Cold-Blooded Murder

Date: 
Thu, 11/24/2005
Short Content: 
Violence and iniquity go all the way back to Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. Allah says: “But (the other’s) mind imposed on him the killing of his brother, so he slew him and became one of the losers.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 30] The context of this verse emphasizes both his deep regret and his spiritual loss for the great sin that he had committed.
Body: 
History is replete with human violence and iniquity, going all the way back to Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. Allah says: “But (the other’s) mind imposed on him the killing of his brother, so he slew him and became one of the losers.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 30]

The context of this verse emphasizes both his deep regret and his spiritual loss for the great sin that he had committed. Allah says: “Then Allah sent a raven scratching up the ground, to show him how to hide his brother's naked corpse. He said: Woe unto me! Am I not able to be as this raven and so hide my brother's naked corpse? And he became repentant. For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 31-32]

The murderer faces two punishments. The first is a legal punishment – the loss referred to in the verse above. This includes both the legal retribution in the world and the chastisement in the Hereafter. Allah says: “And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell; he shall abide in it, and Allah will send His wrath on him and curse him and prepare for him a painful chastisement.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 93]

The second punishment is the acute sense the murder has of his sin and its magnitude; the shame and blame that the murderer feels after the rage of the moment has subsided and his normal frame of mind is restored.

Murder is sometimes committed because of conflicts related to worldly gain, like the quest for wealth and power. This stark reality is something that sincere people strive to curtail or at least minimize in society thought education, social guidance, and reform. The laws of nations seek the same through their penal codes and police forces.

The very worst murders are committed by zealots who wrongfully and unjustly commit their crimes in the name of religion. This is the worst form of murder, since it takes the very faith that came to establish justice and to preserve human life and human welfare and misuses it in order to achieve the very opposite of the religion’s noble objectives. It perverts some people who should be upholding human life into the very ones who commit murder.

This murder is the worst kind of murder, since the murderer is far removed from regret or from penitent feelings. A person who kills someone else out of bigotry, greed, or other worldly desires, might hear the word of Allah and the teachings of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) about the sanctity of human life and the sacredness of the human being. He might hear about the great punishments that await the murderer in this life and the next. If his heart has any faith, he might be seized by fear for what he has done. He might feel regret, which can lead him to repentance and to mend his ways.

As for the one who kills in the name of religion, he is filled with falsehoods that come from his baser self and that have been made fair-seeming for him by Satan and which are supported and encouraged by his associates. These falsehoods have been embellished by words that are bereft of truth until the person is utterly blinded to the truth and kept away from the Book of Allah. He is led to propound arguments so banal and false that he who utters them would not accept their like from someone else in the most trivial of matters.

Some people are amazed by the sheer nerve of the murderer. It is the courage born of ignorance, which was seen in the times of ignorance before Islam. Abû Jahl displayed such courage during the Battle of Badr, when he was thrown down to the ground, covered in his own blood and seeing his imminent death before his face, was able to ask: “So who is winning the battle now?”

He was able to insult Ibn Mas`ud, saying: “You have risen to a difficult status, haven’t you, you little shepherd.”

Every manner of conduct or action that is not kept aright by the values of Islam will tend either to extremism or to crass neglect.

Targeting public places where people converge – like markets, hotels, and airports – is the epitome of wrongdoing. All manner of people are found in such places, both Muslim and non-Muslim, whose lives are inviolable. For someone to detonate a bomb in such a place is a grievous evil. It is clearly a most heinous sin, a transgression against others and against the law of Allah. It is most appalling that anyone would have the presumption to call such a depraved act a “jihad”. Where is the “jihad” in killing innocents? This is clear misguidance.

It is the obligation of all of us - everyone who has access to a pen or a podium – to condemn such acts in clear and unequivocal terms. We must not mix our condemnation with anything else. It is not necessary for us whenever we speak about such crimes against humanity to, in the same breath, bring up the wrongdoings of America or of Israel. Instead, we must confront these heinous crimes being perpetrated by Muslims with our particular condemnation, and do so with the direct and unambiguous evidence of our sacred texts and by clarifying the objectives of Islamic Law. Other crimes that were perpetrated by other people should not be brought up in the same discussion.

We must steer clear of giving any justification to these crimes. Though it is the responsibility of specialists in security issues, political analysts, and social scientists to study any phenomenon and investigate its causes, at this time it is particularly necessary to put forth a clear message of condemnation of these crimes being carried out by Muslims and to declare their unlawfulness in Islam. The Muslim youth need to be made to understand how clear the matter is, so that they will not slip into error.

The perpetrators of these acts are generally a few, isolate individuals. They are the ones who have to carry their sin and meet their Lord with its great burden weighing down their backs. They will have to face their victims grabbing them by the shoulders and saying: “My Lord!...My Lord!...Ask this man why he killed me unjustly!”

If this is the grave state of the murderer, then those who Allah spares from the blood of such murders should be careful not to meet their Lord bearing the guilt of having ever said anything in support of those crimes, or encouraging them, or of sympathizing with or applauding the perpetrators. We should be careful not to ever utter such statements that might be said inadvertently by some people on account of personal prejudices, or by the idea that some supposed objectives were realized, or from malicious joy at the expense of one group or another. All of that is impermissible. Nothing should ever be said to justify, trivialize, or excuse those crimes. We should always imagine that it was ourselves, or our parents, or our children who were the victims and think: for what purpose were they killed?

We must not remains silent until those crimes strike us in our own homes. Our Lord tells us that in the Hereafter the infant girl who was buried alive will be asked for what sin was she killed. This will be asked as a means of condemning and humiliating her murderer. This girl will have been from the age of paganism before Islam, when the custom of burying infant girls used to be practiced. Her Lord will, nevertheless, come to her defense on that grave day. How much worse it will be for those who murder en masse?

O Allah! These unjust acts are a crime against the religion of your Prophet (peace be upon him), who You sent with mercy. They are a transgression against Your servants. O Allah! Protect the Muslims from these crimes. Guide them by their forelocks to what is right. Save them from corruption. Give them insight and clear vision so that they will not love that which You despise, nor despise that which You love. Bestow upon them mercy, peace, and prosperity. Amîn.

The Last Ten Nights of Ramadan

Date: 
Thu, 10/12/2006
Short Content: 
The last ten nights of Ramadan are very special. These are the nights that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would spend in constant worship. Among these nights is Laylah al-Qadr – a night more blessed than a thousand months.
Body: 
The last ten nights of Ramadan are very special. The first of these nights occurs on the eve of the 21st day of Ramadan. In other words, it is the night that commences after the completion of the 20th day of fasting. Sometimes there are only nine nights, whenever the month of Ramadan lasts for only 29 days. Nevertheless, they are still traditionally referred to as "the last ten nights".

The last ten nights of Ramadan are very special. These are the nights that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would spend in constant worship. Among these nights is Laylah al-Qadr – a night more blessed than a thousand months.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to single these nights out for worship and the performance of good deeds. He would exert himself in worship during these ten nights more than any other nights of the year.

`A'ishah tells us: "During the last ten nights of Ramadan, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would tighten his waist belt and spend the night in worship. He would also wake up his family." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1920)]

`A'ishah also says: "I had never known Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) to read the entire Qur'ân in a single night, or to spend the whole night in prayer up until the morning, or to spend a whole month in fasting – except in Ramadan." [Sunan al-Nasâ'î (1641) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1348)]

When we say that the Prophet (peace be upon him) spent the whole night in worship, we should qualify it. This is because he would spend some time eating dinner, partaking of his pre-dawn meal, and other similar activities. However, he would spend most of the night in worship.

Waking Up the Family

`A'ishah informs us that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to wake up his family during the last ten nights of Ramadan. Indeed, he used to wake up his wives for prayer throughout the year, but that was so that they could pray for a small fraction of the night.

We know this, because Umm Salamah relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) woke her up one night and said: "Glory be to Allah. What has been sent down of trials during this night? What has been sent down of treasures, so that the denizens of the bedchambers will be awakened? O Lord! To be clothed in this world by naked in the Hereafter." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1074)]

During the last ten nights of Ramadan, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would wake up his wives to pray for a much longer portion of the night than during the rest of the year.

Exerting Oneself in Worship

`A'isha tells us: "The Prophet would exert himself in worship during the last ten nights more than at any other time of the year." [Sahîh Muslim (1175)]

The great jurist, al-Shâfi`î declares: "It is Sunnah for one to exert greater efforts in worship during the last ten nights of Ramadan." [al-Majmû` (6/397)]

When `A'ishah tells us that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would "tighten his waistbelt", she is speaking figuratively. The phrase means to set about to devote oneself fully and wholeheartedly to the task at hand.

Seeking Out Laylah al-Qadr

One of the greatest distinctions of these ten special nights is that one of them is Laylah al-Qadr – the Night of Decree. This is the greatest night of the year – better than a thousand months. This means that a Muslim can earn more rewards on Laylah al-Qadr than he would if – excluding this special night – he were worship his Lord for eighty-four years straight. This is one of the immense favors that Allah has bestowed upon the Muslim community.

Ibrâhîm al-Nakha`î says: "Good works performed on this night are better than those performed consistently for a thousand months."

Abû Hurayrah relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever spends Laylah al-Qadr in prayer, believing in Allah and seeking His reward, will be forgiven all of his past sins." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1802) and Sahîh Muslim (760)]

Belief in Allah, in this hadîth, means not only to believe in Allah, but to believe in the reward that we are promised for observing prayer on this night.

Laylah al-Qadr is on one of the odd nights. `A'ishah relates that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "Seek out Laylah al-Qadr in the odd nights during the last ten nights of Ramadan." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1913) and Sahîh Muslim (1169)]

It is most likely one of the last seven odd nights. Ibn `Umar relates that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "Look for it in the last ten nights. If one of you falls weak or unable to do so, then he should at least try on the seven remaining nights." [Sahîh Muslim (1165)]

The most likely candidate for Laylah al-Qadr is the 27th night of Ramadan. This is indicated by the statement of `Ubayy b. Ka`b: “I swear by Allah that I know which night it is. It is the night in which Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) ordered us to observe in prayer. It is the night on the eve of the 27th of Ramadan. Its sign is that the Sun will rise in the morning of that day white without exuding any rays.” [Sahîh Muslim (762)]

A Muslim should seek out this special night by spending the last ten nights of Ramadan engaged in various acts of worship. These include reciting the remembrances of Allah, reading the Qur'ân, and begging Allah's forgiveness.

It is best for us to strive hard on all ten nights, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The way we "look for" Laylah al-Qadr is by engaging in extra worship.

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Look for it in the last ten nights" he did not mean that we should literally "look for" signs and indications that distinguish Laylah al-Qadr from other nights. The things that distinguish Laylah al-Qadr from other nights are part of the Unseen.

Allah says: " Surely We revealed it on a blessed night. Surely We ever wish to warn (against evil) – On this night, every wise matter is made distinct." [Sûrah al-Dukhân (3-4)]

Allah says: "Laylah al-Qadr is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with every decree. (This night is) peace, until the rising of the dawn." [Sûrah al-Qadr (3-5)]

These are the ways in which Laylah al-Qadr is special. They are not things that we can see with our eyes. No one after the Prophet (peace be upon him) can see the angels.

Observing a Retreat in the Mosque (I`tikâf)

Observing a retreat in the mosque is of the best things we can do during the last ten nights of Ramadan. `A'ishah tells us: "The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to observe a retreat in the mosque during the last ten nights of Ramadan up until he died. His wives continued to observe this practice after his death." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1922) and Sahîh Musli (1172)]

The practice of i`tikâf is a strongly recommended act. It is defined as remaining in retreat in the mosque for the express purpose of worship. The purpose of doing so is to devote one's heart exclusively to Allah. The person engaging in i`tikâf keeps this intention close to mind and seeks Allah's blessings. He should not forget the reason why he is observing this retreat.

A person observing i`tikâf does not leave the mosque except for what is absolutely necessary (like going to the bathroom). While in the mosque, he should busy himself with the remembrance of Allah. He should make sure to offer the remembrances of the morning and evening and the prescribed remembrances for the five daily prayers. He should perform all of the Sunnah prayers and all other recommended prayers, like the Duhâ prayer. He should read as much of the Qur'ân as he can.

He should spend less time eating and sleep as little as possible. He should avoid unnecessary talk. However, he should engage in advising his fellow Muslims and in enjoining them to truth and to patience.

Generosity

It is encouraged for us to be extra generous during the last ten nights of Ramadan, without being extravagant or ostentatious in our giving. Ibn `Abbâs relates that: "Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was the most generous of all people in doing good, and he was at his most generous during the month of Ramadan. Gabriel used to meet with him every year throughout the month of Ramadan, so the Prophet could recite the Qur'ân to him. Whenever Gabriel met with him, he became more generous than a beneficial breeze." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1902) and Sahîh Muslim (2308)]

Al-Nawawî states [al-Majmû` (6/398)]:
Generosity and open-handedness are strongly encouraged in Ramadan, especially during the last ten nights. By doing so, we emulate the example of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) as well as of our Pious Predecessors. Also, this month is noble, and good works carried out in this month are more blessed than they are at any other time. Also, during this month, people are preoccupied with fasting and worship, and this distracts them from their livelihood, so they might need some assistance during this time.

Artificial hair extensions for women

Question Title: 
Artificial hair extensions for women
Date: 
Tue, 09/12/2006
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
I have heard that wigs and hair extensions are forbidden in Islam. However, many young women today wear artificial hair extensions that are obviously not their real hair. They are merely decorative. Are such hair extensions allowed in Islam? I understand that women cannot show their hair to other than their husbands, close family, and other women.
English Answer: 
Hair extensions made from human hair are clearly prohibited, even if they do not look like the woman's own hair.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah has cursed the woman who adds hair extensions and the woman who asks for it to be done.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (5934) and Sahîh Muslim (2122)]

With respect to extensions made of non-human or synthetic hair, this is a matter of disagreement among scholars. The strongest view is that it is permissible to use such extensions as a means of adornment, in the same way that clothing and jewelry are used, provided that it is obvious that the extensions are for decorative purposes only and are not being used as a means of deceiving a prspective husband.

This is because hair extentions of non-human or synthetic origin that do not resemble the woman's own hair take the same ruling as clothing and jewelry, since they function in the same way.

And Allah knows best.

Deeds that earn us the Prophet's companionship

Question Title: 
Deeds that earn us the Prophet's companionship
Date: 
Tue, 09/12/2006
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
Could you please inform me of the four deeds that will bring us to be with the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Paradise? I think one of these deeds is caring for the orphan.
English Answer: 
We certainly cannot restrict the deeds that bring us into the company of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to four. However, the following are four deeds which are mentioned in the Sunnah:

1. Offering prayer often

Rabî`ah b. Ka`b narrates: I was with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) one night, and I brought him water and what he required. He said to me: "Ask (anything you like)".

I said: "I ask to be in your company in Paradise."

He said: "Or anything else besides that?"

I said: "That is all."

He said: "Then help me to achieve this for you by devoting yourself often to prostration." [Sahîh Muslim (489)]

2. Cultivating good manners

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The people whom I love the most among you and who will be sitting closest in my company are those who have the best manners.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2018) – authenticated by al-Albânî and others]

3. Sponsoring and caring for orphans

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “I and the one who looks after an orphan will be like this in Paradise," and he showed two fingers of his hand close together. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (5304)]

4. A widows's devotion to her orphaned children

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I and a woman whose cheeks were darkened will be in Paradise like this” – and he showed two fingers of his hand close together – “Though she had a high rank in the society and was beautiful, she instead devoted herself to raising her orphan children until they either grew up or died.” [Sunan Abû Dâwûd (5149) – however it has been declared to be weak by al-Albânî]

And Allah knows best.

Division of wealth upon divorce

Question Title: 
Division of wealth upon divorce
Date: 
Tue, 09/12/2006
Sender Name: 
none
Question in English : 
I am getting a divorce from my husband. How should our wealth be divided according to Islam, with the knowledge that I worked with side-by-side with him to create our wealth? Am I entitled to the 50% or is it any less since he is the man and I the woman? Someone advised that in divorce the settlement goes according to the country you live in. How true is that? In our country, there is community of property, meaning that each spouse is entitled to 50% upon divorce.
English Answer: 
There is no presumption of community of property between a husband and wife in Islam. Each spouse holds his or her property individually, except that which they actually own jointly as partners, for instance items that they purchased jointly or business enterprises that they jointly developed.

At the same time, Allah says: “And do not forget liberality between yourselves. For Allah sees well all that ye do.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 237]

Therefore, if either party waives some of his or her rights and allows the other to have a larger share that what is strictly due to that party, then this is perfectly alright. Therefore a 50-50 division of the wealth, if freely agreed upon by both parties, is permitted.

Otherwise, each person is entitled to take the percentage of wealth that each party has actually contributed. This should be determined by the Islamic courts in a Muslim country. In a non-Muslim country, it should be carried out with the assistance of the relevant authorities at the leading Islamic center in the region that handles marriage and divorce issues, preferably in the presence of lawyers and accountants who are qualified to handle estate matters. Each party should bring whatever evidence he or she has regarding their respective individual contributions. The purpose here will be to divide the wealth justly and fairly, favoring neither the man nor the woman.

And Allah knows best.

Looking for Mistakes

Date: 
Tue, 08/23/2005
Short Content: 
When we convince ourselves that someone else is in error, either in his beliefs or his approach, or his ideologies, then we go on to verify whether this is the case, we often feel happy when our belief about him is confirmed. This is wrong. We should feel sad to find that he is really in error.
Body: 
When it becomes a person’s habit to look for the mistakes of others, he becomes sensitized to them and attracts them to himself like a magnet. This is a tendency found in the school environment, even in kindergarten, and in society as a whole. It stems from an error in aim and intent and a tendency for a person to think he has the right to declare what is correct and what is mistaken and then go overboard in observing and keeping tabs on others, waiting to pounce on any error. This tendency in a person is often compounded by a false perception of the inherent rightness of what he is doing.

Overlooking people’s mistakes is not a sign of stupidity or simple-mindedness. Nor does it mean a tacit approval of their mistakes. Someone who concurs with the mistakes of others is no more a person of discernment than one who actively seeks out their mistakes. A person of discretion is one who knows when to correct and when to overlook.

Striking the proper balance between overlooking mistakes and pointing them out is needed in all interpersonal dealings, even between a husband and wife. In the hadîth, we find a woman describing her husband as follows: “When he enters the home, he is a lynx, but when he departs from the home, he is a lion. He never asks what has taken place.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

Ibn Hajar discusses the meaning of this statement, saying: “It can imply praise in that he is very generous, easy to overlook things that are bad. He does not miss what is spent of his money. When he brings something for the home, he does not enquire about it later on. He does not pay attention to the shortcomings he sees in the home. He is tolerant and overlooks things.” [Fath al-Bârî]

Often, people get carried away by their emotions, which dictate to them their words and actions, especially when it comes to matters of faith. Even then, people do not like to be slighted or taken lightly.

When Ibn `Abbâs deemed permissible the exchange of a gold coin for two gold coins, Abû Asyad al-Sâ`idî spoke to him very harshly about it. Ibn `Abbâs then said: “I would never have thought that anyone who knew of my close relationship to Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) would say something like that to me.”

No one, except for those spared by Allah’s grace, is safe from having his judgments of others clouded by personal desires.

Sheikh `Abd al-Rahmân al-Mu`allimî mentions a personal experience of his in his book al-Tankîl (2/212):
The problem of personal desires is generally too vast to comprehend. I have tested myself. Perhaps I might look into an issue claiming that I am free from the influence of vain desires and when a thought comes to me that I am pleased with, I resolve upon it and assert it. Then when another thought comes that puts the first thought in question, I become irritated with that unsettling thought and I come in conflict with myself trying to force an answer to counter it and then ignore any counterarguments.

This conduct on my part was merely because I had became biased towards regarding the first thought that pleased me as being correct. This happened in spite of the fact that nobody else besides me knew about my conclusions on that particular matter. How much more trying would the matter have been for me had I already announced my opinions publicly and then came across that which cast doubt upon my opinions? Worse still, what if I did not come upon the objections myself, but someone else came with them opposing my views?
This shows how subjective our thinking really is. Egoism is a natural human tendency.

Someone might have good intentions and motives behind his hunting for mistakes in others. It may have started as genuine concern and from a real sense that there is a need for goings-on to be supervised. However, this so often gives rise to a sense of authority superiority and superiority over others.

There is a curious story of a person who always used to recite Surâh al-Qâri`ah whenever he led his colleagues in prayer. They would tell each other that he did so because he had scarcely memorized any other chapter of the Qur’ân. One day, he chanced upon his colleagues entering al-Haram and said to them: “Perhaps the imam will recite that chapter and make a mistake, so I can correct him.”

When we convince ourselves that someone else is in error, either in his beliefs or his approach, or his ideologies, then we go on to verify whether this is the case, we often feel happy when our belief about him is confirmed. This is wrong. We should feel sad to find that he is really in error.

When Dâwûd al-Zâhirî was debating with someone, the other person countered with: “If you say such-and-such, then you have fallen into unbelief, and may Allah be praised!”

Dâwûd al-Zahirî exclaimed: “There is no might or power except with Allah! How can you find joy in the unbelief of your Muslim brother?!”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) describes the state of a person who seeks out the mistakes of others while forgetting his own, though they may be far worse, by saying: “One of you sees the piece of sand in his brother’s eye and forgets about the stick of wood in his own eye.” [Sahîh Ibn Hibbân – and uthenticated by al-Albânî]

When we attempt to weigh another person’s good and bad traits in the balance, we have a tendency to weigh down one side of the balance with our little finger so as to tip the scales in favor of our already biased opinion of that person.

Long ago, that wisest of jurists, al-Shâfi`î, said: “I never debated with anyone without hoping that Allah would make the truth manifest on his tongue.”

During the time that `Uthmân was Caliph, someone came to him and said: “People have assembled to engage in recreation, carousing, and licentiousness.”

He went to deal with the situation and found that they had already disbanded, so he praised Allah and freed a slave.

We should try to seethe good side of those who are in error, especially when we have an occasion warrants mentioning something about that person. The Prophet (peace be upon him) praised the King of Abyssinia, who was a non-Muslim at that time, by describing him a king in whose realm nobody is oppressed. He said this on the occasion of sending some of his Companions to immigrate to Abyssinia.

A woman who was engaging in Islamic work in one of the Muslim countries once say a woman wearing a proper headscarf and smoking a cigarette. She exclaimed: “Glory be to Allah! A covered woman smoking!”

Might she have rather said: “By Allah’s grace, in spite of the fact that she smokes, she observes proper Islamic dress.”

It is true that a person who has some visible signs of righteousness about him is still liable to be taken to task for his shortcomings like anyone else, if not more so. Nevertheless, we need to train ourselves to be balanced when weighing the merits and demerits of others, lest we give false measure.

Does this mean that we have to swallow everyone else’s mistakes and keep quiet? Not at all. We are supposed to correct mistakes. However, going to overboard in correcting others is itself a mistake that needs to be corrected.

The prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The believer is a mirror of his brother.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî and Sunan Abî Dâwûd – and authenticated by al-Albânî]

The mirror is a very eloquent and expressive metaphor here. When you look in the mirror, you see yourself as you really are with no alterations. Likewise, a Muslim sees in his fellow Muslim a good face that is enlightened by the truth just as he sees his negative qualities and deficiencies. This is not how some people have misunderstood the hadîth, thinking that it means we should go around exposing the mistakes and shortcomings of those we meet.

Contests & sweepstakes with a participation fee

Question Title: 
Contests & sweepstakes with a participation fee
Date: 
Sat, 07/23/2005
Sender Name: 
none
Question in English : 
There is a contest hosted by a newspaper whereby you answer a question using your cellular phone and can win a prize. The cost of the call is about five Saudi Riyals. What is the ruling on participating in such a contest?
English Answer: 
After considering the conditions of the contest, it becomes clear that it is unlawful for a Muslim to participate in it. It is a clear case of gambling. The newspaper in question, though it does not make paying a participation fee explicit, has made the fee implicit in the money that is being charged for the call. The normal price for a phone call, 20 cents, is a fraction of the amount being charged for this call. This means that much of the extra cost is going to the newspaper that is conducting the contest. The newspaper, in turn, pays out the prizes from a portion of the receipts from the charges on the calls.

This set-up is the very definition of gambling, whereby the prize money comes directly from the contributions of the participants. Some participants win at the expense of others. Each participant faces the possibility of losing what he spent on the call if he loses or of making a profit on what others have spent if he wins.

This is precisely what the Qur’ân declares forbidden. Allah says: “O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, sacrificing to stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork: eschew such (abomination) that ye may prosper” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 91-92]

And Allah knows best.

----------------------------------

Answered by:

Sheikh Sulaymân al-`Isâ, professor of Graduate Studies at al-Imam Islamic University

Sheikh Sâmî al-Suwaylîm, researcherin Islamic Economics

Sheikh Yûsuf b. Ahmad al-Qâsim, professor at the Higher Judicial Institute

Sheikh Râshid Al Hafîz, presiding judge at al-Mikhwât District Courthouse

Sheikh Sâmî al-Mâjid, professor at al-Imam Islamic University

Shares of parents & siblings

Question Title: 
Shares of parents & siblings
Date: 
Thu, 06/23/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
Do parents inherit from their offspring? Do sisters and brothers inherit from each other? What is the share that is received by the father, mother, brother or sister?
English Answer: 
The parents of the deceased receive a share of inheritance. The share varies depending on who the other inheritors are.

The brothers and sisters of the deceased receive a share of the inheritance in certain cases, the amount of which again depends on who the other inheritors are.

As for the determination of these shares, it is as follows:

The Father:

The share received by father of the deceased varies according to three sets of circumstances:

1. If the deceased has a male child or more, then the father receives one-sixth of the estate.

2. If the deceased has only a daughter or daughters, then the father initially receives one-sixth, then he receives any remainder left over after the other inheritors receive their shares.

3. If the deceased leaves no children, then the father receives the entire estate after other inheritors (like the deceased’s wife and mother, for instance) receive their allotted shares.

The Mother:

The share received by father of the deceased varies according to three sets of circumstances:

1. If the deceased has one or more male or female children or has two or more brothers who survive him, then the mother of the deceased receives one-sixth of the estate.

2. If the deceased leaves behind no children, and one brother or no brothers at all, nor a spouse nor a father, then the mother receives one-third of the estate.

3. If the inheritors are none other than the father, mother, and the spouse of the deceased, ten the mother receives one third of the estate that remains after the spouse receives his or her share.

Full Brothers & Paternal Half Brothers:

The brothers of the deceased do not have a specified, fixed share. They only receive the remained that is left over after the inheritors with fixed shares receive their due. There are third in line to be entitled to this remainder after the children and the father of the deceased, with preference given to the full brothers over the paternal half brothers.

Full Sisters & Paternal Half Sisters:

A solitary surviving full sister of the deceased will receive one-half of the inheritance if there are no surviving sons or brothers of the deceased. If there are two or more full sisters in this situation, then they will collectively receive two-thirds of the estate.

They likewise can have a complementary share along with the daughters and brothers of the deceased. This happens when the deceased is survived by a solitary daughter and a sister. In this case the sister will receive one-sixth of the estate and the daughter will receive one-half. This also happens when there are brothers and sisters, for in this case the remainder inheritance is divided up between them, with each brother receiving twice the amount received by each sister.

Paternal half-sisters take the same set of rulings, except that they come after the full sisters in entitlement. Therefore, the division of inheritance that exists between a paternal half sister and a full sister is the same as that which exists between a full sister and a daughter.

Maternal Brothers & Sisters

If the deceased is survived by a solitary maternal half-brother or maternal half-sister, she will receive one-sixth of the estate if the deceased leaves behind no child or father as an inheritor. If there are two or more maternal half-siblings and the deceased leaves behind no child or father as an inheritor, then they will share equally in one-third of the estate.

And Allah knows best.

Carrying the bier

Question Title: 
Carrying the bier
Date: 
Mon, 05/23/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
It is a general understanding that the coffin should be carried the shoulders of its bearers. If we look at coffin designs, especially Christians coffins, they have handles. It is much easier to carry it hanging rather than hoisting the coffin upon the shoulders. Is it really necessary to carry the coffin on the shoulders in Islamic Law?
English Answer: 
Abû Hanîfah, al-Shâfi`î and Ahmad b. Hanbal – the founders of the three famous schools of law – decided that the bier on which the body is transported should be carried on the shoulders of those who bear it, who stand on all four sides.

Ibn Mas`ûd said: “Those who bear the body should carry it from all sides of the bier, as this is according to Sunnah. Then the bearer may proceed on or give up.”

This statement is related in Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1478) and Sunan al-Bayhaqî (4/19) from the narration of Abû `Ubaydah b. `Abd Allah through his father. Since Abû `Ubaydah did not hear from his father, there is an interruption in this line of transmission.

Mâlik, the founder of the Mâlikî school of law – held the opinion that there is no special way for carrying the bier, so it can be carried in any way. The same opinion was adopted by the great jurist al-Awzâ`î.

It seems to me that the manner carrying the body is not a major issue and it should be carried in the manner that is easiest for the people concerned.

However, deliberately aping the unbelievers in their particular rituals and their manner of worship is impermissible, as known from numerous lines of evidence.

And Allah knows best.

Critique of Kitâb al-`Arsh

Question Title: 
Critique of Kitâb al-`Arsh
Date: 
Mon, 05/23/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
I am writing to ask about the author of Kitâb al-`Arsh He is Ibn Abî Shaybah, I think. Is he a reliable narrator, and is his book trustworthy? Al-Kawthari said that he was a liar, and I have heard that al-Khatîb al-Baghdâdî said the same.
English Answer: 
The author of Kitâb al-`Arsh is Muhammad b. `Uthmân b. Abî Shaybah. The authorship of Muhammad b. `Uthmân b. Abî Shaybah for Kitâb al-`Arsh is confirmed.

There is disagreement about his strength as a narrator.

Look what Imam al-Dhahabî says in Siyar A`lâm al-Nubalâ’ (14/21): “The criticizers had disagreed about Muhammad b. `Uthmân. Some of them classified him as trustworthy while others classified him as a liar.”

Kitab al-`Arsh is essentially a collection of narrations on the topic of the throne of Allah. These narrations he mentions in his book Kitâb al-`Arsh are not narrated exclusively by him. They are mentioned elsewhere in the hadîth literature.

There are only eight or nine narrations that are narrated exclusively by him, but the meanings of these are found in other narrations.

The narrations of hadîth mentioned in his book need to be scrutinized on their own merits by looking at their chains of transmission as they are found in their various hadîth sources. They are neither authenticated nor weakened by their presence in the book Kitâb al-`Arsh.

Since he has come with a few unique narrations within it, we would decide not to accept those particular narrations if we prefer to adopt the opinion that he is a weak narrator.

The throne of Allah is mentioned in the Qur’ân many times. Allah is firmly established on the throne in a way that is suitable to Him.

Please do not confuse the author of Kitâb al-`Arsh with `Abd Allah b. Muhammad b. Abî Shaybah, the author of the Musannaf. They are two different people.

And Allah knows best.