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JUNE 2000

MONTHLY    *    Vol 14-06 No:162    *   JUNE 2000 / RABI-UL-AWAL 1421H
  email: editor@islamicvoice.com

OUR DIALOGUE

By S.Abdullah Tariq


Hijab or Job
How Shaitan Misleads man?
Picture of Ka'abah in Mosque
Recitation of Qur'an
Interfaith Marriage
Zakat for Medical Treatment
Working in Banks
Women Head of State

Hijab or Job

Q. I have a problem which I would like to tell you. I am a graduate in the field of commerce. I wear hijab and due to which I am finding it very difficult to get jobs. As a result I idle away time which is leading to frustration. Sometimes I feel it is not fair for the companies to reject us outright because they should judge us on our performance rather than our appearance.

(xxx ; tanha_5@yahoo.com)

A. If your circumstances force you to do a job in an office or institution of mixed gender, you must be clear about the minimum requirement of your attire. Following are the three relevant orders.

1. “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and not to display of their adornment except that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women’s nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed.” (Qur’an 24:31)

A brief explanation of the underlined phrases in the above verse is as follows:

Lower their gaze: Lowering the gaze does not mean to look towards the earth, especially while conversation with men is necessary. In most cases, the communication between the two will be greatly hampered when both of them are looking downwards. (Remember the men are also asked to lower their gaze in verse 24:30). The Arabic word ‘Ghadh’ means to check and lessen the intensity. The same word has also been used in Qur’an in relation to voice:

“And be moderate in thy pace and lower thy voice; for the harshest of sounds without doubt is the braying of the ass.” (31:19)

The instruction in the relevant verse is not to stare in a frank, provoking and bold way at men. The gaze should be modest if you have to look at them.

Except that which is apparent: There has been much debate over the explanation of this phrase among scholars. Following is one of the most reasonable explanations from the pen of Maulana Maudoodi, a staunch advocate of Purdah.

“Every one (among the religious scholars) has tried to understand as per his insight and the need of women that to what extent, the necessity calls for exposing which part (of the body). What is exposed inevitably and what is exposed as a habit. We say that you should not bind (the phrase in the verse) ‘except which is apparent’, with any of these. A believing woman who wants to remain obedient by heart to Allah and the Prophet (Pbuh) and who is not ready to be down with temptation, can herself make a decision, depending upon her circumstances and needs whether she should expose her face and hands or not, when and when not to expose, how much to expose and how much to conceal. Neither the Shariah’ (Allah and the Prophet) has decreed the absolute verdict in this respect, nor seeing the variance in circumstances and needs, it is the want of wisdom to frame the absolute orders”. (P. 237-38, Maulana Maudoodi, Purdah, 11th ed., Markazi Maktaba Islami Delhi)

2. Hazrat Asma once came to the house of the Prophet (Pbuh), who was his brother in law (non-Mahram) also, in such clothes through which her body was apparent. The Prophet (Pbuh) turned his face away and said:

“Asma! After a woman reaches adulthood, it is not lawful to see any part of her body except this and this”. Saying this, the Prophet (Pbuh) indicated towards his face and palms”.

The Hadith tells us that the Sat’r (concealable parts of body) of a woman for a non-Mahram man excludes the face and palms.

3. “O prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their persons: that is most convenient that they should be known (as such) and not molested: and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Q. 33:59)

An outer garment or larger chaddar than the Dupattas (veils over bosoms) is necessary while passing through the streets out of home. It is clear from the verse itself that the order does not concern an indoor home or office where she is already known. In an office, the male colleagues would know a modest woman of chaste character and would not tease or molest her, so there is no compulsion in Deen for wearing the outer garments or Burqah or a chaadar inside the office or place of work. The job in such a place of work is not desirable, where a woman is harassed even after being known of possessing a chaste character.

Know that all orders of Qur’an and Hadith regarding covering up of face are exclusive in relation to Ummahat-ul-Momineen (the Prophet’s wives).

It is not clear what you exactly mean by Hijab in your query. You see that you are not necessarily required to wear a burqah or a chaadar, while entering an office for doing a job there. Of course you have to cover your head and hair as it is included in the Sat’r of a woman. If that is your Hijab and you are not getting a job for covering your head by your dupatta, then you are better off without a job in such an institution. Try in a girls’ or women’s institution.

The life in this world is a life of trial followed by the eternal life hereafter. The nature of trial for each and every individual is different. If you face hardships due to not getting a job for following your Deen, then it is your trial. Face the test with courage and boldness.

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How Shaitan Misleads man?

Q. Shaitaan (Iblis) was thrown out by Almighty Allah on not obeying the orders. Thus Shaitaan is one entity, how can he be present at so many places at one given time to distort Muslims believers from doing their duties.

(Zakir Patel ; Baroda)

A. Adam was alone in the beginning and God created for him, his wife so that the human race could start and spread. Iblis is one person but being from Jinns, he may have his progeny. At which stage, Allah created his pair, is not known to us, as most other things about them are also unknown. We know that Iblis was the most learned and respectable of all Jinns before being expelled from the proximity of Allah. It does not necessarily mean that he was the lone person of his race when his expulsion came about. In one of the verses, where his non-compliance is described, it is at the same time stated that he was from among (the race of Jinn), which indicates that there may have been others of his race at that time also, though not necessarily in high heavens. The relevant verse is: “...they bowed down except Iblis. He was one of the Jinns and he broke the Command of his Lord.” (18:50)


Shaitan has not to be physically present near a man to allure him. Being a person whose basic constituent of the body is heat energy instead of matter, he can penetrate and infiltrate from a distance in different directions.
The Qur'an tells us that he misleads by sending thought waves (Waswasa).

Qur’an has used, the words ‘tribe of Shaitan, hosts of Shaitans, brothers of Shaitans and it informs us that the Shaitans are from both Jinns and humankind. See the verses 7:27, 26:95, 17:27, and 6:112 etc. So there are and have been innumerable number of devils from among Jinns and human beings from day one.

Besides the above, it is possible for a Shaitan from Jinns to tempt and mislead more than one person from human beings even if they are at different places. Shaitan has not to be physically present near a man to allure him. Being a person whose basic constituent of the body is heat energy instead of matter, he can penetrate and infiltrate from a distance in different directions. The Qur’an tells us that he misleads by sending thought waves (Waswasa). He did not allure Adam by physically sneaking into the heaven from where he had been expelled. There was no question of his approaching near a place where from none other than Allah had debarred him. He allured Adam and Hawwa by sending thought waves. “Then began Satan to whisper suggestions to them bringing openly before their minds all their shame that was hidden from them (before): he said “Your Lord only forbade you this tree lest ye should become angels or such beings as live for ever.” (7:20). We have been warned thus:

“O ye children of Adam! Let not Satan seduce you in the same manner as he got your parents out of the garden stripping them of their raiment to expose their shame: for he and his tribe watch you from a position where ye cannot see them: We made the devil the protecting friends of those without faith.” (7:27)

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Picture of Ka'abah in Mosque

Q. A joint picture of holy Ka’abah, holy Tomb of our beloved Prophet (Pbuh) and one open book say of holy Qur’an is fixed infront of Mahrab where our Pesh Imam leads us for Namaz in the mosque of our area. Is this picture permissible before the Pesh Imam in Ruku and Sajda in Namaz? Is it Bidat?

When objected, it was replied that in Haj and Umrah we bow before Ka’abah. In Namaz Niyat, we say. “Facing before Ka’abah”. In some Janimaz (prayer mat), while in some, holy tomb is printed and we bow down in Ruku and Sajda on these. So why object when it is placed in front in the mosque. Please clarify.

(A.V. Kazi ; Ahmedabad)

A. First you must be clear about what Bid’at is. The tendency of calling every act Bid’at must be checked as a Muslim takes it more unkindly to be accused of Bid’at than of sin. Different groups call those acts of others Bid’at which they do not agree with. It is creating great divisions. Besides, the Ad’l (justice) of Islam demands that we call a spade a spade, no more no less.

The literal meaning of Bid’at is new act or tradition. It is generally believed that all new traditions or acts that were not in the days of the Prophet (Pbuh) and the Companions, are Bid’at but it is not true. Bid’at is such new act or tradition, which becomes an essential part of Deen in the eyes of a group of people. Sometimes a pious act could become Bid’at. Imam Malik never wore shoes in Madinah. He said he could not bear putting on shoes where the feet of the Prophet (Pbuh) might have touched the ground. It was the manifestation of his immense love for the Prophet (Pbuh), an act of piety. However if a group of people start following him in this, considering it a part of Deen to walk barefoot on the streets of Madinah, it will become a Bid’at, a sin. Kissing the finger tips and touching with them the eyes every time, the Prophet’s name is spelled, is an expression of love for the Prophet. But when a group of people start believing it to be necessary obligation of Deen, it becomes Bid’at. So if a group of Namazis in your mosque believe that it is necessary to hang a picture of Ka’abah there, it will become Bid’at. Till they do not consider it a part of Deen it is not a Bid’at.

Another important explanation is also essential before passing a judgment on your query. Life would become very hard if we believe we should not start anything new that was not said or done by the Prophet (Pbuh). The rule is that we should not start or do anything, which the Qur’an and the Prophet (Pbuh) forbade.


Life would become very hard if we believe we should not start anything new that was not said or done by the Prophet (Pbuh). The rule is that we should not start or do anything, which the Qur'an and the Prophet (Pbuh) forbade.

Hanging a drawing of Ka’abah or the Mosque of Prophet (Pbuh) in front of the Imam in a mosque is neither Bid’at nor a sin but it must be discouraged and desisted from. It has the potential of becoming a Bid’at.

Besides there is another grave risk in it. The logic of your Imam is based on ignorance and if it goes a little more wayward it may become very serious. If the picture of Ka’abah in front of your Imam is considered to represent Ka’abah, then your Imam must know that a Muslim does not bow before Ka’abah. We bow not before Ka’abah but only in the direction of Ka’abah (and certainly not in the direction of the Prophet’s Tomb or Mosque). A Muslim bows before none but Allah. When in the mosque of Haram, we face Ka’abah but we do not meditate or concentrate upon it in our prayers. We are required to meditate on the presence of Allah in Namaz whether we are in Haram or somewhere else. If one thinks for a moment that he is bowing before Ka’abah he will be in danger of being very near to Shirk. Many of average Muslims in a mosque do not possess adequate knowledge of Deen. If they start believing that bowing before the picture of Ka’abah is akin to bowing before Ka’abah their Namaz will not remain pure for Allah because as I explained earlier that bowing before anything or anyone except Allah is Shirk.


Bid'at is such new act or tradition, which becomes an essential part of Deen in the eyes of a group of people. Sometimes a pious act could become Bid'at.

Explain this finer point to your Imam very modestly and humbly when he is alone. Admonishing him in the presence of others may hurt his ego and he may not listen to reason. However if the picture has been placed there only for being centrally located and the Namazis do not philosophise or link it with any belief, there is no need to create a controversy. There is no harm in its being there.

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Recitation of Qur'an

Q. I am a 22 years old Keralite Muslim woman brought up and living in Rajkot. My parents want me to get married but before that I want to learn Arabic language in depth so as to understand Qur’an. I merely recite it without understanding its meaning which I feel is a foolish act. I have command over reading and writing English, Hindi and Gujarati. I can speak Malayalam but can not read it and I can read Arabic without understanding it.

I have a Qur’anic translation but it is too hard to understand. My biggest problem is the Qur’an I recite is of Malayalam accent and writing so I find difficulty in reciting original Arabic writing. What should I do?

(Shahina ; Rajkot)

A. Your desire to learn good Arabic for the purpose of understanding Qur’an is commendable but it is not wise to delay your marriage for that. You can always put the condition before your suitors that your would be husband should not come in the way of your learning Arabic. If it is your parents’ wish and a proper suit is found, there is no need to postpone the marriage for this reason alone.

The query about your Qur’an translation is not very clear. Is your copy of the Qur’an in Malayalam transliteration without original Arabic text? Most translations or transliterations contain Arabic text as well. You say that you can recite Arabic, then why do you face difficulty in reciting the text of Qur’an? If your copy is in Malayalam transliteration without Arabic text, then the simple thing to do is buy another copy from the market. It would be better for you to purchase a translation in English, Hindi or Gujarati, which you are fluent in. That way you will be able to understand the meaning of Qur’an from the translation till you learn Arabic yourself. The translations in all these languages are easily available. If you do not find it in Rajkot, ask a book-seller to make one available for you on order.

If your problem is that being a Keralite, your accent has a Malayalam touch, then there is a good news for you. When you face difficulty in proper recitation, you get double Sawaab for reciting it provided you make an effort to rectify the deficiency. The Prophet (Pbuh) said that one who falters in the recitation of Qur’an (because of deficiency but keeps on trying), gets double Sawaab. Try to improve it seeking the help of some Muslim lady who can recite it well.

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Interfaith Marriage

Q. I am a Jewish woman who has been dating a Muslim man for 2 years. We are discussing marriage. What advice can you offer and how will his religion accept me and our marriage? We love and respect one another with everything we are made of. The Muslim faith is one that I am not too familiar with and I am willing to learn what I can and accept as much as possible.

(Tracey Sarn ; humara@aol)

A. There is no hindrance in your marriage as far as Islam is concerned. Islam considers you as one of the ‘People of The Book’ and asks a Muslim to respect and believe in all the scriptures and prophets you believe in.

Though it is not a pre-condition for marriage, Islam asks you for your own good, not to refuse and disbelieve in any one of the prophets Allah sent after Moses (peace be upon him). Jesus (Pbuh) verified and testified to the Law instead of repealing it. He had come to fulfil the Law and the Torah (The Bible, Mat. 5:17). It was the people after him who disregarded the Law.

The Christ only wanted the Rabbis of his time to act what they preached as they had become sycophants and had converted the Religion of God into their profit earning ventures. It is blasphemous to say that he claimed to be the Son of God. He was a very esteemed prophet of God who had come to re-infuse the spirit of the Law into actions of the Children of Israel.

I am sure your love and respect for your husband will enable you to study the Seerah (life and character) of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) with open mind. Your husband shall not only be respecting but believing in all the prophets of God, the Jews believe in him. The inadequacy, if any in the reciprocation will be from your side if you do not accept the Prophet (Pbuh), whom I am sure, your would-be husband loves. n

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Zakat for Medical Treatment

Q. My younger brother-in-law died by liver cancer on January 2, 2000. His son, that means my nephew is suffering from kidney (both) failure. Doctor suggested to transplant his kidney within one year. But they have no source of income and savings. We want to transplant his kidney and it will be needed seven lakh Bangladeshi taka. They will receive only three and half lakh taka after selling their whole properties. Rest of the money is depending on donation/help if Allah may allow to manage by any source. In this situation, will it be allowable for my nephew to receive Zakat?

(Mohammad Shahinul Islam ; Dhaka, Bangladesh)

A. He may be helped from Zakat money. When his genuine needs surpass his known sources, he is a poor man. He can certainly receive Zakat under two of the eight prescribed heads ‘Fuqara and Masakeen’, even if he owns property worth 3.5 lakh takas. He also might come under a 3rd prescribed head ‘Fir-Riqaab’ i.e. in freeing the tied necks. I wish him recovery and hope that the affluent would help him from Zakat or by donations.

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Working in Banks

Q. Allah has cursed the one who takes interest, the one who pays it, the one who writes the contract, and the one who witnesses the contract.” (Sahih al Ahmad, Abu Daoud, Al-Nasai, Ibn-Majah, Al-Tirmidhi.) I am a software programmer about to be placed with a reputed firm whose major clients are different banks world over. At times I would be directly involved with the clients who would pay me for maintaining the softwares that my firm has developed for them.

Would it be permissible for me to work for this firm? I am utterly confused, Please clarify my doubts.

(Munzir S ; Munzir_s@hotmail.com)

A. You would be working on behalf of your company even when receiving payments directly from the banks. In that case, the issue becomes one of choosing between Rukhsat (permission) or Azeemat (steadfastness for high standards) provided that it is established beyond doubt that the direct employment of a Bank is Haram. Some latter scholars, after studying the present system of economy and banking are in favour of revising the prohibition of employment of financial institutions.

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Women Head of State

Q. Does Islam debar a woman from occupying the highest political seat? Please answer me with reference to Islamic history.

(Shakil Ahmed ; Lilong, Manipur)

A. Islam does not specifically prohibit a woman from a post of political leadership but it does not certainly approve of it. Following is a Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) in this regard.

“Narrated Abu Bakrah that when the Prophet (Pbuh) heard that the people of Persia had appointed the daughter of Kisra their ruler, he said: “That nation cannot accomplish fulfilment, which made a woman, the head of their affairs”. (Bukhari)

The above Hadith is a statement of fact rather than a verdict of unlawfulness of a woman ruler. A woman head of state would normally signify that women of that society are generally abdicating their natural and true responsibilities of good upbringing and taking due care of moral training of children. The social fabric of such a society is bound to disintegrate sooner or later. There is an event of Queen Sheba’s subjugation to Hazrat Sulaiman in Qur’an. We note that Hazrat Sulaiman did not admonish her over being a head of state. He only preached to her to give up idolatry and accept Islam, which she did. There is no mention therein that she was removed from her executive position after she accepted Islam.

To my knowledge, Islamic history of distant past has no such precedent when an occasion necessitating the debate would have surfaced. We however observe that late Maulana Maudoodi had announced support for Ms. Fatima Jinah for the presidential candidature of Pakistan against Mohammad Ayyub Khan in early 60s of the last century. It shows that in the eyes of an Islamic scholar of the stature of Maulana Maudoodi, a woman head of state could be preferred over a man in extraordinary circumstances in the interest of Deen.

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