Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Zil-Hijjah / Muharram 1423 H
March 2003
Volume 16-03 No : 195
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Religion


Social Service In Islam
Are Menstruating Women Permitted to Recite or Touch the Qur'an?


Zakir Naik

Dr. Zakir Naik

Social Service In Islam

What is the concept of social service in Islam? Do we have to work for the Muslim community only or for the whole of humankind as was done by Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)? Please clarify.

Sabith Khan
sabithisthebest@rediffmail.com

In Islam, social service is of immense significance. Whatever services a person renders for the welfare of humankind, and through these deeds, hopes for the blessings of Allah will be regarded as righteous deeds. These deeds if done solely for seeking the pleasure of Allah (and not for recognition or show) will be considered Karze Hasana and will surely be rewarded by Allah.

Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an: “Whoever comes (at Judgement) with a good deed will have better than it, and they, from the terror of that day, will be safe.” (Surah An-Naml, 27:89) “He that does good shall have ten times as much to his credit” (Surah Al An’am, 6:160) “Then shall anyone who has done an atom’s weight of good see it!” (Surah Al-Zilzal, 99:7)

Allah repeatedly instructs us in the Glorious Qur’an to behave kindly, to give charity, to serve the poor, the orphans and the needy. While the Qur’an condemns hoarders and misers, it also prohibits ill-treating and threatening the poor and the needy.

In all these verses of the Qur’an, Allah has not instructed the Muslims to work only for the welfare of the Muslims. There is no such restraint. All these instructions are general in their scope and hence include both, the Muslims as well as the non- Muslims. The Prophet (pbuh) too has made it clear that striving of a Muslim for the welfare of any of the human beings or living creatures is an act of charity.

Narrated Anas bin Malik (RA): Allah’s Messenger said, “There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift for him.” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadith No. 513)

In Islam, removing a harmful thing from the way is also Sadaqa (charity). (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, Hadith No. 232)

Narrated Abu Huraira (RA): Allah’s Apostle said, “While a man was on the way, he found a thorny branch of a tree on the way and removed it. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him.” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadith No. 652)

Islam ordains us to treat all the living creatures well and with kindness.

Social service that is done by a Muslim for any human being, irrespective whether the beneficiary is a Muslim or a non-Muslim, and which gets this beneficiary closer to his Creator Allah and makes him/her understand Islam better, then the reward for the performer of such service will be further multiplied. First, for the social service and second, for getting the other person closer to his Creator. These acts of social service include Islaah if the recipient is a Muslim and Da’wah if the recipient is a non-Muslim.

Narrated Urwa bin Az Zubair (RA): Hakim bin Hizam said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I used to do good deeds in the pre-Islamic period of ignorance, e.g., keeping good relations with my kith and kin, manumitting slaves (releasing and freeing slaves after paying for them) and giving alms. Shall I receive a reward for all that?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “You embraced Islam with all the good deeds which you did in the past.” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadith No. 423 & Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, Hadith No. 223)

Narrated Abu Huraira (RA): Allah’s Apostle said, “While a man was walking he felt thirsty and went down a well and drank water from it. On coming out of it, he saw a dog panting and eating mud because of excessive thirst. The man said, ‘This (dog) is suffering from the same problem as that of mine. So he (went down the well), filled his shoe with water, caught hold of it with his teeth and climbed up and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for his (good) deed and forgave him.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! Is there a reward for us in serving (the) animals?” He replied, “Yes, there is a reward for serving any animate.” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadith No. 551)

Thus, social service in Islam carries great significance and it is to be done to all in general, regardless of the religion. And Allah knows best.

The system of Zakaat in Islam, however is a religious duty and obligation upon the Muslims and the beneficiaries of Zakaat are only Muslims.

The Qur’an provides details about needy Muslims that are entitled to Zakaat: “Zakaah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect (zakaah) and for bringing hearts together (for Islam) and for freeing captives (or slaves) and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the (stranded) traveler - an obligation (imposed) by Allah. And Allah is knowing and wise.” (Surah Tauba, 9:60).

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Are Menstruating Women
Permitted to Recite or Touch the Qur'an?

Are menstruating women permitted to recite Surah Fatiha, Ikhlaas, Falak, Nas and Ayatul-kursi at night before going to sleep? Can menstruating women touch and read the Qur'an? Does this word in the Qur'an 'Mutahhareen' (none can touch except those who are clean) relate to the Qur'an or to the Tablet Preserved (Lauh-a-Mehfuz)? Is one allowed to touch the Qur'an without wudhu? Please explain with reference to Hadith.

Nishat Bare
nishat_bare@rediffmail.com

The glorious Qur’an says: “That this is indeed a Qur’an most honorable In a Book well-guarded Which none shall touch but those who are clean: A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds.” (Surah Al-Waqi’a, 56:77-80)

The Kitabim Maknoon mentioned in the above-mentioned verse does not refer to the holy Qur’an in the book form, which we have, and the word Mutahhareen does not merely refer to cleanliness of the body.

Kitabim Maknoon means a book well guarded or a protected book. This word refers to Lauh-e-Mahfooz in heaven, which is also mentioned in the following verse: “Nay this is a Glorious Qur’an (Inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved!” (Surah Al-Buruj, 85:21 & 22)

Mutahhareen does not refer to mere body cleanliness but also refers to those who do not have any uncleanliness or impurity like sin and evil, thus referring to the angels. According to the commentary of Tabari, Mutahhareen means the angels.

According to Ibne Hazam, who has discussed the subject in detail, there are no pre-requisites or conditions for touching the Qur’an. Although all the scholars, of all different schools of thought, agree upon it without any difference of opinion that it is preferable to be in wudhu before touching the Qur’an, however, according to Ibne Hazam there is not a single verse of the Qur’an or the authentic hadith saying that being in wudhu is compulsory.

Ibne Abbas, Sho’bi, Zahhaq, Zaid bin Ali, Muayyid Billaah, Dawood, Ibne Hazam and Hammaad bin Sulaiman are of the opinion that Qur’an can be touched without performing wudhu.

(Fiqh-us-Sunnah, As Saiyid Saabiq, 1.52)

Regarding the hadith of Muwatta Malik which is often quoted by certain scholars to back up their claims that one should be in wudhu before touching the Qur’an, this Hadith narration besides being Mursal, has the Arabic word Taahirun in it, which according to Ibne Katheer, Zamakhshari & others, does not necessarily mean being with wudhu but simply means ‘pure’, that is, one should not be in ceremonial impurity or menstruation.

Scholars of different schools of thought differ on the issue of whether one should compulsorily be in a state of wudhu while touching the Qur’an. According to Hanafi school of thought, one cannot touch the Qur’an without wudhu, but if one uses a piece of cloth or sheet then he can touch it. Some Hanafi scholars insist that the cover of the Qur’an itself serves as a covering sheet or cloth, while the others believe that one can touch the Qur’an but not the Arabic text within the Qur’an. Amongst the Shafai scholars, some say that one cannot touch the Qur’an without wudhu, despite using covering sheet. Malikis too believe in somewhat the same. However, they allow touching the Qur’an without wudhu for students and teachers of the Qur’an.

It is permissible for a menstruating woman to recite the Qur’an without touching it. Similarly, she can very well recite the portions of the Qur’an, which she does regularly, or even the Ahadith of the prophet (pbuh). However, she shouldn’t touch the Qur’an with her hands.

Ibne Majah narrates a hadith from Abdullah Ibne Umar (RA) that a man in a state of ceremonial impurity, and a menstruating lady should not recite anything from the Qur’an, but this hadith is weak.

Allama Ibne Hajr and Allama Ibnul Mulaqqin have rated the hadith as weak in their books At-Talkheesal Habeer, vol. 1, pg. no. 138, hadith no. 183 & Khulasatul Badrul Muneer, vol. 1, pg. no. 60, hadith no. 170, respectively.

However, if a menstruating woman, or a woman with postpartum impurity, wishes to read the Qur’an, then she may use some sheet or cloth while touching the Qur’an so that her hands do not have direct contact with the Qur’an.

According to Maliki school of thought, while doing Hifz of the Qur’an, a man in spite of being in ceremonial impurity or a woman in her menstruation, can touch the Qur’an so that they do not forget the portions of the Qur’an memorised by them. And Allah knows best.

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