting. but not for the humble in heart who bear in mind that they are to meet their Lord. and that to Him they are to return. (Verses 43 - 46)

 

An admonition to preachers without practice

Verse 44 addresses the religious scholars of the Jews, and reprimands them for a strange contradiction in their behaviour -they used to advise their friends and relatives to follow the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and to be steadfast in their Islamic faith, which shows that they regarded Islam as the true faith, but, being enslaved to their desires, were not prepared to accept this faith themselves, although they were regular readers of the Torah and knew how emphatically it denounces the scholar who does not act upon his knowledge. Though externally addressed to the Jewish scholars, the verse, in a larger sense condemns all those who preach good deeds to others but do not act upon this principle, who ask others to have fear of Allah but show no such fear in their own behaviour. The Hadith speaks in detail of the dreadful punishments these men will have to bear in the other world. The blessed Companion Anas (RA) reports that on the Night of the Ascension -  the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) passed by some people whose lips and tongues were being cut with scissors made of fire; on being questioned as to who they were, the Archangel Jibra'il (Gabriel) (AS) explained that they were certain avaricious preachers of the Holy Prophet's (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) Ummah who bade others to good deeds but ignored themselves (Ibn Kathir). According to a Hadifh reported by Ibn Asakir, certain people living in Paradise will find some of their acquaintances in the fire of hell, and ask them, "How is it that you find yourselves in hell, while we have attained Paradise just on account of the good deeds we had learnt from you"; those in hell will reply: "We used to say all that with our tongues, but never acted upon what we said. (Ibn Kathir)

All this should not be taken to mean that it is not permissible for a man who has himself been slack in good deeds, or is in some way a transgressor, to give good counselor preach to others, nor that a man who has been indulging a certain sin may not try to dissuade others from committing that sin. For doing a good deed is one form of virtue, and persuading others to do this good deed is another form of virtue in its own right. Obviously, if one has given up one form of virtue it does not necessarily follow that he should give up the other form as-well. For example, if a man does not offer his prescribed Salaah, it is not necessary for him to give up fasting too. Similarly, if a man does not offer his prayers, it does not argue that he should not be allowed to ask others to offer their prayers. In the same way, doing something prohibited by the Shari'ah is one kind of sin, and not to dissuade those whom he can influence from this misdeed is another kind, and committing one kind of sin does not necessarily entail committing the other sin as well. (Ruh al-Ma'ani)

Imam Malik has cited Sa'id ibn Jubayr (RA) as saying that if everyone decides to refrain from persuading others to good deeds and dissuading them from evil deeds on the assumption that he himself is a sinner and can have no right to preach to others until and unless he has purged himself of all sins, there would be no one left to give good counsel to people, for who can be totally free of sins? According to Hasan of Basra, this is exactly what Satan wants that, obsessed by this false notion of purity, people should neglect their obligation to provide religious instruction and good counsel to others. (Qurtubi)

Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi (RA) used to say that when he became aware of a certain bad habit in himself, he would expressly denounce this particular tendency in his sermons so that the barakah of the sermon should help him to get rid of it.

In short, verse 44 does not imply that the man who has been indifferent to good deeds in his own life is not allowed to preach or to give good counsel, but that the man who preaches should not neglect good deeds in his own life. Now, a new question arises here it is not permissible for a preacher and non-preacher alike to neglect good deeds, then why should the preacher alone be specifically discussed in this context? We would reply that such negligence is, no doubt, impermissible for both, but the crime of the preacher is more serious and reprehensible than that of the non-preacher, for the former commits a crime knowing that it is crime, and cannot plead ignorance as an excuse. On the contrary, the non-preacher, especially if he is illiterate, may be committing the sin of not trying to acquire knowledge, but, as far as the transgression of the Shari'ah is concerned, he can, to a certain degree plead ignorance of the law as his excuse. Moreover, if a scholar or a preacher commits a sin, he is actually mocking at the Shari'ah. The blessed Companion Anas (RA) reports from the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that on the Day of Judgment, Allah will forgive illiterate and ignorant people much more readily than He will the scholars.

 

Khushu':The Humbleness of Heart

Verse 45 speaks of the humble in heart. The "humbleness of heart" (Khushu'), which the Holy Qur'an and the Hadith speak of, connotes a restfulness of heart and humility arising out of the awareness of Allah's majesty and of one's own insignificance in comparison to it. This quality once acquired, shows its spiritual fruitfulness in making the obedience to Allah and submission to Him easy and pleasant for one; sometimes it reflects itself even in the bodily posture and appearance of the man who has acquired it, for such a man always behaves in a disciplined and polite manner, is modest and humble, and seems to be "broken-hearted", that is to say, one who has lost all vanity and self-love. If a man does not bear genuine humility and fear of Allah in his heart, he does not, with all his external modesty and downcast looks, really possess the quality of Khushu' (humbleness of heart). In fact, it is not proper even to show the signs of Khushu' in one's behavior deliberately. On seeing a young man sitting with his head bowed down, the rightly-guided Khalifah Sayyidna 'Umar (RA) said: "Raise your head! Humbleness of heart is in the heart." Ibrahim Nakha'i has said: "Humbleness of heart does not mean wearing rough clothes, eating coarse food and keeping the head bowed down. Humbleness of heart is to treat the high and the low alike in matters of truth, and to keep the heart free to devote itself entirely to Allah and to the performance of what Allah has made obligatory for you." Similarly, Hasan of Basra has said: "The Caliph 'Umar would speak loudly enough to be heard, whenever he spoke, would walk swiftly, whenever he walked, and would strike forcefully, whenever he struck a man. All the same, he undoubtedly was a man with a real humbleness of heart." In short, wearing deliberately and by one's own choice, the looks of a man who possesses the humbleness of heart is a kind of self-delusion and a ruse of Satan, and hence reprehensible. But if a man happens to manifest such signs without knowing it, he can be excused. (Qurtubi)

Let us add that there is another word Khudu' which is often used along with Khushu', and which appears several times in the Holy Qur'an as well. The two words are almost synonymous. But the word Khushu', according to its lexical root, refers to the lowering of the voice and of the glance when it is not artificial but arises out of a real modesty and fear of Allah for example, the Holy Qur'an says: "Voices have been hushed" (20:108). On the other hand, the word Khudu' refers to the bodily posture which shows modesty and humility for example, the Holy Qur'an says: "So their necks will stay humble to it." (26:4) We must also define as to what, in the eyes of the Shari'ah, the exact position and value of Khushu' is with regard to Salaah. The Holy Qur'an and the Hadith repeatedly stress its importance as in: "And perform the prayer for the sake of My remembrance." (20:14)

Obviously, forgetfulness is the opposite of remembrance, and hence the man who becomes unmindful of Allah while offering Salaah, is not fulfilling the obligation of remembering Allah. Another verse says: "Do not be among the unmindful." (7:205) Similarly, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has said: "The Salaah simply means self-abasement and humility." Says another Hadith: "If his prayers do not restrain a man from immodesty and evil, he goes farther and farther away from Allah." Salaah offered unmindfully does not obviously restrain man from evil deeds, and consequently such a man goes farther and farther away from Allah.

Having quoted these verses and Ahaadith in support of other arguments in his Ihya al-'Ulum, Imam al-Ghazali suggests that Khushu' must then be a necessary condition for Saiaah, and that its acceptability must depend on it. He adds that, according to the blessed Companion, Mu'adh ibn Jabal (RA) and jurists as great as Sufyan al-Thawri and Hasan al-Basri, Salaah offered without Khushu' is not valid.

On the other hand, the four great Imams of Islamic jurisprudence and most of the jurists do not hold Khushu' to be a necessary condition for Salaah. In spite of considering it to be the very essence of Salaah, they say that the only condition necessary in this respect is that while saying Allahu Akbar at the beginning of the prayers one should turn with all one's heart to Allah, and have the intention (niyyah) of offering the prayers only for the sake of Allah; if one does not attain Khushu' in the rest of the prayers, one will not get any reward for that part of the prayers, but, from the point of view of Fiqh (jurisprudence), one will not be charged with having forsaken Salaah, nor will one be liable to the punishment which is meted out to those who give up prescribed prayers without a valid excuse.

Imam al-Ghazali has provided an explanation for this divergence of view. The Fuqaha' (jurists), he points out, are not concerned with inner qualities and states of the heart (Ahwal), but only enunciate the exoteric regulations of the Shari'ah on the basis of the external actions of men's physical organs - it does not lie within the jurisdiction of Fiqh to decide whether one will get a reward for a certain deed in the other world or not. Khushu' being an inner state, they have not prescribed it as a necessary condition for the total duration of Salaah, but have made the validity of the prayers depend on the lowest degree of Khushu' - turning, as one begins the prayers, with one's heart to Allah and having the intention of only worshipping Him.

There is another explanation for not making Khushu' a necessary condition for the total duration of the prayers. In certain other verses, the Holy Qur'an has clearly enunciated the principle which governs legislation in religious matters: nothing is made obligatory for men that should be beyond their endurance and power. Now, except for a few gifted individuals, men in general are incapable of maintaining Khushu' for the total duration of the prayers; so, in order to avoid compelling men to a task they cannot accomplish, the Fuqaha' have made Khushu' a necessary condition only for the beginning of the prayers, and not for the whole duration.

In concluding the discussion, Imam al-Ghazali remarks that in spite of the great importance of Khushu' one can depend on the infinite mercy of Allah, and hope that the man who offers his prayers unmindful will not be counted among those who give up the prayers altogether, for he has tried to fulfil the obligation, has turned his heart away from everything to concentrate his attention on Allah even for a few moments, and has been mindful of Allah alone at least while forming his intention for the prayers. Offering one's prayers in this half-hearted manner has, to say the least, the merit of keeping one's name excluded from the list of those who habitually disobey Allah and forsake the prescribed prayers altogether.

In short, this is a matter in which hope and fear both are involved - there is the fear of having punishment as well as the hope of being ultimately forgiven. So, one should try ones best to get rid of ones laziness and indifference. But it is the mercy of Allah alone which can help one to succeed in this effort.

 

 

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5. Lesson from Bukhari Sharief

 

Dr. Rafiq Ahmad

 

Hadith 48 Contd

Allah provides sustenance to all with utmost ease.

For Allah is He Who gives (all) sustenance, Lord or Power, Steadfast (forever) (51:58)

 

Allah Destroys Without Fear

              He says:

()

Then they rejected him (as a false prophet), and they hamstrung her. So, their Lord crushed them for their sins and leveled them. And for Him is no fear of its consequences. (91:14-15)

When creatures take some decision, they think of consequences that can be against them but Allah being the Creator, can create at will and there can be no question of any such apprehension in His case.

 

Resurrection is Easy for Allah

He says:

()

It is He Who begins the creation; then repeats it; and for Him it is most easy, To Him belongs the loftiest similitude (we can think of) in the heavens and the earth; for He is Exalted in Might, full of Wisdom (30:27)

In the first instance Allah created every creature from nothing, when He can create everything from nothing, then how can it be difficult for Him to give life again to dead ones.

()

The unbelievers think that they will not be Raised up (for Judgement), say: Yes, by my Lord, you shall surely be raised up: then shall you be told (the truth) of all that you did. And that is easy for Allah (64:7)

 

Allah is Qadeem so are His Attributes

Qadeem means without beginning, as His Essence is Qadeem so are His Attributes. His Attributes cannot be separated from His Essence. He was Creator (Khaliq) even before creating anything. Act of creation did not add anything to His Essence or Attributes. He will remain Creator even after the creation is no more there. He did not become Creator after creating the creations. He was Creator before that as well. When He created or creates anything, at that time He is active Creator whereas before creating, He was potential Creator. A writer remains a writer even when he is not writing. When he is not writing, he possesses the potential or ability to write, so does not cease to be a writer. Similar is the case with all other attributes of Allah like seeing (Baseer), Listening (Samee) and Knowing (Aleem) etc. These all Attributes were with Him always even before creating the creation and there will be no loss in them even after the creations will remain no more.

 

Belief in angels

Malaikah or angels are very fine creation of Allah created from Noor (light). They are not visible to ordinarily naked eye and they also have the power to adopt different shapes. They have no evil instincts, hence cannot do any evil. They always obey the Divine Commands. They have no gender, we have to believe in their existence and not attribute any sex to them. They are innumerable and their number is known to Allah only. Names of four senior angels viz; Jibra'eel, Mikaeel, Israfeel and Izraeel (AS) are famous and the rest of the angles are to be believed in general. Angels are honourable creatures who are always busy in carrying out the duties which Allah has decreed upon them. They never disobey Allah.

Hadhrat Jibra'eel (AS) brought the laws of Allah Taala to the Rusul (Messengers) through the medium of Divine Revelation. He was sometimes sent by Allah to assist the Ambiyaa fighting the enemies of Islam. At times he was sent by Allah to execute punishment to those who were disobedient to Allah.

Hadhrat Mika'eel (AS) is the angel appointed in charge of rains, weather and providence. There are many angels under his supervision, some responsible for rain, some for clouds, some for winds and some for sustenance etc. They all act in accordance to Allah Taalas Will and Commandments.

Hadhrat Israfeel (AS) is the angel whose task will be to sound the Soor or trumpet which will then lead to the destruction of the universe and the advent of Qiyaamah (dooms day).

Hadhrat Izra'eel (AS) is the angel of death commonly known as Malakul-Maut.  He is in charge of inflicting death to the various creations of Allah Taala. He also has many angels working under his supervision. Some angels are responsible for taking the souls of pious people while others are responsible for taking the souls of evil and disobedient people.

Amongst them are ( ) Kiraaman Kaatibeen, the two angels who are posted with every human, one on each shoulder, from his birth up to death. The right one writes the good deeds and the left one writes the bad deeds of a person. Another special group of angels are those who hold the Throne. Every Muslim is accompanied by an angel who inspires in him Hidaayat (Guidance to do good). The angels called the Nakeer () and Munker () question a person in grave soon after his death.

 

Belief in His books

It means to believe in all the divine books which were sent down by Allah to different prophets like Al-Quran  was to Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), Injeel to Hadhrat Eisa (AS), Zaboor to Hadhrat Dawood (AS) and Torah to Hadhrat Musa (AS). There are many other divine books, also called Suhuf, which were sent down to other Prophets but their exact number is not known. We believe in all of them with whatever their number had been. Belief in these books means that these books existed and were sent down by Allah, hence were divine in nature, The Quran revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is the last revealed book of Allah and is the only divine book which is existing today in its original form without any addition or alteration and will remain in its original form up to the day of Judgement as Allah Himself has guaranteed its safety. Allah Taala says:

We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; And We will assuredly guard it (from corruption) (15:9)

The Quran abrogated all earlier divine books, that means today we believe that all earlier books were divine but their commandments stand abrogated by the Quran and now we have to follow the commandments of the Quran only.

No divine book other than the Quran is existing in its original form today as the safety of those books was not guaranteed by Allah.

Some narrations have stated that the number of divine books revealed to different Prophets was one hundred and four, out of them ten Suhuf were sent to Hadhrat Adam (AS), fifty to Hadhrat Sheeth (AS), thirty to Hadhrat Idrees (AS), ten to Hadhrat Ibrahim (AS) and four above mentioned books and out of these Quran is the last and the best. (Mirqat)

 

The Quran

It is the Last Revelation sent down by Allah to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). It is the Word of Allah, hence it is His attribute i.e., it is not created but the attribute of the Creator. Both the words and meaning of the Quran are from Allah. Allah Taala says:

These are the signs of Allah: We rehearse them to thee in truth: verily thou art once of the Messengers (2:252)

But when We have recited it, follow thou its recital (as promulgated)(75:18)

 

Imam Tahawi says:

Thus, the Quran is the spoken word of Allah except that we do not know how He speaks for His speech is not like our speech as His hearing is not like our hearing.

 

Allah Taala says:

It is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil, or by sending of a Messenger to reveal, with Allah's permission what Allah wills: for He is Most High, Most Wise (42:51)

This Ayat reveals that Allah speaks through Wahy and that Wahy is His speech. Allah Taala says:

The revelation of this Book is from Allah, The Exalted in Power, Full of Wisdom. (39:1)

The origin of words of Quran is from the essence of Allah. What an excellent description by Imam Abu Haniefa in Fiqh-Akbar:

The Quran is written in books, safely stored in hearts, recited by tongues, has been revealed on the Prophet, the words with which we recite the Quran are created and the Quran is not created (Makhlooq).

 

Allah Himself named the Quran as the Word of Allah

If one amongst the pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure, that is because they are men without knowledge.(9:6)

Imam Tahawi says that one who says that the Quran is the word of a human being and not the word of Allah, is a Kaafir (Infidel) as Allah Himself calls it the Word of Allah in the above mentioned Ayat.

 

Belief in Prophets sent by Allah

It means to believe in all the Prophets which were sent by Allah amongst whom Hadhrat Adam (AS) being the first and Hadhrat Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) being the last prophet. Islam enjoins us to believe that all these prophets existed and preached whatever Allah revealed to them. There have been mentioned the names of only few prophets in Quran and Hadith, Islam enjoins us to believe in them with specificity and in the rest of them in general. The number and the names of all the Ambiyaa is not known. The names of a few famous Ambiyaa are given below:

Hadhrat Adam, Hadhrat Sheeth, Hadhrat Idrees, Hadhrat Nuh, Hadhrat Ibrahim, Hadhrat Ismail, Hadhrat Ishaaq, Hadhrat Yaqoob, Hadhrat Yusuf, Hadhrat Dawood, Hadhrat Suliamaan, Hadhrat Musa, Hadhrat Haroon, Hadhrat Zakaria, Hadhrat Yahya, Hadhrat Ilyaas, Hadhrat Yunus, Hadhrat Loot, Hadhrat Saaleh, Hadhrat Hood, Hadhrat Shuaib, Hadhrat Eisa (AS) and Hadhrat Muhammad Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

All prophets were Masoom (innocent or free from sins), that means a prophet cannot commit a sin because they are divinely protected against committing any sin.

There is consensus amongst the whole Ummah over the innocence of Prophets and this is an important branch of Iman. It is better not to attribute any fixed number to the total number of Prophets sent by Allah. It is for this reason that Ulema say that it is better to say that I believe in all the Prophets sent by Allah, whatever be their number.

Imam Ahmad has quoted on the authority of Abu Ahamah that once Hadhrat Abu Dhar Gifari (RA) asked Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) about the total number of Prophets, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, One Lakh and twenty-four thousand .

The ranks of some Prophets are higher than that of others and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is the noblest and the highest in rank amongst the Prophets of Allah.

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Those Messengers We endowed with gifts, some above others: to some of them Allah spoke; others He raised to degrees (of honour); To Jesus the son of Mary We gave clear (signs), and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit. If Allah had so willed, succeeding generations would not have fought among each other, after clear (signs) had come to them but they (chose) to wrangle some believing and others rejecting. If Allah had so willed, they would not have fought each other; but Allah does what He wills. (2:253)

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Behold! Allah took the covenant of the prophets, saying: I give you a Book and Wisdom: then comes to you a Messenger, confirming what is with you; Do ye believe in him and render, him help. Allah said: Do you agree, and take this my covenant as binding on you? They said: We agree. He said: Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witness. (3:81)

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Ye are the best of people, evolved for mankind. Enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the people of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors. (3:110)

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We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; And We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). (15:9)

 

 

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 6. The Issue of Inheritance

 

Compiled by Majlisul Ulema South Africa

 

 

Meerath (The Inheritance) is an attempt to explain Islamic Inheritance to ordinary Muslims. This subject which concerns every Muslim is about the most neglected branch of Islamic knowledge. Most Muslims are grossly ignorant of the Ahkam (laws) of inheritance. Even pious and learned people commit grave errors in this matter.

Muslims largely ignorant of the Shariah's demands pertaining to inheritance, direct the distribution of their estates in accordance with the unfettered freedom or in terms of certain restrictions of western Kuffar law. Having opted ignorantly for some western matrimonial property system, Muslims are precluded from drawing up Islamic Wills. Others again, simply do not care of the dire consequences awaiting them in the Akhirah, hence they bequeath their estates as directed by their whimsical desires.

This section of Meerath will deal with both the Shar'i legal and moral aspects pertaining to inheritance. It is hoped that Allah Ta'ala will make this humble effort a means of hidiyat (guidance) for Muslims so that they understand the gravity of their transgressions in the sphere of inheritance.

Although effort has been made to simplify this subject, we are aware that many Muslims will find it difficult to comprehend the many rules of inheritance. Undoubtedly Meerath is a difficult subject with its numerous different cases, classes and categories being somewhat confusing. While this section will assist in giving a better understanding of the workings and importance of Meerath, it is necessary for the layman to consult with an Alim who is proficient in this subject, before effecting the distribution of the estate.

The Qur'an Majeed and the Ahadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wassallam) apply great emphasis on the importance of Meerath. It does, therefore, not behove the Muslim to depart from this transitory abode with the accursed burden of the transgression which he has loaded onto himself by way of his unjust violation of Allah's orders of inheritance.

 

Ilm ul Fara-idh (Knowledge of Inheritance)

Fara-idh is the plural of Fareedhah which literally means something which has been fixed or determined. Since the Qur'an Majeed has fixed the shares of the different heirs in the estate of the Muarith  (the deceased whose estate they inherit), this branch of knowledge is called Fara-idh. Inheritance is called Meerath .

The Qur'an and Hadith place great emphasis on the knowledge of Meerath and Fara-idh. Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) exhorted much the acquisition and teaching of Imul Fara-idh. In this regard he said: "I shall be taken away. Learn Fara-idh and teach it (to others). The time is near for the door of Wahi to be closed. The time for the disappearance of knowledge will dawn when two persons will dispute regarding a necessary mas'alah (deeni question) and they will find no one to decide the dispute. ".

Speaking on the virtues of Fara-idh, Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: "O people! Learn Fara-idh. It is half of knowledge. "

In view of the importance and significance of inheritance, its knowledge is described as 'half of knowledge' .

Regarding the disappearance of this knowledge, Rasullallah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallarn) predicted: "The first (branch of) knowledge which will be taken away from my Ummah will be Ilmul Fara-idh."

Emphasising the importance of Ilmul Fara-idh, Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) said: "O people! Learn Fara-idh with the same concern and effort with which you learn the Qur'an. "O Muslims! Learn Fara-idh. It is an essential part of the knowledge of your Deen,"

Hadhrat Abu Musa (radhiallahu anhu) said: "Whoever has learnt the Qur'an, but not Fara-idh is like a head without a face."

Allah Ta 'ala, by his infinite mercy brought man into existence from the state of pure non-existence and placed him on earth to live here for a short while. For his earthly sojourn, his Creator, Rabbul Aalameen bestowed a variety of material provisions to him. The provisions for sustaining his earthly life have been awarded to man temporarily. The wealth, property, garments and whatever have been assigned to his custody are not his property. He is not the owner of these divine bestowals. Their only owner is Allah Azza Wajal, the Creator, Sovereign and Owner of the universe. Nothing in mans possession belongs to him.

When man's term of life comes to an end, the bounties which were on loan to him revert back to Allah Ta'ala, the Original and True Owner. Hence, man is not permitted to dispose of his estate according to his wishes and desires. His outer facade of ownership of 'his' possession ceases with death. Man, therefore has no right of operating in the wealth which was bestowed to him for his benefit in this earthly sojourn. Upon his death the rights of others -the heirs -become automatically related to the estate he left behind.

Thus, it is an act of grave transgression for a man to attempt to assert his non-existing right and authority in the estate which he will be leaving behind. In so doing, he is guilty of two great sins and acts of transgression, namely:

 (1) Usurping the Huqooq (rights) of the rightful (heirs).

(2) Flagrant violation of Allah's commands pertaining to Inheritance.

The divine punishment for such flagrant transgression is severe in the Aakhirah. According to a Hadith, Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that there are some people who spend a lifetime in acts of worship and obedience, however, on the eve of their meeting with Allah Ta'ala, i.e. when about to die, they usurp the rights of the heirs. In consequence, they are dispatched directly to Jahannam. Heirs are either deleted form the testators will or their divinely-fixed shares are tampered with.

Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) also said that whoever deprives an heir of his rightful due, will be deprived of Jannat. Thus, the Muslim who violates the Shariah's laws of Inheritance is destined for the chastisement of the Fire before he can enter Jannat. Violation of the divine laws of Meerath is akin to Kufr, hence the Qur'an declares the punishment for such flagrant violators in the following very stem and severe tone and terms:

"Allah will cast him into the Fire; forever will he dwell therein; and for him will be a disgraceful punishment."

Extension of one's transgressions to even the period after death is not a transgression of small measure. The sin is vile in the extreme. There is no pleasure in the perpetration of this flagrant sin, the effect of which will manifest itself after the death of the perpetrator.

While he has destroyed his life of the hereafter by his wretched sin of defrauding the depriving the divinely appointed heirs of his estate, he derives no nafsani pleasure from his evil commission.

As a result of greed, baseless hopes and deficiency of Iman, most people fail miserably in the execution of the Shariahs laws of Meerath. Their attachment ot the worldly possessions in their custody blinds their rational and spiritual faculties, constraining them to make a vain attempt to extend this worldly love even to their lives in Barzakh (the state of life after earthly death and before Qiyamah). In a futile endeavour they seek to control what never belonged to them, even after death. Indeed, this evil attitude indicates an evil death.

When the Mu' min departs from this transitory abode, he should be liberated from all worldly encumbrances. However, it is observed that numerous people depart with a heavy load of sin - such sin for which there is no hope of repentance. When man had bequeathed his estate in flagrant violation of the Shariah's code of Meerath, this transgression while having been enacted in his lifetime, comes into effect after his maut (death). He thus is denied the opportunity to make amends, to rectify this usurpation of rights and to repent. Unlike all other sins for which there is always an opportunity to set right the wrong, and for repentance, there is no such opportunity to rectify the injustice and violation from a Haraam testament made by the Mayyit (deceased). Hell-Fire being the destination of such an oppressor should, therefore, be easily understandable.

 

Abuse and violations

A man writing out his last will and testament abuses the rights of the heirs and violates the sacred command of Allah Ta' ala regarding inheritance in several ways:

1. By deleting an heir: Some people attempting to supersede the wisdom and command of Allah Ta 'ala consider it unnecessary to include in their will the names of daughters, especially if they happen to be married to wealthy husbands. A disobedient child is also excised from the will.

2. By reduction in the fixed shares: Sometimes, a man feels that a certain heir is not deserving of the share granted to him/her by the Shariah. The testator, therefore, tampers with the fixed share and reduces it according to his fancy. Thus, a daughter's share or a disobedient son's share is reduced. The affluence of a married daughter and the disobedience of a child are not recognised by the Shariah as valid grounds for tampering with the Shar'i shares in any way whatsoever .

3. By the imposition of un-Islamic restrictions: Those leaving behind large estates are generally the perpetrators of this violation. They stipulate that the estate's winding up be prolonged for years. Heirs are denied immediate possession of their shares. Baligh (adult) heirs are treated as minors because they have not reached the kufffir age of adulthood, viz. 21 years. Men lacking in Deeni knowledge, bereft of taqwa and deficient in Iman are appointed as executors and administrators who impose on the heirs the norms and restrictions of a kafir law and life-style.

4. By discriminating in the assets of the estate:  Some people discriminate in the assets of their estates. Part of the estate is bequeathed to an heir while the remainder is subjected to the Shariah's law of inheritance, e.g. the house is bequeathed to the wife and the rest of the estate is distributed according to the law of inheritance.

5. By the introduction of non-hei rs into the distribution: Some people implying to have more mercy than Allah Ta'ala (Nauthubillah!) consider it essential to bequeath the share of a deceased son to his children (i.e. the grandchildren of the testator). Some again feel the need to regard an adopted child as an automatic heir on par with their own children or in the absence of their own children, as their own child.

6. By bequeathing more than a third to an outsider, i. e. one who is not an automatic heir: A wasiyyat (bequest) in excess of one third the value of the estate to an outsider is neither permissible nor valid.

7. By denial of the rights of creditors: No provision is made for the paying of creditors who have no legal right of claiming according to the law of the land. The debt having been incurred in a fictitious arrangement such as a limited company or close corporation is overlooked inspite of the right of the creditors being related to the estate of the deceased.

The afore mentioned examples are all grave violations of Islams laws of inheritance and constitute flagrant acts of transgression which invoke the wrath and severest punishment of Allah Taala.

It does not behove the servant of Allah Taala to submit the issue of inheritance to his understanding. The All-Wise Creator knows what is best for all. He says in the Quran Majeed:

Your fathers and your sons -you do not know who among them is closer to you in regard to benefit (for you). (These Shares are) Shares fixed by Allah. Verily, He is fully aware and wise.

 

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 7. Death and Grave

Prof Dr. Noor Ahmad

            

              Death is considered to be a certainty, so much so that you would fail to find any rational person that would deny it. It is a common observation that each and every thing, whether it has life or not, is destined towards annihilation.

              What will confront man after death? What will become ofl1im in the grave? How will he rise again on the Day of Judgement? These, are those state of affairs which we have not yet witnessed. But Allah Ta'ala has made all these circumstances clear to us in great detail, through his Messengers (alaihimus salaam) and lastly through the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), who is the Seal of Prophethood.

Allah Ta' ala has also repeatedly made references, concerning these circumstances, in the Holy Quran. It is therefore necessary upon every Muslim to believe in resurrection (to be brought back to life) and the Day of Judgement from the deepest recesses of their hearts. At present, if you were to hold a discussion regarding 'Death and the Day of Judgement', you will either be ignored or you will be given the impression that they are matters of no real concern.

As a Doctor I have seen the deaths of approximately a hundred Muslims, and have also been in a position of knowing their final words. Only three people, out of the hundred, were fortunate to have died with the kalimah at the moment of death. The others died with worldly concerns on their lips e.g., one person asked for a milkshake whereas another was singing. Some were praising the names of their film heroes whilst others were discussing matters regarding their estate.

During these last forty years of my life, which have largely been spent practising medicine, I have personally heard and/or seen many matters which I considered necessary to relate so that it may prove beneficial to the readers. May Allah Ta 'ala give us all divine guidance to prepare for the hereafter. Aameen.

 

Corpse of a Centuries Old Martyr and its Sustenance

This incident goes back thirty years, a friend of mine was the supervising engineer at an irrigation department. He had a son who was mentally ill who they constantly had to keep bound, because he would otherwise wreck the house. One day, due to the servant's lack of attention, the boy got into the drawing room and caused damage worth thousands of rupees. My friend brought him to me and close to tears said, "Doctor, he has tormented me more than I can bear, please do something about him otherwise I win strangle him." Whilst trying to explain to him said, "Sir! Fear Allah. Do not say such things which could become a cause for your punishment on the day of judgement." Upon this he replied, (Allah forbid) "Who is going to live after death? and who is going to ask?" I became silent fearing he may say something more blasphemous. Thus, the conversation ended.

A few days later, this friend of mine went to inspect the 'Dayrah Gaazi Khan Canal' (which was being drawn out from the Tunsi barrage; the digging of which had now been completed). When he arrived, he saw that all the workers had gathered in one place and were causing a commotion. Upon seeing the engineer, the workers came towards him and informed him that part of a man's body had been seen from an opening below the river. The engineer decided to inspect this for himself and ordered for the earth around the body to be cleared away. Once this had been done, a human body became evident. However, there were two strange things about the corpse. Firstly, the clothes were soaked in blood; from which it was assumed as being the body of a martyr. Secondly, there was something, which resembled fruit, above his mouth and at intervals some drops would fall into it. The river, in which the body had been sheltered, was approximately twenty feet deep, from which it can be assumed that many centuries had passed since this man had died.

That same night the engineer came to my house, and relating the whole incident to me he said, "The verse related in the Qur'an meaning, 'Think not of those who are killed in the way of Allah as dead Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision. I have seen a live example of this verse and now have complete faith that there is life after death in which there is also a day of reckoning. If there was not, then the Earth would have eaten away the Martyr's body which has remained secure beneath the Earth for centuries." He claimed, "It looked as though the dead was in anticipation for the time when he would be brought back to life, when his soul would be returned and he would rise for the day of judgement". I told the Engineer that there was a difference between his belief and of our belief in the day of judgement. I informed him, "We had faith merely hearing the sayings of our Holy Prophet whereas you did not believe until you saw the truth for yourself'. From that day forward the Engineer refrained from hurting his son and repented sincerely for his past misgivings.

 

The Transfer of Hazrat A'iamzah's (RA) Grave

This incident dates back to 1968 while I was working as a physician in Buraydah, Saudi Arabia. I came to Madinah on a Friday for Ziyaarah (visiting the blessed tomb of our Holy Prophet) and during my stay resided with a friend of mine who was also a Doctor. The doctor became ill and there were many patients to be seen, so he requested of me to see to them. I therefore examined the patients and discharged them.

One day an old Bedouin took me with him to see a patient near Mount Uhad, who lived in a tent which was in close proximity to the cemetery where the Martyrs of Uhad were buried. Having examined him I wrote him a prescription. Thereafter, the Bedouin took me to the blessed grave of Hazrat Hamzah (RA) and informed me that fifty years ago Hazrat Hamzah's (RA) grave was situated beneath the valley. However, one day, due to torrential rainfall, his grave was flooded with water. The chieftain of Makkah, who in those days was the ruler of Hijaaz, saw Hazrat Hamzah (RA) in his dream, and informed him to make arrangements to stop the rainwater from entering his grave, as it was causing him severe distress. The chieftain of Makkah informed the scholars and together they decided that his grave be raised to a higher level. When the grave was finally unearthed it was discovered that the water had in fact, seeped into the grave.

The old Bedouin informed him that he was also amongst the people who had participated in unearthing the grave. He told me that while they were digging, a casual blow from a pickaxe accidentally hit Hazrat Hamzah's (RA ) ankle and people were shocked to see that fresh blood began to gush from the wound. A bandage was bound around it to stop the bleeding. When Hamzah's (RA) body was finally exposed, we saw that the kafn burial shroud only covered the lower portion of his body. Fresh blood was gushing from his wounds, one of his eyes had been dislocated from the eye-socket, his ears had been severed and his stomach had also been slit. All the people who were present saw Hazrat Hamzah (RA).

Hazrat Hamzah (RA) was transferred from the old grave to a higher level in the same condition. The reason why the Bedouin related this story was so that we could strengthen our belief in the existence of life after death. If there were no life after death then Hazrat Hamzah (RA) who had achieved martyrdom fourteen hundred years ago, would not have remained so secure in the Earth.

 

Pleasant Fragrance in the Grave

The following incident took place a few years ago. A grave had been prepared for a person in the Rajanpoor cemetery. The strange thing about this was the whole cemetery had become fragrant with a delightful smell even before the people had arrived with the body. All the people were bewildered as to where the sweet smell was corning from, there were only a few trees and some wild plants in the cemetery and even they did not emit any fragrance. It became known, after a search had been made, that the source of the fragrance was an opening situated in the freshly dug grave. Once the opening had been widened, it was discovered that another grave existed underneath, in which an old man with a white beard rested. The astonishing fact was that a flower lay on top of him emitting the sweet fragrance. All the people in the city witnessed this phenomenon.

It was Hazrat Maulana Ahmed Ali Lahori (RA) who had passed away in Lahore and was buried there. After he had been buried, a sweet fragrance began to emanate from his grave and his devotees began to carry the soil away. It has been related that the fresh soil that had been brought to refill the grave also began to emit the sweet smell. This continued for forty days. I was working in Saudi Arabia, at the time, as a physician. I was shown the soil from the grave by one of Hazrat Lahori's disciples which even than was emitting a sweet smell.

 

Recitation of the Kalimah After Death

Doctor Nawazish Ali Bhut was an eye surgeon at Bhawalpur hospital and was considered to be a very pious man. He was suffering from jaundice (yellow skin fever) due to a disease in his liver. The disease had spread to such an extent that the time of his death drew near. I was at his bedside at the time of death. I noticed that the pupil of his eyes had dilated, his heartbeat had halted and he had stopped breathing. Medically he had died. His family, who were also present in the room, began to cry. I instructed his elder brother and wife to recite the Kalimah and informed them that Doctor Bhut was now departing from this world and it was better for them to recite the Kalimah, rather than cry. Consequently, they began to recite the Kalimah loudly. All of a sudden Doctor Bhut opened his eyes and sat up. He recited the Kalimah and said, "Doctor Noor, bear witness that I am going towards Allah's abode having recited the Kalimah". He lay down on the bed again and passed away.

 

Conversation in Arabic at the Time of death

A few years ago, I went to see a patient suffering from paralysis, He was in critical condition and looked as though it would only be a matter of time before he passed away. In any case I decided to examine him. During the course of the inspection he tried to talk but was unsuccessful. However, when I asked the patient for his name in Arabic he answered me immediately. He also complied when I asked him to open his mouth and eyes. After a short while he passed away. Upon enquiring, from his dependents, I learned that the person was uneducated. Arabic was out of the question, he did not even know Urdu. I had learned from scholars that Arabic will be the language spoken in the grave, on the day of judgement and all question and answer, that will take place in the grave, will also take place in Arabic. I believe, that this is what I had been made witness to, by the authority of Allah Taala.

 

The Truth about Punishment in the Grave

A few years ago I was travelling in a jamaat which happened to reach a small holding outside Mansehrah. Having placed our possessions in the Masjid we began our Ta'lim. We noticed that there were quite a lot of people sitting idle around the Masjid, so we invited them to join us. One person came and told us, "I will be here for salaah, after which I will relate a story to you concerning punishment in the grave". Therefore, as promised, the person sat beside us after the afternoon prayers and introduced himself. He stated that he was a retired young army recruit. During the 1965 lndia-Pakistan war, he, along with other youths, had been given duty to protect a temporary hoard (store) of arms, which had been placed in a cemetery.

He narrated, "It was around daytime, and I had nothing to do, so I decided to wander around the cemetery. As I passed by an old grave, I felt as though I heard noises of bones breaking coming from within. My curiosity was aroused so I began to remove a few bricks from around the grave with the butt of my gun so that I could discover the source of the noise. The noise seemed to get louder and louder the more I dug away, which only added to my curiosity and fear. What I witnessed, were the skeletal remains of a human body lying in the grave and sitting along it was a beast resembling a rat. This, it seemed, was the cause of the noise. As the creature bit into the skeleton it would cause it to stiffen and the noise of bones breaking and splitting would be heard. The animal repeated this three times as I stood by and watched. This made me feel sympathy for the dead person; as he was suffering so much pain. Thus, I decided to hit the animal with the rifle and no sooner had I tried, it buried itself in the earth. When it appeared a short while later it leapt towards me, I was struck with so much terror that I began to run for my life. Having covered quite a distance I looked back only to see that the animal was still rapidly pursuing me. I spotted a lake nearby and waded into it hoping this would be my escape from the animal. As I looked back, I saw that the lake had indeed stopped the creature by the edge of the water. It seemed to stand there for quite a while and then suddenly put its mouth into the water. Just as so it had the water began to boil and I had to leap quickly out. My feet got burned to such an extent that they turned red and began to blister. The made it unbearable to walk and so I called out to my companions.

Thereafter, I was admitted into the Aybatabaad hospital only to be transferred to the general army hospital in Rawalpindi. The flesh around it had now begun to decay and an unpleasant smell hung around the blood and pus, which oozed constantly. When all treatments failed I was sent to America, but even that failed to help. By this time, the disease had reached such extent that the flesh had rotted away exposing the bone and a stench with it resembling that of a decayed corpse.

He then revealed his feet to us, which was still encased within bandages.

 

 

 

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8. Islamic Finance

 

Justice Mawlan Mufti Taqi Usmani (DB)

 

Penalty of Default (Conts)

              (c) The compensation is allowed only if the investment account of the Islamic bank has earned some profit to be distributed to the depositors. If the investment account of the bank has not earned profit during the period of default, no compensation shall be claimed from the client.

              This concept of compensation, however, is not accepted by the majority of the present day scholars. (including the author). It is the considered opinion of such scholars that this suggestion neither conforms to the principles of Shariah nor is it able to solve the problem of default.

First of all, any additional amount charged from a debtor is riba. In the days of jahiliyyah (before Islam) the people used to charge additional amounts from their debtors when they were not able to pay at the due date. they used to say,

               

Either you pay off the debt or you increase the payable amount.

The aforementioned suggestion of paying compensation to the creditor/seller resembles the same attitude.

It can be argued that the above suggestion is theoretically different from the practice of jahilliyah in that the suggestion is to grant the debtor a grace period of one month to make sure that he is avoiding payment without a valid cause and to exempt him from compensation if it appears that his non-payment is due to poverty or a hardship. But in practical application of the concept, these conditions are hardly fulfilled, because every debtor may claim that his default is due to his financial inability at the due date, and it is very difficult for a financial institution to hold an inquiry about the financial position of each client and to verify whether or not he was able to pay. What the banks normally do is that they presume that every client was able to pay unless he has been declared as bankrupt or insolvent. It means that the concession allowed in the suggestion can be enjoyed only by the insolvent people. Obviously, insolvency is a rare phenomenon, and in this rare situation, even the interest-based banks cannot normally recover interest from the borrower. Therefore, the suggestion leaves no practical and meaningful difference between an interest based financing and an Islamic financing.

So far as grace period is concerned, it is a minor concession which is sometimes given by the conventional banks as well. Once again, in practical terms, there is no material difference between interest and the late payment charged as compensation.

It is argued in favor of charging compensation that the Holy Prophet ? has condemned the person who delays the payment of his dues without a valid cause. According to the well-known hadith he has said,

The well-off person who delays the payment of his debt, subjects himself to punishment and disgrace."

The argument runs that the Holy Prophet? has permitted to inflict a punishment on such a person. The punishments may be of different kinds, including the imposition of a monetary penalty. But this argument overlooks the fact that even if it is assumed that imposing fine or a monetary penalty is allowed in Shariah, it is imposed by a court of law and is normally paid to the government. Nobody has allowed a situation where an aggrieved party imposes the fine on its own (and for its own benefit) without a judgment of a court, competent to decide the matter.

Moreover, had it been a recognized punishment, it should have been imposed even if the investment account has earned no profit during that period, because the guilt of the defaulter is established and it has no nexus with the profit of the investment account of the bank.

In fact, the suggestion of compensation equal to the rate of profit of the investment account is based on the concept of opportunity cost of money. This concept is foreign to the principles of Shariah. Islam does not recognize opportunity cost of money, because after the elimination of interest from the economy, money has no definite return. It is always exposed to loss as well as it has the ability to earn a profit. And it is the risk of loss which makes it entitled to gain a return.

Another point is worth attention. The one who defaults in payment of debt is, at the most, like a thief or a usurper. But the study of the rules prescribed for theft and usurpation would show that a thief has been subjected to very severe punishment of amputating his hands, but he was never asked to pay an additional mount to compensate the victim of theft. Similarly, if a person has usurped the money of another person, he may be punished by way of tazir, but no Muslim jurist has ever imposed on him a financial penalty to compensate the owner.

Imam al-Shafii is of the view that if someone usurps the land of another person, he will have to pay the rent of the land according to the market rate. But if he has usurped money, he will return the equal amount of money and not more.

All these rules go a long way to prove that the opportunity cost of money is never recognized by the Islamic Shariah, because, as explained above, money has no definite return, nor any intrinsic utility.

On the basis of what is stated above, the idea of compensation to be charged from a defaulter is not approved by most of the contemporary scholars. The question was thoroughly discussed in the annual session of Islamic Fiqh Academy, Jeddah, and it was resolved that no such compensation is allowed in Shariah.

All this discussion relates to the impermissibility of the proposed compensation in Shariah. Now it is to be noted that this proposal does not solve the problem of default at all. To the contrary, it may encourage the debtors to commit as much default as they wish. The reason is that, according to this suggestion, the defaulter is asked to pay compensation equal to the return earned by the depositors during the period of default. It is evident that the rate of return earned by the depositors is always less than the rate of profit paid by the customer in a Murabahah transaction. Therefore, the customer will be paying after default, much less than he was paying before the default. Therefore, he would willingly accept to pay this amount and not pay the amount of price which he will invest in a more profitable activity. Suppose the rate of profit agreed in a murabahah transaction of six moths is 15% p.a. and the rate of profit declared to the depositors is 10%. p.a. It means that if the client withholds the price of murabahah after its maturity date and keeps it for another six months, he will have to pay the compensation at the rate of 10% p.a. which is much less than the rate of original murabahah (i.e. 15%). As such he will default and enjoy another facility for the next six months at a lesser rate.

This proposal, therefore, is not only against Shariah, but also deficient in meeting the problem of default. The Alternative suggestion The question now arises as to how the banks and financial institutions may solve this problem. If nothing is charged from the defaulters, it may be a greater incentive for a dishonest person to default continuously. Here is the answer to this question:

We have already mentioned that the real solution to this problem is to develop a system where the defaulters are duly punished by depriving them from enjoying a financial facility in future. However, as commented earlier, this may be only where the whole banking system is based on Islamic principles, or the Islamic banks are given due protection against defaulters. Therefore, up to a time when this goal is reached, we may need some other alternative.

For this purpose it was suggested that the client, when entering into a murabahah transaction, should undertake that in case he defaults in payment at the due date, he will pay a specified amount to a charitable fund maintained by the bank. It must be ensured that no part of this amount shall form part of the income of the bank. However, the bank may establish a charitable fund for this purpose and all amounts credited therein shall be exclusively used for purely charitable purpose approved by the Shariah. The bank may also advance interest-free loans to the needy persons from this charitable fund.

This proposal is based on a ruling given by some Maliki jurists who say that if a debtor is asked to pay an additional amount in case of default, it is not allowed by Shari'ah, because it amounts to charging interest. However, in order to assure the creditor of prompt payment, the debtor may undertake to give some amount in charity in case of default. This is, in fact, a sort of Yamin (vow) which is a self-imposed penalty to keep oneself away from default. Normally, such 'vows' create a moral or religious obligation and are not enforceable through courts. However, some Maliki jurists allow can be made it justiceable, and there is nothing in the Holy Qur'an or in the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet which forbids making this 'vow' enforceable through the courts of law. Therefore, in cases of genuine need, this view can be acted upon. But, while implementing this proposal, the following points must be kept in mind.

1. The proposal is meant only to pressurize the debtors on paying their dues promptly and not to increase the income of the creditor / financier, nor to compensate him for his opportunity cost. Therefore, it must be ensured that no part of the penalty forms part of the income of the bank in any case, nor can it be used to pay taxes or to set-off any liability of the financier.

2. Since the amount of penalty is not deserved by the financier as his income, but it goes to charity, it may be any amount willfully undertaken by the debtor. It can also be determined on per cent per annum basis. Therefore, it may serve as a real deterrent against deliberate default, unlike the former suggestion of compensation which, as explained earlier, may tend to encourage the defaults.

3. Since the penalty undertaken by the client is originally a self-undertaken vow, and not penalty charged by the financier, the agreement should reflect this concept. Therefore, the proper wording of the penalty clause would be on the following pattern,

"The client hereby undertakes that if he defaults in payment of any of his dues under this agreement, he shall pay to the charitable account/fund maintained by the Bank/Financier a sum calculated on the basis of ...% per annum for each day of default unless he establishes through the evidence satisfactory to the Bank/financier that his non-payment at the due date was caused due to poverty or some other factors beyond his control."

4. Being a vow of charitable act, it was originally permissible for the client to give the stipulated amount to any charity of his own choice, but in order to ensure that he will pay, the charitable account or fund maintained by the financier/bank is specified in the proposed undertaking. This specific undertaking does not violate any principle of Shariah. However, it is necessary that the bank or the financial institution maintains a separate fund, or at least, a separate account for this purpose and the amounts credited to that account must be spent in well-defined charities known to the client/debtor.

This proposal has now been implemented successfully in a large number of Islamic financial institution.

 

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 9. The Open Road to Islam

  

Mohammad Asad

    

             

              One of the slogans most characteristic of the present age is " the conquest of space." Means of communication have been developed which were far beyond the dreams of the former generations; and they have set in motion a far more rapid and extensive transfer of goods than ever before within the history of mankind. The result of this development is an economic interdependence of nations. No single nation or group can today afford to remain aloof from the rest of the world. Economics have ceased to be local. Their character has become world-wide. They ignore, at least in their tendencies, the political boundaries and geographical spaces. They carry with themselvesand this possibly is even more important than the purely material side of the problemthe ever-increasing necessity of a transfer not only of goods, but also of thoughts and cultural currents. But while those two forces, the economical and the cultural, often go hand in hand, there is a difference in their dynamic rules. The elementary laws of economics require that the exchange of goods between nations be mutual; this means that no nation can act as buyer only, while another nation is always seller; in the long run each of them must play both parts simultaneously, giving to, and taking from, each other, be it directly or through the medium of other actors in the play of economic forces. But on the cultural field this iron rule of exchange is not a necessity, at least not always a visible one; that is to say, the transfer of ideas and cultural influences is not necessarily based on the principle of give and take. It lies in human nature that nations and civilisations which are politically and economically more virile, exert a strong fascination on the weaker and less active ones and influence them in the intellectual and social spheres without being influenced themselves. Such is the situation today as regards the relations between the Western and the Muslim Worlds.

From the viewpoints of the historical observer the strong, one-sided influence which at present the Western Civilisation exerts on the Muslim World is not at all surprising, because it is the outcome of a long historical process for which there are several analogies elsewhere. But while the historian may be satisfied, for us others the problem remains unsettled. For us who are not mere interested spectators, but very real actors in this drama, for us who regard themselves as the followers of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) the problem in reality begins here. We believe that Islam, unlike other religions, is not only a spiritual attitude of mind adjustable to different cultural settings, but a self-sufficing orbit of culture and a social system of clearly defined features. When a foreign civilisation extends its radiations into our midst and causes certain changes in our own cultural organism, as is the case today, we are bound to make it clear to ourselves whether that foreign influence runs in the direction of our own cultural possibilities or against them; whether it acts as an invigorating serum in the body of the Islamic culture, or as a poison.

An answer to this question can be found through analysis only. We have to discover the motive forces of both civilizationsthe Islamic and that of the modern Westand then to investigate how far a co-operation is possible between them. As the Islamic Civilisation is essentially a religious one, we must try to define the general role of religion in human life.

What we call the "religious attitude" of man is the natural outcome of his intellectual and biological conditions. Man is unable to explain to himself the mystery of life, the mystery of birth and death, the mystery of infinity and eternity. His reasoning stops before impregnable walls. He can, therefore, do two things only. The one is, to give up all attempts to understand life as a totality. In this case man will rely upon the evidence of external experiences alone and limit all his conclusions to their sphere. Thus he will be able to understand single fragments of life which may increase in number and clarity as rapidly or as slowly as the human knowledge of Nature increases, but will, none the less, always remain only fragments of a totality to grasp which is beyond the methodical equipment of human reason. This is the way the exact sciences go. The other possibility which may well exist side by side with the scientific one is the way of religion. It leads man, by means of an inner, mostly intuitive experience, to the acceptance of a unitary explanation of life, generally on the assumption that there exists a Supreme Creative Power which governs the universe according to some pre-conceived plan above and beyond human understanding. As has just been said, this conception does not necessarily preclude man from the investigation of such facts and fragments of life as offer themselves for external observation; there is no inherent antagonism between the external (scientific) and the internal (religious) perception. But the latter one is, in fact, the only speculative possibility to conceive all life as a unity in essence and motive power and as a well-balanced, harmonious totality. The term "harmonious," though so terribly misused, is very important in this connection, because it implies a corresponding attitude in man. The religious man knows that whatever happens to him and within him never can be the result of a blind play of forces without consciousness and purpose; he believes it to be the outcome of God's conscious will alone, and, therefore, an organic part of a universal plan. In this way man is enabled to solve the bitter antagonism between the human Ego and the objective world of facts and appearances which is called Nature. The human being with all the intricate mechanism of his soul, with all his desires and fears, his feelings and his speculative uncertainties, sees himself faced by a Nature in which bounty and cruelty, danger and security are mixed in a wondrous, inexplicable way and apparently work on lines entirely different from the structure of human reasoning and its methods. Never has purely intellectual philosophy or experimental science been able to solve this conflict. This exactly is the point where religion steps in.

In the light of religious perception and experience the human, self-conscious Ego and the mute, seemingly irresponsible Nature are brought together into relation of spiritual harmony, because both, the individual consciousness of man and the Nature that surrounds him and is within him, are nothing but coordinate, if different, manifestations of one and the same Creative Will. The immense benefit which religion thus confers upon man is the realization, that he is, and never can cease to be, a well-planned unit in the eternal movement of creation. He is a definite part in the infinite organism of universal destiny. The psychological consequence of this conception is the deep feeling of spiritual security; and it is that balance between expectations and fears which distinguishes the positively religious man from the irreligious.

This fundamental position is common to all great religions, whatever their denominations may be; and equally common to all of them is the moral appeal to man to surrender himself to the manifest Will of God. But Islam, and Islam alone, goes beyond this theoretical explanation and exhortation. It teaches man not only that all life is essentially a unity, because it proceeds out of the Divine Oneness, but it shows us also the practical way how everyone of us can reproduce, within the limits of his individual, earthly life, the unity of Idea and Action both in his existence and in his consciousness. To attain that supreme goal of life man is, in Islam, not compelled to renounce the world; no austerities are required to open a secret door to spiritual purification;  no pressure is exerted upon the mind to believe incomprehensible dogmas in order that salvation be secured. Such things are utterly foreign to Islam. It is neither a mystical doctrine nor a philosophy. It is simply a programme of life according to the rules of Nature which God has decreed upon His creation, and its supreme achievement is the complete coordination of the spiritual and the material aspects of human life. In the teachings of Islam, both these aspects are not only reconciled to each other in the sense of leaving no inherent conflict between the bodily and the moral existence of man, but in addition to this, the fact of their co-existence and actual inseparability is insisted upon as the natural basis of life.

This is the reason, I think, for the peculiar form of the Islamic prayer in which spiritual concentration and certain bodily movements are coordinated with each other. Inimical critics of Islam generally select this kind of prayer as the proof of their allegations that Islam is a religion of formalism and outwardness. And, in fact, people of other religions who are accustomed neatly to separate the " spiritual" from the "bodily" almost in the same way as the dairy-man separates the cream from the milk, do not easily understand that in the un-skimmed milk of Islam both these ingredients, though distinct in their respective constitutions, harmoniously live and express themselves together. In other words, the Islamic prayer consists of mental concentration and bodily movements, because the human life itself is of such a dual composition, and because we are supposed to approach God through the sum total of all the faculties He has bestowed upon us.

A further illustration of this attitude can be seen in the institution of the Tawaaf, the ceremony of walking round the Ka'bah in Mecca. As it is an indispensable obligation for everyone who enters the Holy City to go seven times round the Ka'bah; and as the observation of this injunction is one of the three most essential points in the Islamic pilgrimage, we have the right to ask ourselves: What is the meaning of this? Is it necessary to express devotion in such a formal way?

The answer is quite obvious. If we go in a circular movement around some object we thereby establish that object as the central point of our action. The Ka'bah, towards which every Muslim turns his face in prayer, symbolises the Oneness of God. The bodily movement of the pilgrims in the Tawaaf symbolises the activity of human life. Consequently, the Tawaaf means that not only our devotional thoughts, but also our practical life, our actions and endeavours, must have the idea of God and his Oneness for their centre, as it is said in the Holy Qur'an:

" I have not created Jinn and Man but that they worship Me.'. (51:56)

The conception of "worship" in Islam is different from that in any other religion. Here worship is not restricted to the purely devotional practices, as for example prayers or fasting, but it extends over the whole of man's practical life as well. If the object of our life as a whole is the worship of God, then we necessarily must regard this life, in the totality of all its aspects, as one complex moral responsibility. Thus, all our actions, even the seemingly trivial ones, must be performed as acts of worship, that is, performed consciously as constituting a part of God's universal plan. Such a state of things is, for the man of average capability, a distant ideal; but is it not a purpose of religion to bring ideals into real existence ?

The position of Islam in this respect is unmistakable. It teaches us, firstly, that the permanent worship of God in all the manifold actions of human life is the very -meaning of this life; and, secondly, that the achievement of this purpose remains impossible as long as we divide our life into two parts, the spiritual and the material; they must be bound together, in our consciousness and our actions, into one harmonious entity. Our notion of God's Oneness must be reflected in our own striving towards a co-ordination and unification of the various aspects of our life.

A logical consequence of this attitude is a further difference between Islam and all other known religious systems. It is to be found in the fact that Islam, as a teaching, undertakes to define not only the metaphysical relations between man and his Creator, but alsoand with scarcely less insistencethe earthly relations between the individual and his social surroundings. The worldly life is not regarded as a mere empty shell, as a meaningless shade of the Hereafter that is to come, but as a self-contained, positive entity. God himself is a Unity not only in essence, but also in purpose; and, therefore, His creation is a Unity, possibly in essence, but certainly in purpose.

Worship of God in the wide sense just explained constitutes, according to Islam, the meaning of human life. And it is this conception alone that shows us the possibility of man's reaching perfection within this individual, earthly life. Of all religious systems Islam alone declares that individual perfection is possible in our earthly existence. Islam does not postpone this fulfillment till after a suppression of the so-called bodily desires, as the Christian teaching does, nor does Islam promise a continuous chain of re-births on a progressively higher plane, as is the case with Hinduism, nor Islam agree with Budhism, according to which perfection and salvation maybe obtained through the annihilation of the individual Self and its emotional links with the world. No:-: Islam is emphatic in the assertion that man can reach perfection in his earthly, individual life, and this by making full use of all the worldly possibilities of his life.

To avoid misunderstandings the term " perfection" will have to be defined in the sense it is used here. As long as we have to do with human, biologically limited beings we cannot possibly consider the idea of an "absolute" perfection, because everything absolute belongs to the realm of the Divine attributes alone. Human perfection, in its true psychological and moral sense, necessarily must have a relative and purely individual bearing. It does not imply the possession of all imaginable good qualities, nor even the progressive acquisition of new qualities from outside, but solely the development of the already existing, positive qualities of the individual in such a way as to rouse his innate but otherwise dormant powers. Owing to the natural variety of life-phenomena the inborn qualities of man differ in each individual case. It would be absurd, therefore, to suppose that all human beings should, or even could, strive towards one and the same "type" of perfectionjust as it would be absurd to expect a perfect race horse and a perfect heavy draught horse to possess exactly the same qualities. Both may be individually perfect and satisfactory, but they will be different, because their original characters are different. With human beings the case is similar. If perfection were to be standardised in a certain " type ''as Christianity does in the type of the ascetic saintthen men would have to give up, or change, or suppress, their individual differentiation. But this would clearly violate the divine law of individual variety which dominates all life in the world. Therefore Islam, which is not a religion of repression, allows to man a very wide margin in his personal and social existence, so that the various qualities, temperaments and psychological inclinations of the different individuals may find their way to positive development according to their individual predisposition. Thus, a man may be an ascetic, or he may enjoy the full measure of his sensual possibilities within the lawful limits; he may be a nomad roaming through the deserts, without food for to-morrow, or a rich merchant surrounded by his goods. As long as he sincerely and consciously submits to the laws decreed by God, he is free to shape his personal life to whichever form his nature directs him. His duty is to make the best of himself, so that he may honour the life-gift which his Creator has bestowed upon him, and to help his fellow-beings, by means of his own development, in their spiritual, social and material endeavours. But the form of his individual life is in no way fixed by a standard, He is free to choose out the limitless lawful possibilities.

The base of this "Liberalism" in Islam is to be found in the conception that the original nature of man is essentially good. Contrary to the Christian idea that man is born sinful, or the teachings of Hinduism, that he is originally low and impure and must painfully stagger through a long chain of transmigrations towards the ultimate goal of perfection, the Islamic teaching contends that man is born pure and in the sense explained beforeindividually perfect. It is said in the Qur'an :

" Surely We create man in the best structure. (95:4)

but in the same breath the verse continues :

()

"..and afterwards We reduce him to the lowest of low: with the exception of those who have faith and do good works. (95:5)

In this verse is expressed not only the doctrine that man is originally good and pure, but it is also implied that unbelief in God and lack of good actions destroy the original perfection. On the other hand, man may retain, or regain, his individual perfection if he consciously realises God's Oneness and submits to His laws. Thus, according to Islam, evil never is essential or even original; it is an acquisition of man's later life, and is due to a misuse of the innate, positive qualities with which God has endowed every human being. Those qualities are, as has been said before, different in the individuals, but always perfect in themselves; and their full development is possible within the period of man's individual life on earth. We take it for granted that the life after death, owing to its entirely changed conditions of feeling and perception will confer upon us other, quite new qualities and faculties which will make a still further progress of the human soul possible; but this concerns our furture life alone. In this earthly life also, the Islamic teaching definitely asserts, we can-everyone of usreach a full measure of perfection by developing the positive, already existing qualities of which our individuality is composed.

Of all religions Islam alone makes it possible for man to enjoy the full range of his earthly life without for a moment losing its spiritual orientation. How entirely different is this from the Christian conception! According to the Christian dogma, mankind stumbles under a hereditary sin committed by Adam and Eve, and consequently the whole life is regardedin the dogmatic theory at leastas a gloomy dale of sorrows. It is the battlefield of two opposed forces: the evil, represented by Satan, and the good, represented by Jesus Christ. The Satan tries, by means of bodily temptations, to bar the progress of the human soul towards the eternal light ; the soul belongs to Christ, while the body is the playground of satanic influences. One could express it differently: the World of Matter is essentially satanic, while the World of Spirit is divine and good. Everything in human nature that is material, or "carnal" as the Christian theology prefers to call it, is a direct result of Adam's succumbing to the advice of the hellish Prince of Darkness and Matter. Therefore, to obtain salvation, man must turn his heart away from this world of flesh towards the future, spiritual world, where the sin of mankind is redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ.

Even if this dogma is not obeyed in practiceas is the case in the Christian World at presentthe very existence of such a teaching tends to produce a permanent feeling of bad conscience in the religiously inclined man. He is tossed about between the peremptory call to neglect the world and the natural urge of his heart to live and to enjoy this life. The very idea of an unavoidable, because inherited, sin, and its mysticalto the average intellect incomprehensible-redemption through the suffering of Jesus on the cross, erects a barrier between man and his legitimate desire to live.

In Islam we know nothing of an original sin; we regard it as incongruent with the idea of God's justice. God does not make the child responsible for the doings of his father; and how could He have made all those numberless generations of mankind responsible for a sin of disobedience committed by a remote ancestor? It is, no doubt, possible to construct philosophical explanations of this strange assumption, but for the unsophisticated intellect it always will remain as artificial and as unsatisfactory as the conception of Trinity itself. As there is no hereditary sin, there is also no universal redemption of mankind in the teachings of Islam. Redemption and damnation are individual. Every Muslim is his own redeemer; he bears all possibilities of spiritual success and failure within his heart. It is said in the Qur'an of human soul :

"For it is that which it hath earned and upon it is that which it bath deserved." (2:286)

Another verse says :

"Man will but receive what he striveth for." (53:39)

But if Islam does not share the gloomy aspect of life as expressed in Christianity, it teaches us, none the less, not to attribute an exaggerated value to the earthly life as the modern Western Civilisation does. The Christian outlook is: "The earthly life is a bad business. The modern Westas distinct from Christianity adores life in exactly the same way as the glutton adores his food: he devours it, but has no respect for it. Islam, on the other hand, looks upon the earthly life with calmness and respect. It does not worship life, but regards it as a passing stage on our way to a higher existence. But just because it is a stage, and a necessary stage, too, man has no right to despise or even to underrate the value of his earthly life. Our travel through this world is a necessary, positive part in God's plan. Human life, therefore, is of a tremendous value; but we must never forget that it is a purely instrumental value. In Islam there is no room for the materialistic optimism of the modern West which says: "My Kingdom is of this world alone, - nor for the life-contempt of the Christian saying: "My Kingdom is not of this world. Islam goes the middle way.. The Qur'an teaches us to pray:

"Our Lord, give us the good in this world and the good in the Here-after." (2:201)

Thus, the full appreciation of this world and its goods js in no way a handicap for our spiritual endeavours. Material prosperity is desirable, though jt is not a goal in jtself. The goal of all our practical activities always ought to be the creation and the maintenance of such personal and social conditions as might be helpful for the development of moral stamina in men. In accordance with this principle, Islam leads man towards a consciousness of moral responsibility in everything he does, whether great or small. The weIl-known injunction of the Gospel: "Give Caesar that what belongs to Caesar, and give God that what belongs to God" - has no room in the theological structure of Islam, because Islam does not allow of a differentiation between the "moral" and the "practical" requirements of our existence. In everything there can be only one choice: the choice between Rjght and Wrongand nothing in-between. Hence the intense insistence on action as an indispensable element of morality. Every individual Muslim has to regard himself as personally responsible for all happenings around him, and to strive for the establishment of Right and the abolition of Wrong at every time and in every direction.

The sanction for this attitude is to be found in the verse of the Qur' an: 

"You are the best 'Community that had been sent forth unto man- kind: You enjoin the Right and forbid the Wrong; and you have faith in God." (3:110)

This is the moral justification of the aggressive activism of Islam, the justification of the early Islamic conquests and its so-called " Imperialism."

For Islam is "imperialist", if we must use this term; but this kind of Imperialism is not prompted by love of domination, it has nothing to do with economic or national selfishness, nothing with the greed to increase our own comforts at other people's cost, nor has it ever meant the coercion of non-believers into the belief of Islam. It has only meant, as it means to-day, the construction of a worldly frame for the best possible spiritual development of man. Moral knowledge, according to the teachings of Islam, automatically forces a moral responsibility upon man. A mere platonic discernment between Right and Wrong, without the urge to promote the Right and to destroy the Wrong, is a gross immorality in itself. In Islam, morality lives and dies with the human endeavour to establish its victory upon earth.

 

  

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Religious Tolerance

 

Dr. Mustafa Saba'i

 

This is a new aspect of the humanitarianism of our eternal civilization. This characteristic of the Islamic civilization is something new to the history of creed and ideology also, and equally so (unknown) to the history of ancient civilizations that were the creation of some religions or some peoples. When Islam laid the foundation of our civilization, it did not adopt a narrow minded attitude relating to the religions of the past. Rather, the behaviour of the Islamic civilization was in keeping with the following principle laid down in the Quran:

So announce the Good News to My Servants, those who listen to the words and follow the best (meaning) in it. (39:17-18)

 

The Principles and Elements of Religious Tolerance

The principles and elements of the religious tolerance of our civilization are the following:

1. The Quran brings home to us the point that all revealed religions have sprung up from the same fountain-head:

The same religion has he established for you as that which he enjoined on Noah. The which We have sent by inspiration to thee and that which We enjoined on Abraham and Jesus: namely that ye should establish Religion and make no divisions therein. (42:13)

2. That the position of all the prophets as messengers of God is equal. And in this behalf no one has any superiority over anyone else. It is binding on Muslims to believe in all the prophets of God.

The Quran says:

Say ye: "We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ismail, Issac, Jacob and the Tribes, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: and We bow to God (in Islam)." (2:38)

That there is no compulsion in Religion. Rather, it has been left to the inclination and pleasure of people:

Let there be no compulsion in religion. (2:256)

Wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe! (10:99)

4. That the places of worship of all religions are respectable and their defense and support are just as essential as that of our own place of worship, the mosque:

Did not God check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, Synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of God is commemorated in abundant measure. (22:40)

5. That it is not permitted to men to murder one another or oppress one another only on grounds of the difference of creed. Rather, they ought to co-operate with one another in promoting the cause of good and in eradication of evil. The Quran tells us:

Help ye one another in righteousness and piety, but help ye not one another in sin and transgression: (:3)

However, the differences that have appeared in religious affairs, God Almighty Himself shall decide on the Day of Reckoning.

The Jews say: "The Christians have naught (to stand) upon." Yet they (profess to) study the (same) Book. Like unto their word in what those say who know not; But God will judge between them in their quarrel on the Day of Judgment. (2:113)

 

6. That in the life of this world the norm on which the superiority of one man over another is to be judged as also in the sight of God, the basis of superiority is Taqwa or the fear of God, and his beneficence to fellow men. The Prophet has said: "The people are as if they were the children of God and He loves those most who are the more beneficent to His children".

And God says:

Verily, the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. (49:13)

7. That the difference of creed should not stand in the way of doing a good turn, love and good treatment of blood relations and entertaining each other:

This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you, and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time, (:5)

8. That in case of the difference of creeds of peoples, they may hold debates, disputation with one another, but in ways that are best and most gracious, with limits of dignity, serenity and respect, and with proper argument, and with a view to convince and satisfy the other party.

And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation). (29:46)

Islam did not permit its votaries to behave rudely with the adversaries, nor allowed to revile them on the ground of their false creed, even if they are idolaters.

Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides God, lest they out of spite revile God in their ignorance. (6:108)

9. However, when the Muslim Ummah is being oppressed because of its creed and ideology, to put an end to the mischief of the opponents and to defend their own ideology, it becomes indispensable to put up a fight against their violence.

And fight them on until persecution is no more and Religion in its entirety is for Allah (alone). (2:193)

God only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). (60:9).

10. But once the Muslim Ummah has come to dominate a people that had formerly adopted an attitude of aggression and oppression in the matter of the faith of the Ummah or its freedom, it is not permissible for them to take revenge upon this vanquished people in a manner as to force it to relinquish its religion or perpetrate violence on them or even be harsh to them in treatment because of their adherence to their own agreeable beliefs. Rather, it would suffice that the conquered people submit to the Islamic state and sincerely stick to their covenant so that they may come to have the position:

"They have the same rights as we have, and (they) have the same obligations that we have."

These are the Islamic bases with regard to the religious tolerance in Islam, on which has been raised the edifice of our civilization. These principles make it obligatory for every Believer to believe in all the prophets of God and make any mention of them only with due respect, should not oppress the followers of any of them (prophets), have fair dealings with them, treat them gently and kindly and talk to them with a civil tongue, prove a good neighbour to them and accept their invitation to a feast. A Muslim can marry the women of the People of the Book so that family relations may be created and blood ties may be established. .Again Islam has made it incumbent on the lslamic state to protect their places of worship, not to interfere in their creed, commit no excess in decision of cases involving them and in the matter of human rights keep them on a par with the Muslims, and guarantee protection to their life, honour and future just as the protection of the life, honour and the future of a Muslim are guaranteed.

These are the bases on which the Islamic civilization was founded, and the world witnessed for the first time that religion was creating a civilization, without a shade of prejudice against other religions. And this civilization does not throw out the non-Muslims from the field of collective functions. Nor does it bring them down from their position. Since the Prophet laid the foundation of the Islamic civilization, it has maintained this attitude. But when degeneration and decay overtook Muslims, they relinquished their principles, forgot the injunctions of God and His Prophet and became ignorant of the Islamic faith; they also adopted a negligent attitude in the matter of religious tolerance which is on the increase in keeping with the increasing ignorance of their faith and Belief.

 

During the Lire or the Prophet

When the Prophet of God migrated to Madinah, it had a fairly large Jewish population. So the first thing he did in connection with the land of the Islamic government was to negotiate a covenant between the Muslims and the Jews, by which it became indispensable for the Islamic state to respect the beliefs of the Jews and to protect them from harm of any kind whatsoever. And on the other side the Jews were pledged to stand by the Muslims in case of an attack on Madinah. Through this treaty the Prophet inculcated the principles and elements of religious tolerance in the conscience of the Islamic civilization from the first day of its inception. Some people of the Book were also the neighbours of the Prophet. He always treated them kindly and benevolently, sending gifts to them and accepted gifts from them. Taking advantage of this attitude of the Prophet, due to her evil Jewish nature, a Jewess intended to give a practical shape to her malice and enmity against Islam and the Muslims. So one day she sent a roasted leg of mutton after it had been injected with a lethal poison. She could go so far since she was sure that the Prophet was on good neighbourly terms with her and would as usual accept her gift. When the Abyssinian Christians came to Madinah the Prophet of God made arrangements, for their stay in the mosque, and took upon himself the responsibilities of hospitality and service. And from what he said that day, the following sentence is worthy of consideration: "These people had a high position for our companions, so I liked to host them myself with due regard for their respectable treatment." Once a delegation of the Christians from Najran came to Madinah. They too were brought to the mosque for their stay, and were allowed to conduct their service in the mosque in their own way. So they had their service on one side of the mosque and the Prophet prayed with the companions on the other side. When these people presented their own faith putting forth arguments in its support the Prophet listened to them attentively and very gently and with due respect and courtesy replied to their religious assertions. The Prophet accepted the gift sent by Maquqas, the ruler of Egypt, and also the slave girl, who had the honour of giving birth to the Prophet's son Ibrahim" who lived only a few months. And one advice given by the Prophet is also this "You should remain well-wishers of the Copts since you have relatives among them."

 

During the Period of the Rightly-Guided Caliphate

Again, after the Prophet, his caliphs ruled on the same lines and maintained his high-ranking, humanitarian policy of religious tolerance. So we find that when 'Umar, the second rightly guided caliph, entered Bait-al-Maqdis as a conqueror, accepted the condition laid down by the Christians of Palestine that no Jews will be allowed to settle there. While he was in the great church of Bait-al-Maqdis the time of Asr Prayer approached. But he abstained from praying in the church, lest the Muslims in times to come might claim it as mosque on the plea that 'Umar had prayed there once. A woman from Egypt lodged a complaint with 'Umar that 'Umro-bin-al-'Aas had annexed her house for the extension of the mosque against her will. 'Umar asked 'Umro bin-al-'Aas to explain. He explained that the number of the believers coming to the mosque for prayer far exceeded the capacity of the mosque. The house of the complainant was adjacent to the mosque and she was offered the price of her property and far in excess of its real worth (as compensation for being dislodged, Tr.), but she declined the offer. Therefore, (it had to be acquired in public interest, Tr.) and was demolished to form part of the mosque, and the costs (and compensation money Tr.) were deposited with the Bait-al-mal, so that she might take it whenever she was pleased. Apparently the explanation offered by 'Umro-bin-al-'Aas was reasonable, and our present day law also permits it. But to 'Umar it was not acceptable and he ordered demolition of the portion of the mosque built on the site of the woman's house and construction of her house as of old.

This is the pattern of tolerance which has dominatyed every society that has been influenced by the principles of our civilization. That is why we come across many evidences of the manifestations of religious tolerance unparalleled in the history of mankind-nor even in any civilization of the present era.

Not that there was no Intervention But...

In our immortal civilization, it has been seen time and again that the mosque and the church are standing side by; side. The religious leaders of the churches had full powers in the religious affairs of their co-religionists and their churches and the Islamic state never interfered in these matters. Rather, it has happened so often that they themselves oppressed one another due to their religious differences, and the Is- lamic state came forward to mediate and justly decided their disputes, removing difficulties of the way, if any. For example the 'Malachi' sect of the Greek Christians during the period of the Roman Empire, always oppressed the Coptic Christians of Egypt. The people belonging to this sect plundered the churches of the Egyptian Copts. When the Muslims conquered Egypt they returned all their properties to the Copts and meted out justice to them. Later, the Egyptian Copts took revenge of the excesses and tyrannies of Malachi Christians they had been perpetrating before the advent of the Muslim rule there. And now the Malachis lodged a complaint with the Abbasid Caliph, Haroon Rasheed, who had all the properties and churches restored to the Malachis after taking them away from the Copts. Haroon Rasheed took this action after sounding the Malachi patriarch.

 

Large-Heartedness of Sultan Muhammad, the Conqueror or Constantinople

 

Under the Islamic rule the Christians had full freedom in the performance of their religious ceremonies, and their religious leaders had full authority over their co-religionists. The government never interfered in their personal affairs. The Christians themselves realized that there was such prefect freedom under the Islamic state, even an infinitesimal part of which was not their share during the period of the Roman Empire. In this connection the name of Sultan Muhammad, the conqueror of Constantinople shall ever remain fresh in the history of open-heartedness and religious tolerance. When he conquered Constantinople, it was exclusively populated by the Christians and was the capital of the patriarch for the Eastern Catholic Christians. The Sultan granted amnesty to the entire Christian population and guaranteed safety of their lives, properties, their creed, their churches and their crosses. They were exempted from military service. Their chieftains were authorized to judge and decide all those cases that came upto them from their co-religionists, and also legislate for this purpose. And in this matter the Islamic government never interfered. The Christians of Constantinople themselves felt that there was a world of difference between the attitude and behaviour of Sultan Muhammad and the Byzantine rulers of the past. The Byzantine rulers interfered in the religious differences of people and meted out preferential treatment to the followers of their own churches. So the Christians liked the new system of government very much, and were pleased with their religious tolerance, which had no parallel in their own governments. The Roman patriarch had been allowed so much authority that his position made it a case of state within the state. For five hundred years they lived in this free atmosphere, and so well-protected was this freedom of theirs that they needed no army for their protection, nor had they to pay any taxes for such security. But how disgraceful that the Christians took undue advantage of the special privileges allowed to them due to religious tolerance and about the close of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, they resorted to perfidious and treacherous moves to put an end to the local authority and dominion of these towns and cities where they had lived for centuries.

 

A Scene in St. John's Cathedral

A manifestation of the religious tolerance of our civilization is this also that when the Muslims conquered the Christian lands, in many of their churches the Muslims and Christians offered prayers under the same roof. The Prophet himself, in his life-time offered the Christian delegation from Najran the facility of praying in one section of the mosque in their own way. Similarly, after the Islamic conquest, in the Cathedral of St. John in Damascus which later came to be called 'Jami' Umvi The Muslims did not prevent the Christians from praying in their own way. Rather, they very open-heartedly allowed the Christians to pray there. And the Christians willingly surrendered half of it to the Muslims, who prayed there side by side with the Christians. It would certainly have been a treat to watch the Muslims and the Christians praying under the same roof side by side, the former facing their Qiblah and the latter facing East. It was a novel phenomenon which has a unique position in history, and speaks volumes about the Islamic civilization being free from religious prejudice and how it had been replete with religious tolerance.

 

Responsible posts were offered indiscriminately during the period of the Umayyid dynasty

One proof of the religious tolerance in the extreme of the Islamic state is also this that they made selection of the most capable persons and entrusted important posts to them. And in so doing they did never see what was the religious creed of these men. That is why at the courts of the Umayyids and Abbasids, and by the caliphs  themselves  they  were  held  in high esteem. At Baghdad and Damascus they held charge of the schools of Medicine. Ibne-Athal, a Christian, was the personal physician of Amir Ma'awiyah, and another Christian, Sergeon, was his scribe. Marwan had appointed Athanaseus with another Christian, Isaac, to .some important posts in Egypt. Later they were promoted to the high post of the Treasury officer. This man was high-placed and also extremely rich. He had four thousand slaves. He came to own several villages and gardens. And there was no count of silver and gold in his possession. He got a church built in AI-Raha, out of the rent of the four hundred shops that he owned. His reputation as a learned person attained such a position that Abd-al-Malik, the Umayyid caliph entrusted, to his care the education and training of his younger brother, Abd-al-Aziz, who became later on governor of Egypt. He is the person whose son was the renowned caliph, Umar bin-Abd- al-Aziz.

 

Generosity or the Abbasids in Conferring Posts on Christians

Among the Christian physicians that were honoured with high ranking jobs there was also one George, son of Bachtesu' He was in great favour at the court of caliph Mansoor, who held him in great esteem and had provided every thing for his comfort and ease. George had an old wife. Mansoor sent him three slave girls, which offer he declined saying, "My faith does not permit taking other wives in the presence of the one I already have." Mansoor was much pleased to hear it and raised his rank still higher. When George fell ill, Mansoor called him to Dar-al-dhiafah (Guest House) and came to see him in person. George sought permission to return to his native land so that he may be buried by the side of his ancestors. Mansoor asked him to embrace Islam so that he may find a place in heaven. But he said in reply, "I would like to be in the company of my ancestors whether they live in heaven or hell. Mansoor laughed at this joke of his and ordered preparations for his journey home and with a gift of ten thousand gold pieces, he arranged his return home.

Similarly, another Christian Salmavaih, son of Banan was the personal physician of Mu'tasim. When he died, Mu'tasim was very much grieved, wept bitterly over his loss, and ordered that he should be buried in the royal fashion according to the ceremonies of his own religion.

Similarly, Bachtesu, son of Gabriel was the personal physician of Mutawakkil, and held a high position at his court. This person rivaled the caliph himself in the abundance of riches and magnificent dresses and pomp and glory.

       

               

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11. Saviours of Islamic Spirit

 

(Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA))

 

S. Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi (RA)

 

Critique of the kings

Abdul Qadir did not sermonize and admonish the populace alone; he fearlessly performed the duty made incumbent by the Shariah i.e., of enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong; and whenever he considered it necessary, he publicly denounced the actions and policies of the kings, nobles, and officials. He bitterly criticized the faults of the great ones without the slightest consideration of their power or position. Hafiz 'lmad ud-dln ibn Kathir, a historian of his time, has made a mention of it in these words: " He admonished all - the caliphs, vaziers, kings, jurists, elite and the laity - to adopt the righteous course and to forsake the things forbidden. He openly criticized, un- sparingly, everyone to his face in his discourses. "He used to denounce the authorities sternly if any tyrant was appointed to a public office by them. He never cared for anyone if he saw the commands of God being overstepped."

Ibn Kathir writes that when Caliph al-Muqtafi lAmr Illah appointed Abul Wafa' Yahya, a man notorious for his cruelty, as a Qadi, Abdul Qadir admonished the Caliph in these words: "You have appointed a man notorious as the 'Most Tyrant' to rule over the Muslims. What would your answer be tomorrow on the Day of Judgment, before the Lord of the Worlds, the Most Merciful?".

Ibn Kathlr further says that when the Caliph came to know of the admonition of Abdul Qadir he burst into tears and immediately dismissed Abul Wafa' Yahya from the office.

Abdul Qadir also vigorously condemned this-worldliness of those scholars, jurists and saints who were prepared to accept an office or to act as entourages of the rulers. He held this class responsible for the waywardness of the kings and ruling chiefs. In one of his addresses he rebuked these elements thus: "Ah, you are the fellows who have misused your knowledge and wisdom. What have you to do with your predecessors? You are enemies of God and His Apostle, you are no less than the robbers, tyrants arid hypocrites!

How long will you persist in your pious fraud? How long will you continue to don this shroud of assumed piety for the sake of your kings and rulers? How long will you remain a slave of power and position, passions and desires? Verily, you and most of your kings are tyrants and traitors unto God and His bondsmen, O' God, our Lord, either degrade these transgressors and humiliate them or make them repent for their sins; either mortify the tyrants and efface them from Thy earth or let them mend their ways."

On another occasion he addressed a religious scholar in these words: "Are you not ashamed that your avarice has forced you to serve these tyrants and crave for the emoluments declared unlawful and prohibited by the Shariah? How long shall you hold on to your mean pursuits? The kingdom of the rulers to whom you are playing a second fiddle shall shortly be no more and then you shall be presented before God Almighty, Who is Eternal, Omnipotent."

 

Concern for Moral Rectitude

Extremely solicitous of eradicating the moral laxity and viciousness produced by ever increasing opulence, luxury and indolence in the metropolis of Islam, Abdul Qadir sometimes came out with the most severe criticism of the then society giving expression to his heartfelt misery over the sinful ways of the people. This was the impassioned appeal made by Abdul Qadir in one of his sermons: "The edifice of Faith built by the Apostle of God is being demolished, brick by brick, and now it is about to fall to pieces. Come, O' mankind, to rebuild what has been dismantled and renovate what has been laid waste. Until this task is completed, we have to work jointly as a team. Come to my aid, O' Sun, O' Moon and O' Stars."

Again, in another sermon he says: "Islam is shedding tears. Its wail of woe is on account of the blasphemous hypocrites and innovators who are practising a pious fraud by attributing things that do not belong to Islam. "Look at your predecessors. They lived like you but enjoined the right and prohibited the wrong. But you have forgotten them altogether so soon after their death!

"Do you not know that even dog is faithful to his master? He guards his fields and the cattle, is pleased to see his master although he does not get more than a few crumbs in the evening. You are favoured with the bounties of God but, quite the other way, you are neither thankful to Him nor you dutifully perform the task assigned to you. Instead, what you do is to break His commands and transgress the limits of the Shariah!

 

Reform and Renovation

The impressive sermons of Abdul Qadir were a source of inspiration to innumerable persons in Baghdad. These enabled thousands to offer earnest repentance for their sins but in order to build up a movement aiming at a widespread and permanent reform of the social, moral and spiritual life of the people, it was necessary to find out a way whereby more durable relations could be fostered between the mentor and the disciples and, a t the same time, arrangements could also be made for the religious education and training of the latter. As it 'were, the discourses did not provide a permanent link between the speaker and the audience. People came to these meetings, listened to the sermons and left to come back again or not, at their sweet will. Many of them persisted in the way they had been treading along without paying any heed to the call of the reformer to purify their souls and to rectify their moral behayiour.

Religion serminaries and educational institutions too did not provide an answer to the problem because of the vast population of Muslims and the mundane pre-occupations of the people. The problem of making arrangements for a continued and concerted tenets and practices, and infusing a breath of new life in the vast numbers spread over far off lands defied a solution in the absence of a truly Islamic State. The foremost business or rather the end of the Caliphate was, in the words of Caliph Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (RA), to guide the people in moral rectitude rather than to collect revenues for the conduct of administration. The then Muslim states were, however, not only indifferent to this fundamental objective but were also extremely allergic to any movement or supremacy. Thus, these governments being suspicious of all efforts made for the resurgence of Islamic spirit, and erroneously taking these as movements designed to build up political leadership, lost no time in crushing them.

In these circumstances there was no way Ieft to revivify the religious, spirit and fill the people with an enthusiasm, zeal and self-confidence for reintroduction of the precepts of religion in their daily life. The only alternative left was to call upon the people to take an oath of allegiance for the purpose. Following in the foot steps of the Apostle of God, it had become necessary that a guide of spiritual and moral excellence should obtain an oath, or the bait, as it is called, from the people willing to offer sincere penitence and undertaking to lead a virtuous life in future in accordance with the directions of their mentor. If placing oneself under the instruction of an inspired guide meant that he was fairly started upon in his journey to the end of purification of spirit and moral rectitude; the oath of allegiance enjoined a much more onerous responsibility on the mentor himself. The guide or the spiritual teacher had to lead the wandering soul of the disciple taking the bait, stage by stage, from cleansing of his spiritual impurities, renouncing the love of worldly temptations and desires, wealth and honour, infusing an spirit of moral uprightness and correct ethical behaviour, following the teachings contained in the Quran and the Traditions, to the illumination of the pupil's soul. This was, in truth, what the bait meant and by which the inspired souls tried to infuse into their disciples, through preaching and personal example, loving care and unalloyed sincerity, an inner vitality of spirit and strength of moral integrity. As the experience shows, the reformers and renovators of faith did succeed in revivifying the true faith and tapping new sources of popular strength in their own times, through this tried and infallible method which just copied the procedure and technique followed by the Prophet of Islam. Innumerable persons have been provided with an opportunity of not only adopting a virtuous life through this method but have also been led to attain even the stage of "Divine Acquaintance" and "Love" by the inspired guides and teachers, of whom the mentor par excellence was Sheikh Muhi ud-din Abdul Qadir Jilani. The history of peoples subscribing to the faith of Islam will bear a witness that no guide with an illuminated soul had been more successful than Abdul Qadir in bringing about a revival and resurgence of the true Islamic spirit. At the same time, the method followed by him is still the easiest and most effective way of filling the people with faith and enthusiasm aiming at the reformation of their lives in accordance with the tenets of Islam.

A few divines and mystics had employed the method of bait, as the annalists report, before Abdul Qadir but none had achieved the success as he did. With his profound knowledge, intellectual gifts, charming and loving personality and spiritual excellence he renovated the system of bait and founded a new mystic order known as the Qadiriyah. Abdul Qadir elaborated and systematised the mystic practices, made these more wide-based and developed to make them more harmonious with the tenets of the Shariah. Countless people were guided through this path of self- discipline, devotion to God and virtuous living during the life time of Abdul Qadir, and after him, his disciples propagated the Qadiriyah order in almost every Islamic country. The branches of the order were founded in Yaman, Hadhramaut, India and Indonesia and in the countries of Africa where it helped innumerable people to come back to the path of loyalty and obedience to God and His Apostle. Abdul Qadir and his disciples were also successful in converting a considerable number of non-Muslims to Islam.

 

Influence of Abdul Qadir

The moral and spiritual excellence of Abdul Qadir, his unflinching devotion to God, the efficacy of his sermons, the inspiring and regenerating influence exercised by him over the people in his own time and the upright character and moral rectitude of those who have had an opportunity to be instructed by him, mark him as one of the most eminent men of God born in Islam. He was not only a worker of incessant miracles, as the chroniclers of his time report, but his miracle of miracles lay in his inspiring and impressive teachings which made thousands to turn away from the lust of power and wealth and to inculcate the true spirit of faith through self-correction and purification of the soul. In short, his was a striking example of the innate power of Islam to produce a true spirit of religion, love of God and moral righteousness in an age of crass materialism.

 

Death of Abdul Qadir

Abdul Qadir died at the age of 90, in 561 A.H. An account of the death of Abdul Qadir has been preserved by his son, Sharaf ud-dln Isa. Thus he writes: "During his last illness, Abdul Wahab (brother of Sharafud-dln) requested Sheikh Abdut Qadir to give him some advice which he could follow after his death. The Sheikh replied: 'Inculcate a deep consciousness of the sublimity and grandeur of God. Fear not anyone nor cherish a desire for benefit from anybody save God. Entrust all of your needs to Him and then have confidence in Him. Whatever you need, place it before God with a conviction in the prospect of its fulfilment. Keep yourself constantly occupied with Tawhid, the Unity of God, on which there is a consensus; for, when the heart is filled with awe, love and respect for Him, nothing can escape it or get out of it.' Thereafter he asked his sons to clear out saying: 'You find me here with yourself but I am really with others. Make room for the angels who are here besides me. You ought to be courteous and pay homage to them. I find the blessings from God descending here for which you should leave ample space.' He saluted from time to time some invisible beings for a day and a night. He would say: 'May the peace and blessings of God be upon you. May God pardon you and me and accept our repentance. Come, in the name of God Almighty, and do not go back'."

Once he said: "Woe be unto you. I care not a whit for anything, neither for the Angel of Death or any other angel. My God has bestowed blessings on me far in excess of you.

"In the night the Sheikh died he gave a loud cry. He lifted and stretched his hand several times. Thereafter, he addressed his sons, Abdur Razzaq and Musa, saying: 'May God have peace and blessings on you. Pay attention to God and grasp His attributes.' Then he said: 'I am just coming to you. Be more kind to me,' He remained unconscious for a while after that. On regaining consciousness he exclaimed: 'There is as much difference between you and me as between the heavens and the earth. Don't think of me like anybody else.' When Abdul Aziz, one of his sons, asked about his illness, he replied: 'Don't ask me anything. I am immersed in the gnosis of God Almighty.' In reply to another question asked by Abdul Aziz his reply was: 'No body knows my illness, nor can anyone diagnose it, neither the jinn, nor men, nor angels. The command of God never supersedes His knowledge; the order changes but not His knowledge; God may override His command by another one, but never what is contained in His knowledge. He obliterates or preserves whatever He desires; He is the final Authority above whom there is none; unlike a human being who has to render an account for his actions, God is Omnipotent. Now I know the secrets of His attributes; they are what they are.'

"One of his sons, Abdul Jabbar asked him if he had any pain. The Sheikh replied to him: 'I have pain in my entire body except my heart which is attuned to God.' Then in his last moments he said: 'I seek the help of God Almighty save whom there is no other God; Glorified is He, the Most High; He is Ever-Living, for death seizeth Him not; Praise be unto Him for He is the Exalted, the Mighty; He exercises His power through the death of his creations. I bear witness that there is no God save Allah and that Muhammad is the Apostle of God,' His son Musa relates that he tried to say 'Taazzaza' i. e. 'Exalted and Dominant is He' but he was not able to pronounce it correctly. He tried again and again till he pronounced the word correctly. Thereafter, he said thrice; Allah, Allah, Allah,' his voice failed thereafter, the tongue having been fixed up in the palate, his soul departed from the body.

Abdul Qadir left quite a large number of pious and saintly disciples who continued to disseminate his message and fight this-worldliness and its vices like opulence and luxury, fame and power.

 

 

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12. News around the World

 

More Jews converting to Islam

              New record: 70 Israeli citizens expected to convert to Islam this year more than twice the number in previous years. Most are cases of Jewish, Christian women marrying Muslim men.

              According to statistics from the Population Administration, 2006 will be a record year for Israeli Jews joining the Muslim religion. In the past few years, the number of conversions to Islam was relatively stable at 35 per year, but over 70 conversions were expected this year. In 2003, 40 Jews converted to Islam; in 2004 the number dropped to 27; and last year it stood at 33.

But the trend took a drastic turn this year, and Interior Ministry data showed that in the first half of 2006 alone 42 conversions were recorded, and a comparable number is expected throughout the second half of the year.

The process of converting to Islam is carried out at the Muslim religious court which operates according to Islamic law. In contrast to Jewish conversions, which last months and often years, to become Muslim one must only convince the court that ones intentions are sincere and declare faith in Allah.

Most are Jewish and Christian women who convert after choosing to marry Muslim men. The number of men who convert to Islam is far lower, but has also seen a rise.

Jews say they decided to convert after deepening their knowledge of Islam. Many are disappointed in Judaism, a senior member of the Islamic court said.

In the past, the Religious Affairs and Interior Ministries made it very difficult for Jews to convert to Islam. They are giving me the runaround, sending me back and forth from office to office. They made me see a psychiatrist, to make sure I wasnt brainwashed. They did everything so that I would despair and return to Judaism, one convert related.

 

Amnesty Raps US for Double Standards 

The human rights group Amnesty International has chided the US government for issuing another report on rights across the world without caring to get its own house in order.

The Nobel Prize-winning body applauded the US State Department's efforts, but said they were compromised by US failures to respect the rights of prisoners in Iraq and detainees in Guantanamo Bay.

"As long as the White House continues to flout international law and blatantly disregard the Geneva Conventions, many of its policies to promote democracy and human rights will be greeted with deep skepticism," it said.

Alexandra Arriaga, director of government relations for Amnesty International USA, said American moral authority was diminished by continuing reports of judicial abuses by US authorities.

 

Malaysia Urges Wealthy Muslim Nations to Help Others

KUALA LUMPUR (AP) - Malaysias prime minister urged rich Islamic countries to help their poorer counterparts - not with alms or charity but by lending expertise to poverty eradication projects. We need to change ourselves and institute a process of change from within. The time for lament and blaming others for our misfortunes is over, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told the launch of a poverty alleviation program sponsored by the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference. We must act now.

Under the program, richer OIC members will provide assistance to poor Muslim countries in the form of funds or expertise, while the Islamic Development Bank will also provide loans for the projects on easy terms. We need to erase the image that a large part of the Muslim word is a world of backwardness, ignorance and violence, Abdullah said.

He noted that out of the 50 least-developed countries - the poorest in the world listed by the United Nations - 22 are members of the OIC. The developed countries in the West and East Asia must also help out but Muslim countries must take the lead, he said. We certainly cannot expect others to come to our aid if we do not begin by helping ourselves, he said.

Malaysia, one of the most progressive OIC members, took the rotating chairmanship of the worlds largest Muslim political organization in October 2003. It will hold the post until 2007, a year longer than originally scheduled because Senegal wont be ready to take over in 2006.

 

Indonesia Outlines Tsunami Plan

Indonesia has published its master plan for the reconstruction of the regions devastated by December's tsunami. More than 220,000 people are thought to have been killed, most of them in the province of Aceh.

The government plan outlines a set of priorities and principles for the reconstruction of Aceh over the next five years. But it could be some time yet before the actual rebuilding process gets under way in the province.

Set out in 12 published volumes, the plan considers everything from culture and religion to roads and jobs. But it does not reveal much about implementation. Those crucial details will be worked out by a new executive board which has yet to be appointed. It is also not clear which foreign aid agencies will be allowed to participate in the next phase of Aceh's recovery.
The Indonesian government is reviewing the status of all international organizations working in the province, the implication being that some will be asked to leave.

 

 

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