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MONTHLY    *    Vol 14-01 No:157    *   JANUARY 2000 / Shawwal 1420H


By Abdullah Tariq

Isn't Marriage to the people of the Book Allowed?
Of Secret Marriage Vows
Can a Hanafi girl marry a Shafai boy ?
Covering of head during Salat
Watching TV and Wearing Pants below ankles
Does Nail Polish Void Wadu
Some Dos and Dont's for women in period
Using Contact Lenses
Proper Way of Circumcision
Does Nazar Really Exist ?
Why should we eat with our right hand?
Who's First Among the Muslims?
Canadian Laws on Meh'r
How to Seek His Forgiveness?
Triple Talaq and Permission for Second Marriage

Isn't Marriage to the people of the Book Allowed?

Q. My question is to Br. Abdullah Tariq in accordance with the answer in Our Dialogue Oct. issue, “Can we marry a Christian girl without her accepting Islam”? In answer you referred to two Ayas from holy Qur’an. Sura 5:5; The permission given to every Muslim to marry from the People of the Book. And in Sura 2:221 we are not allowed to marry Mushriks.
Then the questions arise:

  1. Does Qur’an contradict itself? (May Allah forgive me)
  2. To whom is the verse 5:25 is referring? Since Qur’an is the authentic Word of Allah till Qiyamah, naturally it addresses and refers to a group of people. It is a concession given to us. How can one say no to a divinely revealed statement?
  3. My next question also refers to the same Ayah about the food. Since we stay in Moscow, it is difficult to get food slaughtered the Islamic way. So we eat any food which is allowed in Islam, slaughtered by People of the Book. Please note we started eating in this manner after the Fatwa given by Ulema Yusuf-Al-Qardhavi. Please throw some light on it.

Omer Mohammed

A. 1.& 2. No, there are no contradictions in Qur’an. The contradiction surfaces when the permission granted vide verse 5:5 is taken as absolute and unconditional. I had posed a question in my reply in October issue. “Can a person marry his Christian niece”? Do you think it is a concession given by Allah to Muslims? The answer is, no. Forgive me if I seem a bit crude in devising my poser but I think since you missed the point last time, a more offensive form of the same question may strike you. If a Muslim’s daughter converts to Christianity, can he marry her, she then belonging to the People of the Book? Can you still claim it is a concession to Muslims from Allah? No brother, the permission in 5:5 is subject to certain conditions described elsewhere. I may be wrong (and this is not my exceptional opinion but the view of a large number of scholars) in associating the verse with 2:221, which forbids marrying Mushrik women, but you will have to accept in principle that the verse 5:5 is not unconditional. At least the conditions described in Verses 4:22-23 will apply to it which forbid marrying a niece and own daughter besides some other women.

There are numerous such examples in Qur’an where a person can go wrong if he reads a particular verse in isolation and does not associate it with other related verses. Let me quote one such example. The verse 2:62 reads: “ From those who believe (in the Qur’an) and those who follow the Jewish (Scriptures) and the Christians and the Sabians whoever believes in Allah and the last day and works righteousness shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve”. Can you from this verse deduce that belief in Last Prophet is not necessary for redemption? Note that there is no mention of belief in the prophet-hood in the above verse. Reading the verse in isolation would lead one to believe that Faith in Tawheed and Aakhirah along with good deeds are sufficient for the salvation of Jews, Christians and Sabians even if they do not believe in the Last Prophet.

Coming back to the original question, yes, the permission granted in 5:5 concerns a group of people called the People of the Book. But verses 4:22-23 impose conditions of not marrying certain women from this large group. Similarly verse 2:221 imposes yet another condition that women indulging in Shir’k from among this group are not to be taken into marriage. Please understand that Islam makes a lot of concessions in dealing with people of other faith but it never compromises with Shir’k. Read the verse 3:64 of Qur’an: “Say: “O people of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not from among ourselves Lords and patrons other than Allah.” If then they turn back say: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah’s will).” Qur’an asks the Muslims to call the People of the Book to come to an agreement even if they do not believe in the Last Prophet (Pbuh) and the Last Book or even the Last Day but the necessary condition is parting with Shir’k. How can Islam, which never in any case compromises with Shir’k grant its followers the concession of taking such women as life partners who associate partners with Allah!

Some people say that Allah Himself describes the Shir’k of Ahle Kitaab, so when He permits the marriage with their women, it clearly means that such marriages have been permitted irrespective of the Shir’k of their women. No, when Allah refers to their Shir’k He declares them Kaafirs as well. “They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy) verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them.” (5:73).

There are Unitarian groups among the Christians. The Qur’an testifies to it.

“Not all of them are alike: of the People of the book are a portion that stand (for the right); they rehearse the signs of Allah all night long and then prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in Allah and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong; and they (hasten in emulation) in (all) good works; they are in the ranks of the righteous.” (3:113-14)

From among the above group or from the Trinitarian Christians, those women who disclaim the Shir’k and declare Jesus Christ a human being and a prophet of God, can be taken as wives by the Muslims. Note that this too is a concession. Marriage with non-Muslims other than People of the Book is not permitted even if they are Unitarian.

3. I have extreme regard for Sheikh Yusuf-Al-Qardhavi, one of the greatest living Islamic scholars, but neither I nor a large number of other Ulema, agree with him in granting absolute permission of the food of the People of the Book. It is strange logic that when a Muslim kills an animal in the forbidden manner, it is unlawful but it becomes lawful in the hand of a Christian. Please note that no scholar in the world, not even Sheikh Al-Qardhavi would permit you the pork offered by a Christian. It means that the verse in question is not unconditional for its food part too. The prohibition of the swine flesh is stated in verse 5:3. So OK, apply the conditions of the verse 5:3 to the food of the people of the Book. It reads:

“Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah, that which hath been killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a headlong fall or by being gored to death; that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety. This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion: yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But if any is forced by hunger with no inclination to transgression Allah is indeed Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.” (5:3)

You would have noted in the above verse that the following is included in the list of unlawful:

  • That on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah,
  • That which is killed by strangling,
  • That which is killed by a violent blow.

The prohibition of the above three calls for the proper way of slaughtering. It is clear from the above that killing by Stunning Bolt Pistol, the method largely used in western countries is unlawful. There is no rationale behind the decree that disallows swine flesh mentioned in the above verse and revokes the other prohibitions, if handled by the People of the Book. Either swine flesh offered by the Christians will also be Halal or killing by violent blow will also be unlawful. Islam never permits its followers the unhygienic meat in which the blood is retained. Again it never compromises with Shir’k and it can never permit the meat of that animal over which the name of other than One God is invoked while killing it. Permission of the food of the People of the Book is subject to the proper slaughtering of the animals by them.

The above verse 5:3 says: But if any is forced by hunger with no inclination to transgression Allah is indeed Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful. You in Russia can decide for yourself whether you can be covered by the above leave. If no Halal meat, no seafood and no vegetables are affordably available to you and you can only survive on the Haram slaughter of Christians, then in that situation, Shariah gives you the permission of consuming the unlawful meat.

Let me here tell you that the Jews in general have stuck to the Halal way of slaughter in all countries and they refused to consume meat slaughtered the Christian way. Forced by their firmness, Halal meat is packed by companies in USA and many European countries.


Of Secret Marriage Vows

Q. A friend of my friend got involved with a Hindu girl. He secretly got married and the marriage is kept secret from his own parents. When he meets her they live like husband and wife and in the evening they go to their respective houses. This has been going on for the last 6-7 years probably. He also hosted a big party in a big hotel, celebrating his so-called marriage anniversary, which my friend also attended, though reluctantly and is now feeling guilty about it. Now please let me know the following: Has my friend committed any sin by attending this secret function of his friend? Is the marriage legal?

(xxx ; Bangalore)

A. The marriage in question is unlawful. It is a necessary condition for a marriage to be lawful that it must be declared publicly. The relation of a husband and wife are sacred and this sanctity cannot be maintained if the affair is a secret. By imposing this condition Islam has closed the doors of secret relations between a man and woman. See what the holy Prophet (Pbuh) said about Nikah:

“When a bondsman (of Allah) marries he completes half his Deen. He must desist from disobedience of Allah in the other half.” (Baihaqi)

“While marrying a woman, four things are considered. Her wealth, her lineage, her beauty and her Deen. (Of these) you must choose and prefer the Deen...” (Bukhari, Muslim) “Make announcement of Nikah...” (Tirmizi)

The person in question is not fulfilling any of the above obligations described in Hadiths above. Even if the marriage were announced publicly it would be an unlawful relation in the eyes of Islam, as a Muslim man is not permitted to take a Hindu girl into wedlock.

Attending the function by your friend was not proper to say the least. It amounted to cooperation and collaboration in an act, which is sinful and against Islam. If he is sincerely repenting, Allah may forgive him but the best expiation would be to try to reform the person he calls his friend.


Can a Hanafi girl marry a Shafai boy ?

Q. Can a Hanafi girl marry a Shafa’i boy? I am a Hanafi girl. A good number of proposals came for me but could not materialize on one pretext or other. Contrary to this Shafai boys are prepared to accept me but my parents are not willing for this. Neither a worthy Hanafi proposal is there nor can I marry a Shafai. I don’t want to do anything against Islam. Please give me advice. Seeing my plight many of my family elders denied PUC plus to their girls.

(Anonymity requested)

A. Hanafi and Shafa’i are not two different Deens (Faiths) but different Maslaks (Fiq’h schools of opinions). It is unfortunate that they are practically being treated as two separate religions.

There is no room in Islam for such disintegration. Your parents are gravely mistaken if they think that marriage cannot hold between followers of two Maslaks. Ulema who ordered people to stick strictly to their Maslaks at all costs would not have visualized that the suggestion would ultimately cause to divide the Ummah.

Show this answer to your parents and tell them that they may be committing a sin in the eyes of Allah by denying to the otherwise suitable suitors only on the ground of their being Shafa’i. Tell them to seek Fatwa from any reputed Islamic institution and they will probably understand. May Allah help you and may your parents see light.


Covering of head during Salat

Q. Is covering of head during Salat (Namaz) with a cap or Amamah obligatory?


A. Nowhere in any Hadith it is mentioned that covering of head is obligatory during the Salat. As for obligation, you have to cover your Sat’r in a Salat. Head is not included in Sat’r of a man. On some occasions the Prophet (Pbuh) of Allah has prayed bare headed while his headgear was available.

The subject of covering the head during the Salat comes under the purview of ‘Etiquettes of Salat’. The Qur’an ordained:

“O children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer...” (7:31). Not too long ago, covering of head while talking to your elders was an essential part of etiquette and respect. Rightly thus, Hanafi Fiq’h scholars declared that Salat would be Makrooh (not Faasid or invalid) without a headgear. Cap or headgear is no longer regarded as an essential mark of respect for elders. The obligation of covering the head should therefore not remain even for followers of Hanafi Fiq’h unless one is a blind follower of the words of the scholars. It may be mentioned here that even according to Hanafi Fiq’h, Salat can be offered bareheaded if the devotee, in that state, experiences a sense of humility and meekness before his Lord.

A piece of advice however is called for in this regard. One may feel free to pray bareheaded but a majority of Namazis being Hanafi and not knowing the intricacies of the issue, may feel uncomfortable when they see him pray bareheaded. It is therefore better to wear a cap at such places so that others should not feel disturbed.


Watching TV and Wearing Pants below ankles

Q. 1.Is watching television Haram? If so, why does every one talk about swine flesh, alcohol, inquest etc being Haram and no one mentions TV forcefully?

2. Is wearing pants below ankles Haram or prohibited? I have heard that Allah will never forgive or listen to a person who wears pants below the ankles. Is Salat nullified while wearing such pants?

Syed Asmathlla

A. 1. Watching the T.V. is not Haram but watching such programmes over it is Haram, which are Haram if witnessed directly. Seeing a woman dancing is a sin, so watching her dance on a T.V. is also a sin. It is true that most of the programmes as also the advertisements shown on T.V. come under the category of being prohibited but there are healthy and informative programmes too. Watching them is not prohibited. Ulema and religious teachers have all along been warning against evil of T.V. and most of those Muslims who watch such scenes on T.V. that are objectionable, know it.

2. The Prophet (Pbuh) forbade wearing such garments as touched the ankles as in those days such garments were the hallmark of the aristocratic class and whoever wore them felt and represented loftiness and arrogance. Most religious scholars forbid pants touching the ankles and decree that Salat is invalid in such clothes. They decree so on the basis of authentic Hadiths but they overlook that while forbidding, the Prophet (Pbuh) had also explained the reason behind the restriction.

“Narrated Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (Pbuh) said: Allah will not look towards him with benevolence who drops his pajamas or lungi up to his ankles with Takabbur (disdain). Abu Bak’r said: O Prophet of Allah (some times) my lungi drops (to the ankles and below) except when I am alert. The Prophet (Pbuh) said: You are not of those who drop it with Takabbur”. (Bukhari Muslim)

From the above it is implied that the reason behind the prohibition of wearing long pajamas was that Allah hates Takabbur and the long pajamas in that society was a sign of Takabbur or haughtiness. Wearing such pajamas or lungis had been declared a sin and it was also declared that Salat would not be valid in those attires. How can Salat be performed in the attire signifying Takabbur? The times, traditions and customs changed and long pajamas and pants are not considered the dress of aristocrats. Neither one who wears it feels arrogance nor one who sees him accuse him of disdain. So the droping of pajamas or pants up to ankles is no more a sign of Takabbur and no more Haram.


Does Nail Polish Void Wadu

Q. Is there a specific Hadith (concrete evidence) that states that wearing nail polish will void Wudhu and Salat?

Shaheen Ali :

A. Nail polish was not used at the time of Prophet (Pbuh) so your demand of mentioning a Hadith that specifically speaks of nail polish cannot be fulfilled. Not everything you ask for is directly mentioned in Qur’an and Hadith. That is where wisdom and Fiq’h come in. The scholars deduce the proper instructions from the relevant segments of Qur’an and Sunnah and codify them for average people. That Wudhu will not be complete with polish on the nails, has been derived from the following Hadiths.

  • “Narrated Ali that whoever left dry even a hair’s space in an obligatory Ghus’l, will be inflicted with such and such torment of fire.” (Abu Dawood, Daarami)
  • “Narrated Ali that a person came to the Prophet (Pbuh) and said he offered the Salat of Faj’r after taking an obligatory Ghus’l and afterwards he noticed that a space equal to a nail had remained dry. The Prophet (Pbuh) said: Had you only massaged with a wet hand (before the Salat) over it, it would have been sufficient.” (Ibne Maja)
  • “Narrated Ibne Umar: We were returning from Makkah to Madinah with the Prophet (Pbuh) and on the way when we found water at a place, some of us hastened to perform Wudhu for As’r. They rushed ahead of us for Wudhu. Then we also reached there. (We observed that) their toes were spotless and there was no mark of water there. The Prophet (Pbuh) said: Woe unto (dry) toes from fire. Complete your Wudhu”. (Muslim)

From these Hadiths it is deduced that Wudhu is incomplete if a washable part as small as a nail remains untouched by water. Since washing of hands is obligatory in Wudhu and water cannot penetrate the layer of nail polish, the Fiq’h scholars are of the opinion that removing the nail polish is essential before a Wudhu.


Some Dos and Dont's for women in period

Q. Can a woman read Qur’an during her periods? Please let us know the dos and don’ts of a woman during period.

Fatima A.R. :

A. In the light of Qur’an and Hadith, Ulema have codified that during the days of the period of a woman:

  • Performing the Salat is prohibited. There is no need to offer Qadha Salat for the missed prayers during the periods.
  • Recitation of Qur’an is prohibited. There is no bar on Tasbeehat and Istaghfaar etc. Also Du’a is permitted even if the words of prayers are from the Qur’an.
  • Handling and touching the open Qur’an is not permitted. She may however hold it through a covering cloth, if necessary.
  • Entering into a mosque is prohibited.
  • Observing Saum (fasting) is prohibited. Qadha fasts are to be observed for the missed Ramadhan fasts during the periods.
  • Sexual intercourse with her husband is not allowed. Lying beside her husband is permitted and also permitted is his contact in any way with the upper part of her body.
  • Except for her private parts, she is not physically unclean during the periods. There is no bar on sharing food or water in the same plate or glass or eating her leftover.


Using Contact Lenses

Q. Does Islam allow wearing cosmetic lens with number at home? I have contact lens with number but would like coloured lens to be worn only at home. I do not go out of the house very often and I will remove them if I go out. My purpose of wearing the cosmetic lens would only be for my satisfaction and for my sake.

(S.I. ; Pune)

A. Islam disapproves of deception in makeup. So wearing wigs and using black dyes for hair by quite old people have been disapproved by the Prophet (Pbuh). There is no harm in wearing coloured lenses only at home. There would also be no harm in wearing them before those who know the actual colour of your eyes.


Proper Way of Circumcision

Q. What is the proper Muslim procedure of Khatna (circumcision)? I have seen people performing Khatna with musical pomp and show and with unnecessary high expenditure.

Luqman ;
Laitumkhrah, Shillong

A. Circumcision of a child is no occasion for celebration or extravagance. It is a Sunnah of all the prophets beginning from Hazrat Ibrahim. No ritual, no distribution of sweets, no at-home, no announcement and no beating of drums is heard from any tradition of the Prophet (Pbuh) or Sahaba (the Companions) for this occasion. A Muslim must remember that wastefulness and lavishness is a sin. The Qur’an declared: “ and drink: but waste not by excess for Allah loveth not the wasters”. (7:31). And the Prophet (Pbuh) said: Those who indulge in extravagance are the brothers of the devil.


Does Nazar Really Exist ?

Q. Does Nazar exist? If it does what is its significance in Islam? What is the remedy?

Nishat Dawood

A. Yes Nazar is a reality. The Prophet (Pbuh) said: “Al-Ainu Haqqun” (Bukhari) which means ‘Nazar is a reality’. The following Hadiths also testify to the effect of Nazar:

“Narrated Ibne Abbas that the Prophet (Pbuh) said: Nazar is a reality and were there a thing to surpass the fate, it would have been Nazar.” (Muslim)

“Reported Asma bint Amees that she asked: O Prophet of Allah, the children of Ja’far are very prone to Nazar. Should we treat them with charms (Mantras)? The Prophet (Pbuh) replied: Yes, for if there were a thing to surpass fate, it would have been Nazar” (Ahmad, Tirmizi, Ibne Maja)

Imam Malik has recorded in his collection, an incident of Sah’l Bin Huneef being struck by Nazar of Aamir Bin Rabee’a. The effect was so intense that he fainted and the Prophet (Pbuh) told Aamir to perform Wudhu for Sa’hl, which he did and Sah’l was immediately cured.

At times there is something in the sight of some persons that it penetrates into whomsoever he sees especially when he envies any of his quality. Nazar often has so severe ill effects on the affected person that he is not cured by any material medicine. The Prophet (Pbuh) had instructed that when one feels an envy for someone he should say ‘Baarakallah’ to avoid his Nazar to strike the opposite person.

When the person whose Nazar strikes someone, is known and he is cooperative, he must perform Wudhu and by bathing with that water the affected person is cured of the ill effects of Nazar. This method of curing of Nazar is reported in a Hadith recorded by Imam Malik. Quite often when it is not certain whose Nazar has struck or when the culprit is not ready to cooperate, the repeated recitation of Surah Falaq and Surah Naas over the affected person may cure him. In a Hadith recorded by Tirmizi and Ibne Maja, the Prophet (Pbuh) is reported to have recited these Surahs for Nazar. The Prophet (Pbuh) has also permitted to use those Mantras (charms) for cure of Nazar, which do not contain words of Shir’k.

In my own own experience I have found that the following procedure immediately cures the Nazar. Take seven knots of turmeric and recite the following words thrice on each knot. “Al-Islamu Haqqun Wal-Kufru Baatil”. Throw each knot one by one into the fire after reciting the above words on them and fumigate the affected person with the smoke thereof.

All this seems very strange, very unscientific and very superstitious but the experience has proved the existence of Nazar from time immemorial and the holy Prophet (Pbuh) who always denounced the superstitions, testified to its effects.


Why should we eat with our right hand?

Q.I am a computer programmer in South Africa. One of my colleagues asked me, why Muslims eat with right hand. What is the scientific reason for that? I was not able to give him a satisfactory answer. Can you please help me?

Irfan Faruki

A. Why do people always shake hands with their right hands? Even two left handers, while shaking hands, extend their right hands towards each other. This is a universal custom, evolved naturally. It shows that without training or being taught, the use of right hand for good things is in the nature of man. Except for a very few, most people all over the world have always been right handers. Why it is so? It is in the nature of man. Islam being the religion of nature (i.e. none of its orders are against nature), it was taught to us that we must use our right hands for all good and clean jobs.

The prophets of Allah were our teachers. They taught us good manners, good things and whatever is good for us. As it is, the ways and teachings of earlier prophets for day to day things have not reached us but fortunately every small bit and habit of the Last Prophet (Pbuh) is an authentic part of history. Whether we know it or not, whatever he taught us, is good for us. We must obey and follow him in all respects. It is another matter that we must try to know the wisdom behind the acts and orders of the Prophet (Pbuh), who was under the guidance of Allah so that our belief in Allah may be further strengthened.

The Prophet (Pbuh) taught us that all clean and good acts must be done with right hands and menial, dirty and unclean duties should be performed with left hands. He said:

“When any one of you goes to relieve himself he should not touch his private parts with right hand and should not cleanse his parts with right hand.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

“When any one of you eats, he should eat with his right hand and when he drinks, should drink (i.e. hold the glass etc) with his right hand.” (Muslim)

“When you wear clothes or perform Wudhu, start with the right side.” (Abu Dawood, Ahmad)

“Narrated Ayesha that as far as possible, the Prophet (Pbuh) preferred to start all his work from right side, like in his ablutions, in combing his hair and stepping into his shoes.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

It was the habit of the Prophet (Pbuh) (and the same he taught to us) that he started all pleasant and agreeable jobs from the right side. When he wore clothes he put his right parts first. When he performed Wudhu or Ghus’l, he washed the right parts first.

When he stepped into a better place from an inferior place, like entering into a mosque or coming out of toilets, he stepped with his right foot first. On the other hand, while entering into an inferior place, like going into the toilet or coming out of mosque , he started with left foot first.

Science is probably yet to explain the reason behind many things, which are otherwise proven by experience. Especially the spiritual and metaphysical effects of our actions are still out of the domain of science. For example it cannot probably be scientifically explained that the congregational nature of Islamic religious offerings i.e. Salat, Zakat, fasting and Hajj, bowing and standing together behind an Imam, standing in straight rows without gaps in between, facing towards one center during prayers by all Muslims of the world, starting and breaking fasts at the same time and wearing the same unstitched clothes by all alike in Hajj is mainly responsible to bind the Muslims of the world in a brotherhood, which no other community has been able to match. The Prophet (Pbuh) told us that if the rows of devotees in mosques are not straight, the chaos and disorganization shall creep into our ranks. He also warned that if we did not take care of standing in prayers with shoulders joined to each other, rifts among us would be created.

The Qur’an told us that Allah created human beings after His Own Nature. The Prophet (Pbuh) told us that every child is born on Nature and later his parents cause to distort his original nature. As I mentioned earlier that the use of right hand in good things is human instinct and nature. Science cannot explain it yet but right side is somehow spiritually related with righteousness. The records of the righteous and the evil shall be handed over to them in their right and left hands respectively on the Day of Judgment. The righteous on that Fateful day shall be named As’haabul-Yameen (people of the right side) while the wicked shall be known as As’haab-sh-shimaal (people of the left side). In the New Testament, the author of the gospel of Mark writes: “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19)

You cannot explain every thing of this answer to a non-believer but I hope some portions of it will be understandable. Finally you can explain to your friend that the Prophet of Allah informed us that there are advantages in using our right hands for eating. He may believe it or not but he cannot point out any disadvantage or harm and so our safety and security lies in obeying the Messenger of Allah.


Who's First Among the Muslims?

Q. A Christian asked me this question: In holy Qur’an it is said that prophet Abraham is the first of Muslims and prophet Moses is the first of Muslims and Prophet Muhammad is the first of believers.

(Ashraf Abdel Monaim ;

A. The phrases, ‘first of Muslims’ and ‘first of believers for the prophets have been used in the following verses of Qur’an.

  1. When his Lord manifested His glory on the mount He made it as dust and Moses fell down in a swoon. When he recovered his senses he said: Glory be to Thee! to thee I turn in repentance and I am the first to believe. (7:143)
  2. Say: Shall I take for my protector any other than Allah the Maker of the heavens and the earth? And He is that feedeth but is not fed. Say: “Nay! but I am commanded to be the first of those who bow to Allah (in Islam) and be not thou of the company of those who join gods with Allah.” (6:14)
  3. Say: “Truly my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds: No partner hath He: this am I commanded and I am the first of those who bow to His Will. (6:162-63)
  4. Say: “Verily I am commanded to serve Allah with sincere devotion; “And I am commanded to be the first of those who bow to Allah in Islam.” (39:11-12)

A careful recital of the above verses is sufficient to prove that the word ‘First’ in these verses is not used in the chronological sense. Instead the first means foremost in zeal. It has the intensive and not the comparative sense above. Chronologically speaking, Prophet Adam was the first of Muslims and believers. However Prophet Moses (Pbuh) and Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) were the first of Momins and Muslims of their times.

In fact, verses 2), 3) and 4) above, when they were revealed to the Prophet (Pbuh), he was the first addressee of the order but these verses do not contain the words ‘O Muhammad’. After Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) has delivered the Qur’an to us, whoever recites it, is the addressee. When I recite these verses I am being commanded to declare and become the first of Muslims and first of believers. The magicians called by Pharaoh (Fir’aun) who embraced Islam after encountering the Sign of Allah given to Moses, are also reported to have declared that they would become the first of believers. See the following verse.

Then did the sorcerers fall down prostrate in adoration saying: “We believe in the Lord of the Worlds. The Lord of Moses and Aaron.”

Said (Pharaoh): “Believe ye in him before I give you permission? Surely he is your leader who has taught you sorcery! But soon shall ye know! But sure I will cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides and I will cause you all to die on the cross!”

They said: “No matter! for us we shall but return to our Lord! Only our desire is that our Lord will forgive us our faults that we may become first of the Believers!” (26:46-51)

The magicians turned believers after the encounter with Moses. Still they proclaimed that they wished to become the first of believers. There must remain no confusion now regarding the use of the word ‘First’ in the relevant verses. However there is something else towards which I would like to draw your attention.

There is no verse in Qur’an in which prophet Ibrahim is referred to say that he was the first of Muslims. But since he did say he was a Muslim and chronologically he came before prophet Musa and Muhammad, your Christian friend ascribed these words to him also. Whoever can mention these things has either studied Qur’an exceptionally thoroughly or has been coached by someone to raise these questions. An ordinary reader who has gone through the translation of whole of Qur’an is unlikely to note the points he mentioned. And if the person concerned is himself such a thorough and intelligent reader, it is not possible that he did not understand the real sense of the word ‘first’, as explained by me. Either way it seems that someone is trying to spread confusions about Qur’an among the Muslims.


Canadian Laws on Meh'r

Q. Can you please provide me information on Mehr and its relation to Canadian law? Also the historical background and reasoning behind the Mehr.

Ayaz Amlani

A. I am unable to furnish you the information on Canadian laws on Meh’r, but assuming that marriage laws in Canada are very similar to the US laws as marriage laws in most western countries are similar, Meh’r is regarded a gift there. In US, if a religious law contradicts the federal law, the later upholds.

Islam has recognised that normally it is the man’s responsibility to support his family (Q. 4:34). The primary purpose of Meh’r is the financial security of woman. At the time of Nikah the husband has to part with an agreed upon sum or property in favour of his wife so that she may spend it as and when she pleases. It becomes the sole property of woman while the husband’s income has to be spent on the family. Meh’r is nothing new. It was probably ordained in all the earlier Shariahs (Religious Laws). We can see its resemblance in other religions though like other laws its forms have been changed or distorted. We find in Hindu law:

“If by showing other maid, a different girl is given in marriage afterwards, then the husband should marry both the girls for the same amount. It has been ordained by Manu”. (Manu Smriti 8:204)

It is indicated in the above ruling that the husband was ordained to give money to the wife at the time of marriage. Had the money been given to the bride’s father it would have amounted to sale of the woman. The money is for the bride and the father is prohibited to receive any kind of remuneration in lieu of marriage: “Knowing that it is wrong to receive money from the husband, the bride’s father should not accept even a small amount of money, because taking money out of greed amounts to sale of the daughter”. (Manu. 3:51)

We can observe the traces in Jewish tradition also. According to the Bible, Abraham in his last moments called his trusted servant and wished that he go to Abraham’s country and take a wife for his son Isaac from his kindred. The servant went there and chose Rebekah for Isaac from Abraham’s clan. He then gave her money and jewelry and also gave presents to Rebekah’s family members:

“And the servant brought forth jewels of silver and jewels of gold and raiment and gave them to Rebekah. He gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things”. (Genesis 24:53)

With the passage of time this tradition was distorted to the bride’s father accepting money for the marriage.

But in the clan elder son of Hazrat Ibrahim i.e. Ismael, the tradition of Meh’r remained and prior to Islam, the Arabs paid Meh’r to the wives at the time of marriage. No money was given to the bride’s father.


How to Seek His Forgiveness?

Q. 1. Can we use after-shaves and perfumes which contain alcohol after doing Wudhu while going to prayer?

2. What is the best way to seek forgiveness from Allah?

Dr. Mohd. Akbar
N. Delhi)

A. 1. There are two views of scholars in this regard. Some consider alcohol itself ‘Najis’ (unclean). Others opine that while drinking of alcohol is prohibited, its other uses are permitted, as alcohol itself is not unclean. In my opinion the latter view is correct. The holy Qur’an declared:

“O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling (dedication of) stones and (divination by) arrows are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork: eschew such (abomination) that ye may prosper.

Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants and gambling and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?” (5:90-91)

It is evident from the above verses that the consumption of intoxicants is being prohibited. Using arrows for purposes other than gambling is not prohibited. Similarly using alcohol for purposes other than intoxicants is not prohibited.

2. The best way of seeking forgiveness for a sin is to make a firm resolve not to repeat the sin again. In addition to this resolution, it is better if Salat-ut-Taubah is also offered. “Narrated Ali that Abu Bak’r said and he told the truth when he said that he heard from the Prophet (Pbuh): Whosoever sins and then (in repentance) he performs ablution and offers Salat and then asks forgiveness of Allah, Allah pardons him. Then the Prophet (Pbuh) recited this verse: And those who having done something to be ashamed of or wronged their own souls earnestly bring Allah to mind ask for forgiveness for their sins and who can forgive sins except Allah? And are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done. For such the reward is forgiveness from their Lord and gardens with rivers flowing underneath as an eternal dwelling; how excellent a recompense for those who work (and strive)! (3:135-36)” (Tirmizi)

In some traditions it is mentioned that in Salat-ut-Taubah, there are 2 Raka’ats with Surah Kaafirun in the 1st and Surah Ikhlaas in the 2nd Raka’at.


Triple Talaq and Permission for Second Marriage

Q. How is Talaq given? What is meant by triple Talaq? What is the difference between 1, 2 and 3 Talaqs? Does a husband need his first wife’s permission for polygamy? Does the first wife have the right to demolish the marriage without her knowledge?

My husband married a girl without my knowledge. All of us were against him particularly myself because I couldn’t even imagine my hubby sharing love with another girl since I am very possessive. Moreover he cannot run our family itself by fulfilling our needs and also we have four kids. So I and all of us (mainly his own parents and relatives) forced him to give triple Talaq. The girl also agreed by accepting her Meh’r and a compensation of Rs. 55000/-. She took it easy. Now we are living a normal life but I want to know whether my husband’s Talaq to her is legal or not. Will I be viewed a sinner in Allah’s eyes?

(Anonymity requested)

A. In Shariah, the proper procedure is to pronounce Talaq only once. Talaq thus given is complete in all respects after the expiry of the Iddat to the extant that both are free to marry anywhere including remarrying each other again. If they remarry each other and Talaq is pronounced again at some time, it is a 2nd. Talaq. They again can marry each other a third time but if during their third marriage a divorce happens and Iddat is passed after the 3rd. Talaq, the divorce is irrevocable. They can then marry anywhere except each other. Four main Sunni schools of Fiq’h decree that although it is a sin to pronounce Talaq thrice at one go, if given in this manner, it is irrevocable. Ahle Hadiths and a number of other prominent scholars say that if Talaq is pronounced many times at one occasion, it is deemed to be one Talaq only. However if divorce is given on the demand of the wife (who is being divorced) or both have agreed on a divorce settlement, a permanent or irrevocable Talaq may be pronounced.

It is more in consonance with the spirit of Shariah and the dictates of The Holy Book that the husband, while marrying a second wife should do so with the consent of the first wife. However taking her consent is not binding on him.

It is debatable whether a person has a right to marry up to four wives in all circumstances as the Qur’an has mentioned polygamy only in the context of protection of orphans. But in your case he may not have taken a second wife only for sex. Everybody who loves someone is possessive to some extent. This attitude is not only unjust but may even be harmful to you. Islam is the religion of balance and equity. Your husband’s love for you should not come in the way of his love for his parents and other kin. Possessiveness to this extent is selfish and it is possible that your attitude may have developed a reaction in him to the extent of taking a second wife. Please try to modify yourself.

Your husband’s talaq to his second wife is legal and valid. It is human nature that the first wife does not like her counterpart but as you say that the divorce was given with the consent of the divorced wife; there is no sin on you.

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