Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

November 2005
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Our Dialogue

Putting One's Son in a Difficult Position
Commentary by Adil Salahi

Q. Whenever my father wants to make sure that I comply with his wishes, he makes me swear on the Quran that I will do what he wants. Certain things he wants are hard to observe, and this places me in real difficulty. I do not wish to disappoint him, but sometimes he resorts to this method for some trivial things. I also feel very scared of breaking an oath I make on the Quran. Please comment.

A. Your father is certainly wrong to require you to swear on the Qur’an, or by God, in order to ensure your compliance with his wishes. This is an indication of a fundamental weakness in the way he is bringing up his children. A father should develop a level of trust between him and his children so that they can lead a proper and happy life. Unless such trust exists, difficulties arise.

What the father is doing by making his son swear on the Quran to comply with whatever he wants is to introduce an additional element of fear in his son’s mind. It is not merely that the child fears to upset his father, or fears to be punished by him; it is a fear of God Almighty. Non-compliance means punishment by God, and that is too hard for the child. The father may think that in this way he does not merely make his son do what he wants, but he also keeps him always aware of the need to please God. But this is not the proper way. When God states His requirement that people should believe in Him as the only God in the universe, He does not threaten them with punishment. Indeed, He promises them a very rich reward for their faith, and warns them against what they incur if they do not. Thus, He relies on both elements of hope and fear, which are parallel elements in the human soul.

Besides, what does the father think will happen if the son yields to temptation and disobeys him? He will be in mortal fear for a while, but then Satan will begin to whisper to him that he has got away with it. A second violation of the oath will be easier, and the third easier still. Within a short while, the oath becomes a meaningless statement. One day the father will discover this and he will be very upset, then he will find himself unable to remedy the situation. If this does not happen and the son struggles to comply, time after time, he will begin to hate the very process and may be this will affect his feelings towards his parents.

Having said that, we should remember that an oath must always be taken seriously. Hence, Islam does not encourage it at all, except where it is necessary, such as in the case of giving testimony in court. Islam relies on driving home to its followers the need to tell the truth in all situations. This should become part of the nature of all Muslims: They tell the truth regardless of what may happen as a result. In a family situation, a father must encourage his children to always be truthful. They should develop a sense of shame, should they ever be found out lying. To avoid that is easy, and complete avoidance is easily achieved by not telling a deliberate lie, even when such a lie will serve a good purpose. In fact a better purpose is always served by sticking to the truth.

Shortening Prayer When Away From Home

Q. I am traveling to another country where I will be arranging things in a house bought by our family.

I expect to be there for 3-4 months. Should I shorten my prayers there, as per the concession for travellers?

If so, what about voluntary prayers, or Sunnah?

A. You give me the impression that you are actually intending to settle in the new place. As such you are in the same position as a resident. So you offer your prayers normally, shortening none of them. You have the concession of shortening and combining prayer on the day of travel, until you settle down at your destination. But once you are settled, you are a resident.

The case would have been different if you did not know the length of your stay. Suppose you expect to finish your business in a week or two. In this case, you are considered a traveller. Even when the two weeks are over and you find yourself obliged to extend your stay by another one or two weeks, you continue in the same status as a traveller. Suppose this continues for several months or a year, but you are not sure of how long you are staying. You are simply attending to some business that could finish in a few days or a few weeks, you are in the status of a traveler, until you go back home, or you change your plans and settle in the place where you happen to be.

Fasting Six Days of Shawwal

Shawwal is the tenth month in the lunar calendar. The first of Shawwal is Eid ul Fitr. After the festivity of Eid it is recommended to observe six days of fast. This fast may be observed continuously non-break, or it may be observed one day at a time. If you observe it continuously, you may start on the fourth day and end on the ninth of day Shawwal, or you may select days at random, provided you complete six days before the end of Shawwal. For instance, you may observe the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 14th and 15th days. Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari (RA) related that the Messenger of Allah(Pbuh) said: “Whoever observes the Ramadan fast and follows it with six days of fast in Shawwal, it is as if he has fasted Dahr (the whole year or possibly forever).” (Bukhari)


The origin of wilayah is closeness to Allah and the enmity is being far away from the path of Allah. Based on this, the awliya’ of Allah are those who are obedient and perform the good deeds which make them closer to Allah. The enemies of Allah, on the other hand, are those who are evil doers. Their ill deeds distance themselves away from Allah and this will make them far from Allah’s blessing, support, and love.

Well Wishers