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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Inheritance Simplified

In earlier issues of Al-Farouq we provided readers with some basic laws on Meerath or Inheritance. In this edition we mention some simplified rules for the allocation of shares in an estate.

1. It must be remembered, and we stressed this point in the past, too, that there are 12 groups of people whose shares Almighty Allah has already fixed and allocated. Hence, there is no need to mention these heirs in one’s will. They will automatically inherit in the estate. These twelve are: husband, wife, brother, sister, father, mother, daughter, grand-daughter, grandfather, grandmother, paternal sister, and maternal sister.

2. Paternal sister means a sister from the father’s side. For example, Zaid has got two wives. Each wife bears him a daughter. These two daughters are paternal sisters to each other. A maternal sister is a sister from the mother’s side. For example, Fatima was married to Zaid and bore him a daughter. Zaid died and Fatima married Bakr, whom she also bore a daughter. Fatima now has two daughters from two different husbands. These two daughters are maternal sisters. If either one dies, the survivor will inherit.

3. In the presence of the father, the grand-father does not inherit.

4. In the presence of the son, the grandson does not inherit.

5. When the mayyit has sons, the mayyit’s brothers and sisters are deprived of any share in the estate. If the mayyit has only daughters and no sons then the brothers and sisters of the deceased will inherit from him or her.

6. The following heirs will always inherit, notwithstanding any other surviving relatives: WIFE, HUSBAND, MOTHER, FATHER, SON, DAUGHTER.

7. In the absence of mother, grandmother inherits if she is living. Likewise, in the absence of daughter, grand-daughter inherits. (By absence it is meant that the heir concerned has already passed away.)

8. When the wife dies and she has children of her own, even if they are from an ex-husband, then the present husband will receive a quarter of the estate, while the remainder will go to the children.

9. When dividing the estate between children, a son must receive double the share of a daughter.

Example of points 8 and 9: Zainab died and was survived by: Husband, 2 sons, and 1 daughter. Besides them there are no other heirs. The husband must get a quarter of the whole estate (25%), while the remaining 75% must be distributed among the sons and daughter. Divide that 75% share into 5 equal portions giving, 2 portions to each son and 1 to the daughter.


Mi'raaj: A Scientific Miracle

With the arrival of Rajab, our year’s seventh month, memories of the Miraj are once again rekindled. This article provides some important information on this great event, one that could aptly be described as a “scientific miracle”. There are two terms used for this event. One is israa, the other is mi’raj. Israa means to journey by night, and thus refers to the journey Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) undertook from Makka to Baitul-Maqdis (Jerusalem).

Mi’raj means to ascend, and refers to the ascension of Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) from Baitul-Maqdis up to the seven heavens and beyond. All this occurred, not in one night, but in a small portion of the night. Ponder the verse in which israa is mentioned: “Glory be to That Being Who took his slave on a journey during a portion of the night, from Musjidul-Haraam to Musjidul-Aqsaa...” (Surah 17, aayat 1) The Holy Quran uses the term ‘a portion of the night’, but does not define the duration of that ‘portion of the night’. Reason for this is that the miraculous journey was completed within an infinitesimal portion of the night.

Why do we call it a scientific miracle? A miracle is something that defies the law of nature; a happening that goes against logic and reasoning. The mi’raj in that sense, is undoubtedly a miracle, because the human mind cannot fathom how the physical body is able to ascend to immeasurable heights in such an infinitesimal duration of time. Being scientific implies that it is related to science, for transcending the boundaries of the earth’s atmosphere in today’s times is most definitely a scientific event. This epic journey is a miracle because it confounds every theory in science and logic, and that is what miracles are intended to do; to defy reason, to confound critics, to silence sceptics, and to compel the observer towards acceptance of a greater force. If a miracle conforms to scientific reasoning and logic, I believe it ceases to remain a miracle. There is a saying in arabic which translates: “When the reason is known, amazement ceases.” If one hears that a certain man flew through the skies, the initial reaction to such news is one of incredulity. Even in this modern day and age, people will respond with scepticism to such a bold claim. But if it is explained that the man was seated in an aeroplane or an airship, all disbelief and amazement ceases, for people accept that this is logically and scientifically possible.

As long as we maintain that this happening was miraculous in nature, it cannot be interpreted in a scientific light or else it loses its Divine Weight. The night after Mi’raj, when Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) broke the news this journey to the people of Makka., the initial reaction was one of disbelief. Had this been considered a dream or a purely spiritual transportation, the kuffar of Makka would not have reacted to this information with rejection and disbelief. This in itself proves that one, Mi’raj was a physical journey, and two, that it happened in a miraculous way, confuting the logic and reasoning of man.

The Mi’raaj was a physical and spiritual journey, hence the reason for the kuffar of Makka rejecting this episode.

On this night one of the greatest gifts of Allah Ta’ala was granted to the Ummah, and that is the five daily salah. May Allah Ta’ala make every Muslim a regular and punctual Namaazi, aameen.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Investigating Matters

Once Hazm, the son of Ubay bin Ka’b attended the Maghrib salah in the Musjid of his locality (in Madinah). The Imam was Mu’aaz bin Jabal (radhiyallahu anhu) who was appointed by Rasoolullah for imamate duties in that particular musjid. Hazam entered the Musjid, but offered the Maghrib salaah on his own, and left thereafter. Mu’aaz bin Jabal came to know of this and lodged a complaint with Rasoolullah the next day. He said: “O Messenger of Allah, last night Hazam perpetrated an act of bid’ah (by reading salah on his own and not joining the jamaat); I do not know where he got this practice from.”

The Messenger of Allah summoned Hazam and asked for an explanation. Hazam responded: “O Messenger of Allah, when I entered the Musjid the Imam (Mu’aaz) had started Surah Baqarah in the Maghrib salah. I could not stand behind him for so long, so I read my Maghrib salah on my own but in a proper and good manner, then left.”
The Messenger of Allah turned to Mu’aaz and said: O Mu’aaz, do not be the creator of fitnah (by reading so long rakaats and causing people to shun the jamaat salah)”
There are two important morals learnt from this incident: a) A person in position of authority such as Imam, father, principal, employer, etc, should always investigate a matter before passing judgment or taking punitive action. The way to investigate a complaint is to call up the person concerned and listen to his side of the story. Once that is done, one may execute an action accordingly. b) The second lesson is that propagation of Deen should be done in a manner that draws people towards Islam, not through actions that distance people even further. This is what Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) referred to as fitnah.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Imam Ahmad Bin Hambal rahimahullah

The Imams of the four Mazh-habs



BIRTH: He was born in Baghdad in Rabiul Owwal 164 A.H.
His father died while Imam Ahmad was still an infant. He grew up in Baghdad, in search of knowledge of Deen. His surname was taken from his grandfather, Hambal.

RANKING: He was a hafiz of hadeeth, i.e. he specialised in the memorising of thousands of ahadeeth. He began his search for knowledge in earnest at the age of sixteen.

He later on became the Imam of his time in hadeeth. After the Asr namaaz he would stand against the foot of the minaret and people would surround him to ask questions on hadeeth. The answers would flow from his lips without and hesitation. He remained standing like this until the Magrib namaaz.
He would never speak in the lessons of his Ustaads, reasoning that man has one tongue and two ears, so he should do more listening than talking. He had natural humility, which could be seen in every movement of his. He only married at the age of forty, since he wanted to devote his youth to the study of Deen.
He compiled his mazh-hab mainly from the Hadeeth of Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, He would take much from the Mazh-hab of Imam Shafi'ee. His mazh-hab spread in Syria, Iraq, Najd (eastern Arabia), and Hijaz (Arabia proper), especially in the reign of King Saud.
One of his famous books is the Musnad lmam Ahmad, a compilation of over 40,000 ahadeeth.
In the year 220 A.H. he was imprisoned and flogged on the orders of Khaleefa Mamoon for maintaining the belief that The Quran is the un-created word of Allah. The Khaleefa and his supporters wanted him to believe that The Quran is the created word of Allah.

HIS TEACHERS AND STUDENTS: Among those who taught him was Imam Abu Yusuf, the student of Imam Abu Haneefa. He also learnt from Ulema throughout the Islamic empire at that time. He was very close to Imam Shafi'ee, and was considered to be the greatest of Imam Shafi'ee's Baghdadi students.
Some of those who learnt from him were great figures like Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim.

HIS FEATURES: He was very handsome, of medium built, and used to favour the application of henna dye on his beard. In spite of this there were still strands of black hair in his beard.

HIS DEATH: He died in Baghdad in 241 A.H. and was buried in the cemetery known as Baabu Harb.

Note: Out of these famous four Aimma, two have the most following, viz. Imam Abu Haneefa and Imam Shafi'ee.
Allama Shi'raani has disclosed a vision in which he learnt that the last of the mazh-habs that will remain towards the end of this world will be that of Imam Abu Haneefah. And Allah Knows Best.



Moderate Budget

"To be moderate in spending is half of good-living."
Almighty Allah praises His pious servants in The Quran by saying:
Those who when they spend are not extravagant and not niggardly but hold a just (balance) between those (extremes). (Surah Furqaan, verse 67)

Nabi Muhammad Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam was in fact instructed by Allah to be moderate in even the great act of sadaqah or charity, as the following verse tells:
Make not your hand tied (like a niggard's) to your neck nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach so that you become blameworthy and destitute. (Surah Bani Israel verse 29)
These teachings exhort Muslims to adopt a moderate budget, and in view of today's way of living we can truly appreciate the value of such a teaching. All financial problems arise when people overspend or are wasteful. Big business empires were reduced to ruins through excessive expenditure and over-indulgence. Simply to satisfy their worldly pleasures and indulgences people will spend more than they earn. Such living above one's means is not good living as far as Islam is concerned.