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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Guidelines on Janaza of Babies

1. A baby that died inside the mothers womb before being born (i.e. a stillborn baby) should be given a proper, sunnat ghusl, but not a full kafan. Instead it should be wrapped in one piece of cloth and buried. There is no janaaza salah for such a baby, but it will be given a name before burial.

2. When a mother suffers a miscarriage and no limbs of the fetus have developed then there is no ghusl, kafan, or janaaza salah, nor will it be given any name. The fetus will be wrapped in a piece of linen and buried in a hole.
3. If the fetus in a miscarriage has developed a limb, such as hands, or feet, or head, etc. then it will be treated like a stillborn baby, and the rules mentioned in number 1 above will apply.
4. A baby that is born alive but dies after birth will be treated as an adult. Ghusl and kafan will be given as normal, it will be named, and janaaza salah will be read. Burial will be normal.
5. The grave for babies needn’t be the size of an adult. Children's graves will be dug according to the size of the child.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Youth: Our Most Valuable Asset

Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “The purest food a man can ever eat is what he has earned with his own hands, and his children are the earnings of his own hands.” In this hadith the Messenger of Allah described children as the product of man’s own earnings.

It is natural for a human being to treasure something that he has worked hard for. The conclusion that follows from the combination of these two premises is that our kids are priceless gifts which need to be treasured, prized, and protected. Another inference from the above hadith is that children represent the investment of man. Indeed, this investment is both spiritual and mundane. Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “A man’s ranks will be elevated in the hereafter, yet he will not possess many good deeds. He will ask: ‘O My Rabb! How did I achieve these high stages?’ Allah will reply: “Because of the istighfaar your child made for you in this world.” A child groomed in Deen will be an asset to people even in worldly matters, as experienced has proven.

Out of concern for the future of our youth, we present these guidelines on how to regulate the lives of our children. Children are naïve and inexperienced, so they need the guidance of elders to take them through the pitfalls of life.

A habit that is very rife among our youth nowadays is the use of cell-phones. A phenomenal amount of money is spent on the phones itself, and even more on airtime. As a matter of extreme importance, we advise parents not to buy mobile phones for their sons and/or daughters, nor allow them to use the phones of the elders. Youngsters go to bed with their cell-phones, and remain awake till the early hours of the morning exchanging messages and “chatting” with friends of both sexes.

There is a program called ‘Mixit’ which allows chatting through text messages for a few cents. They spend hours sending messages to each other. Once a child gets his or her own cellular phone, there is just no way parents can control its use. The only option is not to give them their own phone or to dispossess them if they have one. It is definitely an effort that is required from parents to assert their authority, and you will encounter stiff opposition from the kids, but soon they will give in and abide by the rules you as parents set down.

It is surprising indeed to hear of Muslim youth who study at Islamic institutes visiting the Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is a place where you will find cinemas, gambling, dancing, wine-drinking, music, young girls dressed immodestly, these same girls meeting up with their boyfriends, etc. The Quran prohibits us from even going to a place where these evils occur, even if the person going there does not take part in all these evils.

Our Noble Messenger (May peace be upon him) said that one who is present at a place where evil happens and does not stop that evil, is just like those who commit the evil. When the Punishment of Allah comes down onto such places, all those who are present there will suffer.

Furthermore, places like the Boardwalk are very fertile grounds for drug merchants to sell their evil drugs and get innocent youngsters hooked onto these substances. How many parents can vouch that their son or daughter is not on drugs or has not tried it already, after going to the Boardwalk a few times? We have learnt that young girls are paid to start up relationships with innocent boys. These girls are either taking drugs or selling it for their bosses. Once they trap a boy with their charm and guile, they soon entice him to try out their drugs. Boys get easily attracted by girls who make themselves appear smarter than what they really are. Once he becomes hooked onto girls, followed by drugs, that young man is on the road towards destruction, physically and spiritually. By no means can we allow our innocent Muslim children to be abused and exploited by these cruel people who don’t care how many lives they destroy in their mad and devilish pursuit of money.

You as a parent or guardian have a sacred duty unto Allah Ta’la to take charge of the lives of your children. We ask you to do so now, for the sake of Allah. Don’t be intimidated by the tantrums and remonstrations of your children. Assert your authority for the sake of Allah. The youth will get upset and angry, but will later come to terms with the rules. But you should remain firm, don’t relent, and don’t give in. Remember, you are doing this for the Sake of Allah Ta’ala, so He will assist you.

Another place our children frequent is the shopping mall. Boys attend the cinemas there with their girlfriends, totally unseen, and no one besides Allah knows what evil they get up to. Money and time are wasted on the games at these shopping centres, and both money and time are gifts from Allah which are haraam to waste.

Here again the danger of drugs is present. The boys meet friends who are bad company and who befriend them only for their money. Girls and boys mix freely, and many an illicit boy/girl relation begins at the shopping centres and game centres. You have a sacred duty to refuse your son money and permission to go to these places. Be firm and make dua to Allah Ta’ala to keep you firm in this resolve.

I don’t need to emphasize the effect TV has on our children. It is disastrous to say the least. Today the evil that goes on around us is largely due to the evil that is shown on TV. Children learn foul language, their morals become corrupt, and they lose their shame in the sense that relationship with the opposite sex is considered the norm.

Some people don’t have TV in their homes, but they have the equivalent in the form of computers which have screens and a DVD player. The children can then watch a movie inside their own bedrooms. Even though they are prohibited from watching TV, they can watch a film on the DVD inside their computer. DVD films are easily available or they can get it from a friend. So this aspect also needs monitoring. The games shown on TV screens and computer monitors are bad for the eyes and dulls the thinking power of the child. He or she then becomes a poor learner.

Another problem with our kids is the smoking of cigarettes. Experience has proven that nowadays when children get into smoking cigarettes they eventually end up smoking something stronger. Allah save us. Likewise we should ban the Okka pipe because it has come to light that sometimes drugs are added to the Okka pipe and smoked right in front of parents!

Kids who have access to the internet are in extreme danger. Parents should monitor this and set up strict restrictions on the computer to filter the good from the bad and prevent children from downloading evil sites. In this regard, kids should be prohibited from visiting internet cafes since there is no control over the sites they visit there.

These are the seven great dangers of today. All these are produced by modern technology. It goes to show that modern living is not always good for us and our youth. In fact, some of these modern inventions are a curse for the Ummat.

The question that must surely be on the minds of all parents is: ‘If I don’t allow my kids to do the above things, then it means there is nothing for them to do in their free time! They become bored and frustrated.’ Well, firstly a frustrated or bored child is far better than one lying in the gutters outside a night-club, stoned out of his or her wits! Secondly, there are many activities which we can introduce to our kids to fill in their free time. We mention a few guidelines in this regard.

You decide when you want to go out, then take your children with you. Take them along; don’t allow them go on their own, nor leave them behind alone at home. Even while on a shopping trip, let them be with you, helping you, and never let them out of your sight.

Take them when you go for a drive or to the beach. This will also create a good relationship between you and your children.

Find chores for the child to do at home and join him by helping him and showing him how to do things. Let him learn odd jobs at home and teach him these day-to-day tasks, such as household repairs, washing the car, watering the garden, trimming the lawn, fixing up broken items, etc. That will keep him occupied.

Inculcate the habit of reading books so that time can be spent at home on this. When a child gets into the habit of reading good literature, he will spend hours in this activity.

Take out time to visit relatives so that the child comes to know who his relatives are and learns how to respect them.

Take out time to visit the sick at hospitals or at their homes. Take your kids along with you so that they learn how to care for others.

Do some social work over the weekends, either in your own capacity or for some welfare organization. Let your kids join you and let them learn how to serve their fellow human beings. Our institute runs a social and welfare outfit, so parents could contact us for volunteer work.

If some kids are weak in certain school subjects, arrange for some special tuition over the weekend, but make sure the teacher is an adult, not one of the other learners at school.

Instead of letting the child do sports training during the week (for those who go to school), use the weekend for this training. But it’s very important that the parent also attend this training for a short while to see: a) whether the boy is really there and has not run off somewhere else, and b) which type of elements are at this venue and with whom does your child associate. This is crucially important.

For girls, the weekend is an excellent time to teach them household skills like cooking, knitting, sewing etc., or to increase their literary skills. For girls there is just no question of going out except in the company of the father. (We do not encourage girls to go out with even mehrams nowadays).

Some boys find weekend jobs. This is good but make sure they are in a good work environment and not exposed to the evils mentioned.

We urge fathers to take their sons into the company of Ulema, even for a social visit, just for a few minutes, or to attend a Deeni program. This is the most valuable source of spiritual guidance.

Another good idea is to allow the boys to go in jamaat over weekends, but with good and strict supervision by adults. If no such supervision is arranged then they should not be allowed to go.

Where madresa classes are held on weekends, make sure your child attends these classes.

Successful parenting comes down to good parent/child relationship. It is imperative that you build up a good relationship with your child. Otherwise he/she will seek this friendship elsewhere. This requires a major sacrifice from the parents, especially time. But, I swear by Allah, your sons and daughters are your greatest asset. Should you sacrifice your time and effort for their sake, you will never regret it. The result will only be good, and such children will be of assistance throughout the parent’s life, insha Allah. Such kids will make you proud and will be an asset to their communities.

These are a few guidelines on how to keep your kids busy and thus prevent them from getting involved in the seven dangers mentioned above. There may be numerous other activities which will come to mind the moment you start making an effort in this direction. Finally, make earnest dua daily for your children. One day, when you are no longer alive, they will be making dua for you.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Haidh or the Monthly Menses

We enlist a few important rules about the monthly menstruation experienced by females. Sadly, most of our sisters are not fully acquainted with the relevant haidh laws. It is fardh upon them to learn at least the basic rules of haidh.

1. Firstly, it is wajib (compulsory) upon a woman to keep a written record and track of her monthly periods. Failing to do so results in many complications, and makes it difficult for the Mufti to provide her with clear answers to her problems.

2. It is makrooh for a woman to use a tampon during haidh, since the Jurists have prohibited the insertion of anything into the vagina. (Ibni Aabideen). She should rather use the normal pad.

3. It is mustahab (meritorious) to apply perfume or any pleasant smelling substance to the pad, so as to neutralise the strong odour of the menses.

4. If the haidh began while performing a faradh salah, the salah will break, but she does not need to offer the qadha for that salah.

5. If haidh began during a sunnat or nafl salah then she should make the qadha of that sunnat or nafl after becoming clean.

6. If haidh began after half a day of fasting had passed, be it fardh, sunnat, or nafl fast, then the fast breaks and she must observe the qadhaa when she becomes paak (clean).

7. If the haidh began right at the very end of the salah time, and she had not yet offered her salah, then that salah is also waived. She does not need to perform its qadha.

8. The maximum number of days for haidh is 10. Any flow above this will not be considered as haidh, but istihaaza. The minimum number of days for haidh is 3, and any flow that lasts for less than three days is also istihaaza, not haidh.

9. During the state of haidh sexual relations with the husband is not permissible. However. If the wife’s haidh ended after exactly 10 days, then sexual relations with the husband will be permitted even before she had taken a bath.
If, however, the haidh ended any time before 10 days, then until the wife takes a ghusl (bath), sexual relations with the husband will not be permissible.


Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahimahullah

Hakimul Ummat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi was born on 5 Rabiuth-Thaani 1280 A.H. in the village of Thana Bowan, situated in the North of India, between Delhi and Saharanpur. He lost his mother at a tender age and was brought up by his father in a fairly affluent background. His father took great pains in teaching Moulana and his younger brother discipline and good character. From a young age he had a great desire for namaaz. Even whilst playing he used to imitate the namaazis; e.g. he gathered all his friends shoes, placed them in a line, put one shoe in front of the line and expressed his happiness that the shoes were performing namaaz.

He also had a great desire to give lectures. On his way to the shops he used to enter any masjid, ascend the mimbar and deliver a khutbah. At the age of 12 he began performing tahajjud and other nafl salaats and wazifahs. His desire for Deen was initiated by his initial ustaad Hazrat Moulana Fateh Muhammed Saheb (rahmatullahi alayh)

After learning the basic kitaabs by his uncle and Moulana Fateh Muhammed he proceeded to Deoband to complete his studies and qualified at the tender age of 19 or 20 years. From his student days he became famous for his intelligence and sharp wittedness. He never wasted his time in futile play and amusement. He had such a burning desire to obtain knowledge that he learnt certain kitaabs which he could not study during class times, from his ustaads while they were performing wudhu.
Moulana Thanwi’s ustaads were all great luminaries of their time. The most important amongst them was Hazrat Moulana Muhammed Yaqub Saheb from whom he achieved the greatest amount of knowledge and spiritual benefit.

He learnt qiraat from the well-known Qari Muhammed Abdullah Saheb Muhajir Makki and mastered it to such an extent that it became difficult for the listener to distinguish between the recitation of the student and the teacher.

After qualifying, he spent 14 years in Kanpur teaching, writing and propagating to the people. During this period thousands of students quenched their thirst at this “ocean of knowledge”. Although Moulana was still very young, the people of Kanpur respected and honoured him tremendously, and it was during this period that he became famous. His discourses were greatly appreciated and were being printed in the form of booklets. Very few scholars in the history of Islam have had so many of their discourses reproduced in print.

During his student days in Deoband he desired to take bay’at at the hands of Moulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi. The latter refused, saying that this would be harmful to his studies. Moulana Thanwi then wrote a letter to Hajee Imdadullah in Makkah urging him to make Moulana Gangohi accept the pledge of bay’at. Hajee Imdadullah instead, by means of a letter, himself accepted bay’at from Moulana Thanwi nad made him his mureed (disciple). When Moulana Thanwi accompanied his father for haj one year after qualifying, he renewed his pledge at the hands of Hajee Imdadullah. After his return from Hijaz, he continued teaching and propagating while his desire for zikr intensified. He used to deliver lectures while standing for five to six hours, continuously.

In 1315 A.H. he left Kanpur and on the advice of his spiritual mentor Hajee Imadadullah, returned to Thana Bowan. This was all part of the divine plan of the Creator so that the Khanqah of Hajee Imdadullah would once again be populated. This was the termination of the first phase of his life, which was devoted more to Deeni education. The second phase, which began with his return to Thana Bowan, was devoted more to imparting spiritual benefits to the masses. Moulana has written books in every field of knowledge, such as, tafseer, tasawwuf, fiqh, hadith, and tajweed. All his works total more than a thousand. The voluminous work on hadith titled I’laa-us-Sunan (Elevation of the Sunnah) was written under his guidance. Regarding this kitaab (I’laa-us-Sunan), he said that if this madresa had accomplished no other work besides the writing of this book, that in itself would have been be a magnificent achievement, for it is such a unique work. Few homes are without the Bahisti Zewar and Munajaat e Maqbool, two of Moulana Thanwi’s more famous books. His tafseer Bayanul-Quraan is unparalleled in its style. The erudite Moulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri (RA), used to say that after reading Bayanul-Quraan I developed a desire to read Urdu books. (Bayanul-Quran was written in Urdu) Although Moulana wrote such a large number of books, yet he did not earn a cent from them. All his work was solely for the pleasure of Allah. He gave open permission to anyone to re-print his books. Some of his works have been through hundreds of editions.

On 20 Jamadul Awwal 1346 AH whilst performing Fajr Salaat he was inspired with the effects of certain a’maal. It dawned upon him that if Muslims practiced these acts, their calamities could be overcome. Consequently Moulana gathered 25 principles and had them printed in a booklet he named Hayatul-Muslimeen— The life of Muslims (which is also available in English). Although Moulana had written over 1000 books, yet he said: “I never considered any of my books as being a means of salvation for me. However, with regards to Hayatul-Muslimeen, I have a strong feeling it will be a means of my salvation. I regard it as the earning and capital of my entire life.”
Due to his outstanding service for Deen, Hazrat Thanwi was given the titles Hakimul Ummat (The Sage of The Ummat) and Mujaddid-e-Millat (Reformer of the Islamic Nation). He passed away on 16 Rajab 1362 A.H. (20 July 1943) and was buried in Thana Bowan.