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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Electing a Leader the Islamic Way

Election fever in South Africa is running high, and soon millions of people will be casting their ballots to decide who governs the country for the next five years. In this article we intend highlighting the difference between the Islamic form of leadership and leadership as defined by Western, kuffar law. The Shar’ee method of electing a leader differs vastly from that of non-Muslims. In the democracies of the Kuffar that are in vogue today, the masses are called upon to elect a leader of their choice. They do this by putting an ‘x’ on the ballot paper next to the name of the candidate or individual they believe is the right man for the job. This is called a vote. The party who obtains a large majority of the votes becomes the government of the day.

The major factor that influences the decisions of an electorate as to which political party they should vote for is the benefits of life that the party could or would create. People look at the party which can provide extra jobs and housing, better living standards, increased subsidies for the needy, free education, more health care, reduction in crime rate, and so forth.. All this can be pinned down to basic material benefits. The party that can deliver on its promises in this regard will get the most votes, thus securing enough seats in Parliament to become the legal rulers of the country.
It is thus absolutely clear that the main purpose for voting in today’s democratic systems is to secure a comfortable worldly life. There is nothing spiritual or religious about this. It is simply a matter of supporting the side which butters the bread. Such voting is not governed by any moral conscience. There is no religious or spiritual benefit to serve as a motivating factor behind these votes.
For a Muslim, who is bound to look at the situation from an Islamic perspective, electing a leader takes on an entirely different hue. In Islam, if Muslims are able to elect or appoint their own leader of state, it is Waajib (incumbent) upon them to do so. In the ensuing paragraphs some interesting facts of true Islamic leadership are highlighted.

Government is referred to in Shariah as Khilafat (Caliphate) meaning vicegerency. The individual who is appointed as a leader of state is termed a Khaleefa. Since the leader of a country is entrusted with the noble task of implementing the Law of Almighty Allah, he is considered the vicegerent of Allah Ta’~la on earth. It can thus be gauged how sacred and supreme the office of State-leadership is in Islam.

Where this issue is discussed at length in the Books of Aqaa-id, the Ulema of Islam have enlisted the following major tasks that a Khaleefa is required to fulfill:
Execution of the Islamic Justice System and Penal Code;
Meting out justice on behalf of the oppressed;
Establishment of Eid, Jum’uah, and the five daily salah;
Waging of Jihad against those who impede the spread of Islam;
Erection of Masaajid and Madaaris;
Regulating waqf institutions;
Overseeing the wealth of orphans and widows;
Providing relief to the poor and destitute;
Setting up Islamic courts;
Promulgating legislation which is in the interests of the Deen of Muslims.
These are but a few of the main duties to be executed by a Muslim ruler. Readers can thus gauge the exalted and superior status of leadership, and precisely for this reason has Islam laid down stringent conditions for Khilafat.

The institution of Khilafat began from the blessed time of Hazrat Abubakr (radhiyallahu anhu), and continued through the golden era of the four Khulafaa. Hazrat Abubakr was, therefore, the first Khaleefa in Islam. The era spanning the leadership of the first four khaleefas, viz, Abubakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with them) is termed Khilafat-e-Raashida, or the Caliphate of Righteousness. The Khilafat of Islam dominated the world for over 12 centuries. A decline in Islamic belief and practice, as well as pressure of Kuffar influence, resulted in the Muslims losing their fervour for Jihad, and with it the Khilafat. Most laws pertaining to the election of a leader and government are derived from this golden era of Islam known as the Khilafat-e-Raashid, as we shall outline later.
The Fuqaha have described leadership of state as Imaamat-e-Kubraa (the major imaamat), in contrast to Imaamat-e-Sughra or minor Imaamat which is the imamat of jamaat salah. The Major Imaamat has been ordained by Allah as a representation of the office of Nubuwwat for the safeguarding and management of all Deeni affairs. The establishment of such an office in the Ummat is wajib according to Ijmaa' or the consensus of all Ulema. However, the wujoob here is alal kifayah, so if a few assume and subsequently fulfill this responsibility, the rest will be absolved.

In the institution of Khilafat or Imaamat two groups play an important role:
Ahlul Ikhtiyaar or People of Choice
Ahlul Imaamat or the candidates for this high office
The Ahlul-Ikhtiyaar are those equipped with the necessary qualifications, who will elect a leader through mutual consent. The conditions to be found in this group are as follows:
1) Moral uprightness and integrity. They should not be people who openly flout the Laws of Allah Ta’~la.
2) Knowledge of Islam whereby one is able to recognize the qualifications and requisites for Imaamat in a candidate.
3) Wisdom and experience in political matters.
The above three conditions are unique in that they ensure all-round protection for the Ummah. In moral rectitude it is ensured that the individual will be qualified to elect a leader and will do so with utmost sincerity, with the interests of the Ummah at heart. Knowledge of Islam enables one to establish the credentials and qualifications of a candidate and thereby ensure that a suitably qualified man is placed at the helm of the Ummat's affairs. Experience and wisdom in politics ensure worldly benefit.
Readers can thus understand that the system of allowing the masses, most of whom lack good morals and knowledge, to elect a leader is absolutely foreign to Islam. This procedure was created and developed by the West and has no relationship with Shariah.

According to the unanimous view of the Ulema, the person elected as a ruler of State must be:
A Muslim male adult of sane mind, knowledgeable in Islamic matters, upright in morals and character, experienced and prudent in political affairs, courageous and brave, in possession of all faculties of physical perception, sound and healthy in body and limb.

In Shariah there are two ways a leader may be elected to power:
Through appointment or nomination of the former Khalifa. This was the way Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahi anhu) was elected. Before passing away Hazrat Abubakr (radhiyallahu anhu) nominated Hazrat Umar as his successor.
Through an election process of a select group. Prior to his demise Hazrat Umar nominated a panel of six senior Sahaaba from whom the new Khalifa was to be elected. One of the six was Hazrat Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu). When this panel met after the death of Ameerul-Mumineen, they unanimously chose Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) as the third Khalifa of Islam.

To summarize the afore-going:
A leader of an Islamic State shall be elected by a group of such individuals who possess knowledge of Deen, taqwa, experience in political matters, and have the interests of Islam at heart. The number of this group can vary. It can consist of 6 people or 600. The condition is that the person they elect must have the qualifications of Khilafat, as mentioned above. If an outgoing leader nominates a successor, such a nominee automatically becomes the new ruler upon the demise or resignation of the former.
It is thus evident that in Islam it is not necessary for the whole country to vote in order to elect a leader. Essentially Muslim countries are obliged to adopt one of the previously mentioned procedures when electing a ruler into power. This has been standard Islamic procedure since the golden age of the Khilafat-e-Raashida, and continued through twelve centuries of Muslim world domination. At no stage was the concept of democracy or majority vote ever implemented by past Islamic governments. It was only after the curtain had come down on true Shariah based khilafat, that Muslim (not Islamic) governments began adopting Western style democracy. This was predictable, given the heavy Western Kuffar influence that saturated the modernized Muslim at the time.

Notwithstanding the above, should a Muslim country allow voting en masse and elect a president or prime minister through majority vote, such an individual will become a recognized ruler of the Muslim state. That election process will be upheld. It will be obligatory on all citizens of that country to offer allegiance and obedience to such a ruler, unless he degenerates to the level of kufr, for then he loses his status as a leader.
However, it is wajib or incumbent upon Muslim governments to revert to the age-old Islamic system of electing their rulers, as outlined in the afore-going paragraphs. This was the sunnah of Nabi Muhammed (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). This is indeed one of the major reasons why our Muslim governments lack the muscle and courage to assert their authority on the world scene today. They have discarded not one, but countless sunnats of Nabi Muhammed (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Our success lies only and only in following the path etched out for us in sweat and blood by the Blessed Rasool of Allah Ta’ala. May Almighty Allah shower his choicest blessings and salutations upon that Noble Rasool.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Evil of TV: Fast Forward to Trouble

Four years ago, Bhutan became the last nation on earth to introduce television. Suddenly a culture, barely changed in centuries, was bombarded by 46 cable channels. Soon came Bhutan's first crime wave - murder, fraud, drug offences.

April 2002 was a turbulent month in Bhutan. One of the remotest nations, perched high in the snowlines of the Himalayas, Bhutan suffered a crime wave. The 700,000 inhabitants had never experienced serious law-breaking before. Yet now there were reports from many towns and villages of fraud, violence and murder.

The Bhutanese had always been proud of their incorruptible officials - until Parop Tshering, chief accountant of the State Trading Corporation, was charged April 5 with embezzling 4.5m ngultrums. Every aspect of Bhutanese life is steeped in Buddhism, yet on April 13 police began searching for thieves who had vandalised and robbed three of the country's most ancient stupas. Three days later in Thimphu, Bhutan's capital, Dorje, a 37-year-old truck driver, bludgeoned his wife to death. In Bhutan, family welfare has always come first; then, on April 28, Sonam, a 42-year-old farmer, drove his in-laws off a cliff in a drunken rage, killing his niece and injuring his sister.

Why was this kingdom falling victim to the kind of crime associated with urban life in America and Europe? For Bhutanese, the only explanation seemed to be five satellite dishes on the outskirts of Thimphu. In June 1999, Bhutan became the last nation in the world to turn on TV. The King lifted a ban on the small screen as part of a plan to modernise his country, and thousands signed up to a cable service that provided 46 channels of round-the-clock entertainment, much of it from Rupert Murdoch's Star TV network.
Four years on, those same subscribers are beginning to accuse television of smothering their culture, of promoting a world that is incompatible with their own, and of threatening to destroy an idyll where time has stood still for half a millennium.

A monk created this tiny country in 1616 as a Buddhist sanctuary. By the 1930s virtually all that was known of Bhutan in the west was James Hilton's novel, Lost Horizon. He called it Shangri-la, a secret Himalayan valley. In the real Bhutan, there were no public hospitals or schools until the 1950s, and no paper currency, roads or electricity until several years after that. Bhutan had no diplomatic relations with any country until 1961, and the first western visitors came only in 1974.
But none of these developments has made such a fundamental impact on Bhutanese life as TV. Since the April 2002 crime wave, the national newspaper, Kuensel, has called for censoring TV (some even suggested that foreign broadcasters be banned). An editorial warns: "We are seeing for the first time broken families, school dropouts and other youth crimes. We are beginning to see crime like shoplifting, burglary and violence." Every week, the letters page carries columns of correspondence: "Dear Editor, TV is very bad for our country... it controls our minds... and makes [us] crazy. The enemy is right here with us in our own living room. People behave like the actors, and are now anxious, greedy and discontent."
Can TV be accused of weakening spiritual values, of inciting fraud and murder among a peaceable people? In Bhutan, thanks to its isolation, and the abruptness with which its people embraced those 46 cable channels, the issue is clear-cut. How the kingdom is affected by TV may help to find an answer to the question that has evaded us: have we become the product of what we watch?
Sangay Ngedup, minister for health and education, concedes that there is a gulf opening up between old Bhutan and the new: "Until recently, we shied away from killing insects, and yet now we are asked to watch people on TV blowing heads off with shotguns. Will we now be blowing each other's heads off?" The small screen was prohibited in Bhutan. Faced by recriminations, government relented and Bhutan's Olympic Committee was permitted to erect a giant screen in Changlimithang stadium. A TV screen in the middle of Thimphu was a revolutionary sight.
The current king's father initiated a programme of modernisation that saw his people embrace material progress: education, modern medicine, transportation, currency, electricity. However, he attempted to inhibit conspicuous consumption. No Coca-Cola. No advertising hoardings. And no TV. On June 2 1999, Bhutan’s new king announced that now they could watch TV. Sigma Cable is the most successful of more than 30 cable operators. Together, they supply the entire country. Rinzy Dorje, Sigma's chief executive, defends cable TV: "Look, we can't pretend we're still a medieval, hermit nation."

Have Bhutan's values been corroded by TV? "We are entitled to watch what we want, when we want, if we want. And we are quite capable of weeding out the rubbish." he retorts.
Leki Dorji, deputy minister of communications, admits that, in its haste to introduce TV, the government failed to prepare legislation. There is no film classification board, no regulations about media ownership. Companies such as Star TV are free to broadcast whatever they want. Leki Dorji says his ministry is planning an impact study, but he does not believe cable TV is responsible for April's crime wave. Whether truck-driver Dorje was influenced by something he had watched on TV when he began smoking heroin or when he clubbed his wife to death has yet to be established. We will not know whether the death of Sonam's niece had anything to do with the impatient, selfish society promoted by TV until the study is completed. But a wealth of evidence points to TV being a critical factor.

The marijuana that flourishes like a weed in every Bhutanese hedgerow was only ever used to feed pigs before TV, but police have arrested hundreds for smoking it in recent years. During the Bishwa Karma Puja celebrations, a man was stabbed in the stomach in a fight over alcohol. A boy is serving a sentence after shooting up the ceiling of a local bar with his dad's gun. Police can barely control the fights at the new hip-hop night on Saturdays.
An independent group of Bhutanese academics carried out an impact study and found that cable TV has caused dramatic changes to society, being responsible for increasing crime, corruption, an uncontrolled desire for western products, and changing attitudes to love and relationships. Dorji Penjore, one of the researchers in the study, says: "My children are changing. They are fighting in the playground, imitating techniques they see on World Wrestling Federation."
Kinley Dorji, editor of Kuensel warns "The government underestimated how aggressively channels like Star market themselves, how little they seem to care about programming, how virulent the message of the advertisers is." Kinley Dorji believes Bhutanese society is in danger of being polarised by TV. "The ordinary people, the villagers, are confused about whether they should be ancient or modern, and the younger generation don't really care. They jettison traditional culture for whatever they are sold on TV."

For the first time children are confiding in their teachers of feeling manic, envious and stressed. Boys have been caught mugging for cash. A girl was discovered prostituting herself for pocket money in a hotel.
What do you like about TV, we ask a school class. "Posh and Becks, Eminem, Linkin Park. We love The Rock," they chorus. "Aliens. Homer Simpson." No one saw BBS’s documentary on Buddhist festivals last night.
A new section entitled ‘controversies’ in the principal's annual report describes "marathon staff meetings that continue on a war footing to discuss student discipline, substance abuse, degradation of values in changing times". Violence, greed, pride, jealousy, spite - are some of the new subjects on the school curriculum, all of which teachers attribute to TV. The principal, Karma Yeshey, whose MA is from Leeds University, says, "Our children live in two different worlds, one created by the school and another by cable. Our challenge is to help them understand both, and we are afraid of failing."
Children by the dozen, abandoning their ghos (traditional robes) for jeans and T-shirts bearing US wrestling logos; on their heads Stars and Stripes bandannas. On the mud wall of the ancient crematorium, they crawled in charcoal a message in English with swear words.
In one village so many farmers were watching TV that an entire crop failed. There is something depressing about watching a society casting aside its unique character in favour of a Californian beach.

Bhutan's isolation has made the impact of television all the clearer. Consider the results of the impact study:
One third of girls now want to look more American (whiter skin, blond hair).
A similar proportion have new approaches to relationships (boyfriends not husbands, sex not marriage).
More than 35% of parents prefer to watch TV than talk to their children.
Almost 50% of children watch for up to 12 hours a day.
Is this how we came to live in our Big Brother society, mesmerised by the fate of minor celebrities fighting in the jungle?
The King underestimated the power of TV, perceiving it as a benign and controllable force, allowing it free rein, believing that his kingdom's culture was strong enough to resist its messages.
But TV is a portal, and in Bhutan it is systematically replacing one culture with another, persuading a nation of novice Buddhist consumers to become preoccupied with themselves, rather than searching for their self.

Guardian Unlimited 2006


Friday, May 16, 2008

The Qurbani Period

1. Qurbani may only be done during the days of Nahr. NAHR actually means the sacrificing of a camel. But this term is generally used for the three days of qurbani, viz:
10, 11, & 12 ZHUL-HIJJA.
This is the period or the days of qurbani.
2. The qurbani period starts from subuh sadiq(d­awn) on the 10th Zhul-Hijja and ends at sunset on the 12th.
Qurbani is allowed at any time during this period, including the nights of the 10th and 11th, but not the night of the 12th.
Note: Unlike other days where the night precedes the day, the qurbani nights come AFTER the days. Hence qurbani is not valid on the night before Eid.

3. People living in towns or cities, where Eid Salah is performed may not do their qurbani until after the Eid Salah.
4. But those staying in rural areas (farms, etc.) may begin their sacrifices at the break of dawn on Eid day, even if they intend coming into the city for Eid Salah later on.
5. It is proper for a city-dweller to delegate someone living in the countryside or rural area to perform his (the city-dweller's) qurbani in that rural area BEFORE Eid Salah.
The place where the animal is sacrificed should always be considered to determine whether qurbani is permissible before Eid Salah or not. If the animal is being slaughtered in a rural area, that qurbani is jaiz before Eid Salah. And if it is being cut in the city then the qurbani is only jaiz after Eid Salah.
Hence, one living in the countryside cannot send his animal into the city to have the qurbani done there before Eid Salah.
On the same principle, if one's qurbani is being offered in another city or country, the Eid Salah of that area will be considered.
6. From the above it is clear that if one (male or female) living in the city made qurbani before Eid Salah, it is not valid and will have to be repeated. The animal thus slaughtered will be halaal, but will not be counted as qurbani.
7. If Eid Salah is conducted at several places in one city then it will be jaiz to commence qurbani after the earliest Eid Salah, even though the sacrificer has not yet read his Eid Salah.
8. Those people who are exempted from the Eid Salah, such as women, minors, the lame or sick, must also wait for the completion of the Eid Salah before they can begin sacrificing.
9. If qurbani was offered immediately after Eid Salah, but BEFORE the Eid khutba, it will be valid. But to do so intentionally is sinful.
10. If for some reason or other Eid Salah was not performed on Eid day(i.e. 10th Zhul-Hijja) then it will only be jaiz to commence sacrificing AFTER ZAWAAL on that day, i.e. after expiry of the time of Eid Salah, which is just before zawaal.
However, during the next two days qurbani could be done at any time. If Eid Salah was read the following day (11th), or the day thereafter (12th), qurbani would be jaiz even BEFORE the Eid on these two days.

The tarteeb or sequence between Eid salah and Qurbani for city-dwellers is wajib only on the first day (i.e. 10th).

When the Eid salah becomes qaza (by failing to read it before zawaal on the 10th) then this tarteeb falls away.

In such a case one may make qurbani from after zawaal on the 10th, and at any time on the following two days.
11. If after Eid Salah and qurbani it was dis­covered that for some reason the Eid Salah was not valid (e.g. Imam had no wuzu, or a faraz was omitted) then the Salah will have to be repeated, but the qurbani made by people will be valid. There is no need to repeat the qurbani.
12. If the need to repeat Eid Salah was realised at the Eidgah before the dispersing of the crowd then the Salah will be repeated then and there, in jamaat form. In this case no one is allowed to offer qurbani until the Eid Salah has been reread.
13. If the need to repeat the Salah was only discovered after people had gone home then only the Imam should repeat his Salah. It is not necessary to inform the Muslim public. All subse­quent qurbanis will be valid (as stated in no.11 above).
14. If after Eid and qurbani it was discovered that the Hilaal (new moon) information was incorr­ect, and it was in fact the NINTH of Zhul-Hijja, and not the tenth, then both the Salah and qurbani are valid. There is no need to repeat either.
15. Slaughtering at night is valid, but makrooh tanzeehi (better not to do so).
16. If the qurbani animal was sacrificed BEFORE the period of qurbani, it will not be jaiz to eat its meat. The whole animal must be distributed among the poor.
If qurbani was initially wajib upon the owner then another animal should be bought and sacrificed when the qurbani period enters.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Web has Netted our Marriages

There is an alarming increase in the number of marriages that have broken down or are on the verge of breaking down due to the husband’s involvement in internet dating and web pornography. This is a new form of sin involving modern-day technology. Here we have zinaa via the net. Young and old husbands are spending hours at odd times of the day and night chatting to women over the net.

With the cheap availability of laptops and notebook computers, we now have mobile zinaa. Wherever the intender of evil is, he can access the internet and pornographic websites and chat-rooms via his laptop. This is zinaa while on the move. Some ignorant men labour under the false notion that it is fine just chatting to women over the net, as long as there is no physical contact. This is how they soothe their conscience. But understand that Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) prohibited zinaa of the eyes (looking), zinaa of the ears (hearing), zinaa of the tongue (speaking) and zinaa of the hands (touching). On the basis of this hadith in Bukhari Shareef, how can we ignore the clear-as-daylight sin of the hands when that unfaithful husband sits at his keyboard and types in those haraam words and messages. The Holy Quran warns that even our fingers shall be resurrected and shall bear testimony for or against us! (Surah Qiyamah, verse 4, and Surah Yaseen)

It is despicable in the extreme to hear of outwardly pious people who dress Islamically and guard their eyes from looking at women in the street, indulging in this evil past time and satiating their eyes on haraam pictures over the net. They believe that no one sees them. Alas, such men are utter fools who have been duped by their lowly nafs and shaytaan. Allah says in The Holy Quran: “Does he not know that Allah is watching him?” (Surah Iqra’) “And Allah knows your movements (outside the home) and your living conditions (inside the home)” (Surah Muhammad). “Verily nothing in the heavens or in the earth remains hidden from Allah” (Surah Aala Imraan, verse 5)

One wise man states in prose: “O You who strives in sin behind locked doors, know that the Knower of the unseen and the present is ever present; He has the power to expose you, even in the darkest corner of the earth. Do not be deceived by concealment, for The Gaze of Allah penetrates all barriers.”

When the wife eventually discovers her husband’s naughty cyber escapades, then all hell breaks lose. It is then that all the months of internet pleasure is mercilessly expunged from the husband’s system through stress, depression, and marital misery. Well, he has to blame himself for falling to temptation in the very first instance. The Quran declares: “Whatever calamity befalls you is because of your own handiwork” (Surah Shoora)

The amazing part of this whole sordid scenario is that even after having to go through hell, with the wife threatening to expose him, demanding her talaaq, and eventually walking out on him with the kids, the blessed idiot still goes back to his depraved sexual mannerisms and internet romps. When, in the name of all that’s good, will this husband learn his lesson? Allah Ta’ala save us from addiction to sin, aameen. It appears that these poor souls, like alcoholics and drug addicts, drown their miseries by indulging in these filthy misdoings.
In the next edition of Al-Farouq, we will, Insha Allah, offer a cure to this malice that has ravaged homes of good Muslim couples.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Shafi Laws of Fasting

Fasting in the Shariah means to abstain from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset, with a niyyat (intention).
The niyyat is important in fasting. Hence, if a person stayed away from the above three things due to illness or lack of desire, or was unconscious for the whole day and no food or drink was consumed, such abstention will not be regarded in the Shariah as fasting, since there was no niyyat or intention.

The fast of Ramadaan is compulsory upon every Muslim, male or female who is baalig (i.e. has reached the age of puberty) and sane, and is not affected by any physical condition that allows one to forego the fast. (Reasons which waive the obligation of fasting during Ramadaan will be explained later on Insha-Allah.)

Na-baalig children (who have not yet attained puberty):
Just as in salaah, the child will be taught to fast from the age of seven, and will be commanded to do so at the age of ten. However, due to the strenuous nature of this ibadat, careful consideration should be given to the health and physical well-being of children before asking them to fast. Initially, as is the practice in most circles, the child can be coached to abstain from food for half the day, or for a few hours, thereby inculcating the habit of fasting.

1) After 29 days of Sha’baan has been completed it is compulsory to look for the moon after Maghrib salah. If the moon is sighted then that very night will be the first of Ramadaan and the first taraweeh. If not, the month of Sha’baan will be completed as 30 days, and the following day will then be the first of Ramadaan.
2) To establish the sighting of the moon of Ramadaan the word or evidence of one reliable, pious man is sufficient. When one such person reports or testifies in the presence of the Muslim Judge or Panel of Ulema that he has seen the moon, his word will be accepted and the first of Ramadaan will be announced.
3) However, for the Eid moon, as well as for other Islamic months besides Ramadaan, the evidence of two pious, reliable men is necessary.
4) The testimony of women and children are not admissible.
5) If the moon is sighted in one city and such news is reliably and authentically transmitted to another nearby centre, it will be permissible for the people in the second town or area to accept that information and start fasting.
6) Scientific and astronomic calculations are not acceptable in establishing the sighting of the moon for Ramadaan or Eid.

It is fardh to make a niyyah or intention before fasting during Ramadaan. The niyyah must be made before subuh sadiq. An intention made after subuh sadiq is not valid. The niyyat could be made as follows:

نَوَيْتُ صَوْمَ غَدٍ عَنْ أَدَاءِ فَرْضِ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ هذِهِ السَّنَةِ لِلّهِ تَعَالي
I intend fasting tomorrow in fulfilment of the faradh of Ramadaan this year, for the sake of Almighty Allah.
If one does not know the Arabic intention, it could be said in English or one’s mother language. The intention for nafl fast could be made right up till about 45 minutes before Zawaal.

1. To deliberately eat or drink during the day.
2. Vomit which is induced breaks the fast, no matter how much or how little it may be. And if vomit is not brought on voluntarily but comes out on its own accord then this does not break the fast irrespective of the amount.
3. If water or medicine is poured into the ears the fast breaks.
4. Snuff, medicine, etc. taken through the nose also breaks the fast.
5. When taking a bath during Ramadaan one should not gargle or take water too far up into the nose. If anyone does so and water enters the lungs, the fast will break.
6. Mucus that comes into the mouth and is swallowed breaks the fast, if one was able to spit it out.
7. If the gums bleed and the blood is swallowed the fast will break.
8. Saliva that had come completely out of the mouth, if swallowed the fast will break.
9. If a particle of food which was stuck between the teeth is swallowed by mistake the fast will not break.
10. If saliva is collected in the mouth and swallowed then too one's fast remains valid, it does not break, provided the saliva did not come out of the mouth, i.e. onto the lips.
1) If one ate sehri under the impression that subuh sadiq (dawn) has not yet entered, and then learnt afterwards that the day had indeed begun, the fast is not valid and must be repeated.
2) However, if in the above case he remains in doubt, and there is no certainty that the day had really begun then there is no need to repeat the fast. Such a fast is entirely in order.
3) If one broke fast thinking that the Magrib time had already entered, but learnt later that it was still day, the fast is not valid and must be repeated.
4) If at any stage during the day of fast a person was overtaken by insanity (madness), be it for a short while, or the fasting person remained unconscious the whole day, the fast is not valid and qadhaa must be made.
5) To smoke cigarettes, pipes, huqqa pipe, etc.
6) To have a syringe (through which medicine is entered into the body through the anus). The same ruling applies to suppositories.
7) The commencement of Haidh or Nifaas.
8) Besides sexual intercourse, any act that results in the emission of sperm while awake.
9) Becoming a murtadd (i.e., one who has renounced Islam)
NOTE: In all cases above where the fast is broken or rendered invalid one qadha must be observed after Ramadaan.

Kaffarah means to fast for sixty days consecutively. This becomes compulsory when a person deliberately has sexual intercourse during the day in Ramadaan, while fasting. Such a person has to observe one qadha and 60 days of consecutive fasting after Ramadaan. If even one day is missed, the 60 days will have to be observed all over again. Apart from this one, has to make lots of taubah because of the great sin.
If one is unable to fast for sixty days due to ill-health or old-age, the fidyahh may be given to sixty poor people. The amount of this fidyahh appears later on.

1) To extract the teeth.
2) To have an injection.
3) To regain consciousness for a little while during the day, even if one was unconscious for the rest of the day.
4) Pouring medicine into the eyes, or applying surma. However, it is better not to apply surma while fasting.
5) Eating or drinking forgetfully.
6) Water being swallowed while rinsing the mouth (not while gargling) or washing the nose without taking water too far up into the nostrils.
7) Water entering the ear while having a faradh bath.
8) Applying hair to the head, applying or smelling scent or perfume (although the latter two acts are makrooh when fasting).
9) Having a bath.
10) Anything such as smoke, a fly, dust particles, etc, entering the throat by accident.
11) Having food or drink forced down the throat.
The above practices do not break the fast

1)To taste food, etc. However, if the mother has to chew or soften the food for the infant then this will not render the fast Makrooh.
1) Using toothpaste.
2) To use the Miswaak after zawaal (midday).
3) To remain silent for the entire day. The fasting person should engage in Zhikr, recitation of Quran, etc.
4) To delay breaking the fast without a valid reason. A valid reason here means having a doubt as to whether the time for iftaar is due or not.
5) To swim or dive into water.
6) To gargle the mouth.
7) To apply perfume or to smell perfume.
8) Committing a sin such as gheebat, lies, slander, etc.
9) To embrace someone with lust. To touch another with lust, or to kiss is Makrooh Tahreemi (i.e. almost haraam) during the fast, even one’s own spouse.
The above practices do not break the fast but are reprehensible

1) To break the fast quickly at the time of Iftaar.
2) To delay sehri for as long as possible. (But not so long as to cause doubt in the validity of the fast.)
3) To abstain from lies, backbiting, slander, fighting, arguing, and other major sins.
4) To make iftaar with water and/or dates.
5) To make dua at the time of iftaar.

1) One becomes critically ill, or develops such an illness that will increase if the fast is not broken.
2) On a journey if fasting is bearable then it is preferable to fast. However, one may not fast at all, or may break the fast on a journey even if it is bearable.
3) Fear of death through hunger or thirst.
4) A breast-feeding or pregnant woman who fears for the life of the baby may omit the fast or may break it after having begun. If there is no such fear than these women must fast.
5) A very old person who has no strength to fast is also excused from fasting. Such old people may pay in the fidyahh.
6) A terminally ill person may omit the fast and pay fidyah. The illness must be of such a nature that medically there is absolutely no hope of recovery. Note: Medical advice of this type must be obtained from a Muslim physician.

1) If one has any qadha fasts of Ramadaan to fulfil, it should be done immediately after Eid.
2) When there are more than one fast to fulfil, it is Mustahabb to observe the qadha consecutively, without a break in between. However, if the qadha of several fasts are kept separately or apart, there is no sin.
3) It is necessary to fill in missed fasts before the next Ramadaan arrives.
4) If one failed to do so, that is, qadha fasts were not completed by the time the next Ramadaan arrived, a fidyahh becomes Wajib. This fidyahh is approximately 800 grams of grain or flour per fast.
But remember, in spite of giving this sadaqah one still has to fill in the remaining qadha fasts.
5) The breast-feeding and pregnant woman who did not fast out of fear for the baby, should also pay this fidyahh for every missed fast, but they must still keep the qadhaa after Ramadaan.
6) The very old person or terminally ill person who paid out fidyahh for missed fasts do not need to keep the qadhaa if they regain their strength and health later on.

QADHAA FOR THE DEAD• If one who missed fasts for a valid reason dies before having time to pay in the qadhaa then there is no fidyahh nor any qadhaa to be fulfilled on behalf of such a person.
• If such a person died after having had the opportunity to make the qadhaa then the wali of the deceased may fast on behalf of the deceased or may pay the fidyahh for every missed fast from the wealth of the dead person.

It is sunnat to fast on the following days:
9th Arafah – this is sunnat muakkadah. To fast from the 1st Zhul-Hijja to the 8th Zhul-Hijjah is also sunnat, but not muakkadah.
9th and 10th Muharram; the 6 fasts of Shaww~l; 13th, 14th, and 15th of each Islamic month; on Mondays and Thursdays, 15th Sha’baan.
It is also sunnat to fast during the sacred months, i.e. Zhul-Qa’dah, Zhul-Hijjah, Muharram, and Rajab. (There are no fixed dates for this fast)
Note: The wife should not observe nafl fast without the consent of the husband. $

The two Eids (Fitr and Dhuhaa); the days of Tashreeq (11th to 13th Zhul-Hijjah); A festival day of the Kuffar, unless such a day happens to be a day of Ramadaan.; the 29th day of Shabaan, unless the 29th falls on a day that one normally fasts, such as Monday or Thursday.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Circulation of Dubious Claims

Islam has placed great emphasis on authenticity and truthfulness. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam is reported to have said: It is sufficient for a man to be branded a liar by narrating everything he hears. Hearsay is not valid proof in Islam. Likewise when reporting an important event, one must provide authentic references and sources for the information thus circulated.

There is a trend among Muslims in recent times to circulate unsubstantiated findings that ostensibly support Muslims and the teachings and practices of Islam but are not based on any reliable reference or proof. This is deplorable, because our Islam is so mighty and dominating that we do not need to promote it through lies and lame reports.

Why stoop to the level of having to fabricate wonders and miracles, or invent scientific benefits for the practices of Islam? Our beautiful Deen does not need these feeble or dubious arguments to rationalize well-established doctrines that Muslims have been benefiting from for centuries. Instead of enhancing the reputation of our Deen by such attempts, we are in fact damaging its image in the eyes of our adversaries, for they will be led to believe that Muslims are so desperate to promote their Deen that they have resorted to falsifications and fabrications. They will also start believing that Islamic teaching lacks conviction and charisma to attract followers, a belief that is very, very far from the truth. Let us not be our own worst enemies by distorting the image of a Deen that we want the whole world to follow.

A few years ago, just after the Danish cartoon saga, reports were being circulated that the artist who drew these cartoons burnt to death. Later on this proved to be false. Then we heard of a small child somewhere in Africa who people claimed was a born hafiz of Quran, and was able to recite Quran from memory and able to give lectures to people. This report also turned out to be a hoax.

The same can be said for another report many years ago of a Muslim woman who claimed that the baby in her stomach could read Quran. Upon investigation it was learnt that she had tied to her stomach a hidden recorder that played verses of the Quran Shareef.

Then there was the email with complete images supposedly of a girl who turned into a lizard-like creature because she disrespected the Holy Quran and disobeyed her mother. This story, too, was proven to be a well orchestrated fraud.

Another incident was that of a young man who died, and when his grave was opened only a few hours after death, his body was found to be burnt and scalded, his hair grey, and the face contorted and shrivelled like an old man. People attributed this to his neglect of salaah. However, no references were furnished to establish this event.

Of late, an email is being circulated to prove the benefits of sujood. Apparently, research was done on the Muslim form of prostration by some unnamed ‘German scientist’ proving the health benefits of sujood. Again, this research could not be traced back to its origin, nor could the name of this scientist be verified. While we have no doubt that every act of salaah has great health benefits, why do we have to clutch at straws and fabricate evidence for this. Allah Ta’ala says in Surah Israa: And do not follow that which you have no (reliable) knowledge of; verily the ears, eyes: all of these will be questioned (for what they perpetrated).


The Beard and Moustache in the Light of the Sunnah

It is reported from Abdullah bin Umar radhiallahu anhu that Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said: “Oppose the Mushrikeen (idol-worshippers); keep full beards and clip the moustache.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
From this hadith we learn that a) It was the practice of idol-worshippers to shorten the beard and lengthen the moustache; b) we are commanded by Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam to oppose this practice of the idolaters by doing the exact opposite: keep the beard in full and shorten the moustache.

Another hadith in Bukhari and Muslim states: “Shorten the moustache and lengthen the beard.”
Abu Huraira radhiallahu anhu reports that Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said: “The People of the Book lengthen their moustaches and shorten their beards, so oppose them: lengthen the beards and shorten the moustaches.” (Narrated by Imam Bazzar).
From the above it is very clear that a practice of the Jews and Christians in those days and even today was not to shave the beard, but rather to shorten it. Nowadays it is fashionable for Muslims to keep a trimmed, short beard. Ponder over the implications of this practice in the light of the above hadith.

One hadith describes the shortening of the beard and lengthening of the moustache as a practice of the fire-worshippers, as narrated by Imam Muslim.
Once an emissary of the Chosroe (Persian Emperor) came into the presence of Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The man was clean shaven and had a bushy moustache. The Messenger of Allah turned his face away (in disgust) and said to him: “Woe betide you! Who told you to adopt this appearance?” The man replied: “My Lord” (meaning the Persian Emperor)” The Messenger of Allah then said: “Well, My Lord has commanded me to keep a full beard and shorten the moustache.”

Hazrat Ayesha (radhiyallahu anhaa) reports that Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said: “Ten practices belong to fitrah (the culture on which Allah created man), and these are: Trimming the moustache, allowing the beard to grow fully, using the miswak, rinsing the mouth, rinsing the nose, clipping the nails, washing the joints of the body, plucking the hair under the armpit, shaving pubic hair, and washing in the toilet.” (Narrated by Imam Muslim. Ahmad, Nasaa-ee and Tirmizhi)
Umar bin Abdul Azeez, the great Muslim leader of the second century (died 101 AH) states: Shaving the beard is mutilation of the face, which Rasoolullah r undoubtedly prohibited. Imam Tabrani narrates the following hadith: “He who mutilates bodily hair has absolutely no share (of reward) by Allah.”

The above narrations are from the Arabic book Proofs on the prohibition of shaving the beard by Muhammed bin Ahmad bin Ismail.(Kuwait)


Monday, May 5, 2008

A Sahaabi Jinn

A SAHAABI JINN OF RASOOLULLAH sallallahu alaihi wa sallam
Hasan narrates that once we came to Abur-Rahaa Al Ataaridi and asked him if he had any knowledge of the Jinn who took the bay’ah (pledge) of Islam from Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. He smiled and said: “Indeed, I shall tell you what I saw and what I heard in this regard.” He then went on to narrate a fascinating story. “We were on a journey when our caravan stopped at the time of noon. We put up our tents to gain some respite from the stifling afternoon heat.

As I lay in my tent, I was suddenly confronted by a snake that appeared very agitated and distressed but it never threatened me. I picked up a jug and began sprinkling some water on the snake. No sooner had I done this when it became completely calm and relaxed. But the moment I stopped sprinkling water on it, it started its agitation and restlessness once again. Every time I sprinkled water on it, the snake calmed down, and when I stopped, it would resume its erratic behaviour. I was absolutely intrigued by this strange scene, so I told my companions to delay their departure so that I could monitor the snake’s behaviour.
By Asr time I noticed that the snake lay very still, and on further inspection I realised that it had died. My instinct told me that this was a special snake, so I took great care in wrapping its dead body in a clean cloth and gave it a decent burial. Later that day our caravan moved on. Our next stopover was only the following day.

We stopped at a very isolated oasis in the desert. As we were busy setting up our camp and preparing for salaah, suddenly a loud voice from the surrounding bushes called out to us. This is what the voice shouted:

“Salaam upon you all, not once, not twice, not even a thousand times, but much more than that!” I replied: ‘Wa alaykum salaam. And who are you?’ The voice replied: “We are Jinn. May Allah grant you barakaat, for you have done a favour to us which we cannot repay.” I then asked: “And what favour did we do for you”? The Jinn replied: “The snake that died was one of us (Jinn) and he was the last surviving Jinn who had taken the pledge of Islam from Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).” (Extracted from the book Hawaatiful-Jinn)


A Spiritual Malaise and its Cure

A human’s spiritual maladies are many, some worse than tothers. But one that ranks among the worst is the disease of lust and servitude to base desires. Our Beloved Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), whose life mission was to emancipate man from the slavery of lust and desire and deliver him to the servitude of One God and Supreme Creator, warned us in the following sombre but eloquent words: “I fear three things for my Ummat: The deviation of lowly desires, servitude to passions of the stomach and private parts, and negligence after Ma’rifat (recognition). “ (Kanzul Ummal). In another solemn warning, Our Beloved Rasool sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said: “The destructive diseases are: Desires that are followed, niggardliness that is obeyed, and the satisfaction of each man with his opinion.” (Tabrani). It is thus clear that submission to lowly desires and lust is a deadly spiritual malady that requires urgent treatment.

It is a unique and amazing attribute of Our Beloved Messenger that he had his finger on the pulse of every human trait and behaviour. You would not find any other scripture highlighting man’s spiritual sicknesses as our Quran and Hadith does. Indeed, mankind has witnessed an unprecedented surge in passion and desire, a phenomenon that has engulfed the entire human race. The bane of all our woes has been and still is our subservience to lust and passions. It is this lust and passion that has broken up marriages, destroyed morality of both young and old, divested its victims of wealth, health, and wisdom, and has left many a reputation in tatters. Servitude to lust is like an addiction; nay, it is addiction itself. The difference between addiction to intoxicants and addiction to lust is that the first affects the physical body while the second affects man spiritually. A drug and alcohol addict needs physical help. He needs to have his system cleansed and detoxified. The lust addict, on the other hand, needs to have his rooh purged and flushed, for his illness does not directly attack the physical body. However, the effect lustful and passionate acts have on the physical side of man is disastrous to say the least.
A drug addict would have to attend a rehabilitation centre to quit the habit, while the alcoholic has to be placed in a similar environment to break out of alcoholism. Even psychologically affected people are placed in a centre to help them recover from their mental and emotional ills. But where does a lust-addict go to get himself cleansed and cured? Well, this problem was detected and deliberated over centuries ago by the doctors of Deen. It was for the purpose of treating spiritually ill patients that they established centres called Khanqah or Zaawiya (in Middle Eastern countries). The khanqah is an establishment comprising several rooms for single people. The seeker of spiritual reform will live in one of these rooms and under the guidance of the Shaikh who administers the Khanqah, will spend time in zikr, ibaadat, meditation, and attend discourses on Deeni matters. This is the spiritual rehab where seekers of islaah or moral regeneration come to cure themselves. Alas, this concept is slowly dying off in the Muslim world today.

Be that as it may, it remains a faradh obligation to seek cures for our spiritual maladies. Allah has commanded as follows: “He who has purified his soul has certainly achieved great success; and he who has polluted his soul has certainly suffered great loss.” (Surah Shams, verses 9 and 10) Lust in man is centred mainly around woman; hence the resultant sin is zinaa and related acts.

A man once wrote to Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi that he had fallen in love with a woman. He was extremely perplexed and feared that his obsession with this female would result in zinaa. All his thoughts, talks, and motives were pervaded by infatuation with this woman. The man was sick, so he turned to a spiritual doctor for treatment. We will reproduce the gist of the cure mentioned to this man by Hazrat Thanwi (RA), who the Muslim world unanimously acclaimed as the Reformer of the last century and one of the greatest doctors of Deen produced in the Indo-Pak subcontinent. Unlike physical medicine that works for some and not for others, the cures of Deen are beneficial to all who sincerely seek reformation. This wonderful cure, too, can cure anyone who suffers from the disgraceful and shameless sin of fornication. Hazrat Thanwi mentioned the following points as a cure for illicit love and resultant zinaa:

Have a bath, don clean clothes and offer two rakaats Tauba Salaah. Recite Surah Kaafiroon in the first rakaat and Surah Nasr in the second. Thereafter remain seated and make one tasbeeh of istighfaar. Then make a sincere dua of repentance. While crying before Allah, feel shame and remorse, beg Him for forgiveness, and promise Him that you will not repeat this sin. Recite as much istighfaar as possible.
Read the verses of the Holy Quran and the Ahadeeth of our Rasool sallallahu alaihi wa sallam that explain the punishment for zinaa. Contemplate daily over these punishments

Spend some time in seclusion and make the zikr of LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAH, adding the words MUHAMMADUR RASOOLULLAH every now and then. This zikr should be done loudly and for a short while, but it must be done consistently. As the days go by, gradually increase the time spent in this zikr. When uttering the words LAA ILAAHA imagine that you are expelling all thoughts and inclinations of the dunyaa from the heart; when saying ILLALLAH imagine that the Overwhelming Presence of Allah is filling this heart.

Break off all communications with the woman. Expel all thoughts of her from the mind. If her image or thought crosses the mind recite Laa howla wa laa quwwat illah billah in abundance.

If the thought of this woman persists then begin swearing her in your mind. Insult her with the worst swear words you can think of. Make her out for the worst human being on earth. But this must all be done in the mind. Such an approach will diminish love for her, which is the ultimate aim.

Make regular dua to Allah while shedding tears, that He cures you from the grip of this lust. Such duas of a desperate one never go unheeded by Allah The Almighty.
(Extracted from the book At Takash-shuf)

The aforementioned cures were also administered by Hazrat Thanwi (RA) to an adult male who had become attracted to a young lad and was in danger of committing the evil sin of homosexuality. When ministering the above, Hazrat Moulana Thanwi said: ‘I have no doubt that this remedy will cure him of the sickness, provided he is sincere and does what he is told.’ (Al-Ifaadaat)

Another evil that has smitten our society is the adulterous escapades of our married males. There are some poor souls who threw away their good wives for the sake of cheap, lurid women outside nikah. At the peril of their marriages, some of our brothers flit from one woman to another, without the least shame and regret. Every time the wife unearths an affair, the husband swears that he will not repeat the sin. The moment the dust settles and everything is back to normal, the man then strikes up another haraam relationship. Soon the wife finds out about this new adulterous liaison, and the whole process is repeated. This is repeated over and over, until eventually the marriage totally disintegrates.

The logic in this is quite simple. Any woman who is prepared to entertain a married man in an extra-marital relationship is wicked in the extreme. Had this woman any morals in the first place, she would not have allowed any contact between herself and the other man, married or single. The pure religion of Islam militates vehemently against such illicit love. There is absolutely no scope in Islam for illicit liaisons and extra-marital affairs. We now provide a form of contemplation for married men that will Insha Allah, cure them from zinaa.

Spend a few minutes daily, in seclusion to think of the consequences if people in the community found out about this haraam and evil relationship. Let your imagination run away with you for a while by pondering over the disgrace and humiliation that comes upon one whose love-affair is exposed to the community. Imagine what this will do to one’s reputation; what would friends and partners say? What juicy gossip this would be for the women of one’s community! What would my parents say, and what would my own children think of me? Indeed, I would have failed every person in my circle who held me in high esteem! I would become the laughing stock of the town” Just imagine: People who respected me for years would be disgusted to know that I, the ‘Mr. Pious’ in the eyes of the community, have been exposed as an adulterous leach! Just think: ‘How would I face people, and would I still be able to hold up my head and walk in society after this disaster?’
Almighty Allah has granted man a wonderful gift in the form of brains and contemplative powers. By using this mind to conjure up consequences for one’s sin, consequences that are not imaginary or far-fetched but happen daily before our eyes, one will soon develop a terrible fear of being exposed and will eventually eliminate all haraam love from the heart. The fear of one’s dirty linen being laid bare to the society would become so dominant that one would actually start detesting such illicit affairs. This cure can be used in addition to the others mentioned earlier, and Insha Allah, the results will be forthcoming.

A bit of good news for those of us involved in zinaa, as mentioned by the Auliyaa: one who has succeeded in cleansing himself from the sin of zinaa totally, will progress more rapidly than others in his spiritual life.

The late Shafeequl-Ummah Hazrat Moulana Muhammd Farouq Sahib (RA) says: At the precise moment when a sinner turns to Allah in repentance, the Special Mercy and Acceptance of Allah gushes forth in torrents. The sinner should then start ‘looting and plundering’ this abundant Goodness that Allah has let loose at the time of taubah.’

Subhanallah! How great was the vision of these Auliyaa! May Allah grant us all cure from our spiritual maladies through the blessings of these pious souls, aameen!

Man’s lust drives him to do the weirdest of things. A person under the seizure of lust is like a drunken individual. All sense of good becomes temporarily paralyzed. For this reason the hadith says that iemaan exits the heart of one involved in lustful acts. It is due to this dominance of lust that the individual goes on to pornography, chat-rooms, filthy websites, dirty magazines, MXit, cell-phone porn, and a host of other evils. All these evils that provide illicit sensation via modern-day technology were created by shaytaans (devils) who had sold their souls to the Big Iblees. In the privacy of the home, car, workplace or office, behind computer screens, and under the cover of darkness people perpetrate these evils to achieve carnal satisfaction. Some of the more shameless brand of humans do these things openly in front of others. These people are terribly sick and need desperate treatment. Well, here is a great cure:

Contemplate that Allah is always watching. He is aware of my every move and thought, be it in the privacy of my bedroom or basement, or the freedom of a holiday resort, or in the middle of an island. He sees every single act of my eyes and hands, and hears every sound that escapes from my lips. “My Allah is watching! How dare I behave so immorally!”

Do this continuosly at a fixed time of the day and, Insha Allah, the effect will be achieved.