By S. Abdullah Tariq
Knowledge about Ghaib
Which Jamaat to follow?
Bank Loan for Studies
Q. Is it valid in Islam to believe in hand-reading or showing to any Pundit or Mullah? Is there any authenticity in this? Is it right or wrong to know about our fate or future through such kind of people? So far as I know Allah has written the fate of every one and we should have faith in Him and not worry about next. I would like to know your opinion.
(Shahbaz Ahmad, Asansol)
A. Allah has written the fate and he changes the fate of a person as and when He pleases. We know from Hadiths that prayers (Du’a), Sadqa (alms) and good deeds cause to change the fate. It is correct that the results of our efforts are not in our hands but it has been specifically ordained that one should make all his efforts along with praying and placing His faith in Allah for the results. Trying to know something in advance may not necessarily be against Islam as sometimes a prior warning of things helps one plan his moves in a better way. It is only the means of trying to know something in advance that may be unlawful. For example, the Prophet (Pbuh) while returning from the front of Ahzab turned towards the Jewish tribe of Quraidha, who had betrayed the faith and broke the agreement at the time of crisis. He sent a group of companions ahead of the army to know the activities and preparedness of Bani Quraidha. They rushed ahead and joined back to feed the Prophet (Pbuh) with the necessary information before he reached there. The point I want to emphasize is that it is not unlawful (sometimes advisable) to know something in advance.
The point you have raised is basically of the knowledge of Ghaib (concealed). Quran has explicitly declared: “Say: None in the heavens or on earth except Allah knows what is hidden...” (27:65). However there is much misunderstanding over the apprehension of the word Ghaib. A Ghaib for one may not be Ghaib for another. The Prophet (Pbuh) said: “Had you known what I know, you would have wept much and laughed a little”. Though it is specifically mentioned in Quran that he too did not possess the knowledge of Ghaib (Say: O Prophet... and I do not know what is hidden... 6:50), the Prophet (Pbuh) was given more knowledge than others, which means some of what was Ghaib for others was not Ghaib for him.
Again, a thing of Ghaib at a time may not remain Ghaib on some other time. What was happening at a particular time in America was a thing of Ghaib for Indians a century ago but today we can witness live the happenings there. The advance knowledge of occurrence of Sun and lunar eclipses was a Ghaib in the past but today it is no more Ghaib. Through some Riadh (intense practice) some people (Tibetan Lamas) have known to develop a power of seeing (not through eyes) things of distant places. Up to the range their extraordinary powers reach, it does not remain Ghaib for them while it is still Ghaib for those who do not possess such faculty.
Allah has established Rules and Laws in this universe, which never change. With the increase in knowledge, the man is continuously discovering those rules to know and plan the things of future. To know the things of future on the basis of such established rules whose accuracy has been proved by experience, is not the knowledge of Ghaib and is not only permitted but on most occasions desirable. It is trying to peek into future through speculative means or inaccurate methods, which is prohibited.
The palmistry has not till date become an exact science. Go to two different palmists and they will tell you different things. It is prohibited to believe in such predictions (of Ghaib) because the inaccurate predictions with a mixture of right and wrong make a man superstitious. It does more harm than benefit to the individuals and the society. If and when an occult science of today will become so accurate and exact a science through the discovery of exact rules of nature that all its practitioners start predicting accurately without using speculation, it will become lawful. However the predictions through palmistry may never be permissible. It is experienced that the lines of hands have some relation to the events of past and future but in case of palmistry it has been established that the lines may be governed by the events to come but not the vice versa. The events are not governed by the lines of hand. The lines may be an indication of a future happening (if the palmist can read accurately, which he is unable to do till date) but if the happening (or fate) is to change, the lines have been observed to undergo changes overnight. Therefore to believe in palmistry for the planning of future will always be futile, superstition, fatal and unlawful.
It must remain clear that there are some things, which, according to Quran, man will never be able to know. They will always remain in Ghaib for mankind no matter how much knowledge he acquires. For example two such things have been mentioned in the last verse of Surah Luqman. “..And no one knows what he will earn on the next day and no body knows in which land he is to die...”(31:34). To try to know these through any science, occult or exact will always remain unlawful.
Q. I am in a big confusion that today there are several Jamaths like Tabligh, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Ahle Hadith, Deobandi, Bareilvi, etc. Every Jamath people are saying their Jamath is the right one according to Quran and Hadith. I am expecting a reply from you.
(Abdul Nasser , Cuddapah)
A. Each of the above groups you mentioned (and there are others) has Khair (good things) in them. Tablighi Jama’at has the spirit of sacrifice and reaching to Muslim masses to call them to mosques. Jamaat-e-Islami has invaluable literature for the understanding and propagation of all aspects of Deen. Ahle Hadiths have contributed in creating awareness against a ‘blind following of Fiq’h schools’ that was resulting in change of priorities in respect of Hadith and Fiq’h. The institution of Deoband has a great contribution in spreading Ulemas and the schools of learning through every nook and corner of the country. Bareilavis have kept the candle of intense love of Prophet (Pbuh) alive. But all of them have their shortcomings too. People belonging to Tablighi Jama’at need to give more importance to understanding of Quran than they have been giving. The members of Jamaat-e-Islami need to give more importance to the fieldwork than the seminars, big meetings and weeks they organize. Ahle Hadiths need to be more positive and soft-spoken in their approach and check the reactionary tendencies among their ranks. Deobandis need to open up to the present day knowledge in the footsteps of the founder of Darul-Uloom, Maulana Qasim Nanautavi who was very progressive. The Bareilavis need to eradicate such evils from their ranks, which Maulana Ahmad Raza was dead against, like bowing to the graves of saints and the gathering of women on graves.
But the biggest drawback of different Islamic groups is their tendency to become a sect. The Prophet (Pbuh) had the unparalleled wisdom, vision, strength and capability under the direct supervision of Almighty and he had a small geographical area as his field of action. None of us is capable of his shoe’s dust and we have the whole of world to cope with. Whichever individual or a group claims that it alone has the capability of bringing about an Islamic revolution, is deceiving itself. In the vast expanding world of knowledge and the earth becoming practically one place, specialization has replaced generalization. Today none can encompass all the spheres of even a single field. All the parts of a car viz engine, chassis, wheels and body are vital. A car cannot run without any one of them. No car company in the world today can manufacture all the parts of its product but an integrated effort of all these brings about a car running on the road. Every single product we use from a needle to an aeroplane needs a coordination of specialists of different departments for its existence. An ENT specialist does not attempt a bypass surgery of heart on a patient and a physician sends one to a dentist when he develops a cavity in teeth. Our Jama’ats should understand that every one of them can utmost become a department of Al-Jama’at. They should have a true brotherly feeling of co-operation and coordination to run Al-Jama’at.
My advice to you is not to become a member of such group or Jama’at, which claims that it alone is perfect. At the same time you should always join and cooperate in those of their activities that are good for Islam and humanity. “...Cooperate (with everyone) in righteousness and piety. Help not one another in sin and transgression...” (Quran 5:2)
You cannot become a master of Quran and Sunnah overnight to judge between them but it is not difficult that when a member of any one of them (or any other group) calls you to join or cooperate in a particular activity, take a little time to find out if it is good in the eyes of Quran and Sunnah. It will gradually increase your knowledge and perception and your confusion will slowly evaporate.
- Sometimes I am invited for lunch by relatives whose earning are Haram (e.g. working in bank, owning a video cassette library). Is it permissible to eat in their houses?
I have taken a bank loan for my studies. I have to pay a hefty amount every third month as interest. My uncle has deposited money in a bank which has collected interest. Can I use his interest money (he does not take interest) to pay my interest money?
A. (i) The income of your relatives is not your income. Money itself is not Haram. It is the source of earning which makes it unlawful for the earner (and his dependents if they have other alternatives). If they give you a present, it is not unlawful for you as to you it reached through a lawful means. If they invite you for lunch, it is permitted to you that you accept their invitation as it will be a lawful source through which you will be getting your food. However the Azeemat (act of greater virtue) is in refraining from accepting their invitation unless you intend to reform them. If you intend to try to reform them (not necessarily on the occasion of their invitation) and you think that rejecting their invitation will leave a negative effect, then you must not refuse to eat at their place.
(ii) Your loan for your education may be debatable in the eyes of many Fiq’h scholars but it is certainly permissible to make use of your uncle’s interest money for paying your interest. Your uncle does not take interest. I assume that it means he does not use the interest money for himself. He must not leave it in the bank and use it in some good cause without the intention of earning Sawab. Helping a Muslim for his higher education is a good cause. If his income of interest is more than your need of payment of interest, it can even be used to pay back some of your bank debt.
Q. I would like to know if we can keep the Quran in a cupboard above which is an attic.
A. There is no harm in it. Quran being the Word of God is entitled to be handled with respect. No definite code of showing respect has been fixed in either Quran or Hadith. The conventions of respect differ in different societies. Respect and regard pertain to the feelings in heart and actions are its manifestations. It is in order to comply with the convention prevalent in your society and surroundings but if the conventions are so strict that they become a hindrance for either a normal practical life or they make it difficult to approach and recite it for guidance at normal practical hours, then they must be broken. A case in point is the Guru Granth of Sikhs. They cannot pick and recite it whenever they like without going through a lot of botheration. Roads are sweeped and washed ahead of the carriage of Guru Granth in processions. It has made it difficult for Sikhs to approach it frequently. Another extreme is witnessed in some Muslim countries where placing and leaving Quran on the floor of the mosque is not taken as sacrilege. The conventions of most other societies do not allow it. Islam being the religion of middle path, I think a balance should be maintained between the two extremes. Unless there is nothing placed directly over the Quran in the cupboard, there is nothing wrong in that cupboard being below an attic.
Q. Can anybody verify that I get the Nawafil night prayer correct? We do the Tahajjud 2 Rakaah by 2 Rakaah and end it with a 1 Rakaah Witar. Is this correct? Is there any special Dua that we recite for Tahajjud and Witar prayers?
(Daud Kilau, Malaysia)
A. The Prophet (Pbuh) is reported to have performed Tahajjud and Witar in many ways including the procedure you follow. There is no fixed number of Rakaah for Tahajjud:
“Reported Samra Bid Jundab that the Prophet (Pbuh) ordered us to offer the Salat of night (Tahajjud) whether (consisting of) few or many (Rakaah), in such a way that Witar should be in the end.” (Tabrani)
But it is preferable that there are 11 Rakaah in Tahajjud, as the Prophet (Pbuh) usually offered 11 Rakaah in Tahajjud.
“Narrated Ayesha that the Prophet (Pbuh) used to offer 11 Rakaah between Isha and Faj’r. He completed with Salam after every two Rakaah and in the end, offered one Wit’r.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
On some occasions, the Prophet (Pbuh) has reportedly offered 7, 9 and 13 Rakaah (including Witar) also.
Q. I would like to know if prenuptial agreements are legal in Islam. This is a very sensitive subject whereas I'm concerned?
(A. Malik , Sheffieldelec@aol.com)
A. It depends on the nature and conditions of agreement. For example an agreement that takes away the right of divorce from the husband is invalid. On the other hand such agreement is valid which, under conditions specified in the agreement, authorizes the wife to enforce a divorce.
Q. I have a question regarding tattoos. Can Muslims get tattoos? I heard that we can't but I'd like to know for sure?
A. Getting tattooed is prohibited vide a Hadith quoted by Abu Dawood in which Ibne Abbas narrated that the Prophet (Pbuh) said, Accursed are those who inflict or get inflicted by tattoos.