Girlie Pics in My In-Box… I Look at Them!

Question Title: 
Girlie Pics in My In-Box… I Look at Them!
Sheikh Name: 
Date: 
Sun, 07/08/2007
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
I get a lot of anonymous e-mails sent to me that contain pictures of undressed women. When these pictures come up, I try to avoid looking at them… but I can’t help myself. I always take a second look and stare at them before I can muster up enough willpower to delete them. Al-Hamdu Lillah, I never save them to my hard drive. What can I do?
English Answer: 
The forbidden view is one of the poisoned arrows in Satan’s arsenal. It goes straight to the heart and fires up base desires.

This is why a Muslim should always be vigilant to lower his gaze. If he sees something enticing, he should not take a second look. We are forgiven the first glance at something, since we really cannot avoid that, and trying to do so would cause us great hardships in our daily lives. However, we are not allowed to keep looking.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “O `Alî, do not take a second look. As for the first sight of something, that is all that’s allowed. The second glance is not.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2777) and Sunan Abî Dâwûd (2149) – It is a good (hasan) hadîth on account of its supporting narrations]

We might not take the matter seriously enough. We might think: “Certainly, looking at a picture on the screen is only a minor sin. It’s the kind of sin that gets erased by our prayers and our seeking Allah’s forgiveness.”

This is true from the perspective of Islamic Law. Taking a second look at a picture cannot be counted as anything more than a minor sin. However, we should not be so short-sighted as to underestimate the danger of this sin. We must measure the danger of looking at these pictures against their long-term consequences.

These pictures can have a pronounced effect on a person’s heart and mind. Once someone gives in to looking at them, his heart starts pining. This leads to addiction. Many people are addicted to pornography in this way.

Once this happens, there is no more talking about “minor sins”. Once a person persists in a minor sin long enough to make it a habit, it becomes a major sin. It is no longer something that our daily good deeds wipe away. It becomes a serious problem.

Worse still, looking at pornography leads a person to want more than pictures. It leads a person to want the real thing. This is a way that many good young people have fallen into fornication.

You need to be vigilant and determined. Make a decision not to fall into this trap again. You need to confront the pictures that are sent to your inbox with a lot more resolve, and delete them as soon as you realize what they are. Do not even give them a chance to tempt you.

To my knowledge, most e-mail providers, even free ones, give you the option of filers to screen out a lot of that junk. You should, as soon as possible, apply these filters to block as much of these messages as you can. Whatever makes it to your inbox, you should delete immediately. Do not let those pictures become your master.

Dear brother, all of us make mistakes – but the best of those who make mistakes are the ones who sincerely repent.

Then take heed of what our Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Follow up an evil dead with a good deed and it will blot it out.” [Sûnan al-Tirmidhî (1987)]

How Should We Speak to Them about Islam?

Date: 
Tue, 06/20/2006
Short Content: 
We must be eager to guide the people and we must do so in every possible and permissible way. We must perfect our way of presenting Islam to them, taking into account the age, circumstances, and level of knowledge of those whom we are addressing. We must present to them the noble Islamic values of freedom, justice, and human dignity and prove to them that Islam is superior to everything that they already know.
Body: 
Muslims going to America and Europe are faced with a flood of questions about Islam. People have many ways of asking these question and different motivations for doing so, but their questions are essentially as follows:

Why does Islam permit polygamy?

Why is a woman counted as half a man in matters of inheritance and when she gives testimony?

Why does Islam “belittle” women?

Is Islam a religion of terror since it prescribes jihad?

Who should we believe: Sunnis or Shi’ites?

Questions like these are what occupy their minds when they think about Islam, since the Western media has actively maligned Islam as a religion of lust and blood and nothing else. When our Muslim youth go to their countries, they often find such questions awkward and try to evade them.

For instance, regarding polygamy they might say things like: Permission for polygamy is conditional upon justice between wives and justice between wives is impossible to achieve. Allah says: “You will not be able to be just between women even if you strive to do so.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 129]

Then they conclude with: Whatever is conditional upon something impossible is impossible itself. Therefore, polygamy is forbidden in Islam.

In many cases, Muslims will come across a strange opinion on a matter and promote it simply because it is more conciliatory.

When I visited America, I found that many Muslims who did not have correct or sufficient Islamic knowledge suffered from such difficulties. They really did not know what to do.

I used to tell them the following: Why should we be on the defensive? Why don’t we adopt a more assertive attitude? If they ask you about polygamy, ask them about the sexual promiscuity that is rife in their societies that has brought humiliation to so many women and allowed men to absolve themselves of their responsibilities towards them and towards their children?

If they ask you about inequalities in inheritance, ask them about the reality in their own country where a woman earns only 60% of what a man earns for doing the exact same job.

I do not mean that we should be evasive. However, it is not good for you to respond when you are in a state of weakness and difficulty where there is a danger that you might answer falsely and misrepresent Allah’s religion in order to appease someone else.

You can move on to a more advanced level of discourse and demonstrate that Islamic teachings are the solution to the problems that they are suffering from. For instance, according to some assessments, there are 119 women to every 100 men in the United States. In some states, the number is more like 160 women to every 100 men. Polygamy is the solution to the problems that ensue under such circumstances, since it requires some men to assume responsibility for more than one woman and to be as just as humanly possible in doing so.

We can stress how Islam teaches equality between all people. There is no preference for anyone over anyone else except by a person’s piety and virtue. This is the way to do away with the problem of racism that people in the West suffer from.

There are a few points that I would like to emphasize:

1. Matters of Islamic law are established by the unambiguous texts of the Qur’ân and Sunnah. No one, regardless of who he is, has the right to change, add, or subtract anything to placate anyone’s desires or fears. When someone who calls others to Islam opts to misinform people about Allah’s rulings, he is doing a disservice to Islam. He is also deceiving people. He has no right to meddle in matters of Islamic Law that are the jurisdiction of Allah alone.

2. Matters that fall within the scope of juristic discretion and allow for differences of opinion should be presented in a balanced and objective manner by the person who is calling others to Islam. He should take circumstances into consideration when doing so. He should not select the most severe and restrictive opinion on a matter and present it to the people as if it is Islam itself, especially when he is trying to endear Islam to the people’s hearts.

3. Our objective should be to convince others of the correctness of the Islamic ruling so that they will accept it. We must employ all of our knowledge and reasoning abilities in achieving this objective. We must provide all the relevant facts. We can employ to our advantage other areas of knowledge that we find to be of benefit in convincing people of Islam. This may include discussions of the Qur’ân’s harmony with science, statistical information, circumstances and experiences, and rational arguments. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, this is an integral part of conveying the truth to the people.

4. We must instill in the hearts of our young people complete and total confidence in every aspect of Islam, from the most general teachings of their faith to the most specific. We must dispel any sense of weakness or deficiency that they might possibly feel at the hands of some of those who dispute with them.

We do a disservice to Islam if we lead the people to believe that Islam is close to the life that they already living and that the Islamic approach to life is not much different than their own. This only makes the people feel that Islam is unnecessary for them and encourages them to turn away from it. They are, in fact, trying to escape from the hellish aspects of the lives that they are already leading. They need to be presented with an alternative.

When people ask about Islam or even about something else, they are looking for a way out. They are looking for something to rescue them. Therefore, we must present Islam to them with all of its uniqueness and show them clearly how it differs from their own life experiences. In this way, we encourage them to think about Islam.

We must present Islam to the people in a logical manner with clear and insightful arguments. Our responsibility ends here. Indeed, this was the extent of the responsibility of Allah’s Messengers (peace be upon them). Allah says to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):

“It is naught your duty but to convey the message.” [Sûrah al-Shûrâ: 48]

“It is your duty only to convey the message. It is upon Us to take account.” [Sûrah al-Ra`d: 40]

“So admonish them. You are but one who admonishes. You do not control their affairs.” [Sûrah al-Ghâshiyah: 21-22]

It is not necessary for us to fancy that the whole world will convert to Islam at our hands. However, we must be eager to guide the people and we must seek to do so in every possible and permissible way. We must perfect our way of presenting Islam to them, taking into account the age, circumstances, and level of knowledge of those whom we are addressing. We must present to them the noble Islamic values of freedom, justice, and human dignity and prove to them that Islam is superior to everything that they already know.

Above and beyond all of this, we must conduct ourselves in the best, most ethical manner and present our own lives as a practical example of moral virtue.

Unfortunately, many Muslims call people to Islam with their tongues while pushing them away with their ignoble, contradictory conduct and with their narrow-mindedness.

“The Knowledge Thereof is with My Lord”

from Varse: 
187
Date: 
Tue, 06/20/2006
Image: 
Short Content: 
Allah says: “They ask you about the Hour, when will it arrive? Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with my Lord’.” [Sûrah al-A`râf: 187]
Body: 

I receive a lot of letters asking me about the material that has proliferated on the Internet concerning the end of the world. People want to know how accurate that material is and what I think of it.

In the Sunnah, we find a lot of hadîth that talk about the trials and violent wars that will take place near the end of the world. However, we must make note of the following:

First of all, we need to be aware that most of these hadîth are inauthentic. The books that are written on the subject of the last days are replete with inauthentic material. This would include the works on this subject written by Nu`aym b. Hammâd, Abû `Amr al-Dânî, and Ibn Kathîr. Some of the material, however, is authentic. For example, there are a number of hadîth in Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim that are relevant to this topic.

It is necessary for us to verify the authenticity of any hadîth before we accept it. Though it is admittedly more serious when the hadîth relates to our beliefs or to matters of Islamic Law, this does not mean we can be lackadaisical when it comes to hadîth relating to etiquettes, biography, and the events of the future. Some people go so far as to bring material from the Bible – especially the Book of Daniel – and from books of astrology and visions and mention them along with the hadîth of the Prophet (peace be upon him), alleging that those sources support what is found in the hadîth. This shows just how poor their methodology is and how prone some people are to following their personal tastes and inclinations.

A second thing to keep in mind is that even when the hadîth we are dealing with are authentic hadîth, we still need to be able to understand them properly and place them in the proper context. This is a difficult task that many people are not qualified to cope with. This is how Satan has led a number of believers astray. We can see how often scholars differ about clear, practical matters of Law. How can it not be more difficult when we turn our attentions to matters of the Unseen, to obscure events that are to take place in the future?

It is quite ironic to see some people who avoid delving into clear matters of Islamic Law, claiming that they have insufficient knowledge to do so, fail to show the same level of caution when it comes to matters of greater ambiguity.

In the past, some scholars had been hasty in interpreting some events as signs of the Last Day. Maybe this behavior was a result of the conviction of their faith combined with a lack of patience. However, they never took matters so far as to prepare themselves for the end of the world or condemn the people of their generation. Also, no scholar of repute ever had the presumption to give a date for the end of the world. To do so would violate the sanctity of our belief in the Unseen and would cause average Muslims to have doubts about the revealed scriptures.

A third point to consider is that the hadîth about the trials near the end of time cannot be used to abrogate established aspects of Islamic Law. A believer must act according to the injunctions of the Law as they are unless there is unequivocal evidence that an injunction has been abrogated by the Qur’ân or Sunnah. It is therefore not in accordance with Islamic Law for a person to stop mixing with others and neglect his duty to enjoin upon them what is right and forbid them from what is wrong. A person might have a feeling that the time of strife has arrived and go into seclusion, relying upon the hadîth that call to doing so when that woeful time approaches. Admittedly, seclusion might be suitable for an individual at a specific place and time under specific circumstances. It is not, however, something that can be applied generally.

Therefore, it is a grave blunder for a person to base his support for something or someone – or his lack of support – on the mere feeling that this something or someone was what a certain hadîth had foretold. Likewise he should not praise or criticize anyone on this dubious basis. What he must do is apply the established principles of Islamic Law that deal with such matters as loyalty and disassociation, providing assistance, and securing the general welfare.

Finally, we must realize that the topic of what will happen in the last days is one wherein many people fall into error. It is by nature obscure and difficult. Therefore, only the most proficient scholars of hadîth and Islamic Law should approach it.

Some writers treat the hadîth about the trials and signs of the last days as if they were parts of some children’s toy. They tinker with these hadîth here and there until they feel they have them under control instead of engaging in thorough research to determine which events precede which and which are major and which are minor. Often, they do not even bother to verify the authenticity of the hadîth they rely upon.

I can see no point in begging such issues except for the satisfaction of people who want to hasten on the Unseen, who are tired of the real world, who are not competent enough to deal with natural causes, and who are too weak in faith to rely upon Allah.

There are some very serious matters that must be avoided, because when people get involved in them, they cause confusion for themselves and others in matters of faith. Among these are the claim that the Hour is about to arrive and the attempt to determine its date.

We cannot rely upon the so-called consensus of the historians about the ages of the previous nations. Who determined that there is such a consensus? How accurate are their claims? Those historians relied upon rounded figures and general numbers. They themselves disagreed about certain dates and about when certain Prophets had been sent. In any event, since when did the agreement of historians become evidence for matters of Islamic faith and Law?

It makes matters no better when someone says: “The Hour will arrive no later than the end of the next century and no sooner than tomorrow.” This poses a problem in that it can make some people who will live near the end of the century believe that the Hour is about to arrive.

The Qur’ân and Sunnah give us no room to make such estimates and claims. Allah says: “They ask you about the Hour, when will it arrive? Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with my Lord. None but He can reveal as to when it will occur. It is heavy upon the heavens and the Earth. It will come to you all of the sudden.’ They ask you as if you were well acquainted with it. Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is only with my Lord, but most people do not understand.’” [Sûrah al-A`râf: 187]

Similar statements can be found throughout the Qur’ân, such as Sûrah Yûsuf: 107, Sûrah al-NahlSûrah Luqmân (34), Sûrah al-Ahzâb: 63, Sûrah Fussilât: 47, and Sûrah al-Zukhruf: 187. Can we get any evidence stronger than this to dissuade us from such speculation?

Allah also says: “The Hour is coming. I have almost kept it hidden.” [Sûrah Tâhâ: 15]

Some commentators of this verse, among them Ibn `Abbâs, Ibn Jubayr, and Mujâhid, explain that this verse alludes to the common Arabic phrase “I almost kept it hidden from myself.” Al-Farrâ’ goes further, adding: “So how could I reveal it to you?”

Al-Mubarrad writes: “It is a common practice among the Arabs when they want to emphasize how well they have kept something a secret to say: ‘I have concealed it even from myself’, meaning by it that they have not told a soul.”

There are so many clear, unambiguous passages in the Qur’ân stating that no one knows when the Hour will arrive. They are so many that no one who believes in the Qur’ân has an excuse to be heedless of them. Those who speculate on the Final Hour do so without any knowledge, guidance, or scripture to back them up.

Is it not strange how some Muslims can work themselves up over this issue until they think that they have arrived at absolute knowledge on the matter? They thoroughly convince themselves on the basis of some weak evidence or spurious reasoning. However, you often find these same Muslims expressing doubts about some established principle of Islam that it is incumbent upon them to believe in and act upon. You find them getting captivated with the mysteries of the Unseen, following personal revelations, chasing after conjecture and intuition, and pinning their hopes on supernatural events.

Why do they not instead try to gain mastery over the sciences and seek out the natural causes that Allah has placed in Creation? Then they might learn how to exploit these causes to serve humanity and secure human welfare. Then they might figure out how to protect their lands and their possessions.

We can see the despair and hopelessness that have overtaken the people, making them lose the initiative to act or even to defend themselves. Instead, they seek refuge in waiting for miracles to happen. They lose the ability to face the bitter reality in which they live and do nothing to make it sweeter except to dream. A person with true faith, however, is more steadfast, resolute, and ready to defend himself. A believer’s hopes overpower his despair. Allah says: “No one despairs of Allah’s soothing mercy except those who have no faith.” [Sûrah Yûsuf: 87]

We should strengthen our trust in our Lord and correct our understanding of our religion, accepting it in truth and not seeking anything beyond that. And on Allah we must rely.
Verse Contnet: 

Allah says: “They ask you about the Hour, when will it arrive? Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with my Lord. None but He can reveal as to when it will occur. It is heavy upon the heavens and the Earth. It will come to you all of the sudden.’ They ask you as if you were well acquainted with it. Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is only with my Lord, but most people do not understand.’” [Sûrah al-A`râf: 187]

False Eyelashes

Question Title: 
False Eyelashes
Sheikh Name: 
Date: 
Tue, 05/08/2007
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
I read that hair extensions are unlawful. Does this mean that false eyelashes and eyelashes extensions are prohibited in Islam? Eyelash extensions differ from “false” eyelashes in that they are applied one by one, and can last for two to six weeks. They also differ from mascara, which is a merely a cosmetic that thickens and lengthens eyelashes.
English Answer: 
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah has cursed the woman who adds extensions to her hair and the woman who asks for it to be done.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (5934) and Sahîh Muslim (2122)]

This is referring to extensions of hair being added to the hair on the head.

It is not apparent from the evidence that false eyelashes or eyelash extensions come under the prohibition.

Therefore, if a woman has short or sparse eyelashes and finds that wearing false eyelashes enhances her beauty or boosts her self-esteem, then there is no problem with her doing so.

Otherwise, it might be better to avoid the practice.

And Allah knows best.

Studying Islamic Law according to 1 school of thought

Question Title: 
Studying Islamic Law according to 1 school of thought
Date: 
Thu, 03/08/2007
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
I am reading a book called “Islamic Law According to the Four Schools” by Sheikh Abd al-Rahmân al-Jazîrî. My question is: Which of these four legal schools – Hanafî, Mâlikî, Shâfi`î, or Hanbalî – should I agree with and adopt in my practice of Islam? Please know that in my country, the Mâlikî school of thought is widespread.
English Answer: 
One of the best ways a person can spend his time is in seeking Islamic knowledge. The greatest branch of Islamic knowledge – after knowledge of Allah – is Islamic Law.

The book that you refer to in your question – Islamic Law According to the Four Schools by Sheikh Abd al-Rahmân al-Jazîrî – is a contemporary work. It is one of many such works that attempt to simplify Islamic Law for the general public by bringing together what their respective authors consider to be the strongest legal opinions from the various legal books of the four schools of thought. The goal of these works is to get everyone together on one opinion, rather than people adhering to a number of different opinions.

These modern books fail to achieve that goal, because they differ from one another just as much as the classical works differ. This disagreement is the natural result when scholars exercise their judgment and engage in the exercise of juristic discretion (ijtihâd). This is why we see so many books of this kind being written these days, and why we find in them so many disparate views regarding a single legal ruling. We often find when we survey the modern books that they exhibit the same spectrum of opinion that can be found in the classical works. The student is presented with the same distressing problem – which contemporary scholar’s view should he follow?

The soundest approach for a student to take is to begin his study of Islamic Law by studying one of the four schools of thought. It is best for him to study under the scholars of his own country and read the legal works written according to the school of thought that is practiced where he lives.

He should, at the same time, adhere to the etiquettes and manners that are appropriate for a student of knowledge. He should take his studies step by step, so Allah can bring him to the level of knowledge that he aspires to. He should not be impatient to reach the level where he can exercise his own juristic discretion. Indeed, the pleasures of being a student are unsurpassable and irreproducible. The best thing that a student can rely on while seeking knowledge is piety and the fear of Allah. We read in the Qur’ân: “Fear Allah, and Allah will teach you.”

Since you are form an area where the Mâlikî school of law is most prevalent, it would be best for you to begin by studying Mâlikî Law. The best text for you to begin with would be al-Risâlah by Sheikh Ibn Abî Zayd al-Qayrawânî. It is indeed a very beneficial treatise in Malikî Law. The treatise begins with a summary of creed, then presents the various topics of law in order, and concludes with a comprehensive chapter on ethics and manners. Its style is clear, easy, and a pleasure to read. Many good commentaries for it are readily available.

Patronizing restaurant that serves alcohol

Question Title: 
Patronizing restaurant that serves alcohol
Date: 
Thu, 03/08/2007
Sender Name: 
none
Question in English : 
I want to know if I can eat in a restaurant where alcohol is served as long as I do not order alcohol. I was told that it is unlawful to do so. In my country, most restaurants sell alcohol, and it is difficult to find places where alcohol is not served. It is a really big problem when you are traveling. Hotel restaurants always serve alcohol. My uncle is a corporate businessman, and he says that he has to attend lunches where alcohol is served and where his colleagues drink. He could not do business otherwise. What is the ruling?
English Answer: 
A Muslim should certainly not go to places like bars and nightclubs which are dedicated primarily to unlawful activities.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not sit at a table where liquor is served.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2801)]

Restaurants and reputable hotels are a different matter. If a restaurant, convenience store, or similar establishment is engaged primarily in lawful business, but also serves alcohol to its customers who order it, then as long as the Muslim does not eat or drink unlawful things or sit at a table where unlawful food or drink is served, then he is not sinful. If other restaurants are available that do not serve alcohol, he may prefer to patronize them rather than support a venue that sells unlawful things. And Allah knows best.

The hadîth reads: “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not sit at a table where liquor is served.” It is talking about what is put on the table where the person is sitting. It also applies to being in the social company of drinkers while they are engaged in their wrongdoing. Therefore, a Muslim who sits at a table where liquor is being served or consumed is doing wrong. The ruling will be extended to the entire venue when it is a place dedicated to social wrongdoing, like a bar or nightclub. This is because in such venues the person is socially participating in the activity of drinking, even if he is not actually sitting at the same table.

On the other hand, if a person sits in a normal restaurant at a table where only lawful items are being served, and there is a table nearby – unaffiliated in any way with him or his companions – where liquor is being consumed, then he is not sinful if he at least denies that wrongdoing in his heart or by his speech.

This practice can readily be adopted in the restaurants were Muslims and non-Muslims both attend, especially in the countries where Muslims are minorities.

With respect to a Muslim businessman who engages in legitimate business in a country where attending lunches and dinners in restaurants and hotels are an unavoidable part of doing business, and where the other parties to the business transaction almost invariably drink alcohol, this can become a matter of legal necessity (darûrah shar`iyyah).

This will be the case if the general refusal of Muslims to sit at a table where the other party drinks alcohol makes it impossible or extremely difficult for religious Muslims in that country to engage in lawful business. This brings a serious harm upon the Muslims, a harm that Islamic Law would seek to avoid.

Moreover, the prohibition of sitting with people who drink alcohol is a prohibition regarding the means to wrongdoing. This can be contrasted with the prohibition of drinking alcohol, which is a prohibited for its own sake. Ibn al-Qayyim explains: “Prohibitions regarding the means to wrongdoing are not like things that are prohibited for their own sake. Prohibitions regarding the means to wrongdoing will be lifted for a valid need (hâjah). As for things that are prohibited for their own sake, their prohibition is not lifted except in cases of dire necessity (darûrah).”

Therefore, a Muslim businessman can sit with people in a respectable business context where the other person is drinking alcohol. The Muslim may sit in such company to the extent that it is necessary for him to conduct normal, lawful, and respectable business. Of course, under no circumstances may the Muslim partake of unlawful food or drink. The Muslim should also endeavor to insist that the meeting takes place at a reputable and respectable restaurant, and not at a bar or nightclub.

And Allah knows best.

Killing spiders & insects

Question Title: 
Killing spiders & insects
Date: 
Thu, 02/08/2007
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
Is it ok to kill a spider if it is in your house and making webs and if someone is scared of them? What about insects?
English Answer: 
The general ruling concerning insects and other small arthropods is that it is permissible to kill the harmful animals from among them. Evidence for this is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A prophet once sat under a tree when he got bitten by an ant so he burnt the ant’s village. Allah inspired to him: Why not only one ant?” [Sahîh Muslim]

Therefore, it was permissible to kill the harmful ant even though the general ruling is not to kill ants.

Abû Hurayrah said: “The Prophet forbade killing four animals; the ant, the bee, the hoopoe and the toad.” [Musnad Ahmad, Sunan Abî Dâwûd, and Sunan Ibn Mâjah] Ibn Kathîr said: “Its line of transmission is authentic.” (3/361).

As for those that are not harmful, the general ruling is for us not to kill them, since there is no reason for dong so. There is wisdom behind Allah's creating them, so it is not permissible to simply aggress against them for no good reason.

And Allah knows best.

Some Advice for Conveying Islam to Non-Muslim Friends and Acquaintances

Date: 
Tue, 12/19/2006
Short Content: 
Some of us find it difficult to approach our non-Muslim friends about Islam. We wonder: What can I possibly say? How can I tell him that his religion is wrong? This bewilderment causes us to fail to teach these good people about Islam.
Body: 
Many of us have contact with people of other faiths in our daily lives. They might be friends, acquaintances, or colleagues. However, some of us find it difficult to approach them about Islam. We wonder: What can I possibly say? How can I tell him that his religion is wrong? This bewilderment causes us to fail to teach these good people about Islam.

As Muslims, we should naturally desire to teach others about Islam. We know that this was the work of the Prophets. Allah says: “Say: This is my way; I call to Allah upon clear knowledge, I and those who follow me. Glory be to Allah! And I am not of those who engage in polytheism.” [Sûrah Yûsuf: 108]

We know that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said to `Alî b. Abî Tâlib: “I swear by Allah! That Allah guides by your hand a single person is better for you than all the finest camels.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2724) and Sahîh Muslim (4423)]

The following are just a few points of advice for those of us who wish to approach this noble effort:

1. Make sure to pick an appropriate time to bring up the subject of Islam. Make sure that the other person is n the right frame of mind to talk about it.

2. Avoid things that will make the other person uncomfortable. You should be gentle and accommodating in your attitude and approach various issues and questions as a seeker of the truth.

3. Never criticize or attack the other person’s beliefs. That is a very indiscrete and unwise thing to do. This might make the other person more adamant about his beliefs as well as spoil the good relationship that you have with him.

4. Avoid getting into discussions about secondary issues. No matter how much the other person insists upon doing so, stress to him that essential matters and principles should be discussed first and it is not going to get us anywhere to delve into secondary matters when the primary issues are not fully understood.

For example, it is wrong to talk about why the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had the number of wives that he had before discussing the concept of prophethood and what it means for him to be a Prophet.

5. Get acquainted with the standard misconceptions about Islam that are being circulated and how to answer them. Many of these misconceptions are well known. If he is Christian, acquaint yourself with the claims about Islam being circulated by Christian groups to their followers. Many of these misconceptions have been around for generations

6. If the person is from the People of the Scripture, it is often good to start with the topic of the earlier Prophets and how we know that they are Prophets. Talk about Moses (peace be upon him) and the other prophets of Israel. After that, bring up Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and discuss how his prophethood is established in the same way that theirs is. Once it is accepted that he is a Prophet, then it follows that everything that he says about God is true.

This is far better – in my opinion – than trying to argue concepts like the Trinity, especially with people who are not well-versed in their faith, which is the case with most people today.

And Allah knows best.

Backbiting an anonymous person – is it a sin?

Question Title: 
Backbiting an anonymous person – is it a sin?
Date: 
Wed, 11/07/2007
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
If I speak badly about someone I know, but do not disclose the identity of the person I am speaking about, is this backbiting?
English Answer: 
This depends on whether other people, aside from the speaker of course, will be able to figure out who is being spoken about or might become suspicious about certain people because of what the speaker is saying.

If there is no danger of anyone figuring out who is being spoken about, and if there is a genuine benefit from relating the matter – like setting a n example or conveying to people a valuable lesson, then it is permissible.

Due to the anonymity of the person being spoken about, there is no actual backbiting taking place.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) defined backbiting when he said: “Do you know what backbiting is?”

They said: “Allah and His Messenger know best.”

He said: “It is to mention about your brother something that he would dislike having mentioned about him.” [Sahîh Muslim (2589)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) clearly specified: "your brother". This shows us that backbiting is an offense against a specific person. When the person being spoken about is truly anonymous, then there is no injured party.

Where the matter is so well-known that the identity of the person being spoken about will be easily recognized by the people who are listening, it will be unlawful to bring up the matter – even without directly mentioning the person's name – since the person being spoken against in this case is not truly anonymous.

In such a situation, the matter can only be brought up in those rare circumstances where Islamic Law allows a person out of necessity to speak badly about someone else.

And Allah knows best.

'…he used to rinse his mouth & nose with a single handful of water…'

Date: 
Tue, 09/19/2006
Short Content: 
`Abd Allah b. Zayd, while describing the Prophet's wudû, relates that: "… the Prophet (peace be upon him) would then rinse his mouth and nose with a single handful of water, and he would do so thrice."
Body: 

`Abd Allah b. Zayd, while describing the Prophet's wudû, relates that: "… the Prophet (peace be upon him) would then rinse his mouth and nose with a single handful of water, and he would do so thrice."

This hadîth is related in Sahîh al-Bukhârî (191) and Sahîh Muslim (235).

The meaning of the hadîth:

Al-Bukhârî relates this hadîth in his book under the heading: "Rinsing the mouth and inhaling water into the nose with the same handful of water".

The hadîth is related with slight variations in its wordings. Some narrations read "with a single handful of water", like that in Sahîh al-Bukhârî. Others read "with a single hand" and others read "With the water scooped up by a single hand".

The phrase "with a single hand" is the way it is most frequently related, so perhaps that is the most accurate wording.

Its legal implications:

This hadîth addresses the question of rinsing the mouth (madmadah) and nose (istinshâq) with the same handful of water. It is clear in indicating that it is permissible to do so.

This means that a person can scoop up some water in his right hand, then take some of it into his mouth to rinse with and inhale the remainder of the water into his nose. He can then use his left hand to assist in expelling the water. He then repeats the process a second and third time, altogether using three handfuls of water.

There are other hadîth that convey the same meaning:

1. `Atâ' b Yasâr relates that Ibn `Abbâs, after washing his face in wudû', took up a handful of water and rinsed his mouth and nose with it. After finishing his wudû', Ibn `Abbâs said: "This is how I saw Allah's Messenger carry out his wudû'." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (140)]

2. Al-Dârimî relates from Ibn `Abâs that "the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to combine between rinsing his mouth and nose." [Sunan al-Nasâ'î (1/73), Musnad al-Shâfi`î (1/29), and Sahîh Ibn Khuzaymah (1/88)]

Al-Nawawî declares this hadîth to be authentic in his Khulâsah.

3. `Alî b. Abî Tâlib, while describing the Prophet's wudû', relates: "…then he would rince his mouth and exhale water from his nose three times, rinsing and exhaling with the hand that he used to take up the water." [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (111 and 113), Sunan al-Nasâ'î (92, 93, and 94), and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (404)]

Since the hadîth uses the word "exhaling" instead of "inhaling" it has been understood by some to mean that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used his right hand to take up the water as well as to assist him in expelling it.

However, this is an unlikely interpretation. The problem presented by the choice of words in this hadîth is clarified by the other hadîth that explain how the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to take up water into his mouth and nose from a single handful. Alî's narration should be understood in the same light.

Al-Nawawî makes the following general observation: "These are authentic hadîth indicating the practice of combining between the rinsing of the mouth and nose. As for doing these two things separately, no hadîth is established that conveys that meaning. There is only the hadîth of Talhah b. Musarrif, and it is weak."

The hadîth that al-Nawawî refers to is one that Talhah b. Musarrif relates from his father that his grandfather said: "I saw Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) rinse his mouth and nose separately." [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (139)]

It is indeed a weak hadîth. Ibn Hajar declares it to be weak in al-Dirâyah. It has a number of defects.

For one thing, its chain of transmission contains the narrator Layth b. Abî Salîm, about whom Ibn Hibbân says: "He would get things mixed up. He would confuse chains of transmission and make broken chains complete. He would attribute to reliable narrators hadîth that he did not relate. This is why Ahmad, Ibn Ma`în, Ibn Mahdî, and Ibn al-Madînî rejected his hadîth."

Ibn Hajar says about Layth b. Abî Salîm in Taqrîb al-Tahdhîb: "An honest narrator who later in life mixed things up."

Aside from the weakness of Layth b. Abî Salîm, there is an unknown narrator in the chain of transmission.

Ibn Hajar, in Tahdhîb al-Tahdhîb, asserts that it is possible that the Talhah in the chain of transmission is not Talhah b. Musarrif at all, but some other Talhah whose identity is unknown. In this case, we do not know the identity of Talhah, nor that of his father, nor his grandfather.

If we take it that Talhah is indeed Talhah b. Musarrif, then he is a reliable narrator but his father's abilities as anarrator is unknown. His grandfather in this case is considered to be a Companion. Still, in this case the hadîth is weak for two reasons: the weakness of Layth b. Abî Salîm and the unknown quality of Talhah's father as a narrator.

We have already mentioned that al-Nawawî says there is no other hadîth besides that of Talhah indicating using different handfulls of water for rinsing the mouth and nose. However, some jurists of the Shâfî`î school, including al-Ghazâlî and al-Râfi`î, claim there are two other narrations to that effect, one from `Alî and one from `Uthmân.

Ibn al-Salâh categorically denies this to be the case. Ibn al-Mulaqqin and Ibn Hajar disagree with Ibn al-Salâh and assert that such hadîth do exist. Ibn Hajar writes in al-Talkhîs al-Habîr that `Alî b. al-Sakan relates in his Sahîh narrations from `Alî b. Abî Tâlib and `Uthmân the same hadîth that is related by Talhah. Alas, though they exist, these two hadîth are also weak, as determined by Ibn al-Qayyim and other scholars.

This is why the majority of Islamic jurists hold the view that it is preferable to rinse the mouth and the nose with the same handful of water.

And Allah knows best.