By S. Abdullah Tariq
Q.2. Our society group would be grateful to know:
i) Why this Holy Qur’an was not revealed to the Prophets before Holy Prophet Muhammad(Pbuh)?
ii) Did Holy Prophet Muhammad(Pbuh) performed miracles during his life time?
(J.H. Thacker; Ahmedabad)
All the earlier Prophets came when in the world there were great barriers of distance and communication between different lands. The activities of earlier Prophets, therefore were limited to the area of their possible reach. In other words, we can say that they were sent to reform their respective races. Although the basic message, the tenets of the belief and the human values preached by all of them was the same but the ‘Shariah’ (the rites and the civil & criminal law) part carried by each Prophet took into consideration, the particular habits culture and capabilities of their areas of operation. Hence although the religion of all the profits was essentially the same (submission before God), the modes of rites and the legal part differed as per the needs of the respective area. The messages (the Word of God) delivered by those Prophets also underwent human interference some time after each Prophet had departed as the human society, although progressing gradually had no fool proof and reliable recording means which could not be tampered with. Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) came in an era which was just before the explosion of scientific progress. The world was to become one place after a while, with the progress in communication and transport. The reliable means of recording were also to be developed, so that there was no danger of change in the message at last Prophet Muhammad(Pbuh) was the first Prophet through which the Word of God was to reach in every nook and corner of the world with such a degree of safety that not even a single letter of the message would be altered. He was therefore made the Last Prophet(Pbuh) as well, as the message would now remain safe forever and would reach to every part of the world. For this reason, Qur’anic Shariah had to be complete in every respect to suit all people for all times. The Qur’an testified to it that the shariah part for each past nation was different: “ For each (people) we ordained a Divine Law and a traced out way” (5:48). But it also made clear that the essentials of the religion remained unaltered. “ He has ordained for you the faith which He enjoined on Nuh and which we have revealed to you and which we enjoined on Abraham, Musa and Isa, (saying): observe this faith and be not divided therein” (42:13).
As the basic message remained the same, the Qur’an has on one occasion named the earlier Divine Books also as Qur’an: “ And say I am indeed he that warns openly and without ambiguity, as We sent down on those who made division. Who made Qur’an into shreds.” (15:89-91)
Ans. ii) Prophet Muhammad(Pbuh) performed such a large number of miracles that it will take a moderate sized book to compile them all. On several occasions, he fed a large number of people on the diet of one person, quenched the thirst of thousands of companions with one small potful of water. He talked to the animals, trees and Jennies, foretold a large number of events, travelled to Jerusalem and heavens within a few moments time, divided and reunited the moon by pointing a finger and performed a lot of other miracles. Even when he was a child, a Christian saint recognized him as a future Prophet. The saint witnessed the trees bowing before him and a patch of cloud moving over his head as he walked.
I have not described in detail, anyone of the above as the Qur’an does not lay emphasis on such miracles of Prophet Muhammad(Pbuh), Although these are part of history and although the Qur’an describes the miracles of the earlier Prophets, it calls only one of his miracles as ‘The Miracle’ which overshadowed all these described above.
Before coming to that one Miracle, let me quote Jesus Christ from the Bible, who explained to his followers that they should not be misled by everyone who performs amazing things, as extraordinary powers could be developed by anyone by intense practice. He said: “ For there shall arise false Christs and false Prophets(Pbuh) and shall shew great signs and wonders in so much that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect”. (Mat. 24:24)
The whole of the Christ’s life was full of miracles right from his miraculous birth upto the amazing ascension. He cured the incurable and raised to life, the dead by God’s permission. But that did not satisfy the disbelievers and they still demanded signs. Although, he had already shown so many sings, he answered: “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign and there shall no sign be given to it but the sign of the Prophet Jonas. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Mat.12:39,40)
Jesus did not remind them of all those previous miracles, Instead, he said that only one sign would be given to them. It would be such a great sign as to eclipse all the previous ones. Similarly the Qur’an talks of only one sign of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) compared to which all the other miracles are not worth calling the miracles. The Qur’an quoted the disbelievers at many places asking for signs. Although he had already performed so many miracles, the Lord told the Prophet(Pbuh) to answer them that no sign would be given to them except one, for which they had to wait, to become manifest.
Following are few of the answers in reply to the disbelievers demand that "Why is not a sign sent down to Him from His Lord?
“Have they not been given sufficient proofs (of your Prophet hood) in the previous Books” (20:133)
“Your mission is (not showing them the miracles) but only to give warning (of the Hereafter)” (13:7)
“Say, Allah is well able to send down a sign but most of them do not know (what that sign would be)”.(6:37)
“Say, Allah alone has knowledge of what is hidden wait if you will: I too am one of those who wait”. (10:20)
Why is not Qur’an referring to the miracles, the Prophet(Pbuh) often performed inn reply to the demand? Because, the Last Prophet(Pbuh) was not to be a guide for a certain period and certain people. The later men of the scientific age would believe in a living proof only. They would call fairy tales, the stories of the Prophet(Pbuh) conversing with trees and animals, if recorded in Qur’an. Besides, those who did not want to believe, always scoffed at the earlier Prophets(pbuh) when confronted with the signs, calling if sorcery, magic or trickstery. The Qur’an says: “If thou camest unto them with a miracle, those who disbelieve would verliy exclaim: Ye are but tricksters”. (30:58)
“And if they behold a portent they turn away and say: Prolonged illusion! (54:2)
That is why the Almighty gave him a living sign, a final argument for the men of all ages to come. The sign is the ‘safe and Final Word of God’, The Quran.
Is it not a miracle that despite the descriptions of a large number of verses describing universe and its phenomon, not a single verse, sent down 1400 years ago can be contradicted by modern science? Is it not a miracle that the stages of creation of man, detailed by Qur’an cannot be challenged by medical science after 1400 years?
Is it not a miracle that a civilisation, not mentioned in any earlier scripture or historical record, was excavated in the desert of Oman after 5000 years in 1992 and the Qur’an had described its details at more than a dozen places!
The Qur’an had claimed 1400 years ago that its authenticity will increase with the passage of the universe.
“But it is plain miracles (hidden for the time) inside the hearts of those endowed with (scientific) knowledge. Only the wrong doers deny our signs. And (yet) they say, why are not portents sent down upon him from his Lord? say: Portents are with Allah (to be made manifest in time) and my mission is only to give plain warning”. (29:49,50)
“We shall show them our portents on the horizons and within themselves until it will be manifest unto them that it (The Qur’an) is the Truth” (14:53)
Q.1. I am a Hindu. Recently near our colony a Hindu boy married a Muslim girl. Later I am told that before the marriage, the Hindu boy was being asked to change his religion from Hinduism to Islam. In this case, why cannot the girl change her religion to marry the boy?
K. Ravi, Behrampur
2. A Hindu woman married a Muslim man and is following Hinduism. She did not undergo Nikah. They kept Hindu names of their children and did not perform their circumcision. All of them including the husband talk Kannada in their home. This man neither married nor is having any relationship with any other women. What is the Islamic law in this case?
3. A Muslim married a Hindu. Both of them remained in their respective religions and it was known to all the relatives, friends and accquaintance that the Muslim spouse continue his/her/Muslim identity. Will his/her Namaz-e-Janaza be offered by the Muslims and will he/she be allowed to be buried in the Muslim burial ground?
Under orders from a local Moulvi, the residents of the locality did not offer Namaz-e-Janaza in such a case and did not allow the burial in the Muslim burial ground. Is it right?
If the children of the above couple and free to choose the faith of their liking from any of the two religions, what will happen if they die before maturity?
C.M. Jadwet, Calcutta
A.1. Islam does not approve of idolatry and assigning attributes of one God, to any other person or entity. The above sin will not be forgiven on the Day of Judgement. Although in recommends good peaceful relations with the peace loving non-Muslims, a compromise on faith is not permitted. As there shall be no re-birth in this world and a soul has its eternal abode in either the paradise or hell, how can Islam allow a Muslim to prefer burring in hell-fire by getting out of Islam for marriage? Qur’an has warned the Muslims thus. “Believers, fear Allah as your rightly should and do not die except as Muslim” (Surah Al-Imran 3:102)
A.2. There is no harm if they speak Kannada. A language has not bearing on religion. Even keeping the local names of the children, provided the meaning of the name is not Mushrikana or Unislamic and not getting them circumcised could be ignored, but the very fact that he is living with a Hindu woman, makes him a perpetual and consistent sinner. As for his punishment in Islamic law, it is irrelevant because if cannot be implemented.
Living constantly under sin does not make a person murtad (a renegade). Those wishing to offer his/her funeral prayer should not be barred from even motivated against it. There also is not justification in not letting the body be buried in the Muslim burial ground.
The children who do not attain the age of accountability, do not suffer for the misdeeds of their parents. They shall enter paradise.
Q. Please refer to I.V. Sept.'94 'Our dialogue' under heading "can a Muslim marry a Buddhist? Your reply is in the negative. While recognising marriage of a Jew or a Christina woman with a Muslim man on the ground of being "Ahle Kitab", you have placed a Buddhist in the category of Mushrikeen', misquoting irrelevant verses of the holy Qur'an 2:221. As per Qur'an there is no nation in the world in which an apostle/Prophet has not been sent. We understand that no effort has been made in our country to find our and recognise a Prophet for Indian nation. There must be a holy book in Indian language for the nation too in whatever state it may be and there must be some followers there of to be treated like Ahle-Kitab'.. Is it not necessary for Muslims to find out the true status of our Buddhist of Hindu brothers and live accordingly with them peacefully?
A. It is not necessary for Muslims to marry a Buddhist or a Hindu to live with them peacefully. You are required to live with them peacefully even if you are not allowed matrimonial relationship with them. The answer you have referred to was taken from Arab News and the verse 2:221 was rightly quoted therein in context of the Buddhist. In the available literature of Buddhism, we do not find the conception of a Creator and Sustainer God. The present day Buddhists go a step further. Instead of maintaining silence on the existence of God, they have started denying God. Nearly all of them are idolaters although Buddha had specifically forbidden making and worshipping his idols. There is not doubt that they will be categorised among Mushrike and matrimonial relation with them are forbidden. Qur'an clearly ordains : "You shall not marry Mushrik women (idolatresses or who ascribe God's attributes to others as ascribe partners of Him) unless they embrace the Faith. A believing slave woman is better than a Mushrik woman although she may please you. Nor shall you wed (your women to Mushrik men unless they embrace Faith. A believing slave is better than a Mushrik, although he may please you. These invite you to Fire but allah calls you by His will to Paradise and to forgiveness. He makes plain His revelations to mankind so that they may be mindful," (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:221)
In principle, there is some substance in your logic that there may be some followers thereof to be treated like "Ahle-Kitab',but practically there is no Buddhist who can be categorised thus although there is the probability of some Hindus being termed as Ahle-Kitab'.. It is essential to understand the term Ahle-Kitab' to grasp a clear cut conception of his subject. From Qur'anic narrations and the scholars' discussion, Ahle-Kitab' may precisely be defined as under: "A group of people believing in God and Prophethood and the Books )or Book) of God, who still possess a Book of God (though distorted) and also know and believe in the Prophet through whom that Book was revealed."
Buddhists do not believe in God and Prophethood. They do not believe in Buddha as a Prophet of God and apart from some stray saying ascribed to Buddha they don't even posses the Word of Buddha.
On the other hand Hindus are closer to meeting the criteria than the Buddhists. They believe in God and an overwhelming majority of them believe in a Book (the Vedas) they call the Word of God. Research has been made to establish the identity of the Prophet or Prophets sent to Indian people.
Late Moulana Shams Naved Usmani has done commendable work in this direction. I have been writing in the comparative studies column of Islamic Voice that there are conclusive proofs of a series of Prophets from Adam to Noah visiting India. (For more details, see my Urdu Book 'Agar Ab Bhi No Jage To' or its English translation 'Now or Never'). Besides Vedas have a strong case of being the collection of scriptures revealed to these Prophets.
But even that is not enough to categorise Hindus as Ahle-Kitab. There should at least be a small sect, a group of people (not just a few individuals who do not know each other) who must believe in these Prophets as the bearer of Book, they claim to be the Book of God. Only then that group of people can be called Ahle-Kitab.
Q.1. The holy Qur'an has absolutely allowed marrying Jew-Christian women vide 5:5. But I.V. March'96 in reply to a question forbade marrying a catholic girl if she believed in Trinity. In my view the question whether she believes in one God not, is unreasonable in the time of the Prophet (See Surah Maidah 5:73). At the same time Qur'an has given sanction to believers to marry from the people of the book without any conditions.
T.K. Yoosuf, Pulikhal, Malappuram
Q.2.I.V. In answer to a question on 'Love marriage' states that enough. Can you kindly point out today a Unitarian Christian. Fair enough. Can you kindly point out today a Unitarian Christianity mentioned in the Qur'an? Unitarian Christianity is defunct now which is why our learned Ulemas have disapproved of his allowance. Hence your approval of his alliance is erroneous and against the spirit of Qur'an.
T.V.A. Abdul Malik, Madurai.
A.1. Believers are permitted to marry the girls from the people of the Book vide (Surah Al-Maidah 5:5) but you are greatly mistaken if you think that the permission is unconditional. Some conditions are laid down in the same verse i.e. you must pay Mehar to them and they must be virtuous women and not of loose character. Other conditions are derived from (Surah Baqarah 2:221) which forbids a Muslim to marry a Mushrik. As the Shariat orders are applicable on the apparent, all women who are involved in open Shirk, are forbidden to believing men even if they are from Muslim families.
Deriving absolute orders from a verse when there are other verse also, touching the subject can at times be very misleading. For example the same verse (5:5) allows the food of the people of the Book. But the permission is not unconditional although no condition is mentioned in the verse. In the case of meat, it should not be of an animal which is not slaughtered properly. The flesh of swine and that on which the name of other than Allah has been invoked is also unlawful although you frequently find these types of meat in the Christian families. Even at the time of the Prophet, Christians ate pork as it was allowed by St. Paul who was also the pioneer of Trinity in Christianity. And that is not all. You are not permitted to consume meat offered by jews or Christians if you are certain that the Name of God has not been invoked while slaughtering the animal (Sell Surah Al-Anam 6:121).
So you see that the permission to marry a Catholic girl (Ahle-e-Kitab) in 5:5 is not without further conditions just as the permission to eat food of the Christians (in the same verse) is not unconditional. A Muslim's marriage to a Catholic woman is permitted only if she does not practise idolatry and amends her belief of sonship of the Christ to the Prophethood of Jesus.
2. I have personal friends among Christians (born as well as convert Christians) who denounce Trinity, believe in One God and proclaim Jesus Christ, a Prophet of God. There are Unitarian Churches and quite a number of Christians are openly Unitarian. There are also a large number of Christians who are formally attached to protestant Churches and other denominations but believe in One God and the Prophethood of Christ. Not withstanding the above fact, I am not supposed to demonstrate a Unitarian Christian if someone wants to know the conditions of marrying a Christian girl. Simply put, if a Trinitarian Christian girl is converted to unitarianism, a Muslim is permitted to marry her. No Aalim can dare cancel the allowance given by Allah and His Prophet, Ulema have only recommended and rightly so, against such marriages as in most of these love marriages, the girl only pretends to be Unitarian for convenience's sake while the boy himself does not know even the basics of Islam. They have gone a step further, again rightly so, and recommended against marrying the Ahle-Kitab' girl, especially a Christian, who is converted to Islam because in most such cases, the conversion in only a pretence, sometimes for the express purpose of converting the boy to Christianity after a while. Ulema's warning is against deception and for those persons who are ignorant of Islamic ethics. They cannot and they have not altered the law. the genuine permission is neither erroneous nor against the spirit of Qur'an. It is for those seeking the permission to decide for themselves if they are only pretending to abide by the Shariat. In that case, they will deceive none but themselves as Allah knows what is in their heart.
For the present day youth, it is wiser to explain the law with its boundaries and limitations to them instead of concealing the allowance provided by Shariat for the sake of untold considerations. In the Former case they may and they usually do try to be faithful while in latter they tend to altogether ignore the law.