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Common Misconceptions about Islam

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve . a .j a w w ww w w Shehzad Saleem

Al-Mawrid A Foundation for Islamic Research and Education 51-K Model Town Lahore, Pakistan Phones: 586 3408, 586 5145 Email: almawrid@brain.net.pk "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


Copyright © 2005 Al-Mawrid,

51-K, Model Town, Lahore, Pakistan.

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297.14 ― dc 21 Saleem, Shehzad Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam Lahore: Al-Mawrid, 2005 ii + 101.

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Contents

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Foreword

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam

1 .The Qur’ān i. The Qur’ān is an Incoherent Book 1 ii. The Qur’ān has Variant Readings 5 iii. The Qur’ān was revealed on Seven Ahruf 10 iv. Only God knows the Meaning of Certain Qur’ānic Verses v. The Qur’ān is a Manual of Complete Knowledge 17

14

2. Sunnah and Hadīth i. Sunnah and Hadīth are Synonymous 20 ii. Every Act of the Prophet (sws) is a Sunnah 22 iii. The Qur’ān should be interpreted through Hadīth 25 iv. Ahādīth are as Authentic as the Qur’ān 27 v. Ahādīth can be interpreted Independently 31 3. Worship and Worship Rituals i. Making Vows of Worship is Recommended 32 ii. Praying after the ‘Asr Prayer is Forbidden 33 iii. The Almighty asked for Ishmael’s Sacrifice 35 iv. Charity can be given instead of Animal Sacrifice 37 v. Zakāh cannot be given to Non-Muslims 39

4. Political Issues i. A Muslim Ruler has the Right to Overrule the Majority 41 ii. Muslims of a Non-Muslim Country should Unite Politically 44 iii. Defiance of anti-Islamic Laws of a Non-Muslim Country 48 "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


iv. Muslims are Duty-Bound to establish an Islamic State 49 v. Muslim Rulers shall always belong to the Quraysh 52

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5. Economics Issues i. Islam has an Economic System 55 ii. Interest is analogous to Rent 56 iii. Interest can be charged for a Noble Cause 57 iv. Commercial Interest is not Forbidden in Islam 59 v. Interest can be taken from Non-Muslims 62 6. Women Issues i. Women are less Sensible than Men 64 ii. Islam permits Men to keep Slave-Women 66 iii. Women must travel with a Mahram 73 iv. Women will Outnumber Men in Hell 75 v. Women are Inferior to Men 77

7. Family Issues i. A Wife cannot go out without the Husband’s Permission 82 ii. A Wife cannot Refuse Sex to the Husband 84 iii. A Husband has an Absolute Right to beat his Wife 86 iv. Regarding Divorce and Divorce Declarations 88 v. Regarding Halālah 99 8. Punishments i. Regarding Severity in Islamic Punishments 102 ii. Apostasy is Punishable by Death 104 iii. A Woman has Half a Man’s Testimony 110 iv. A Woman has Half a Man’s Diyat 113 v. Punishment even if a Crime is not Fully Proven 114 9. Jihād i. Jihād can be waged without State Authority 117 ii. Jihād is only for Self-Defence 126 iii. Qitāl is a lesser Jihād 128 iv. Islam was spread by the Sword 129 v. Regarding the Basis for Jihād 131

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10. Non-Muslims i. All Non-Muslims are Condemned Kāfirs 134 ii. Prohibition of Friendship with Non-Muslims 136 iii. Prohibition of asking for Forgiveness for Non-Muslims 138 iv. Prohibition of Inheritance between Muslims and Non-Muslims 139 v. Non-Muslims Necessarily Doomed in the Hereafter 141

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11. .Miscellaneous i. Regarding the Prohibition of Songs and Music 142 ii. Regarding Istikhārah and Dreams 149 iii. Regarding the Return of Jesus (sws) 151 iv. Regarding Fate and Predestination 154 v. Regarding the Prohibition of Portraits and Pictures 155 Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

i. Hamīd al-Dīn Farāhī (1863-1930) 160 ii. Amīn Ahsan Islāhī (1904-1997) 163 iii. Jāved Ahmad Ghāmidī (b. 1951) 166

______________

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Foreword

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In many ways, Islam is a misconstrued religion. Many of its directives have remained a subject of hot debate in the past and many continue to be a thorn in the minds of its intelligentsia. One significant reason for the various misconceptions that exist about Islam is the erroneous presentation of the stance of Islam on certain issues by some of our scholars. In recent times, the works of Hamīd al-Dīn alFarāhī (d. 1930 AD), Amīn Ahsan Islāhī (d. 1997 AD) and Jāved Ahmad Ghāmidī (b. 1951 AD)1 have served to clarify some of these misconceptions. Although these misconceptions are numerous, presented in this booklet are some common ones. Most of them have been clarified by presenting excerpts from the works of these scholars, whilst in some cases, I have attempted to dispel them myself keeping in view the approach adopted by these scholars. All footnote and text citation standards are in accordance with the fourteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. Shehzad Saleem Al-Mawrid, Lahore Dec 2009 1. For brief biographical notes on these scholars, see the Appendix at the end of the book.

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Common Misconceptions about Islam

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w 1. The Qur’ān

i. The Qur’ān is an Incoherent Book

It is generally believed that the Qur’ān is an incoherent book with haphazardly arranged verses. Hamīd al-Dīn al-Farāhī’s Majmū‘ah-i tafāsīr,1 Amīn Ahsan Islāhī’s Tadabbur-i Qur’ān2 and Javed Ahmad Ghāmidī’s on-going exegesis al-Bayān have served to remove this misconception. These scholars are of the view that the Qur’ān was arranged and compiled by the Prophet (sws) under divine instruction. This final arrangement of the Qur’ān possesses coherence, both at the structural and at the thematic levels. It is not a haphazardly arranged book. At the structural level, the sūrahs of the Qur’ān are arranged in a very meaningful way by the Almighty Himself. This arrangement is closely related to the very theme of the Qur’ān. Similarly, at the thematic level the 1. Hamīd al-Dīn al-Farāhī, Majmū‘ah-i tafāsīr, 2nd ed., Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1986. 2. Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, 2nd ed., 9 vols. Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1986.

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2 verses within a sūrah are arranged on divine bidding in a very meaningful way. This arrangement also is closely related to the theme of a particular sūrah.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:

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Every person knows that it is the strong rope of the Qur’ān that holds together the fabric of this ummah, and all Muslims have been directed to hold steadfast to this rope and not divide themselves into factions. An obvious requirement of this directive is that we must turn to the Qur’ān to resolve all differences which arise among us; however, it is very unfortunate that all of us have different opinions regarding the Qur’ān. There are so many views in the interpretation of every verse, and most of these views are contradictory to one another and we do not have any reference point to decide which view is the correct one. If a difference of opinion arises in the interpretation of a discourse, the most satisfactory thing which can resolve this is the context and coherence of the discourse. Unfortunately, most people do not regard the Qur’ān to be a coherent book having a definite context. The result is that differences of opinions have become permanent. A lot of differences of opinion which have arisen in fiqh are because of disregarding the context of a verse. If this context is taken into consideration, one will find that on most occasions only one interpretation is possible.3 As is evident from the foregoing discussion, what makes 3. Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 1, 20-21.

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3 the Qurâ€™Ä n a document having one definite meaning and one which resolves all differences of interpretation and thus verifies Al-FarÄ hč’s words          4 about it, is the coherence it possesses.5 The way the exponents of the FarÄ hÄŤ school of thought have revealed the coherence in the Qurâ€™Ä n does not require any further discussion to prove that it does exist; however, what is the nature of this coherence? The following points will help in understanding it: 1. Each sĹŤrah has a theme around which its contents revolve and make it into a unified whole. It is the most comprehensive statement of its contents. What the soul is to a body, the theme is to a sĹŤrah. 2. Together with the main text of a sĹŤrah, there is an introduction and a conclusion. The content of a sĹŤrah in some cases can be divided into sections and paragraphs, and in other cases only in paragraphs. Paragraphs depict small shifts in the subject and sections depict greater shifts in it. The verses of the introduction and of the conclusion also may at times be divided into paragraphs as per the subject they discuss. 3. These paragraphs and these sections relate to each other not through a verse to verse linear connection but through various literary devices like parables, comparison or parallelism as well as through statements

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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4. “There is no possibility of more than one interpretation in the Qurâ€™Ä n.â€? See: HamÄŤd al-DÄŤn al-FarÄ hÄŤ, RasÄ â€™il fÄŤ ‘ulĹŤm alQurâ€™Ä n, 2nd ed. (Azamgarh: DÄ â€™irah hamÄŤdiyyah, 1991), 230. 5. The subsequent paragraphs are translated and adapted from MÄŤzÄ n. See: JÄ ved Ahmad GhÄ midÄŤ, MÄŤzÄ n, 4th ed. (Lahore: Al-Mawrid, 2009), 52-53.

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4 and passages which are conditional, parenthetical, inferential, modifying, cyclic or which signify corollaries, conclusions, questions or answers. This of course is not an exhaustive list. 4. The text of a sĹŤrah progresses through these paragraphs and sections and gradually reaches its culmination. As a result, the sĹŤrah assumes a distinct and unique form and shape, and becomes a complete and independent whole. 5. The sĹŤrahs of the Qurâ€™Ä n are not haphazardly compiled as is generally thought. They have been arranged in a specific order by the Almighty, and like the arrangement of the verses within a sĹŤrah, the arrangement of the sĹŤrahs within the Qurâ€™Ä n is very apt and meaningful with relation to the topic they discuss. In a nutshell, as per this arrangement, the Qurâ€™Ä n is divided into seven distinct groups and the sĹŤrahs within each group occur in pairs. This pairing of the sĹŤrahs is on the basis of the topics discussed, and each member of a pair has a complementary relation with the other. Some sĹŤrahs are an exception to this scheme like SĹŤrah FÄ tihah, which is like an introduction to the whole Qurâ€™Ä n. Some other sĹŤrahs have come as a supplement or as a conclusion of a group. This scheme, with its seven sĹŤrah-groups and pairing of the sĹŤrahs, is stated by the Qurâ€™Ä n in the following words:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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(/0 : ,-) &%'     () *    !" # $ %  And We have bestowed upon you seven mathÄ nÄŤ6 6. MathÄ nÄŤ (2 *) is the plural of mathnÄ (3*) and it means something which occurs in pairs.

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5

Common Misconceptions about Islam 7

which is this great Qur’ān. (15:87)

ii. The Qur’ān has Variant Readings

Place

1. Madīnah 2. Makkah

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It is alleged that the Qur’ān has variant readings. Typically a verse may have more than one variation. These variations are not merely in pronunciation, they exist, for example, in addition or deletions of words, in the singular and plural form of words, in declensions and in verb structures.8 It is generally believed that these variations have been divinely revealed. The first person to record these readings in the form of a book was Abū ‘Ubayd Qāsim ibn Sallām (d. 224 AH). He recorded twenty five readings; Abū Ja‘far al-Tabarī (d. 310 AH) recorded over twenty readings, while it was Abū Bakr ibn Mujāhid (d. 324 AH) who selected the seven famous ones.9 These seven readings became famous through their readers. They are: Reader

Nāfi‘ (d. 169 AH) Ibn Kathīr (d. 120 AH)

7. For an explanation of this verse see: Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 4, 377-378. 8. For a compendium of such examples, see: Muhammad Fahad Khārūf, Al-Muyassar fī al-qirā’āt al-arba‘ ‘asharah, 4th ed., Beirut: Dār Ibn Kathīr, 2006. 9. For further details, see: Abū al-Khayr Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Jazarī, Al-Nashr fī al-qirā’āt al-‘ashr, vol. 1 (Egypt: Maktabah al-tujjāriyyah, n.d.), 33-35.

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Common Misconceptions about Islam

3. Damascus 4. Basrah 5. Kōfah 6. Kōfah 7. Kōfah

6

Ibn ‘Āmir (d. 118 AH) AbĹŤ ‘Amr (d. 154 AH) ‘Āsim (d. 127 AH) Hamzah (d. 156 AH) KisÄ â€™ÄŤ (189 AH)

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These readings cannot be accepted in any manner as having the same status as the Qurâ€™Ä n because of the following reasons. (i) There exists a consensus of opinion among the scholars of our ummah on the fact that the Qurâ€™Ä n is mutawÄ tir (ie such a large number of people have transmitted the Qurâ€™Ä n that the existence of any error in the transmitted text is impossible). Now, if the chains of narrators of each of these variant readings are examined, none of them can be claimed as mutawÄ tir. They may be mutawÄ tir from their famous originators but they are certainly not mutawÄ tir all the way from these originators up to the Prophet (sws). At best, they can be classified as ahď€ŞÄ d (isolate reports). Thus al-ZarkashÄŤ writes:

@A B% â&#x20AC;Ś 9:4;< %= :4;> $? 94 5!6 78 &C" D%C? E FCG H$ ? I4 JA K !6 KLM ? 94 NO P Q4R4 78 STU K !6 KLM Q $" VWX ') D%YX P 4 Z[ \ ] 4 ? 4 ) (I 78 â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;.&;!O ` Q4R4 8F[ TI : K^"4 _X^ 84" The opinion of the majority is that these seven "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


Common Misconceptions about Islam

7

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

readings are mutawātir. However, one opinion is that they are mashhūr10 …. The truth in this regard is that they are mutawātir from these seven [qurrā’]. As far as their tawātur from the Prophet (sws) is concerned, this is debatable. For the chains of narrators of these seven are found in the books of qirā’āt. These chains are transmission from a single person to another and do not fulfil the condition of tawātur neither from the first narrator to the last nor in between.11 (ii) Not only are these readings isolate reports (ahād), but also many of the narrators of these readings are not regarded as trustworthy by the scholars of ‘ilm al-rijāl as far as accepting Ahādīth from them is concerned. As an example, this is what is written about Hafs ibn Sulaymān, perhaps the most famous and most widely acclaimed of all the disciples of the major qurrā’: In the opinion of ‘Abd al-Rahmān ibn Abī Hātim, ‘Abd al-Rahmān ibn Yūsuf ibn Khirash and Imām Muslim he is matrūk al-hadīth (abondoned in Hadīth). Al-Bukhārī comments on him as tarakūhu. ‘Alī ibn al-Madīnī and Abū Zur‘ah regard him to be da‘īf al-hadīth (weak in Hadīth). In the opinion of Yahyā ibn Ma‘īn as quoted by Abū Qudāmah Sarakhsī and ‘Uthmān ibn Sa‘īd al-Dārimī he is laysa bi thiqah (not reliable). Al-Nasā’ī also regards him to 10. ie. widely attested. 11. Abū ‘Abdullāh Badr al-Dīn Muhammad ibn Bahādur ibn ‘Abdullāh al-Zarkashī, Al-Burhān fī ‘ulūm al-Qur’ān, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (Beirut: Dār al-fikr, 1980), 319.

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Common Misconceptions about Islam

8

be laysa bi thiqah. S~Ä lihď&#x20AC;Ş ibn Muhď&#x20AC;Şammad al-BaghdÄ dÄŤ says that the Ahď&#x20AC;ŞÄ dÄŤth narrated by him are not worth writing as primary evidence and all of them mention unfamiliar things in religion. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Abd al-Rahď&#x20AC;ŞmÄ n ibn YĹŤsuf ibn KhirÄ sh says that he is a great liar and forges Ä&#x20AC;hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth. Yahď&#x20AC;ŞyÄ ibn Maâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ÄŤn also regards him to be a great liar.12

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It seems quite strange that a person so widely regarded as unreliable (even called a liar) in accepting Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth from be regarded as a very dependable person as far the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n is concerned. (iii) The only complete reading of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n which is in vogue from the time of the Prophet (sws) is the alqirÄ â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ä t al-â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ä mmah (the universal reading) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the very reading read out to the Prophet (sws) once the revelation of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n had been completed. It was this very reading which existed among the companions of the Prophet (sws). AbĹŤ â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Abd al-Rahď&#x20AC;Şman al-SulamÄŤ (d. 105 AH)13 narrates:

 *?  ? \d eA 98= f) O : b(C6 c  !? 4dA a = 98 8d 4) O 9 : g)M  R ;h  fd i d  j  FC? &C" D%C? E (CG E a4": IA= k 98 FI K  12. See: AbĹŤ al-Hď&#x20AC;ŞajjÄ j YĹŤsuf ibn al-ZakÄŤ al-MizzÄŤ, TahdhÄŤb al-kamÄ l fÄŤ asmÄ â&#x20AC;&#x2122; al-rijÄ l, 2nd ed., vol. 7 (Beirut: Muâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;assasah al-risÄ lah, 1413 AH), 13-15. 13. See: Al-MizzÄŤ, TahdhÄŤb al-kamÄ l, vol. 14, 410.

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Common Misconceptions about Islam

9

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The reading of AbĹŤ Bakr, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Umar, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;UthmÄ n and Zayd ibn ThÄ bit and that of all the MuhÄ jirĹŤn and the Ansď&#x20AC;ŞÄ r was one. They would read the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n according to the al-qirÄ â&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä t al-â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ammah. This is the same reading which was read out to the Prophet (sws) in the year of his death by Gabriel. Zayd ibn ThÄ bit was also present in this reading [called] the al-â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ardď&#x20AC;Şah al-akhÄŤrah14 and it was this very reading that he taught the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n to people till his death.15 As far as certain countries are concerned where the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n is practically read on a different reading,16 these readings are bound to have been enforced in them in a certain period of time much later after the departure of the Prophet (sws). Thus, for example, it is historically known that the reading of NÄ fiâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;was officially promulgated in the third century hď&#x20AC;Şijrah in North Africa after the rise of the Malikite fiqh in this area.17 14. ie. the final recital. 15. Al-ZarkashÄŤ, Al-BurhÄ n, vol. 1, 237. 16. Thus for example, the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n is read on the reading of QÄ lĹŤn (d. 220 AH), a student of NÄ fiâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; (d. 169 AH), in Tunisia and on the reading of Warsh (d. 197 AH), another student of NÄ fiâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;, in Morocco. Similarly, the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n is read on the reading of DĹŤrÄŤ (d. 246 AH), a student of AbĹŤ â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Amr (d. 154 AH), in parts of Sudan and Yemen. 17. For details see: Hind ShalbÄŤ, Al-QirÄ â&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä t bi Afriqiyyah, 1st ed. (Tunisia: Al-DÄ r al-â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;arabiyyah li al-kitÄ b, 1983), 223-235.

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10 It is clear from this analysis that these extant readings which are found in books of tafsÄŤr and read and taught in religious schools can in no way be accepted. Whether they originated from insistence by some to cling to the first recital of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n, or were mere explanations of the actual verses written down by the companions in their own codices or were concocted to disparage the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n is a mystery which perhaps may never be solved. However, this much is certain.They cannot be regarded as the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n in any way.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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iii. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n was revealed on Seven Ahď&#x20AC;Şruf

There are certain narratives which say that the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n was revealed on seven ahď&#x20AC;Şruf. A typical narrative reads:

 ?  %dvw  d 9 ?x ? yz ;[  d ? {  ? F%  ($iJ z ^|   d x? xf " a = xDJ)A }~:   y !?  d  J  !? FC?  = Y  9:4x" A  ynw  d &%\  d n <I xf " a4 ;%)A =A &C" D %C? xDC FCG DC a4x":  O Ix  =A   %Â&#x20AC; D LQd xDx !J! J&i  g ) FJ xDx C; A J&i D %C? Â&#x201A; ?A A x7 \X D C a4x":  xf C X &C" D %C? xDC FCG DC a4x": Dd xf Â&#x192;Â&#x201A;X a X ;%$ A =A   %Â&#x20AC; FC?  = Y  9:4x" A  TI xf " (}) A X xn <I  A = a = J&i xD C" :A &C" D %C? xDC FCG DC a4x": & C" D %C? xDC FCG DC a4x": a X A  xDx " ( 9Â&#x201E;8  "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


Common Misconceptions about Islam

11

TI  fw )A T\ I a X ;x AX A = ( a = J&i fw )A T\I xD $ J6%  Â&#x2026;8 = X y x A K !" FC? aw )A   

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â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Abd al-Rahď&#x20AC;ŞmÄ n ibn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Abd al-QÄ rÄŤ narrated: â&#x20AC;&#x153; â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Umar ibn al-Khatď&#x20AC;Ştď&#x20AC;ŞÄ b said before me: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I heard HishÄ m ibn Hď&#x20AC;ŞakÄŤm ibn Hď&#x20AC;ŞizÄ m reading SĹŤrah FurqÄ n in a different way from the one I used to read it, and the Prophet (sws) himself had read out this sĹŤrah to me. Consequently, as soon as I heard him, I wanted to get hold of him. However, I gave him respite until he had finished the prayer. Then I got hold of his cloak and dragged him to the Prophet (sws). I said to him: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have heard this person [HishÄ m ibn Hď&#x20AC;ŞakÄŤm ibn Hď&#x20AC;ŞizÄ m] reading SĹŤrah FurqÄ n in a different way from the one you had read it out to me.â&#x20AC;? The Prophet (sws) said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Leave him alone [O â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Umar].â&#x20AC;? Then he said to HishÄ m: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Read [it].â&#x20AC;? [â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Umar said:] â&#x20AC;&#x153;He read it out in the same way as he had done before me.â&#x20AC;? [At this,] the Prophet (sws) said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was revealed thus.â&#x20AC;? Then the Prophet (sws) asked me to read it out. So I read it out. [At this], he said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was revealed thus; this Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n has been revealed on Seven Ahď&#x20AC;Şruf. You can read it in any of them you find easy from among them.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;?18 While critically analyzing this narrative, GhÄ midÄŤ writes:19 18. MÄ lik ibn Anas, Al-Muâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;atď&#x20AC;Ştď&#x20AC;ŞÄ , vol. 1 (Egypt: DÄ r ihď&#x20AC;ŞyÄ â&#x20AC;&#x2122; alturÄ th al-â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;arabÄŤ, n.d.), 201, (no. 473). 19. GhÄ midÄŤ, MÄŤzÄ n, 30-31.

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Common Misconceptions about Islam

12

If the following points about this narrative are contemplated on, it becomes evident that it is an absolutely meaningless narrative which should not be considered of any worth in this regard:

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Firstly, even though this narrative has been recorded in the basic books of Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth literature, no one in history has ever been able to offer a convincing explanation of it rendering it totally ambiguous. AlSuyĹŤtď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤ20 has recorded about forty interpretations of this narrative and then, while acknowledging the weakness of each of these, has confessed that this narrative should be regarded among the mutashÄ bihÄ t, whose meaning is only known to God:

DC Â&#x2020; ~:  ~T Dd <h  TI  : a =  a4= ~$? ;R:A And to me the best opinion in this regard is that of the people who say that this Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth is from among matters of mutashÄ bihÄ t, the meaning of which cannot be understood.21 Secondly, the only plausible interpretation of the 20. JalÄ l al-DÄŤn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Abd al-Rahď&#x20AC;ŞmÄ n ibn KamÄ l al-DÄŤn AbÄŤ Bakr ibn Muhď&#x20AC;Şammad ibn SÄ biq al-DÄŤn al-SuyĹŤtď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤ, Al-ItqÄ n fÄŤ â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ulĹŤm al-Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (BaydÄ r: ManshĹŤrÄ t al-radď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤ, 1343 AH), 165-172. 21. JalÄ l al-DÄŤn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Abd al-Rahď&#x20AC;ŞmÄ n ibn KamÄ l al-DÄŤn AbÄŤ Bakr ibn Muhď&#x20AC;Şammad ibn SÄ biq al-DÄŤn al-SuyĹŤtď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤ, TanwÄŤr al-hawÄ lik, 2nd ed. (Beirut: DÄ r al-jÄŤl, 1993), 199.

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13 word ahruf is that it connotes pronunciation of words the Arabs were used to. However, in this case, the text of the H~adīth itself negates this meaning. It is known that both ‘Umar (rta) and Hishām (rta) belonged to the same tribe: the Quraysh. Obviously, people of the same tribe could not have had different pronunciations.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

22

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Thirdly, even if it is accepted that this difference was of pronunciation between various tribes and as a result they were allowed to read it variously, the verb unzila (was revealed) is very inappropriate. The Qur’ān has specified that it was revealed in the language of the Prophet’s tribe: the Quraysh (See for example: 19:97, 44:58). After this, it can be accepted that the various tribes were allowed to read it according to their own accents, but how can it be accepted that the Almighty Himself revealed the various dialects and pronunciations. Fourthly, it is known that Hishām had accepted Islam on the day Makkah was conquered. If this Hadīth is accepted, it would mean that even after the conquest of Makkah senior Companions and even a close associate like ‘Umar (rta) was unaware of the fact that the Prophet (sws) secretly taught the Qur’ān in some 22. The actual words are: lughāt and lahjāt. There is a difference between the two. In the former the pronunciation of the word changes because of a variation in harakāt (eg.  |xd and |d), while in the latter the pronunciation of a word changes because of a variation in accent. (Translator’s Note)

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14 other form and reading from the one openly heard from the Prophet (sws) and preserved in writing and in memory. Every person can realize how grave this claim is and how far reaching are its effects.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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iv. Only God knows the Meanings of Certain Qur’ānic Verses

It is generally thought that there are certain verses of the Qur’ān whose meaning is only known to God and that no man is able to understand them. They are called the mutashābihāt verses of the Qur’ān. It needs to be clarified that the mutashābihāt of the Qur’ān are verses in which things that are beyond human observation or comprehension are mentioned in the form of comparison (tashbīh) to things which we know in our own language and through our own experience. The actual purport conveyed by these verses is clear. However, human intellect is not equipped to grasp the reality to which they refer. For example, it is said in Sūrah H~āqqah that the Almighty’s throne shall be lifted by eight angels on the Day of Judgement. Now we cannot know what the throne will be like, though we may have a slight idea since the word throne is also a common word in our language. Similarly, Sūrah Muddaththir says that there will be nineteen sentinels guarding Hell. Again we cannot say why there will be nineteen and what they will be like, though we know that the word nineteen mentions a definite number. Consequently, verses which mention

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15 the blowing of spirit in Adam, the birth of Jesus (sws) without a father,24 nature of Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s actions like His sitting on a throne,25 the blessings of Paradise like the nature of its milk and honey,26 the torments of Hell like the tree of zaqqĹŤm growing in fire27 are examples of the mutashÄ bihÄ t. The real purpose of such verses is that they become a trial and test for people since they must profess faith in them, without going after their reality. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says:

Common Misconceptions about Islam 23

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

 \  vnA JxI Â&#x2021;7 \ v Â&#x2021;7   xD $ z \  { %C? aw)A ~T 4xI z 8 Â&#x2C6; d xD $ Dd <  4x !J%X Â&#x2030;Â&#x160; j &;d4C= P  T JÂ&#x2020;X Â&#x2021;7 ;d <x xsA & C  (X 4x|"J xDVC  xDC  Â&#x2020; x&C   DC  Â&#x2020; 8 Â&#x2C6; d K$ Y  (0:Â&#x152;) z ! M 4 A  xOT  $}d: $? } Â&#x2039;O Dd J$ 44 He it is Who has sent down to you the Book; in it are verses fundamental; they are the foundation of the book: others are mutashÄ bihÄ t. But those in whose hearts is a twist follow the mutashÄ bihÄ t seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows their true reality except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord;â&#x20AC;? and none will grasp the Message except men 23. See, for example: 15:29, 38:72. 24. See, for example: 21:91, 66:12. 25. See, for example: 2:29, 7:54, 20:53. 26. See, for example: 47:15. 27. See, for example: 37:62, 44:43, 56:52.

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Common Misconceptions about Islam

16

of understanding. (3:7)

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

An important point worth noting in the above mentioned verses is that it has not been said that the meaning of the mutashÄ bihÄ t is only known to Allah. Rather it has been declared that their reality is only known to Him. The actual word used is taâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;wÄŤl which is used in the same sense here as in the following verse:

(,Â&#x17D;Â&#x17D;:,Â?) ~  x:   Â&#x2020; TÂ?I fdA  a =

He [Joseph] said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is the reality [in the interpretation] of my dream which I had seen before.â&#x20AC;? (12:100) Consequently, the meaning of the words in which the dream of Joseph has been mentioned in the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n is clear to everyone who knows Arabic. However, the reality denoted by the various elements of the dream like the sun, the moon and the eleven stars (12:4) was only known once the dream was fulfilled. While explaining this aspect, AmÄŤn Ahď&#x20AC;Şsan Isď&#x20AC;ŞlÄ hď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤ writes: The reality to which these [mutashÄ bihÄ t] point is itself very clear and obvious. Human intellect can understand that part of it which is essential for it to understand. However, since it belongs to an unseen world, the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n mentions it through parables and similes so that students of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n can understand it as per their capabilities and consider that only God knows what their real form and shape is. These [mutashÄ bihÄ t] relate to attributes and works of God or to the reward and punishment of the Hereafter.

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17 We are able to understand them to the extent we need to understand them, and this increases our knowledge and faith but if we go beyond this and start to seek their real form and shape, then this will only lead us astray. The result of this is that while wanting to clear one doubt from the mind, a person ends up gathering many more; so much so, in this quest to know more he loses what he had gained and refutes very clear facts just because he is not able to ascertain their form and shape.28

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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It is evident from these details that the mutashābihāt of the Qur’ān are verses the true reality of which human intellect is not capable of knowing since there can be no words in a language which can describe things yet to come in human observation. Consequently, words which may be similar to the concepts conveyed by these things of the unknown world are used to portray these details. It is incorrect to regard them as verses whose meaning is unclear or doubtful. v. The Qur’ān is a Manual of Complete Knowledge

Some people are of the view that the Qur’ān contains knowledge of everything and in it is found the answer to every question which comes to our mind. The following verse is generally presented to substantiate this view:

(Œ/ :‘) x< x &;}d: F J&i y8 ([  z \ (X $ JX  28. Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 25-26.

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18 We did not leave anything out of this Book. Then all will be gathered before their Lord [for judgement]. (6:38)

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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A little deliberation on the context of the verse shows that the verse has a specific connotation and it is incorrect to draw this conclusion from it. 6:37 says that the disbelievers would demand that they be shown some sign so that they may profess belief. It is evident from later verses that the word â&#x20AC;&#x153;signâ&#x20AC;? actually refers to the punishment the disbelievers were threatened with by the Prophet (sws) if they rejected him:

 4x?  DVC  %Â&#x20AC;A K? J6 x&\ A A DVC xzT? &O A  &\x A:A = 8 [  D % 4x?   xÂ&#x2019;< \%X 4x?  xS J  d _=Q G &x$O  (Â&#x201C;,Â&#x201D;Â&#x201C;Â&#x17D; :Â&#x2018;) 4O <x   46$ Say: â&#x20AC;&#x153;What do you think, if there come upon you the punishment of God, or the Hour [that you dread]. Would you then call upon other than God? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; [Answer] if you are truthful! Nay, â&#x20AC;&#x201C; On Him would you call, and if it be His will, He would remove [the distress] which occasioned your call upon Him, and you would forget [the false gods] which you join with Him!â&#x20AC;? (6:40-41) Consequently, the disbelievers have been quoted by the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n at many instances saying that they would like to see the punishment they are being threatened with in order to see whether Muhammad (sws) was a true Messenger of God. At all such places, they are answered that if this sign is shown to them, then they would not be "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


19 given any further respite â&#x20AC;&#x201C; they would be destroyed. So it is better that instead of demanding this ultimate sign, they pay heed to the numerous other signs found in abundance around them and within their own being. This is precisely what has been stated in 6:37 and at the beginning of 6:38:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

K   ya}w$x A FC? Â&#x2021;:Q = DVC  = D}dJ: } Â&#x2030;K  D %C? a}wx)  4 4 = yL Â?  Â&#x2022; :Â&#x201E;M (X yKJdQ   4xC   &xI* OA J\Â? (Â&#x152;/Â&#x201D;Â&#x152;0 :Â&#x2018;) &\ * A Â&#x2021;&A  D % $Â&#x201A;d xr^ And they say: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Why is not a sign sent down to him from his Lord?â&#x20AC;? Say: â&#x20AC;&#x153;God has certainly the power to send down a sign: but most of them understand not. There is not an animal [that lives] on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but [forms part of] communities like you.â&#x20AC;? (6:37-8) The disbelievers are told that God has all the power to send down such a sign, but most of them do not know its implications. For when such a sign is sent, it is a signal of destruction for the people. So instead of demanding such a sign, they should look around and they will find plenty of signs. If they contemplate even on the animals around them and on the birds above them they will find many lessons. They will find in the individual and collective lives of these species the manifestations of the Almightyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mercy, power, providence and wisdom. These manifestations show that this world has been made for a specific purpose by the Almighty. In other words the expression: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We did not leave "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


20 anything out of this book” if taken in context means that as far as signs to profess belief are concerned, this Book has plenty and that nothing has been left out of it. The verse does not imply that the Qur’ān contains guidance on everything. _____________

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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2. Sunnah and Hadīth

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i. Sunnah and Hadīth are Synonymous

The word Hadīth is often understood to be a synonym for the word Sunnah. This is not correct. There is a great difference between the two not only regarding the extent of their authenticity, but also their content. A narrative of the words, deeds or tacit approvals of the Prophet (sws) is called Hadīth. It does not add anything to the content of Islam stated in the Qur’ān and Sunnah, the two original sources of Islam. Ahādīth (plural of Hadīth) only explain and elucidate what is contained in these two sources and also describe the exemplary way in which the Prophet (sws) followed Islam. The scholars of Hadīth say that a Hadīth may be true or it may be false.29 For this very reason, Ahādīth are also called dhannī (presumptive or indefinite). On the other hand, the word Sunnah literally means “busy path”, “trodden path”, “beaten path”. As a term, it refers to the practices of the Prophet Abraham (sws) to which the Prophet Muhammad (sws) gave religious sanction among his followers after reviving and reforming them and after making certain additions to 29. Mullāh ‘Alī al-Qārī, Sharh nukhbah al-fikr, vol. 1 (Beirut: Dār al-Arqam, n.d.), 155.

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22 them. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n has directed the Prophet (sws) to obey these Abrahamic practices in the following words:

Common Misconceptions about Islam 30

_  O <x    O  Y%$ &%I d KC 5!J A { % $ % A J&i (,Â?Â&#x152;:,Â&#x2018;)

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Then We revealed to you to follow the ways of Abraham, who was true in faith and was not among the polytheists. (16:123) The following three aspects further bring out the difference between Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth and Sunnah. Firstly, while Ahď&#x20AC;ŞÄ dÄŤth can be inauthentic or spurious, the Sunnah cannot be so. The Sunnah is in fact as authentic as the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n. This is because of the difference in the nature of transmission. Ahď&#x20AC;ŞÄ dÄŤth have been transmitted by a few individuals and therefore become dependent on their character, memory and intellect â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all of which can falter even if the person in question is very pious. On the other hand, the Sunnah has been transmitted by whole generations to the next. Such is the vast number of people who have adhered to certain practices that there is no possibility of any error. The memory, intellect and character of a few persons can falter but when thousands of people deliver the same thing, any faulty transmission is ruled out. Furthermore, not only have a large number of people transmitted these practices, but also there is a consensus in the ummah regarding the authenticity of these practices. In other words, even people who do not adhere to these practices also vouch for their veracity. 30. GhÄ midÄŤ, MÄŤzÄ n, 14.

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23 Secondly, Sunnah is purely related to the practical aspects of Islam such as the prayer, hajj, nikāh, wudū and tayammum. Issues that pertain to belief, history, occasion of revelation and explanation of Qur’ānic verses lie outside its domain. On the other hand, Ahādīth are not confined to a certain sphere of Islam. Their content ranges from the practical issues of religion to intellectual ones and from historical episodes to explanation of the Qur’ān and of the Sunnah itself. Thirdly, the Sunnah is not based on Ahādīth. For instance, we have not adopted the prayer, pilgrimage, etc in all their details because a few narrators explained them to us; on the contrary, we have adopted them because every person in our surroundings is either adhering to it or vouching for its veracity. In other words, Sunnah is an entirely independent source of Islam. However, some Ahādīth may contain a record of the Sunnah just as they may contain the record and explanation of certain verses of the Qur’ān. But just as having a record of the Qur’ān does not make Ahādīth the same as the Qur’ān, having a record of the Sunnah does not make Ahādīth equivalent to the Sunnah.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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ii. Every Act of the Prophet (sws) is a Sunnah

Some people are of the opinion that every act and every deed done by the Prophet (sws) is a Sunnah. While critically analyzing this concept, Ghāmidī writes:31 31. Ghāmidī, Mīzān, 57-58.

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24 The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n is absolutely clear that the prophets of Allah were sent to deliver His religion. In their prophetic capacity, the ambit of their thoughts and deeds was only that of religion. Everything besides this, was primarily of no concern to them. No doubt besides their prophetic capacity they were also IbrÄ hÄŤm ibn Ä&#x20AC;zar, Musaď&#x20AC;Ş ibn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ImrÄ n. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ÄŞsÄ ibn Maryam and Muhď&#x20AC;Şammad ibn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;AbdullÄ h in their human capacity; however, in this human capacity, they never asked obedience from their followers. All their demands were confined to their capacity as prophets, and what was given to them in this capacity was religion, and thus it was only religion whose propagation they were liable for:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

 { % $ % A ~T 4x) Dd FJG   } } &\ Â&#x2013;[ D%X 4=JY   } 4x%=A A F6%? F"4x &%I d Dd $ %JG (,Â&#x152;:Â&#x201C;Â?) He has enjoined on you the same religion which He enjoined on Noah, and which We have now revealed to you, which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, with the assertion: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Adhere to this religion [in your lives] and do not create any divisions in it.â&#x20AC;? (42:13) Consequently, it is known in history that the Prophet (sws) used weapons like swords and arrows in wars, travelled on camels, constructed a mosque whose roof was made of palm tree stems, ate some foods which were customary in the Arab society and

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25 showed his like or dislike for them, wore a certain dress which was in vogue in Arabia and whose selection also had much to do with his personal taste â&#x20AC;&#x201C; however, none of these things can be termed Sunnah and neither can any man of learning regard them to be Sunnah. At one instance, the Prophet (sws) himself is reported to have said:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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&\x A Â&#x2014; Dd  Tx|X &\$ Q  y8(<d &\x A Â&#x2014; Â&#x2021;<d )A J) ()TsÂ&#x203A;x  X Â&#x161; $Â&#x2122; xf $$Â&#x2122;  Â&#x2DC; â&#x20AC;Ś Â&#x2021;<d )A  Â&#x2DC;WX ~A:  y8(<d zÂ&#x153;TO  (})WX Dd  Tx|X  Â&#x192; %[ E ? &\x iJ Â&#x2014; \ }' d

&O % )xQ  Â&#x2020;d x&C ?A &x )A â&#x20AC;Ś E FC? I am also a human being. When I direct you about something which relates to your religion, take it from me and when I express my own opinion [about something which is outside this sphere], then my status in this regard is nothing more than that of a human being â&#x20AC;Ś I had conjectured about something.32 Do not hold me accountable for such things which are based on opinion and conjecture. However, if I say something on behalf of God, take it because I will never forge a lie on God â&#x20AC;Ś You very well know about your worldly affairs.33

32. Reference is to pollination of palm trees. 33. AbĹŤ al-Hď&#x20AC;Şusayn Muslim ibn al-Hď&#x20AC;ŞajjÄ j al-QushayrÄŤ, AlJÄ miâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; al-sď&#x20AC;Şahď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤhď&#x20AC;Ş, vol. 4 (Beirut: DÄ r ihď&#x20AC;ŞyÄ â&#x20AC;&#x2122; al-turÄ th al-â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;arabÄŤ, n.d.), 1835-1836, (nos. 2361-2363).

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26

iii. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n should be interpreted through Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth

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There is a group of scholars which believes that the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n is dependent on the Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth for its interpretation and must at all cost be understood through it. However, the status occupied by the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n as the mÄŤzÄ n and the furqÄ n entails that everything should be interpreted in light of the guidance it provides. GhÄ midÄŤ writes:34 The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says about itself:

(,0:Â&#x201C;Â?) w%  }B  d z \  aw)A ~T xDC

It is God who has revealed with truth the Book which is this scale [of justice]. (42:17) The verse means that the Almighty has revealed the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n which is a scale of justice meant to distinguish good from evil. It is the only scale that weighs everything else, and there is no scale in which it can be weighed:

 T) _  C 4\% S !? FC?  = Y  aJw) ~T #: ! (,:Â?-) Blessed be He who has revealed al-furqÄ n to His servant that it may warn the whole world. (25:1)

34. GhÄ midÄŤ, MÄŤzÄ n, 24, 64.

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27 The Qur’ān is also a furqān in the same sense, ie. a Book which has the final and absolute verdict to distinguish truth from falsehood. This word also connotes the fact that this Book is the standard by which everything needs to be judged and is a decisive word on matters that relate to religion. Everyone must turn to it only to resolve differences of opinion. Nothing can be a judge on it; it shall reign supreme in the dominion of religion and every person is bound not to make it subservient to any other thing.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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The Qur’ān is the most definite and authentic record of whatever Muhmmad (sws) did in his status of a prophet and a messenger. Consequently, most topics covered in the Hadīth are related to the Qur’ān the way a branch is related to a stem or the way an explanation is related to the text it explains. Without recourse to the original text, it is obvious that its corollaries and explanations cannot be understood. If all the mistakes in interpreting the Hadīth are minutely analyzed, this situation becomes abundantly clear. The incidents of stoning to death in the times of the Prophet (sws), the assassination of Ka‘b ibn Ashraf, punishment meted out in the graves, narratives such as xS4Cx = X xD$ Q aJd  (execute the person who changes his faith)35 have become 35. Abū ‘Abdullāh Muhammad ibn Ismā‘īl al-Bukhārī, AlJāmi‘ al-sahīh, 3rd ed., vol. 3 (Beirut: Dār Ibn Kathīr, 1987), 1098, (no. 2854). For an explanation of this narrative in the light of the Qur’ān, see: “Apostasy is punishable by Death” in

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28 issues which have caused a lot of confusion and have been subjected to misinterpretation because they have not been understood by relating them to their basis in the Qur’ān.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

iv. Ahādīth are as Authentic as the Qur’ān

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There are scholars who believe that the Ahādīth are as authentic as the Qur’ān.36 This view is not correct. Whilst there is no need to investigate the authenticity of the Qurān, both the text and chain of narration of a Hadīth require investigation. Ghāmidī, while explaining this, writes:37 It is the chain of narration of a narrative that makes it a Hadīth that can be attributed to the Prophet (sws). In addition to any hidden flaws in the chain of narration of a Hadīth, the trustworthiness of the narrators,38 their memory and the contemporaneousness of the narrators are the three standards which should be taken into consideration this booklet under “Punishments”. 36. The most prominent authority to hold this view is Imām Ibn Hazm. See: Abū Muhammad ‘Alī ibn Ahmad ibn Sa‘īd ibn Hazm, Al-Fasl fī Milal, vol. 5 (Cairo: Maktabah al-Khanjī, n.d.), 71-72. 37. Ghāmidī, Mīzān, 61-63. 38. The soundness of character of the Companions of the Prophet (sws), however is an exception and does not need the conformation of any standard. The Almighty Himself has borne witness to it in His Book. See: The Qur’ān, 3:110.

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29 in the light of the material which the scholars of Hadīth have painstakingly made available. This is the standard which scholars of Hadīth have put forth for the examination of the chain of narration of a Hadīth, and is so sound that no addition can be made to it nor anything taken away from it.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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Since attributing something suspect to the Prophet (sws) can be of severe consequences in this world and in that to come, it is necessary to apply this standard without any lenience and with absolute impartiality to every narrative attributed to him. Only those narratives should be considered acceptable which fully conform to this standard. Thus no narrative attributed to the Prophet (sws) even if found in primary works as the al-Jāmi alsahīh of Imām Bukhārī, al-Jāmi al-sahīh of Imām Muslim and the Mu’attā of Imām Mālik can be accepted without application of this standard. Besides investigating the chain of narration of a Hadīth, the second thing which requires investigation is the text of a Hadīth. Although scholars of Hadīth have left no stone unturned in investigating the characters and biographies of the narrators and have spent the greater part of their lives in this research yet, like every human endeavour, the natural flaws which still exist in the narration of a Hadīth39 require that the following two 39. For details, see: Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Mabādī tadabbur-i hadīth, 1st ed., Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1991.

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Common Misconceptions about Islam

things must always be considered investigating the text of a Hadīth:

30 while

1. Nothing in it should be against the Qur’ān and Sunnah.

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2. Nothing in it should be against established facts derived from knowledge and reason. The Qur’ān, it has been alluded to earlier, is the mīzān (the scale of truth) and the furqān (the distinguisher between truth and falsehood). It is like a guardian of every religious concept and it has been revealed as a barometer to judge between what is right and what is wrong. Thus, no further explanation is required of the fact that if anything is against the Qur’ān, then it must stand rejected. Similar is the case of the Sunnah. Whatever religion has been received through it is as certain and authentic as the Qur’ān, as has been explained earlier. There is no difference between the level of authenticity of the two. Just as the Qur’ān is validated through the consensus of the ummah, the Sunnah is also determined from its consensus. Since this fact is an absolute reality about the Sunnah, so if a Hadīth is against the Sunnah and if there is no way out to resolve a conflict between the two, the Hadīth in consideration must necessarily be rejected. Established facts derived from knowledge and reason also have the same status in this regard. The "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


31 Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n is absolutely clear that its message is based on these established facts. Its arguments on such basic issues as tawhď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤd and the Hereafter are primarily based on these facts. It is the requirements and demands of these facts which the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n highlights through its teachings. Every student of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n is aware that it presents these facts as deciding factors for the message it puts forth. It presented them as the final word both before the Idolaters of Arabia and the People of the Book. Those who oppose these are regarded by it as people who follow their base desires. Thus intuitive realities, historical truths, results of experience and observation â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all are discussed in the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n in this very capacity. Hence how can a Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤď&#x20AC;Şth which is against these facts regarded by the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n as ones which distinguish between the truth and untruth be accepted? It is obvious that it shall stand rejected. All leading scholars of Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth also hold this view. Al-Khatď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤb writes:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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fd *  &\   &\ 9 X $ P 4 os !  Dd Â&#x2013;4^ %Q O K$6 mÂ&#x17E; ~: >  Y K4C h K$6 &\Â? A khabar al-wÄ hď&#x20AC;Şid [â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth â&#x20AC;&#x201C;] cannot be accepted which is against sense and reason, is against an established and explicit directive of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n, is against a known Sunnah or is against a practice which is observed like the Sunnah or its conflict with some conclusive argument becomes absolutely evident.40 40. Ahď&#x20AC;Şmad ibn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;AlÄŤ ibn ThÄ bit al-Khatď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤb al-BaghdÄ dÄŤ, Al-

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Common Misconceptions about Islam

32

v. Ahādīth can be interpreted Independently

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A general practice in interpreting Ahādīth is that each narrative is interpreted independently even if its variant texts exist. As a result, the complete picture in which a directive was given is sacrificed and one often ends up deducing a directive from incomplete data. It needs to be appreciated that all the variant texts of a Hadīth must be studied in order to form an opinion about it. While explaining this important aspect, Ghāmidī writes:41 Many a time a person may form an opinion about a Hadīth by not studying its variants; however, once he deliberates on all the variants his overall interpretation changes. One glaring example of this is the Ahādīth which mention the prohibition of pictures and portraits. If only some of the narratives are studied, one can easily conclude that this prohibition is absolute and every picture and portrait is prohibited in Islam. However, if all the variants are collected and analyzed, it becomes evident that the prohibition is regarding only those pictures which have been made for worshipping. Many similar examples can be cited from the corpus of the Hadīth literature. Thus it is essential that if one is not satisfied from the apparent words of a Hadīth, one must gather and collate all its variants to form an opinion. Kifāyah fī ‘ilm al-riwayah (Madīnah: Al-Maktbah al-‘ilmiyyah, n.d.), 432. 41. Ghāmidī, Mīzān, 64-65.

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3. Worship and Worship Rituals

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i. Making Vows of Worship is Recommended

Many people are of the opinion that Islam encourages a person to make a vow to offer some worship ritual if his wish is granted. Thus a person pledges before God that he would, for example, fast for a certain number of days or pray a certain amount of optional prayers if a certain desire of his is fulfilled. It needs to be appreciated that making vows of worship for the fulfilment of certain wishes was never the way of the Prophet (sws) and his Companions (rta). It means that a person is imposing a condition to carry out certain virtuous deeds and also burdening himself with something which may ultimately be very difficult to fulfil. Worship done in this manner may also adversely affect a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relationship with his Creator. It becomes more of a mechanical act often done in disregard to the spirit of worship. Worship should be done with willingness of the heart and eagerness of the soul, otherwise it will fail to reap the real benefit it carries: purification of the innerself. In fact, worship done if oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wish is not granted may at many times be more beneficial in achieving this end. The correct way in this regard is to pray to the

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34 Almighty that a certain wish be granted. If the wish is granted, a person should express his gratitude by letting his feelings take their own course and manifest themselves in whatever form of worship at that particular time. Also, the quantity of worship does not matter in such cases: it is the quality that really counts.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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ii. Praying after the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Asď&#x20AC;Şr Prayer is Forbidden

It is generally believed that Muslims have been forbidden to pray or prostrate after the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;asď&#x20AC;Şr prayer until maghrib. It needs to be appreciated that according to the established Sunnah of the Prophet (sws), the only forbidden times for prayer are sunrise and sunset. This precautionary measure is meant to curb polytheism, since many nations of antiquity worshipped the sun at these times. At all other times, prayers can be offered. Consequently, one can pray between â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;asď&#x20AC;Şr and maghrib. It seems that the following Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth has led to the belief that no prayer can be offered between â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;asď&#x20AC;Şr and maghrib:

&C" D%C? E FCG DC a4x": f Â&#x; a4 J~: x|  y% " dA  d 9 G  xÂĄ J< 5Y  FJ   !vg  d 9 G  a4 xÂĄ J< N %Â&#x2C6; Jk  g  AbĹŤ Saâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ÄŤd al-KhudrÄŤ says that he heard the Prophet say: â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is no prayer after dawn until the sun rises and there is no prayer after â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;asď&#x20AC;Şr until the sun sets.â&#x20AC;?42 42. Al-BukhÄ rÄŤ, Al-JÄ mi â&#x20AC;&#x2DC; al-sahÄŤh, vol. 1, 212, (no. 561).

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Common Misconceptions about Islam

35

If all the texts of this Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth are collected, it comes to light that a part of it has been left out in most of its texts. This can be observed from the underlined portion of the following two Ahď&#x20AC;ŞÄ dÄŤth:

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v4Cgx  &C" D%C? E FCG ¢$ ? D$? E (q: ÂŁFC? ? Â&#x2030;K Y x xÂĄ J< v4Cgx    g   d â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;AlÄŤ reported from the Prophet (sws): â&#x20AC;&#x153;Do not pray after â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;asď&#x20AC;Şr except if the sun is high [in the sky].â&#x20AC;?43

&C" D%C? E FCG E a4": a = a = D$? E (q: (C? ? Â&#x2030;KJ%) xÂĄ J< v4Cgx    g   d v4Cgx  â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;AlÄŤ reported that the Prophet (sws) said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Do not pray after â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;asď&#x20AC;Şr except if the sun is shining brightly high [in the sky].â&#x20AC;?44

In other words, what the Prophet (sws) actually forbade was praying very near the time of sunset since this might accidentally lead a person to pray in the forbidden period of sunset. Consequently, it is clear from these Ahď&#x20AC;ŞÄ dÄŤth that if one intends to pray after â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;asď&#x20AC;Şr, one should make sure that one does so before sunset. One has not been stopped from praying after â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;asď&#x20AC;Şr, as has been inferred by 43. AbĹŤ â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;AbdullÄ h Ahď&#x20AC;Şmad ibn Hď&#x20AC;Şanbal al-ShaybÄ nÄŤ, Musnad, vol. 1 (Cairo: Muâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;assasah al-Qurtď&#x20AC;Şubah, n.d.), 130, (no. 1076). 44. AbĹŤ Bakr Ahď&#x20AC;Şmad ibn al-Hď&#x20AC;Şusayn al-BayhaqÄŤ, Al-Sunan al-kubrÄ , vol. 2 (Makkah: Maktabah dÄ r al-BÄ z, 1994.), 459, (no. 4196).

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Common Misconceptions about Islam

36

some. iii. The Almighty asked for Ishmael’s Sacrifice45

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It is generally believed that God asked Abraham (sws) to sacrifice his son. True the sacrifice never took place but the question is: Why was is it asked for? It needs to be understood that the Almighty never commanded Abraham (sws) to sacrifice his son. It was Abraham (sws) who took this step thinking that the Almighty wanted this to happen. In this regard, the following points must remain in consideration: 1. Abraham (sws) thought that he was directed to sacrifice his son by the Almighty in a dream shown to him. For the Prophets of Allah, such dreams are a source of contact with the Almighty, and in them they are shown certain images by Him for the purpose of their education and instruction. However, as a principle, they are not to be interpreted literally; they contain realities which are depicted in symbolic form. Symbolic representation is a very subtle and powerful way of expression: facts seem veiled, yet for one who pauses to ponder, they are most evident. They portray a fact in figurative form in order to make it more effective to understand. As an example, consider the dream of the Prophet Joseph (sws) mentioned in the Qur’ān. It says that he saw the sun, the moon and eleven stars bowing down to him. The interpretation of the 45. The clarification in this section is based on the research of Al-Farāhī. See: Hamīd al-Dīn al-Farāhī, Al-Rā’yī al-sahīh fī man huwa al-dhabīh? Azamgarh: Dār al-musannifīn, 1349 AH.

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37 dream offered by the Qur’ān itself at the end of Sūrah Yūsuf shows that this bowing down was a symbolism to show that his eleven brothers and father and mother would submit to his authority as the king (12:100). Similarly, more examples can be given from the Qur’ān. 2. The next point which arises is about the symbolism found in “human sacrifice”. In other words: “What does human sacrifice stand for?” A knowledge of the ancient scriptures reveals that human sacrifice offered to God symbolizes consecrating and dedicating a person to the service of God. Thus for example the progeny of Aaron (sws) was assigned to serve the temple and whenever they were required to discharge this responsibility, they underwent all the rites meant for sacrificial animals: Common Misconceptions about Islam

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You are to bring the Levites before the Lord, and the Israelites are to lay their hands on them. Aaron is to present the Levites before the Lord like a wave offering from the Israelites so that they may be ready to do the work of the Lord. After the Levites lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, use the one for a sin offering to the Lord and the other for a burnt offering, to make atonement for the Levites. Make the Levites stand before Aaron and his sons and then present them as a wave offering to the Lord. In this way you are to set apart the Levites from among the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine. After you have purified the Levites and presented them as a wave offering, they are to come to do their work at the Tent of meeting. (Numbers, 8:10-15) Similarly, whenever someone was consecrated and

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38

Common Misconceptions about Islam 46

dedicated to God, he had to be the first born:

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They are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to me. I have taken them as my own in place of the firstborn, the first male offspring from every Israelite woman. Every firstborn male in Israel, whether man or animal, is mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set them apart for myself. And I have taken the Levites in place of all the firstborn sons in Israel. (Numbers, 8:16-18) In other words, the Almighty actually wanted Abraham (sws) to devote Ishmael (sws) for special tasks assigned by the Almighty. 3. Abraham (sws) in his spirit of submission to the will of God started to follow his dream in the literal sense instead of interpreting the dream; consequently, the Almighty told him that he had “made the dream a reality,” which of course was not required. However, this willingness to submit to a command of Allah as perceived by Abraham (sws) greatly pleased the Almighty since it was based on sincerity and a great readiness to do what he thought was Allah’s directive. iv. Charity can be given instead of Animal Sacrifice

Some people think that instead of sacrificing sheep on ‘īd, one can donate an equivalent in money to charities. 46. Thus Ishmael (sws) was also the first born from Abraham (sws) and his wife Hagar.

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39 This notion is not correct and requires a little elaboration: For every human being who believes in Allah, there are two distinct spheres of interaction in which relationships come into existence. The first sphere covers a person’s relationship with Allah, while the second one constitutes a person’s relationship with his fellow human beings. Islam and all divinely revealed religions do nothing but guide human intellect in these two spheres. A person’s relationship with Allah manifests itself in worship, which in Islam has some distinct forms. Similarly, a person’s relationship with his brethren takes the form of social interaction, which again has many areas. Total or partial negation of any one of these spheres results in an unbalanced life. Extremism in the first sphere breeds monasticism and asceticism while extremism in the second one breeds materialism. Islam wants every person to create a balance in his life by giving each sphere its due. Similarly, it wants a person to undertake the various prescribed forms of interaction in both spheres since each has a definite purpose. In the first sphere, Islam has prescribed specific forms of worship of which one form cannot replace the other, since each has its own purpose and objective. Animal Sacrifice is one such form of worship. It has an underlying philosophy which must be well-appreciated in order to offer it in letter and spirit. Just as salāh cannot replace zakāh and vice versa, animal sacrifice also cannot be replaced by zakāh or charity. What animal sacrifice induces in a person, zakāh or salāh or hajj do not. The reason for animal sacrifice on ‘īd is to

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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40 commemorate a great event which depicts an extraordinary expression of submission to the command of Allah â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the essence of Islam. The Prophet Abraham (sws) while obeying the Almighty set a platinum example of this submission. When we offer an animal in sacrifice, we actually symbolize our intention that we are ready to lay down our lives for the cause of Allah whenever required by Him, just as His great Prophet Abraham (sws) had once done so with spirit and splendour, glory and grandeur.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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v. ZakÄ h cannot be given to Non-Muslims

Some people are of the view that zakÄ h cannot be spent on Non-Muslims. This view is not correct. The following Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä nic verse spells out the heads under which zakÄ h can be expended:

& x;xd4C= KYÂ&#x203A;x  ; %C? _  C   _  O 6  8Y C x7 =Jg J) DVC } K¤ X %!J6 d  DVC %!" (X _: Â&#x2C6;  z =} (X (Â&#x2018;Â&#x17D;:ÂĽ) Â&#x2021;&%\ Â&#x2021;&%C? xDVC ZakÄ h is only for the poor and the needy, and for those who are â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ä mils over it, and for those whose hearts are to be reconciled [to the truth], and for the emancipation of the slaves and for those who have been inflicted with losses and for the way of Allah and for the wayfarers. (9:60) It is evident from the verse quoted above that the "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


41 Qur’ān does not discriminate between the recipients of zakāh on the basis of their beliefs or religion. In other words, zakāh money can be given to any needy person whatever his religion is.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

_____________

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4. Political Issues

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i. A Muslim Ruler has the Right to Overrule the Majority

It is generally contended on the basis of the following verse that the ruler of a Muslim state has the power to veto his confidants if he deems so:

O4X f w? Â&#x2014;WX  Â&#x2020;  (X &xI : [ &x; Y Â&#x2C6; " &x; $? xÂ&#x2019; ? X (,-ÂĽ:Â&#x152;) _CÂ&#x153;O4x  vNx DC  DC FC? So ignore their faults and ask for Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s forgiveness for them and consult them in the affairs [of state]. Then, when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah. (3:159)

This is an incorrect inference. It should be appreciated that the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n is an internally coherent Book and each verse has a specific context, which, if disregarded, may lead to gross misinterpretation. If we take a look at the context of 3:159,47 it becomes evident that the verse occurs in the group of verses in 47. The description of the context which follows is based on Isď&#x20AC;ŞlÄ hď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interpretation. See: AmÄŤn Ahď&#x20AC;Şsan Isď&#x20AC;ŞlÄ hď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤ, Tadabbur-i Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n, vol. 2, 208-210.

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43 which the behaviour of the Hypocrites and the events of the battle of Uhď&#x20AC;Şud and their aftermath are under discussion. The Hypocrites, we know from the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n, were given a time of respite so that they might reform themselves. However, once the time was over, they were severely dealt with as is evident from many verses of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n. For example:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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&x J$;R &xI Â&#x2020; &; %C? ÂŚC Â&#x20AC; _X $x  : Y\  I R v(!J$ ;v A  (Â&#x2018;Â&#x2018;:ÂĽ) xrg  ÂĄ Â&#x192;d O Prophet! Strive hard against the disbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be stern against them. And their abode is Hell; and it is an evil refuge indeed. (66:9) The battle of Uhď&#x20AC;Şud was the time when they were still in the period of respite. So, it was not appropriate to disregard them at that time. Consequently, the Prophet (sws) was told to keep consulting them in various affairs; however, he was not bound by what their majority said. If he decided to go against their advice, he was told to repose his trust in Allah and do what he had decided. This is a brief summary of the stress of the verse. A more detailed look at the context of 3:159 and at the various historical facts shows that the Prophet (sws) had consulted the Muslims on whether they should fight the enemy from within the city or from the outside. The Hypocrites opined that they should fight from within the city while the true believers were of the opposite opinion. The Prophet (sws) it seems also held the latter opinion. So "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


44 when he and the believers decided to go out and fight, the Hypocrites became angry and expressed their anger in various ways. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;AbdullÄ h ibn Ubayy for example departed right before the battle with his three hundred men saying that his opinion was ignored. Once the battle was over, another group of Hypocrites that stayed with the Muslims started spreading the propaganda that the defeat was due to the wrong strategy adopted. Consequently, verses 3:156-158, while addressing the Hypocrites, mention these details in the following manner:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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4xdq Â&#x2014; &;)4 sW 4 = xYO  T O 4x)4\  4x$  T ;v A   Â&#x201A;% 4C=  4x   ) $? 4x) O 4 m§wÂ&#x20AC; 4x) O A Â&#x2022; :Â&#x2020;  (X Â&#x2021;rgd 4C  d xDC xf%x  ( x xDC &;d4C= (X 9 6 {Â&#x2014; xDC J Â&#x2021; %s Â&#x2030;K : D C  Â&#x2030;9Y Â&#x2C6; &vx A DC %!" (X &x C= Â&#x192; (,-/Â&#x201D;,-Â&#x2018; :Â&#x152;) x< x DC FW &x C= A &vx Â&#x192; 4x  Â&#x201A; Believers! Be not like the disbelievers who say of their brethren when they are travelling through the land or fighting: â&#x20AC;&#x153;If they had stayed with us they would not have died or been slainâ&#x20AC;? so that Allah may make a cause of regret in their hearts. It is Allah Who gives life and death. And Allah knows what you do. And if you are killed or die in the way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are far better than all they amass [of worldly wealth]. And whether you die or are killed, verily, unto Allah you shall be gathered. (3:156-158) "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


45 Consequently, it is clear from these verses that Muhď&#x20AC;Şammad (sws) in his capacity of a prophet was advised to deal with the Hypocrites of his times in a particular manner, as spelled out in the subsequent verse; in other words, this subsequent verse also like the previous ones refers to the Hypocrites:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

O4X f w? Â&#x2014;WX  Â&#x2020;  (X &xI : [ &x; Y Â&#x2C6; " &x; $? xÂ&#x2019; ? X (,-ÂĽ:Â&#x152;) _CÂ&#x153;O4x  vNx DC  DC FC? So ignore their faults and ask for Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s forgiveness for them and consult them in affairs. Then, when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah. (3:159) These verses cannot relate to us in any way today. Technically speaking, the antecedents of the plural accusative pronoun in the imperative verb &xI : [ (consult them) are the Hypocrites of the Prophetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s times. Owing to his position as Prophet, Muhammad (sws) was divinely guided in their affairs and was told to deal with them with latitude until the Almighty signalled to him that the period of respite was over. Consequently, the verse cannot be extended to anyone beyond the Prophet (sws). ii. Muslims of a Non-Muslim Country should Unite Politically

Some people think that Islam directs all Muslims living in non-Muslim lands to unite under one leadership and present themselves as a single entity. "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


46 Nowhere has Islam directed Muslims living in a nonMuslim country to unite under one leadership. This may serve their interest and be very beneficial for them. However, they have not been bound by their religion in this regard. It is up to them if they want to adopt such a policy. Some people present the following verse to contend that Islam has directed Muslims to politically unite:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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(ÂĽÂ&#x152; :Â?,) ()xx! ? X &\vd: )A 9 KJA &\xJA STI  Indeed, this ummah of yours is a single ummah, and I am your Lord and Cherisher. (21:93) If the context of this verse is deliberated upon, it comes to light that the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n is not directing the present Muslim ummah to remain united; on the contrary, the word ummah here is used for all the prophets which are mentioned in the preceding verses (78-91). After enlisting most prophets, the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says that all these prophets are one ummah in the sense that they brought the same religion and it is the people who introduced innovations in it:

n 4  x&$Â&#x20AC; D%X f<Y) Â&#x2014; ¨   (X  \  Â&#x2014;   %Cx" QxQ  C?  \x $ % Â&#x161;CO   %Cx" I $ J;YX  I [ &; \x J$O K  $G xS $ C? _C? X J$O  %^  }!6x a !Â&#x201A;  QxQ 5 ) J|"   }   %Cx6 xO [ &x )A ;X &\" Â&#x2020;d  &\$g x &\ yt4x! y8 ([ Â&#x153;\d J$O ;%X $ O: d ( Â&#x2022; :Â&#x2020;  F S Â&#x2020;d ~ Â&#x201A; KYG ? "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


Common Misconceptions about Islam

47

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

J$O {Â&#x2014; xQ C? 4C   xD 4xG4xÂ&#x2C6;  _Â? %J<  _ ? x& :A f )A vv¤ ($J6 (})A xDJd: mQ ) Â&#x2014; z4v A _'X  &x;

&x;  &x;C * xDC IA xS $ % ÂŁxq  Dd  $ Y<\X xD $ !Â&#x201A; " X _J Â&#x2039;O  Y\  Â&#x2014; ÂĄ : Q %?  "  d  C m OÂ&#x2014; ) $?  K :

Â&#x2014; 4v$ Â&#x2014; _ Jg  &x;J) $ : (X &xI $ Cs QA  d Jg   D  A 7 CŠ' (X mQ $X D% C? : )  A J'X !q Â&#x2C6;x NIÂ&#x2014; }&Â&#x2C6;   xS $ %JÂ&#x201A;) xD $ !Â&#x201A; " X _ '  xf$O (}) {)  !x" f )A Q X () :T  }z: xDJd: mQ ) Â&#x2014; J Oj _$ Â&#x203A;x  (Â&#x201A; $x) {TO Dx R j xD $ C GA F%  xD $ !I xD $ !Â&#x201A; " X _i:4  x %s f )A $ 4x) O !I: !Â&#x20AC;: $)4x?   7 %|  (X 4x?: 6x 4x) O &x;J) I $ C R $x:  ;%X $ |Y$X ;R X f$g A ( _ [ s ()xx! ? X &\vd: )A 9 KJA &\xJA STI  _  C K  ;$ d (ÂĽÂ&#x152;Â&#x201D;0/: Â?,) 4x R: $ % Â&#x2039;O &x;$ %d &xI A 4x ^ And remember David and Solomon, when they gave judgement in the matter of the field into which the sheep of certain people had strayed by night: we did witness their judgement. To Solomon We inspired the [right] understanding of the matter: to each [of them] We gave judgement and knowledge; it was Our power that made the hills and the birds celebrate Our praises, with David: it was We who did [all these things]. It was We Who taught him the making of metal coats of mail for your benefit to guard you "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


48 from each other’s violence. Will you then be grateful? [It was Our power that made] the violent wind flow [tamely] for Solomon to his order to the land which We had blessed: for We do know all things. And of the devils, were some who dived for him, and did other work besides; and it was We who guarded them. And [remember] Job, when he cried to his Lord: “Truly distress has seized me, but You are the Most Merciful of those that are Merciful.” So We listened to him: We removed the distress that was on him, and We restored his people to him, and doubled their number, as a grace from Ourselves, and a thing for commemoration for all who serve Us. And [remember] Ismā‘īl, Idrīs, and Dhū al-Kifl, all [men] of constancy and patience. We admitted them to Our mercy, for they were of the righteous ones. And remember Dhū al-Nūn, when he departed in wrath. He imagined that We would not call him to account! But he cried through the depths of darkness: “There is no god but You; glory to You. I was indeed wrong!” So We listened to Him and delivered him from distress and thus do We deliver those who have faith. And [remember] Zakariyyā, when he cried to his Lord: “O my Lord! Leave me not without an offspring, though You are the best of inheritors.” So We listened to him and We granted him Yahyā. We cured his wife’s [barrenness] for him. These were ever quick in emulation in good works; they used to call on Us with love and reverence, and humble themselves before Us. And [remember] her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our Spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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49 peoples. Indeed, this ummah of yours is a single ummah, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore serve Me [and no other]. But [the later generations] cut off their matter [of unity], one from another: [yet] will they all return to Us. (21:78-93)

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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In other words, the sentence â&#x20AC;&#x153;Indeed, this ummah of yours is a single ummahâ&#x20AC;? if interpreted keeping in view the context refers to the collectivity of the Prophets that came before Muhammad (sws). They have nothing to do with the Muslim ummah. iii. Defiance of anti-Islamic Laws of a Non-Muslim Country

Some people are of the opinion that Muslims should defy the directives of the non-Muslim country where they are living if they are asked by the government to do something which is against Islam. It must be taken into consideration that Muslims who have settled in non-Muslim countries are bound in a contract of citizenship. They must always honour this contract while living in such areas. They should respect the laws and live peacefully. They are bound by Islam to abide by the terms and conditions of any contract they make and they must never violate them in the slightest way. Such violations according to Islam are totally forbidden and, in fact, amount to a grave transgression. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says:

(Â&#x152;Â&#x201C;:,0) 4Â&#x192; 6  O  ;    ;  d 4X A

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50 And keep [your] covenants; because indeed [on the Day of Judgement] you will be held accountable for them. (17:34)

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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Consequently, Muslims must never break the laws of the country they live in and if a situation comes when, owing to some law, they are not able to follow a directive of their religion that seems imperative to them, they should first of all bring the matter in the notice of the authorities. If it is not resolved, then instead of violating the law or creating a nuisance they should migrate from that country. This, of course, does not mean that this stance of a NonMuslim country is being endorsed. It amounts to denying a minority its basic rights and, at times, is tantamount to persecution. iv. Muslims are Duty-Bound to establish an Islamic State48

There are some Muslim scholars who think that each and every Muslim has been asked by Islam to strive to establish an Islamic state in case Islam does not reign supreme in the country he is living in. It needs to be appreciated that Muslims are not required by their religion to fulfil any such obligation. Some religious scholars do present the example of the Prophet Muhammad (sws) and say that since he had established an Islamic state in Arabia, Muslims, 48. The clarification presented in this section is based on Ghāmidī’s view. See: Ghāmidī, Jāved Ahmad, Burhān, 6th ed. (Lahore: Al-Mawrid, Dānish Sarā, 2009), 169-172.

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51 wherever they are, should follow his example. In this regard, it is submitted that neither did the Prophet (sws) ever undertake the task of establishing an Islamic state nor was he ever directed by the Almighty to do so. The truth of the matter is that it is the Almighty Who, according to His established practice regarding His messengers, took matters in His own hands at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (sws) and bestowed on him and his nation the supremacy of Arabia. Scholars who are of the opinion that Muhammad (sws) strove to establish an Islamic state in Arabia typically present the following verse in support of their view:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

D Â&#x153;CO  } FC? xS; 'x% }B   Q mx;  d xD4x": " :A ~T 4xI (ÂĽ:Â&#x2018;,) 4O <x  SO 4 It is He Who has sent His Messenger [â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Muhammadâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;] with Guidance and the Religion of Truth that he may proclaim it over all religions, even though the Idolaters may detest [this]. (61:9) On the basis of the phrase â&#x20AC;&#x153;all religionsâ&#x20AC;?, it is understood that the followers of Islam must struggle for its dominance in their respective countries and territories. An analysis of the context of this verse shows that it belongs to the class of directives that relate to the established practice of the Almighty regarding His messengers (rusul) according to which a messenger (rasĹŤl) always triumphs over his people who intentionally reject him: "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


Common Misconceptions about Islam

52

J!C Â&#x20AC;Â&#x2020; xDC NO _  Â&#x153;Â&#x2014;Â&#x201E;M (X {Â&#x192; A xD4x": DC vQ x  T  (Â?,Â&#x201D;Â?Â&#x17D; :-/) Â&#x2021;w w? ÂŞ~4= DC  (Cx"x: )A

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Indeed those who are opposing Allah and His Messenger are bound to be humiliated. The Almighty has ordained: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I and My messengers shall always prevail.â&#x20AC;? Indeed, Allah is Mighty and Powerful. (58:20-21) Muhammad (sws) was also informed that he would triumph over his people in case they deliberately rejected him. He and his Companions (rta) were told that they would have to fight the Idolaters of Arabia until the supremacy of Islam was achieved therein and that these Idolaters should be informed that if they did not desist from their evil ways, then they too would meet a fate no different from those of the other nations who denied their messengers:

 X xQ4x   Â&#x2019;C" =  &x; Y Â&#x2C6;x 4x;$  xYO  TC = x } 4\  Â&#x2030;K$ X 4\  FJ &xI4C = _JÂ&#x2020;  KJ$x" f¤ (Â&#x201C;Â&#x17D;Â&#x201D;Â&#x152;/ :/) DC xDŠCO Say to these Disbelievers that if they now desist [from disbelief] their past would be forgiven; but if they persist, the punishment of those before them is already [a warning for them]. And fight against them until there is no more persecution and prevails there the religion of God. (8:38-40) "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


53 Consequently, it is to be noted that the word almushrikūn (the Idolaters) is used in 61:9 quoted above. The Qur’ān uses this word specifically for the Idolaters of Arabia of the Prophet’s times. As a result, “all the religions” in the conjugate clause can only mean all the religions of Arabia at that time. So, the verse has no bearing on Muslims after the times of the Prophet (sws). Therefore, striving to achieve political supremacy of Islam is not a religious obligation of a Muslim, let alone waging jihād to achieve this supremacy. The verses from which this obligation has been construed specifically relate to Prophet Muhammad (sws).

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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v. Muslim Rulers shall always belong to the Quraysh49

On the basis of the following narrative attributed to the Prophet (sws) by Anas ibn Mālik, it is generally believed that a Muslim ruler must belong to the Quraysh, which is the tribe of the Prophet (sws):

« =  KJL† 

50

The rulers shall be from the Quraysh.

49. The clarification presented in this section is adapted from Ghāmidī’s Mīzān. Ghāmidī’s view is itself based on Islāhī’s view. See: Islāhī, Islāmī riyāsat, 2nd ed. (Lahore: Dār al-tadhkīr, 2006), 49-64; Ghāmidī, Mīzān, 496-497. 50. Abū ‘Abd al-Rahmān Ahmad ibn Shu‘ayb al-Nasā’ī, AlSunan al-kubrā, 1st ed., vol. 3 (Beirut: Dār al-kutub al‘ilmiyyah, 1991), 467, (no. 5942).

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54 If this is correct, then it would mean that there is no difference between Islam and Brahmanism in which only a specific tribe has the prerogative to rule. It needs to be appreciated that each narrative must be interpreted in the light of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n. According to the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä nic verse: (Â&#x152;/ :Â&#x201C;Â?) &x;$ %d m:4x[ &xIx A (their system is based on their consultation, (42:38)) in the absence of a consensus, the majority opinion should decide affairs of the Muslims. Thus in the light of this directive, a tradition was established from the time of the Prophet (sws) that the tribe which held the confidence of the majority would be granted the reins of power. Since in the time of the Prophet (sws), this status was occupied by the Quraysh, the Prophet (sws) merely following this Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä nic injunction, and fearing that leaders of the minority groups might stake a claim to power, clarified that the rulers shall be from the Quraysh. While citing the reason for this, he is reported to have said:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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&IX \ &xIxX O &;C 6x &x;xC 6x  Â&#x2020;J< TI (X yÂŤ  Â&#x2021;5! xt J$ People in this matter follow the Quraysh. The believers of Arabia are the followers of their believers and the disbelievers of Arabia are the followers of their disbelievers.51 In other words, the Prophet (sws) made it very clear that since the majority of the Arabian Muslims professed confidence in the Quraysh, they were solely entitled to take charge as the rulers of Arabia in the light of the 51. Muslim, Al-JÄ miâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; al-sď&#x20AC;Şahď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤhď&#x20AC;Ş, vol. 3, 1451, (no. 1509).

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55 Qur窶卞]ic directive &x;$ %d m:4x[ &xIx A (their system is based on their consultation), and that they would be passed on the political authority not because of any racial precedence or superiority, but only by virtue of this position. It follows from this that the Quraysh were entitled to rule after the Prophet (sws) as long as they enjoyed the confidence of the majority and once they lost this confidence, they were not entitled to rule.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w _____________

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5. Economic Issues

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve . a .j a w w ww w w i. Islam has an Economic System

Most people think that Islam provides us with a complete economic system and the only thing needed is its implementation in favourable circumstances. This notion is not correct. It needs to be appreciated that man has been blessed with the faculty of intellect and reason and has also been blessed with innate guidance regarding good and evil. In the affairs of life, his intellect and innate guidance are generally enough to guide him and show him the way. It is only at certain crossroads that he needs divine guidance to choose the right way. Consequently, in all such affairs a detailed system of directives has not been divinely revealed to guide mankind: only a broad outline has been given in the form of a set of rules and regulations which must be adhered to. Bearing this in mind, intellect and reason must evolve a system suited to the requirements and needs of a society. Since these requirements vary with time and place, the resulting systems will also vary accordingly. However, these systems shall be based on the same set of rules and regulations. In other words, the sharÄŤâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ah, which is a set of rules and regulations is divine and, therefore, eternal, but the system evolved upon this

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57 sharī‘ah is a human inference and, therefore, flexible. This flexibility, obviously, has been left to accommodate changing circumstances and evolutionary developments of human societies. Therefore, instead of extracting an economic system from the Qur’ān and Sunnah which, of course, does not exist, all out efforts should be made by Muslim scholars to derive the economic sharī‘ah of Islam. The task of formulating a system on its basis should be left to the economists and to those who understand the intricacies of this field.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w ii. Interest is analogous to Rent

There are people who justify the charging of interest by saying that it is money charged for the amount lent and in this way is like the rent of a commodity. In other words, they contend that just as a person pays rent for using a house, he pays rent for using money borrowed and this rent for money borrowed is interest. Thus if charging rent is allowed, then interest should also be allowed. An analysis of this argument shows that the analogy drawn is not correct. Rent is the money charged on commodities which are “used” and not “used up”. These commodities remain intact and do not have to be recreated when they are required back; they only need to be handed back to their owner. Thus while a house which is rented is used it remains intact, money which is borrowed is used up and it does not remain intact; it is consumed on whatever it was borrowed for. In order to return the borrowed money, it needs to be recreated or "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


58 reproduced and some more money over and above the borrowed amount too needs to be produced to be paid back as interest. Technically, it can be said that interest is charged on circulating capital whereas rent is charged on fixed capital.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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iii. Interest can be charged for a Noble Cause

Some people are of the view that money should be invested in interest-based schemes so that the interest earned can be spent on welfare projects and philanthropic ventures. It needs to be appreciated that taking interest is forbidden in Islam even if it is taken for a noble cause. Islam requires that both the means and the objective of an enterprise be morally justified. It does not condone the “Robin Hood” concept of achieving noble objectives through ignoble means. Its objective is to purify a person’s concepts and his deeds from any semblance of evil. Its message is to strive in the right direction whether the objective is achieved or not – for achieving an objective depends not on a person’s efforts; it depends on the will of Allah. It is not our obligation by any means to spend money on philanthropic causes when we do not get it through the right means. An example from the Qur’ān52 may help in illustrating 52. This example is translated and adapted from Tadabbur-i Qur’ān. See: Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 1, 505.

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59 this point: gambling and drinking in pre-Islamic times were a means through which the rich showed their generosity and helped the poor and needy. In winters, when cold winds blew in and caused conditions akin to drought, the courageous would gather at various places, drink liquor and, in their state of inebriation, slaughter any camels they could get hold of. They would pay the owner of the camels whatever price he demanded. They would then gamble on the meat of the slaughtered camels. Whatever parts of meat a person won in this gambling, he would generously distribute them among the poor who would gather around on such occasions. In pre-Islamic Arabia, this was a matter of great honour and people who took part in this activity were considered very philanthropic and generous. The poets would narrate accounts of their benevolence in their odes. On the other hand, people who stayed away from this activity would be called barm (stingy). It was this very benefit of drinking and gambling which prompted people to make an inquiry when they were regarded as prohibited items. The Qur’ān asserted in its reply that in spite of serving this noble cause, they were instrumental in producing moral misconduct in an individual, which in no case can be allowed: Common Misconceptions about Islam

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

t J$C x5X $ ‡r!O ‡& i ;%X = 6 %   |  ? {)4† 6 (,¥:) ; YJ)  x! OA ¬x;x i They ask you about liquor and gambling. Tell them: there is great sin in them and some profits as well for people. But their sin is greater than their profit. (2:219) "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


60 In other words, despite having utility, drinking and gambling were prohibited since they cause moral misconduct. Therefore, one should not invest money in interestbased schemes even if the purpose is to spend the accrued money for some noble cause. Common Misconceptions about Islam

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iv. Commercial Interest is not Forbidden in Islam

There are people who think that interest charged on ventures which are commercial in nature is not forbidden. While clarifying this misconception, GhÄ midÄŤ writes:53 It should remain clear that whether a loan is acquired for personal, business or welfare purposes, the real meaning of ribÄ is not ascertained on these bases. It is an indisputable fact that in the Arabic language the word ribÄ , irrespective of the aim of the lender and the condition of the borrower, just implies a predetermined increase acquired on a loan. Consequently, the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n itself has clarified this fact: during its own period of revelation, lending on interest for business purposes was quite rampant and these loans were given with the intention of prospering through the wealth of others. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says:

&x %  DC  $? 4xd  CX t J$ a4 A (X 4xd % d:  &x %  53. GhÄ midÄŤ, MÄŤzÄ n, 511-512.

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61

(Â&#x152;ÂĽ:Â&#x152;Â&#x17D;) 4Y ¤x  &xI {Â&#x192; Â&#x2020;X DC D R x x y9 Oj  That which you give as loan on interest that it may increase on [other] peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wealth, it has no increase with Allah; but that which you give as zakÄ h seeking Allahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s countenance, it is these people who shall get manifold [in the Hereafter] of what they gave. (30:39)

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The expression â&#x20AC;&#x153;â&#x20AC;Śthat it may increase on [other] peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wealthâ&#x20AC;? is not only inappropriate for application to interest-based loans given to the poor for their personal use, but is also clearly indicative of the fact that interest-based loans were generally given for business purposes and in this way they â&#x20AC;&#x153;increased on other peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wealthâ&#x20AC;? according to the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n. It is to this fact that the following verse also points:

 &\ Â&#x2021; %s 4=Jg A y96 % F Â&#x2030;9'$X y9 6x? Â&#x2014;  O  (Â?/Â&#x17D;:Â?) 4xC  &x$O And if the borrower is in difficulty, grant him respite until it is easy for him to repay and if you write off [the debt], it is better for you, if you only knew. (2:280) AmÄŤn Ahď&#x20AC;ŞsÄ n Isď&#x20AC;ŞlÄ hď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤ comments on this verse in the following words: Today some naive people claim that the type of interest which prevailed in Arabia before the advent of "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


62 Islam was usury. The poor and the destitute had no option but to borrow money from a few rich moneylenders to fulfil their personal needs. These moneylenders exploited the poor and would lend them money at high interest rates. It is only this type of interest which the Qur’ān has termed as ribā and forbidden. As far as commercial interest is concerned, it neither existed at that time nor did the Qur’ān prohibit it.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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The verse categorically refutes this view. When the Qur’ān says that if the borrower is in difficulty, he should be given respite until he is able to pay back his debt, it clearly points out that in those times even the rich used to acquire loans. In fact, if the style and stress of the verse are correctly understood, it becomes clear that it was mostly the rich who used to procure loans. Indeed, there was a strong chance that the borrower would find himself in difficulty even to pay the original amount. The money-lender, therefore, is directed to give him more time and if he forgoes the original amount, it would be better for him. The words of this verse strongly indicate this meaning. The actual words of the verse are: —  O  y96 % F ‰9'$X y9 6x?. The particle of condition ِ (if) is not used for general circumstances, but, in fact, is used for rare and unusual circumstances. For general circumstances the particle — (if) is used. In the light of this, it is clear that the borrowers in those times were generally the affluent (96 % —), but in some cases were poor or had become poor after acquiring the loan and in that case, the Qur’ān has directed the "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


63

Common Misconceptions about Islam 54

money-lenders to give them a time rebate.

He has concluded this discussion by saying:

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Obviously, the affluent would have turned to the money-lenders not to fulfil their personal needs, but, of course, their business needs. So what is the difference between these loans and the commercial loans of today?55 v. Interest can be taken from Non-Muslims

It is believed by some scholars that interest can be charged from Non-Muslims. It needs to be appreciated that taking Interest is prohibited from a human being, whether he is a Muslim or a non-Muslim because of the fact that it is inherently an unethical contract. Things which are unethical are prohibited whether they relate to Muslims or to nonMuslims. In other words, just as one should be honest not only with Muslims but also with non-Muslims, similarly one should also not be selective on the basis of religion in taking interest. Those who justify this practice refer to a Hadīth.56 It 54. Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 1, 638-639. 55. Ibid., 639. 56. The Hadīth is weak because it is mursal and reads thus: Makhūl reported from the Prophet: “There is no interest between Muslims and people with whom they are at war.” "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


64 should be noted that it is not sound and is also not found in the six major books of Hadīth. Its content also contradicts the Qur’ān.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w See: Abū ‘Abdullāh Muhammad ibn Idrīs al-Shāfi‘ī, Kitāb alumm, 2nd ed., vol. 7 (Beirut: Dār al-ma‘rifah, 1393 AH), 359.

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6. Women Issues

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i. Women are less Sensible than Men

The following H~adÄŤth is generally presented to support the view that women are less sensible than men:

D %C? xDC FCG DC a4x": ­s a = }~: x|  y% " (dA ? â&#x20AC;Ś a X 8 6}$ FC? JX FCgx  F y ^X A F qA (X &C"

 nj   xRJ }NC NI Â&#x2014;A y Q y ? 7 g= )  xf A: ÂĄ %A a = DC a4x":  $C ? $$ Q  g x)   C= JO 

 {TX a = FCd  C= xRJ 9Q ;[ Â&#x2019; g)  * 9A   9Q ;[ a = FCd  C= &xg & Â&#x153;gx & fq  Â&#x2014; ÂĄ %A ;C ?  g x) ;$ Q  g x)  {TX AbĹŤ Saâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ÄŤd al-KhudrÄŤ narrated: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Once the Prophet (sws) set off for the prayer place on the occasion of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ÄŤd al-fitr or â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ÄŤd al-adhÄ . He passed by a group of women and said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;â&#x20AC;Ś and I have seen no one more than you rob even a resolute man of his senses in spite of being nÄ qisď&#x20AC;ŞÄ t â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;aql wa dÄŤn.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; They said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;O Allahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Messenger! What is this naqsď&#x20AC;Ş in our religious "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


66 and worldly affairs?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; He said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Is not the evidence of a woman equal to half of a manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; They said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Yes.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; He said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;This is the naqsď&#x20AC;Ş in their worldly affairs.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; He said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Is it not a fact that when they enter the period of menses they neither pray nor fast.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; They said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Yes.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Whereupon he said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;This is the naqs in their 57 religious affairs.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;?

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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This misconception has arisen because of a wrong translation of the Arabic phrase nÄ qisď&#x20AC;ŞÄ t â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;aql wa dÄŤn. The word naqs has generally been translated as â&#x20AC;&#x153;defectiveâ&#x20AC;? keeping in view the Urdu meaning of the word. However, 58 in Arabic, the verb ÂŽ) (naqasď&#x20AC;ŞÄ ) means â&#x20AC;&#x153;to reduceâ&#x20AC;? and the word ? (â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;aql) here means â&#x20AC;&#x153;worldly affairsâ&#x20AC;? since it is used in conjugation with the word  Q (religion). Keeping in view, both these aspects, the correct translation of the above phrase, if the context is also taken into consideration, is that women have been given a relief and reduction in their worldly and religious affairs. The relief in worldly responsibilities, as is mentioned in this H~adÄŤth, is that women have not been dragged in certain activities and spheres. For example, the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n urges men to testify on legal documents so that women are relieved of appearing in courts and wasting their precious time on affairs which others can handle. Only if men are not available should a society involve women in such affairs. The relief women have been given in religious affairs 57. Al-BukhÄ rÄŤ, Al-JÄ miâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; al-sahÄŤh, vol. 1, 116, (no. 298). 58. See, for example: Muhď&#x20AC;Şammad ibn Mukarram ibn Manzď&#x20AC;ŞĹŤr, LisÄ n al-â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;arab, 1st ed, vol. 7 (Beirut: DÄ r sď&#x20AC;ŞÄ dir, n.d.), 100.

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67 is that they are not required to pray or fast during their monthly periods as is mentioned in this H~adīth. So what must be kept in mind is the fact that the meaning of a word does not always remain the same in two different languages. For example, the word ¦ %C€ in Arabic means “firm” while in Urdu it means “dirty”. Thus the Qur’ān (4:21) has referred to marriage as ' %C€  = *% (a firm agreement). Moreover, people who think that women are less sensible than men on the basis of this H~adīth do not realize that the Hadith is not merely saying that women are nāqisāt-i ‘aql, it is also saying they are nāqisāt-i dīn. If nāqisāt-i ‘aql means that there is some defect in their ‘aql (intellect), then by the same token, nāqisāt-i dīn should mean that there is also some shortcoming in the religion they follow! This of course is absurd and as referred to above is the result of keeping the Urdu meaning of the word in consideration.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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ii. Islam permits Men to keep Slave-Women

Among many other misconceptions about Islam is the notion that it gives sanction to slavery and permits its followers to enslave prisoners of war, particularly women and establish extra-marital relations with them. The fact is that Islam has not the slightest link with slavery and concubinage. On the contrary, it completely forbids these practices. It is quite outrageous to associate such an atrocious thing with a religion revealed to upgrade humanity. The point which needs to be appreciated and which,

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68 perhaps, is the real cause of the misconception is that Islam had adopted a gradual process to abolish the institution of slavery because of the social conditions prevalent in Arabia at that time. It must be kept in mind that slavery was an integral part of the pre-Islamic Arab society. There were scores of slave men and women in almost every house. This was largely due to two reasons: First, during those times, the standard practice of dispensing with prisoners of war was to distribute them as slaves among the army which captured them. Second, there were extensive slave markets in Arabia in that period where men and women of all ages were sold like commodities. In these circumstances in which slavery had become an essential constituent of the Arab society, Islam adopted a gradual way to eliminate it. An immediate order of prohibition would have created immense social and economic problems. It would have become impossible for the society to cater for the needs of a large army of slaves, who were, otherwise, dependent on various families. Also, the national treasury was in no position to provide them all on a permanent basis. A large number among them were old and incapable of supporting themselves. The only alternative left for them, if they were instantly freed, would have been to turn to beggary and become an economic burden on the society. The question of slave girls and women was even more critical, keeping in view their own low moral standards. Freeing them, all of a sudden, would have only resulted in a tremendous increase in brothels. Perhaps, the reason behind this gradual eradication can be understood better if one considers the position which

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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69 interest occupies in the economy of many Muslim countries today. No one can refute that the economies of these countries are interest-oriented. How the parasite of interest has crippled their national economies is apparent to every keen eye. However, there is no denying the fact that without it, their economic system cannot sustain themselves. Every reasonable person will acknowledge that today if a government wishes to rid the economy of this menace, then in spite of its utter prohibition in Islam, it will have to adopt a gradual methodology. During this interim period interest-based deals will have to be tolerated and temporary laws will have to be enacted to handle them, just as the Qur’ān had given certain provisional directives about slaves during the interim period of their gradual eradication. An alternative economic framework will have to be steadily incorporated in place of the existing one. A sudden abolition, without another parallel base, will only hasten the total collapse of the economic system, which, of course, will be disastrous for that country. To avert a similar disaster and to ward off a similar catastrophe, fourteen hundred years ago, Islam had adopted a progressive and a gradual scheme to do away with the inhuman institution of slavery. Various directives were given at various stages because of which it gradually became possible for this evil to be eradicated from the society. These are summarized below:59 1. In the very beginning of its revelation, the Qur’ān

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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59. The subsequent paragraphs are translated and adapted from Mīzān. See: Ghāmidī, Mīzān, 479-482.

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70 regarded emancipation of slaves as a great virtue, and urged people in a very effective way to do so. The tremendous appeal found in the words it adopted K!=: v{X (release of necks) can be well imagined by a person who has flare for the language. It is evident from the context of such expressions – wherever they are found in the Qur’ān – that it has regarded this virtue to be the first as well as the greatest step in pleasing God.60 In a similar manner, the Prophet (sws) also urged Muslims to liberate humanity from the yoke of slavery in the following words: “whoever liberated a Muslim slave, the Almighty in return for every limb of that slave would shield every limb of that person from Hell.”61 2. People were urged that until they free their slaves, they should treat them with kindness. The way their masters had total and unchecked control on them in the age of ignorance was put to an end. They were told that slaves are human beings too, and no one should in any way violate the rights they possess as human beings. Abū Hurayrah (rta) narrated from the Prophet (sws): “a slave has a right to food and clothing, and he shall not be asked to carry out an errand that is beyond him.”62 Abū Dharr al-Ghifārī (rta) narrates from the Prophet (sws): “They are your brothers. The Almighty has made them subservient to you. So whatever you eat, feed them with it, whatever you wear, clothe them with it and never ask them to do something which is beyond them and if

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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60. The Qur’ān 90:13. 61. Muslim, Al-Jāmi‘ al-sahīh, vol. 2, 1147, (no. 1509). 62. Ibid. vol. 3, 1284, (no. 1662).

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Common Misconceptions about Islam 63

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there is such a task, then help them out with it.” Ibn ‘Umar (rta) narrates from the Prophet (sws): “whoever slapped a slave or beat him up should atone this sin by liberating him.”64 Abū Mas‘ūd (rta) says: “Once when I was beating my slave I heard a voice from behind me: ‘O Abū Mas‘ūd! You should know that the Almighty has more power over you.’ When I turned back, I found that it was the Prophet. I immediately remarked: ‘O Messenger of God! I liberate him for the sake of God.’ The Prophet said: ‘Had you not done this, you would have been given the punishment of the Fire.’”65 Ibn ‘Umar (rta) narrates that once a person came to the Prophet (sws) and asked: “How many times should we forgive our servant?” [At this], the Prophet kept quiet. He asked again and the Prophet again kept silent. Upon being asked the third time, he answered: “seventy times a day.”66 3. In cases of un-intentional murder, zihār, and other similar offences, liberating a slave was regarded as their atonement and sadaqah.67 4. It was directed to marry off slave-men and slavewomen who were capable of marriage so that they could become equivalent in status – both morally and socially – to other members of the society.68 63. Ibid., vol. 3, 1282, (no. 1661). 64. Ibid., vol. 3, 1657, (no. 1279). 65. Ibid., vol. 3, 1659, (no. 1281). 66. Abū Dā’ūd Sulymān ibn al-Ash‘ath, Sunan, vol. 4 (n.p.: Dār al-fikr, n.d.), 341, (no. 5164). 67. The Qur’ān: 4:92, 58:3, 5:89. 68. The Qur’ān: 24:32-33.

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72 5. If a person were to marry a slave-woman of someone, great care was exercised since this could result in a clash between ownership and conjugal rights. However, such people were told that if they did not have the means to marry free-women, they could marry, with the permission of their masters, slave-women who were Muslims and were also kept chaste. In such marriages, they must pay their dowers so that this could bring them gradually equal in status to free-women. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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 X 7 $ Â&#x203A;x  7  $g x   \$ A  4Â? &\ $ 5^ 6 & 

&\x¤ d &\) ÂŻWd x&C ?A xDC 7 $ Â&#x203A;x  &\ %X  &\x)  A f\C  x   d JxI:4xRA JxI4x J;C IA  Â&#x2014;Wd JxI4x\) X yl d  ( <s  {Â&#x2014; â&#x20AC;Ś y sA 7T|Jx  y7 X 6x  %Â&#x20AC; y7 $g x (Â?-:Â&#x201C;) Â&#x2021;&%: Â&#x2021;:4YÂ&#x20AC; xDC &\ Â&#x2021; %s x! g A &\ $ f$  And if any of you does not have the means wherewith to wed free believing women, he may wed believing girls from among those whom you own: and Allah has full knowledge about your faith. You are one from another: so wed them with the permission of their owners, and give them their dowers, according to the norms; [the only condition is that] they should be kept chaste, neither being lustful, nor taking paramours â&#x20AC;Ś This permission is for those among you who fear sin; but it is better for you that you practice self-restraint. And Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most-Merciful. (4:25) 6. In the heads of zakÄ h, a specific head z =} FX (for [freeing] necks) was instituted so that the campaign of

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73 slave emancipation could receive impetus from the public treasury.69 7. Fornication was regarded as an offence as a result of which prostitution centres that were operated by people on the basis of their slave-women were shut down automatically, and if someone tried to go on secretly running this business, he was given exemplary punishment. 8. People were told that they were all slaves of Allah and so instead of using the words  !? (slave-man) and K (slave-woman), the words used should be FX (boy/man) and 9 X (girl/woman) so that the psyche about them should change and a change is brought about in age old concepts.70 9. A big source of the institution of slavery at the advent of the last Prophet (sws) was the prisoners of war. When such a situation arose for the Muslims, the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n emphasized that they cannot be kept as slaves and must be kept as prisoners of war. After this, if they were to be released, then there were two possibilities: they could be freed either by accepting ransom or as a favour by not taking any ransom money. No other option was available to the Muslims. 10. Finally the following directive was given:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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&x C?  & xI4x! \X &\x)  A f\C J z \  4xÂ&#x2C6; !  T (Â&#x152;Â&#x152;: Â?Â&#x201C;) &O  ~T DC a   &xI4x  %s &;%X And if any of your slaves asks for mukÄ tabat, give it to them if you know any good in them and [for this] 69. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n, 9:60. 70. Muslim, Al-JÄ miâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; al-sahÄŤh, vol. 4, 1764, (no. 2249).

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74 give them out of the wealth which Allah has given to you. (24:33)

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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The above quoted verse of Sūrah Nūr mentions the directive of mukātabat. It is a term which means that a slave make a contract with his master according to which he would be required to pay a certain sum of money in a specific time period or would carry out a specific service for his master; once he successfully fulfils either of these two options, he would stand liberated. In the above quoted verse, the Almighty has directed the Muslims to necessarily accept this contract made by a slave if he wants to make it and has the required ability to become financially independent. It is further stated that a Muslim government should spend money from the public treasury, which here is called the treasury of God, in helping such slaves. It is evident from the words of the verse that just as this right of mukātabat was granted to slave-men, it was also granted to slave-women. This, in other words, was in fact a declaration that slaves could now be masters of their destiny and could liberate themselves whenever they wanted. iii. Women must travel with a Mahram

Most scholars are of the opinion that women cannot travel alone. They must be accompanied by a mahram (a relative with whom marriage is prohibited). Therefore, in journeys such as hajj, they do not allow women to travel alone. The following Ahādīth are the basis of their view: "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


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75

AbĹŤ Hurayrah narrates that the Prophet (sws) said:

  yKC % yn 4 9 %6 xX 6x s° n 4% E d x  Â&#x203A;x y9A   Šx  ; %C? yn  ~Â&#x2014; 5

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to travel a distance for one day and one night without a mahď&#x20AC;Şram with her.â&#x20AC;?71 AbĹŤ Saâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ÄŤd al-KhudrÄŤ narrates that the Prophet (sws) said:

yn  Â&#x2014; A ;R j ;    % 4 9 %6 9A h X 6x A F;x) â&#x20AC;&#x153;A woman has been stopped from travelling a distance for two days except with her husband or 72 mahď&#x20AC;Şram with her.â&#x20AC;? It needs to be appreciated that there are a number of Ahď&#x20AC;ŞÄ dÄŤth in which directives have been given by the Prophet (sws) for the well-being of the Muslims. However, if the circumstances in which such directives have been given change, then as is the case with all conditional directives such directives may no longer apply in the changed circumstances. The directives given to Muslim women about travelling belong to the above mentioned category. To ensure a safe journey for a woman and to protect her moral character from any scandalous allegation in the strife-ridden society of Arabia, the Prophet (sws) bade 71. Ibid., vol. 2, 977, (no. 1339). 72. Ibid., vol 2, 976, (no. 827).

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76

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them travel with a mahď&#x20AC;Şram relation. Thus, all tours and journeys etc in which the above two bases still exist, the condition of a woman travelling with a mahď&#x20AC;Şram must be followed. However, with the changed circumstances of modern times, travelling has become a lot different from what it used to be in previous days. There are some travels in which safety both physical as well as moral is ensured. So, in such cases, the mahď&#x20AC;Şram condition no longer applies. As far as the decision as to which journeys have become safe is concerned, the traveller must decide for herself. iv. Women will Outnumber Men in Hell

The following Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth is often presented to support the view that women will outnumber men in Hell:

& C" D %C? xDC FCG DC a4x": ­s a = }~: x|  y% " (dA ? <   a X 8 6}$ FC? JX FCgx  F y ^X A F qA (X DC a4x":  &d  CX : J$  IA * OA J\x :A (})WX  =Jg 8 6}$ r<   Y \  C  * \x a = AbĹŤ Saâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ÄŤd al-KhudrÄŤ reported: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Allahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Messenger (sws) went out to the place of prayer on the day of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ÄŤd al-adď&#x20AC;ŞhÄ or fitď&#x20AC;Şr. So he passed by [a group of] women and said to them: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;O Women! Give charity for I have been shown the majority amongst you as the inmates of Hell.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; They said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Allahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Messenger, wherefore?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; He said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;It is because you curse one another very "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


77

Common Misconceptions about Islam 73

much and show ungratefulness to your husbands.’”

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This inference is incorrect and has arisen by not properly appreciating a particular style of communication used in certain Ahādīth which depict dreams of the Prophet (sws). Such dreams are a source of revelation for the prophets of Allah, and in them they are shown certain images by the Almighty for the purpose of educating the believers. As a principle, all such dreams are not to be interpreted literally; they contain realities which are depicted in symbolic form. Symbolic representation is a very subtle and powerful way of expression: Facts seem veiled, yet for him who pauses to ponder they are the most evident. They move a person in the manner poetry does. They ignite in a person the spark to look behind the apparent. They urge him to reflect and to meditate and then to discover and to infer. They educate him without rousing his prejudices. The prophets of Allah (sws) have effectively employed this technique of communication. The words and discourses of the Prophets Joseph (sws) and Jesus (sws) for example are full of powerful parables and subtle symbolism. The dream of the Prophet Joseph (sws) and the way he interpreted it is mentioned in the Qur’ān also. If he saw in his dream that the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing before him in prostration, he knew that these heavenly bodies symbolized certain personalities. The Ahādīth which depict more women in Hell should also be interpreted keeping in view this basic principle. These Ahādīth do not delineate the population of women 73. Al-Bukhārī, Al-Jāmi‘ al-sahīh, vol. 1, 116, (no. 298).

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78 in Hell since this would be a literal interpretation; on the contrary, they just caution them that there are certain deeds which they do a lot and which, therefore, could be more instrumental in taking them to Hell; so they should avoid them. In other words, the symbolism is causative in nature. In the above quoted Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth, the cause has been symbolized to warn women of something which they often do.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w v. Women are Inferior to Men

It is argued by some people that men are superior to women. They present the following verses in support of their view:

d yl d FC? &;x ¤ d xDC J¤X d 8 6}$ FC? 4xJ4= a R} (Â&#x152;Â&#x201C;:Â&#x201C;) &;4 A  4Y)A Men are the guardians of women, because God has given the one more preference over the other, and because they support them. (4:34)

(Â?Â?/:Â?) DR:Q J; %C? a RÂ&#x153;C  And the husbands hold a degree of superiority over them. (2:228) It needs to be appreciated that as per the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n (see, for example: 3:195 and 4:1), men and women as human beings are equal and deserve equal respect. However, they have been entrusted with different responsibilities in a family set-up which make them superior to one "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


79 another in various respects. According to the Qur’ān (4:34), as far as a husband is concerned, one sphere of his superiority is his status as the head of the family alluded to in 2:228 with the words “husbands are one degree superior to their wives”. There are certain spheres in which women by nature – physical, physiological as well as psychological – are superior to men and much more suitable to do certain tasks. Thus 4:34 speaks of the relative superiority of a husband to his wife – that too in responsibility and status – in just one sphere and cannot be generalized to men and women. Two reasons have been given in 4:34 for granting the husband this status: Firstly, because generally they are physically and temperamentally more suited to this task and secondly, because they have been entrusted with the responsibility of earning for the family. It also needs to be appreciated in this regard that Islam does not forbid women to earn a living. It has only relieved them of the responsibility of earning, which lies upon their husbands. It also needs to be understood that the verse does not say that the one among the husband or wife who supports the family should become the head; husbands, whether their wives earn or not, are liable for this responsibility. A woman may earn if she likes or if some need arises, but since she has not been entrusted with this duty, she has not been given the governing position in the family. Here it would be appropriate to analyze another concept which has also contributed to the notion that men are superior to women. As per a Hadīth, a woman is created from the rib of man referring to the fact that Eve was created from Adam’s rib and thus was a secondary being. The text of the Hadīth is:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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80

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

D%C? E FCG DC a4": a = a = D$? E (q: 9 xI ±A ? ­4 ?A  y5Cq  fCxs 9A   WX 8 6}$ d 4xG 4 " &C"

aw ] xD O  xD 6O xDx%x f !IÂ&#x2014; WX xS C ?A 5C}¤ P y8 ([ 8 6}$ d 4xG 4 " X ­4 ?A AbĹŤ Hurayrah reports that Allahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Prophet said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Treat women nicely for a woman is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion; so, if you should try to straighten it, it will break, but if you leave it as it is, it will remain crooked. So treat women nicely.â&#x20AC;?74 It needs to be appreciated that according to the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n, Eve was not created from Adamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rib. The first verse of SĹŤah NisÄ â&#x20AC;&#x2122; explicitly states that the first man and woman (Adam and Eve) were created directly by the Almighty:

; $ BCs y9 yÂĄ Y)  &\Cs ~T &\Jd: 4J xt J$ ;v A   4Â&#x201E;8 6 ~T DC 4J ²8 6) r*O  R: x; $ Âłd ;R j (,:Â&#x201C;) !%=: &\ %C?  O DC  n  :Â&#x2020;  Dd Mankind! Fear your Lord, Who created you from a single person and created, of like species his mate, and from these two scattered countless men and women [in this world], and fear Allah through whom you seek mutual help and fear breaking blood 74. Ibid., vol. 3, 1212, (no. 3153).

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81 relationships. Indeed God is watching over you. (4:1)

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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Some people translate this verse as: “It is He Who has created you from a single person (Adam) and then He created from him his wife (Eve).” They explain this verse by saying that Eve was created from the rib of Adam. This misleading translation has probably arisen because of a literal translation of the Arabic words: “ ;R j ; $ BCs viz. and created from it [–the initial soul–] his wife.” Actually, the word ; $ (from the soul) does not imply that “Eve was made from Adam”; it rather implies that Eve was made from the same species as Adam. A similar verse points to this interpretation:

(0:,‘) R jA &\6Y)A } &\  R xDVC

And it is God who has made from your species your mates. (16:72) A literal translation of the words R jA &\6Y)A } &\  R of the above quoted verse (which are similar to ;R j ; $ BCs) would mean “it is God Who has created your mates from you,” implying that every wife is made from her husband as Eve was. This of course is incorrect; the word anfus (plural of nafs) in this verse means “genre”, “species” and not “physical being”. As far as the actual H~adīth quoted above is concerned, it needs to be appreciated that in Arabic the words “created from” do not necessarily refer to the substance of creation; they can also refer to the nature of something. For example, the Qur’ān says: “Man has been created from hastiness,” (21:37). This does not of course mean "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


82 that man’s substance is hastiness; it only refers to his nature. Secondly, if all the textual variants of this Hadīth are collected and analyzed, it becomes evident that the Prophet (sws) has compared the nature of a woman with a rib. The comparison subtly alludes to the fact that a woman’s nature is very delicate and tender as well as a bit adamant. The Prophet (sws) has advised men to treat them tactfully keeping in view this nature. Instead of forcing them to accept a particular point of view, men should try to convince and persuade them.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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7. Family Issues

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i. A Wife cannot go out without the Husbandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Permission

It is believed in religious circles that a wife cannot go out of the house unless she seeks permission from her husband. In this regard, a Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth is also quoted. It reads thus:

FC? ­ Jw vB  f X xD A 9A  A (}!$ ? x? d ? D) Â&#x2014;Wd  D %d  ­x |  â&#x20AC;Śa X DA  Ibn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Umar reports from the Prophet that once a lady came to the Prophet and asked him about the rights of a husband on his wife. He replied: â&#x20AC;&#x153;â&#x20AC;Ś She should not leave his house without his permission.â&#x20AC;?75 It needs to be appreciated that a family by analogy is similar to a state. All citizens of a state are expected to abide by the rules and regulations of the country they live in. They are expected to adopt an attitude of adjustment and harmony with the country. This, of course, does not mean that they cannot differ with its policies. They have the inalienable democratic right to differ and present their 75. Al-BayhaqÄŤ, Al-Sunan al-kubrÄ , vol. 7, 292, (no. 14490).

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84 differences in a befitting manner. This submission is actually an essential requirement for discipline and order without which anarchy may result. Similarly, in the case of a family set up, it is essential that the person who is its head be shown obedience. In other words, submission to authority is not specific to the gender of the authority. Whoever is the authority, must be submitted to. Gender does not dictate submissiveness – it is authority which does. It is common knowledge that in different spheres of activities people have different abilities and justice entails that a person be made responsible according to his or her abilities and given authority on that basis. We have been informed by divine revelation that it is the husband who is more suitable to be the head of the family. Owing to this relative superiority, women are directed by the Qur’ān (4:34) to submit to men not because men are superior human beings, but because in this particular case it is the men who have been vested with authority. If women had been more suitable for the task of heading a family, men would have been similarly directed to adopt this attitude of adjustment. Thus Islam requires that the wife adopt an attitude of adjustment and harmony with the husband and the husband is required to be affectionate and accommodating as far as possible to the needs of his wife. He must not impose any undue restrictions on her for this will ignite the wrath of God upon him. With regard to a wife seeking her husband’s permission before leaving the house, the proper perspective must be understood. In general circumstances of mutual trust, there is no need for a wife to ask permission from her husband to go out. However, in certain circumstances in

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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85 which the husband genuinely considers that going out might disrupt the family in any way, he has the authority to exercise his right of stopping her and in these circumstances, she should always ask permission to leave the house. In this regard, the husband must remember that if he imposes himself without any sound and justifiable reason, he would be crossing the bounds and invoking the displeasure of the Almighty. His wrong behaviour may even lead the wife to abandon him for which he would be solely responsible.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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ii. A Wife cannot Refuse Sex to the Husband

On the basis of the following Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth, it is generally understood that if a wife refuses sex to her husband she will be cursed by the angels:

D %C? xDC FCG DC a4x": a = a = Dx $? xDC (q: 9 xI (dA ? ; %C?  ! ¤Â&#x20AC; 7 !X fdÂ&#x2020;X D[X F xDA  xRJ ?Q Â&#x2014; &C"  ! gx FJ K\L C  ; $  AbĹŤ Hurayrah reported that the Prophet said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;When a husband calls his wife to bed, and she refuses and [as a result] the husband spends the night in anger, then angels curse the wife all night till dawn.â&#x20AC;?76 In order to understand this Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth, the following points need to be understood: 76. Al-BukhÄ rÄŤ, Al-JÄ miâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; al-sahÄŤh, vol. 2, 1257, (no. 3237).

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86 Firstly, a husband and wife safeguard the chastity of one another by providing one another a legitimate means of satisfying the sexual urge. This protection of chastity is essential for the preservation of the family unit – the very institution on which the stability of a society hinges. Hence anything which puts chastity in jeopardy is disliked by the Almighty. Secondly, a man is an addressee of the directive mentioned in this Hadīth on an equal basis. This is evident from the directive of īlā mentioned in the Qur’ān (2:226-7) in which the Arabs of the pre-Islamic period would swear to sever sexual relationship with their wives because of anger. Although the husbands were prescribed a period of four months to decide the fate of their wives by either resuming these relations or divorcing them, it is evident from the directive that in normal circumstances a husband is not allowed to sever sexual relations with his wife without a valid reason. So much so, if a person swears such an oath, he must break it. Such relations are the right of a wife and if a husband does not fulfil them, then he can be regarded a criminal both in the eyes of the law and before the Almighty in the Hereafter. Thirdly, the basis of refusal by the husband or wife must also be taken into consideration. If either of them is tired, sick or simply not in the proper mood and in the appropriate frame of mind, then this does not entail any wrath of the Almighty. It is only when a spouse starts to deliberately evade such natural needs of the other that the attitude becomes questionable.

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iii. A Husband has an Absolute Right to beat his Wife

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The right given by the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n to the husbands to physically punish their wives in certain circumstances is an issue which has become a subject of hot debate. The issue needs to be understood in its true perspective. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says:

5 R ¤  (X JxIxxÂ&#x201A; I JxI4' X JxIj4x<x) 4X | ( C §%C?  O DC   C%!" J; %C? 4xÂ&#x2C6; ! CX &\$ Â?A WX JxI4xd q (Â&#x152;Â&#x201C;:Â&#x201C;) r!O And as for those from whom you fear rebellion, admonish them [first] and [next] refuse to share their beds and [even then if they do not listen] punish them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted and Mighty. (4:34) The following implications of this verse need to be understood in their proper perspective: 1. This measure can only be resorted to when a wife starts to challenge the authority of the husband and threatens to disrupt the family set-up. It is in fact a last resort to protect the institution of family from breaking up. It must not be resorted to in anything less in severity than a rebellious attitude from the wife. This rebellious attitude is termed as j4x<x) (nushĹŤz) by the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n. It has not used the word â&#x20AC;&#x153;disobedienceâ&#x20AC;?. Any difference of opinion or altercation is not to be resolved by this procedure. Disagreements and disputes must be settled "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


88 mutually. It is only when the wife stands up against the authority of her husband that this procedure be employed. 2. Before resorting to physical chastisement, the two previous stages mentioned by the Qur窶卞] (4:34) must elapse. The husband should first of all admonish his wife and convince her to give up her defiant behaviour. He should exercise all the patience he can muster to urge and beseech her to change her stance. If after repeated pleas and continuous admonition over a considerable span of time, the wife continues to persist in her rebellious attitude, he has the authority to go on to the second stage by avoiding marital contact with her. This detachment, it is clear, is a form of reproof, and a very strong appeal to the wife to correct herself. Again, this attitude should continue for a substantial period of time so that the point is driven home. It is highly unlikely that most wives would persist in their arrogance after these two initial stages. In all probability, patience, forbearance, and restraint would have conquered their hearts. However, even after this stage, if a wife refuses to accept the authority of her husband, the husband has the right to finally resort to gentle physical affliction. 3. If the husband is left with no alternative but to physically punish his wife, he must be very careful in this regard and must not wound or injure her. He should remember that this physical chastisement is similar to the one a mother gives to a rebellious son or the one a teacher gives to an unruly student. He must be aware that in case he misuses this authority in any way, he would be held responsible before the Almighty on the Day of Judgement. In this world also, his wife has the right to report his behaviour to the authorities who can

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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89

punish him for any misconduct in this regard. 4. It finally needs to be considered that all rights must be exercised with prudence keeping in view the circumstances. Exercising one’s right is never obligatory. There can be circumstances in which a person chooses not to exercise this right.

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iv. Regarding Divorce and Divorce Declarations77

Most people are ignorant of the proper way of divorcing wives. It is generally thought that a wife stands separated from her husband if the divorce is declared thrice. This notion is against the Qur’ān which says that a lady must be divorced by just one declaration to the effect. Moreover, there are many other misconceptions regarding divorce giving rise to the following questions: (1) Do women have a right to divorce? (2) Should the wife pay money for seeking divorce? (3) What is the correct way of divorce? (4) How should wrongly given divorces be tackled? (5) In whose custody should the children be given? (1) The Right to Divorce

When a man and a woman marry each other, it is their utmost wish to remain in this relation of wedlock forever. They are desirous of the fact that the change in times not 77. The clarifications presented in this section are translated and adapted from Mīzān. See: Ghāmidī, Mīzān, 438-460.

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90 change their commitment to each other and only death separate them in this world. But then, sometimes there does arise a situation when part they must. Differences become so pronounced that it becomes necessary to sever this relationship. If such circumstances do arise that a husband and wife must separate permanently, Islam lays down a specific procedure for this separation. In Islamic terminology, this dissolution of marriage is called divorce. It says that both a man and a woman have an equal right to it. The only difference is that a man divorces a woman while a woman demands a divorce from her husband. In verses such as (, :Â&#x2018;-) Â&#x201E;8 6}$ &x CÂ? Â&#x2014; (when you [people] divorce your wives (65:1)), the husband has been regarded as the initiator of divorce. Moreover, the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n has used the following words to seek divorce by returning the husbandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gifts and wealth:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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(Â?Â?ÂĽ:Â?) Dd 7 X %X ; %C? ´ $xR CX DC Qxx %x A &x Ys WX Then if you also feel that they will not be able to remain within the bounds set by Allah, there shall be no offence for either of them [regarding the gifts given by the husband] if the wife seeks divorce [by returning them to him] in ransom. (2:229) These words bear clear evidence to the fact that the sharÄŤâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ah has granted the husband the right to divorce. Women, however, can seek divorce if they want to. If the husband refuses, she has all the right to take the matter to the court. The matter will then be decided by the ruling of the court. This prerogative, sense and reason demand, should go to "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


91 the head of the family. Since, according to the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n, it is the husband who is the head of a family, therefore, he has been given this right. In other words, this right is not â&#x20AC;&#x153;gender specificâ&#x20AC;? it is â&#x20AC;&#x153;authority specificâ&#x20AC;?: whoever is entrusted with the authority of being the head should possess this right. Had women been more suitable to head a family, they would have been given this right.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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(2) Should the Wife pay money for seeking Divorce?

A common misconception when a woman seeks divorce from her husband is that she must give some wealth to her husband on this occasion of separation. This has no basis in the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n; on the contrary, the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says that it is not at all permissible for the husband to demand anything from his wife on this occasion. However, there are two exceptions to this: Firstly, if a husband has gifted a lot of wealth and property to his wife and is afraid that in divorcing her he would lose all his riches, the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says that she can forgo some or all of her share and return it to her husband to end the whole affair. It is clear that this is only an exception and not a general principle as is generally held and practiced. It is allowed when only wealth is the husbandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reason for not divorcing his wife. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says:

%x A X | A  Â&#x192; %[ JxI4xx % J Txs Â&#x2020; A &\ Š  %X ; %C? ´ $xR CX DC Qxx %x A &x Ys WX DC Qxx D C Qxx J    Ix  CX DC xQxx { C Dd 7 X (Â?Â?ÂĽ:Â?) 4x ' &xI {Â&#x192; Â&#x2020;X

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92 And it is unlawful for you [on this occasion] to take back from them anything you have given them unless both husband and wife fear that they may not be able to keep within the bounds set by Allah. Then if you also feel that they will not be able to remain within the bounds set by Allah, there shall be no offence for either of them [regarding the gifts given by the husband] if the wife seeks divorce [by returning them to him] in ransom. These are the bounds set by Allah; so do not transgress them. And [you should know that] those who transgress the bounds of Allah are wrongdoers. (2:229)

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Secondly, if the wife is guilty of open sexual misconduct. Since such a behaviour destroys the very foundation of marriage, a husband has been allowed to take back any gifts or wealth given to her. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says:

â&#x20AC;Ś yK$}%!x yK< Yd _ Â&#x2020; A  JxI4xx %  l !d 4x!I T JxI4Cx¤   CX : ^$= JxI  &x % y­ j  \ y­ j a ! " &x Q:A  F¤ XA = xD)Txs Â&#x2020; Â&#x2019; %O $%!x  i )  ;xd xD)Txs Â&#x2020;A Â&#x192; %[ xD $ Txs Â&#x2020; (Â?,Â&#x201D;,ÂĽ:Â&#x201C;) '%CÂ&#x20AC; = *% &\ $  TsA yl d F &\x¤ d And do not treat them with harshness that you may take away what you have given them â&#x20AC;&#x201C; except where they have been guilty of open lewdness â&#x20AC;Ś and if you decide to take one wife in place of another, even if you had given the latter a whole treasure of wealth take not the least bit of it back: Would you take it by slander "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


93 and usurping [her] rights? And how can you take it when you have lain with each other and [at the time of marriage] they have taken from you a solemn covenant? (4:19-21)

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(3) The Procedure of Divorce

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If a husband has decided to divorce his wife, he should first wait until she has completed her menstrual cycle and then desisting from any further carnal relationship, he should utter the divorce sentence just once. The wife, after she has been divorced in this way, must stay in her husband’s house for a period of three menstrual cycles. This period is called ‘iddat. If a woman does not have menstrual cycles owing to age, disease or any other reason, and still there is a chance of pregnancy, then she must wait for three months. For a pregnant woman this period is up to the birth of the child, while for a newly married couple who have had no contact, divorce does not entail any period of ‘iddat for the wife. According to the Qur’ān, there is one basic reason for this waiting period: to ascertain whether a wife is pregnant or not so that the lineage of the child does not remain a matter of doubt. Another thing which is achieved through it is that it affords the husband and other family members a chance to rectify the situation, for matters in which emotions and feelings run high, sometimes only time is needed for recovery. During this ‘iddat period: (a) The husband cannot turn his wife out from the house except if she is guilty of adultery, nor should she leave the house herself. (b) The wife, if she is pregnant, must not hide her

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pregnancy. (c) The husband should continue to provide for her. (d) A husband, if he changes his mind, can revoke his decision. The only thing required, according to the Qur’ān, is that he should call in two persons to testify to his decision.78 If after this period of ‘iddat, a man is still firm in his stance, his wife shall be considered as separated permanently. She is now a free woman and if she wishes to marry some other person, she has all the right to do so and must not be inhibited in any way. If circumstances change, she can even remarry her former husband. Furthermore, the Qur’ān stresses that on this occasion of parting it is not at all lawful for a husband to take back any property or asset gifted to her.79 This, it must be kept in consideration, does not pertain to mahr (dower) only, but to every type of gift given to the wife. Not only should a husband not take back these gifts, he should, in fact, give her something on this occasion of separation. Even if her mahr has not been fixed, it is better for him to give her something. If the mahr has been fixed but the divorce occurs before the husband and wife have had contact, he must return half the money, unless the wife even forgoes this. In this case also, though it is better that he should give her the whole money. 78. This testimony, as is evident from the Qur’ān, is not a legal requirement. It is only a sound piece of advice for the welfare of the spouses. 79. The only exceptions to this rule are when the wife is guilty of committing adultery, in which case a husband can take back all the wealth and property gifted to her.

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95 However, in case the husband revokes his decision during the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;iddat period, there is no need for re-marriage. The two shall be considered as husband and wife once again. If after annulment of this divorce, due to some reason, the untoward situation arises a second time that the husband intends to divorce his wife, the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says that the husband can exercise his right of divorce for the second time as well. He should pronounce just one divorce sentence to repudiate his wife. Again, the postdivorce period shall be observed in the manner just described. Once again, if the husband wishes, he has the chance to revise his decision during this period, in which case the divorce shall be considered null and void and the two shall once again become husband and wife. If, unfortunately, for the third time, the situation arises that divorce becomes inevitable, the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says that a husband can exercise his right for the third time as well and pronounce the divorce sentence. After the expiry of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;iddat during which a husband will have to support and provide shelter to his wife (though the two are not required to live together), the wife shall be permanently separated from him. After divorcing his wife for the third time, he cannot re-marry her now, unless and until, the wife marries some other person and owing to some reason gets divorced from him â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not under a planned strategy, but on account of naturally arisen circumstances. This last measure, actually, is meant to prevent this affair from becoming mere child play. In the words of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n:

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96 This divorce [in which the husband can revoke his decision in the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;iddat period] is permitted twice only, and then a woman must be retained with kindness or allowed to go with kindness. (2:229)

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It is evident from these details that the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n only prescribes one divorce sentence and stresses that a husband has the right to divorce his wife three times in one marriage contract. It does not at all approve the utterance of three divorce sentences in one go. Consequently, it is clear from these details that the two prevailing procedures of divorce ie (1) pronouncing three consecutive divorces in one instance, and (2) pronouncing each of the three sentences in three separate months are not at all prescribed by the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n. When the Prophet (sws) came to know that a certain person had divorced his wife by pronouncing three divorce sentences one after the other, he stood up in anger and said:

&Ox; Â&#x2122;A _d )A DC z \d xN Cx A

In my presence, such playful attitude has been adopted with the Book of Allah.80 (4) Tackling wrongly given Divorces

Mentioned above is the sharÄŤâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ah as far as the concept of divorce is concerned. However, as does happen with prescribed laws and procedures, situations arise in which 80. AbĹŤ â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Abd al-Rahď&#x20AC;ŞmÄ n Ahď&#x20AC;Şmad ibn Shuâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ayb al-NasÄ ÄŤ, AlSunan al-mujtabÄ , 2nd ed., vol. 6 (Hď&#x20AC;Şalab: Maktab al-matď&#x20AC;ŞbĹŤâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ä t al-islÄ miyyah, 1986.), 142, (no. 3401).

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97 a person is guilty of breaching the law and deviating from the right course. Human nature is prone to extreme emotional conditions in which it deviates from the path set forth by the Almighty. These deviations, it is extremely evident, are not part of the sharÄŤâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ah; they fall into breach of law category and it is up to the legislature of a country to enact laws about such departures. At times, such cases are even left to the discretion of the judge and at other times the judge himself is bound by the legislation done in this regard by the parliament. In case of divorce, keeping in view various precedents, this deviation is generally of two types: i) A husband divorces his wife during her menstrual period, or divorces her after he has had contact with her in her period of purity. ii) A husband divorces his wife by pronouncing the divorce sentence thrice. As far as the first deviation is concerned, an Islamic government can ask the husband to revoke his decision and carry it out in the proper manner at the proper time. The Prophet (sws) in his own times dealt with the case of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;AbdullÄ h ibn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Umar (rta) in a similar manner. When he was told that â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;AbdullÄ h ibn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Umar (rta) had divorced his wife during her menstrual cycle, he was really annoyed and remarked:

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 J&i x; ^ J&i l% J&i x; ^ k ; \6 x% J&i ; Rx% CX 9 A Âś 9J  { CX JÂĄ A != BCÂ? Â&#x201E;8 [  x d {6 A Â&#x201E;8 [ Â&#x2026;8 6}$ ¡ BC^x A E Ask him to take her back and keep her in wedlock "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


98 until she is through with her menstrual cycle and then once again passes through this cycle and then is through with it. After this, he can either detain her [in wedlock] or divorce her before having sexual intercourse with her. Because it is this beginning of the ‘iddat keeping regard of which the Almighty has directed [believers] to divorce their wives.81

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In case of the second deviation, a deliberation on the injunctions of divorce, particularly on their linguistic aspects, reveals that there are three possible solutions: (a) The husband can be called to court and asked to testify to the nature of these pronouncements: if he testifies that he had pronounced the three sentences in anger to only strongly assert his decision or that he had thought that pronouncing three sentences was the correct procedure of divorce, the court, if satisfied by his statement, can re-unite the husband and wife. If on the other hand, a person testifies that he had consciously uttered the three sentences knowing that he was exercising his three rights in one time, the wife, of course, shall be divorced from him. The case of Rukānah ibn ‘Abdi Yazīd (rta) was decided in a similar manner by the Prophet (sws).82 (b) A second possible solution in this regard is that a state, while observing that people have adopted a carefree attitude in following this procedure, legislates that three divorce sentences shall be considered as three 81. Al-Bukhārī, Al-Jāmi‘ al-sahīh, vol. 5, 2011, (no. 4953). 82. See, for example: Abū Dā’ūd, Sunan, vol. 2, 263, (no. 2206).

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99 whether pronounced in anger or in a normal emotional state. A precedent of this solution can be found in the times of the caliph ‘Umar (rta). He himself, in the capacity of a ruler in consultation with the members of the shūrā, upon seeing that people had adopted a very careless attitude in this regard, as a punishment, promulgated three divorce sentences as final. (c) A third possible solution in this regard is that the state while observing the fact that people are mostly ignorant of the correct procedure and in their ignorance think that the correct way of divorce is to pronounce the sentence three times, legislates that the three pronouncements shall be considered as one. Any of these three ways can be adopted keeping in view the welfare of the Muslims. However, in adopting the second or third solutions, it is necessary that a legislation be done in their favour, but as far as adopting the first solution is concerned, no prior legislation is needed and the matter can be left to the discretion of the judge.

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(5) The Custody of Minors

In post-divorce scenarios, the matter of the custody of minor children has not been touched upon in the sharī‘ah. In other words, it has been left to the welfare of the children. In case of a dispute, a judge should make this ruling after analyzing the situation of a case in the light of this principle. Perhaps the reason for which nothing has been fixed in the sharī‘ah in this regard is the varying circumstances which may be found in different cases. "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


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v. Regarding Halālah83

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The concept of halālah is one of the ugliest and the most shameful of issues of Islamic jurisprudence. According to the sharī‘ah, if a man divorces his wife for a third time in his life, the two cannot re-marry unless the wife marries a second person and then that person due to some reason divorces her. In order to fulfil this legal requirement, subterfuges have been devised and marriages are planned with the understanding that a person will divorce the wife in order to make her legal to marry the first husband. In this regard, the jurists also impose the condition that before he divorces his wife he must have sexual intercourse with her. In religious parlance, this subterfuge in which a lady is made legally allowed for her first husband by marrying another person and then being divorced from her after having sexual intercourse with him is called halālah. Needless to say that all subterfuges amount to playing with the Islamic law and its spirit. Moreover, the condition of sexual intercourse imposed has arisen because of not understanding a very subtle comment of the Prophet (sws) in a Hadīth. If its text reported by Imām al-Bukhārī is analyzed, it is evident that a certain lady had married a person only to become legally permissible to marry her first husband. She demanded divorce from her second husband on the false grounds that her husband was sexually impotent. When the Prophet (sws) became certain 83. The clarification presented in this section is adapted from Ghamidī’s Mīzān. See: Ghāmidī, Mīzān, 451-452.

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101 of her scheme, he reprimanded her in very subtle words. He told her that she could only become permissible for the first husband after â&#x20AC;&#x153;tastingâ&#x20AC;? her second husband. This of course was not a condition as has been generally construed: the implied meaning being that if according to her, her second husband does not have the ability to copulate with her, then she can only be divorced from him after he copulates with her â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which of course he will never since, according to her, he is not capable of it. Thus if anything can be deduced from this Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth, it is prohibition of halÄ lah and not vice versa. Hence it is absolutely prohibited and is tantamount to making fun of the law. The text of the Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth is as follows:

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zxÂ&#x2C6;  d zxÂ&#x2C6;   Dd xD! [A &x; DC4X _x? w  _x? w ~T

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â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ikramah narrates that RifÄ â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ah divorced his wife. Thereafter she married â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Abd al-Rahď&#x20AC;ŞmÄ n al-Qurazď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤ. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ä&#x20AC;â&#x20AC;&#x2122;ishah says that she came to her wearing a green cloak and complained of her husband and showed â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ä&#x20AC;â&#x20AC;&#x2122;ishah her bruises â&#x20AC;&#x201C; women do help one another â&#x20AC;&#x201C; so when the Prophet (sws) came by, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ä&#x20AC;â&#x20AC;&#x2122;ishah said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have only seen Muslim women being treated in such a way. Her skin is greener than her cloak.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ikramah says that when her husband came to know that she had complained to the Prophet (sws), he also came over to the Prophet (sws) along with his two sons from his other wife. Upon seeing her husband, she got hold of the end of her cloak letting it hang from her hand and remarked: My only complaint is that whatever he has is no more than this [soft cloth]. At this, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Abd alRahď&#x20AC;ŞmÄ n said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;O Prophet (sws) of Allah! She has told a lie. I am very strong and can [sexually] satisfy her; the truth of the matter is that she is disobedient and wants to go back to RifÄ â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ah.â&#x20AC;? When the Prophet (sws) heard this, he said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;If this is the case, then you shall not be permissible for RifÄ â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ah unless â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Abd al-Rahď&#x20AC;ŞmÄ n tastes you.â&#x20AC;? Then, upon seeing the sons of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Abd alRahď&#x20AC;ŞmÄ n, the Prophet (sws) remarked: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Are these your sons?â&#x20AC;? When he replied in the affirmative, the Prophet said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Do you tell such lies [O â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Abd al-Rahď&#x20AC;ŞmÄ nâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wife]. By God! These [young boys] resemble â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Abd alRahď&#x20AC;ŞmÄ n more than a crow resembles another crow.â&#x20AC;?84 ___________________

84. Al-BukhÄ rÄŤ, Al-JÄ miâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; al-sahÄŤh, vol. 5, 2192, (no. 5487).

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8. Punishments

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i. Regarding Severity in Islamic Punishments

For many centuries now, Islamic punishments have remained one of the hottest subjects of debate both inside and outside the Muslim world. “Islamic punishments are barbaric”, “Death to the death punishment”, “Civilized societies do not flog, stone to death or amputate hands” are a few of the typical slogans and comments that echo and reverberate among the intellectual elite of this ummah. Without refuting the fact that Islamic punishments are indeed very severe, two things may perhaps help the inquisitive mind in understanding the nature and logic of this severity. The first thing that needs to be kept in mind is that if one reflects on the style and linguistic constructions in which these punishments are mentioned in the Qur’ān, it is clear that these punishments indicate the most extreme forms of reproof. They should be given only if the extent of the crime and the state of the perpetrator of the crime deserve no leniency. In other words, it is not simply a matter of a court determining the culpability of an individual in a particular crime or not; it is equally important that contextual information, for instance, factors which led up

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104 to the crime, is taken into account. If this information results in a judge deciding that the crime has been committed with extenuating circumstances, he has the authority to punish the criminal with lesser punishments like payment of fines or corporal punishment. Precisely on such grounds, in a particular case, the caliph â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Umar (rta) refused to amputate the hand of a person who was forced to steal because of hunger simply because he thought the circumstances were such that the person deserved leniency. It is known that there was a severe drought during his rule and it was during this drought that the incident had taken place. People think that â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Umar (rta) had abrogated the punishment, whereas, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Umar (rta) thought that the criminal deserved leniency. In other words, one can easily conclude that in this particular aspect the Islamic penal code is no different to other penal codes. The second thing that needs to be taken into consideration is that the purpose of most Islamic punishments is not merely to punish the criminal, but to make his punishment an act of deterrence for any further instance of the crime. Everyone would agree that peace and security of a society occupy fundamental importance if it is to develop and prosper. Societies which are crimeridden and in which people feel insecure obviously soon disintegrate and eventually have no role in the development of culture and civilization. As such, it is the primary responsibility of a government to make sure that the life, wealth and honour of its citizens are protected to the utmost. Besides educating and instructing people so that they have morally sound personalities, it is necessary to severely punish people who, in spite of

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105 being provided with the opportunities of life, exceed limits by abusing the life, wealth and honour of others. In order to cleanse a society from crime as much as possible, Islam wants to make an example of people who create nuisance in the society and disrupt its peace and tranquillity. Consequently, the punishments it prescribes are instrumental in bringing to the greatest degree peace and security to a society.

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ii. Apostasy is Punishable by Death

Our jurists believe that apostasy is punishable by death. This view is not correct. While critically analyzing it, Ghāmidī, writes:85 The punishment of apostasy has arisen by misunderstanding a Hadīth. This H~adīth has been narrated by ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās (rta) from the Prophet (sws) in the following way:

xS4Cx = X xD$ Q aJd 

“Execute the person who changes his faith.”86 Our jurists regard this verdict to have a general application for all times upon every Muslim who renounces his faith from the times of the Prophet (sws) to the Day of Judgement. In their opinion, this 85. The subsequent paragraphs are translated from Burhān. See: Ghāmidī, Burhān, 139-143. 86. Al-Bukhārī, Al-Jāmi‘ al-sahīh, vol. 3, 1098, (no. 2854).

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106 H~adīth warrants the death penalty for every Muslim who, out of his own free will, becomes a disbeliever. In this matter, the only point in which there is a disagreement among the jurists is whether an apostate should be granted time for repentance before executing him, and if so what should be the extent of this period. The Hanafite jurists, however, exempt women from this punishment. Apart from them, there is a general consensus among the jurists that every apostate, man or woman, should be punished by death.

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It needs to be realized that this view of our jurists is not correct. The verdict pronounced in this H~adīth has a specific application and not a general one: it is only confined to people towards whom the Prophet (sws) had been directly assigned. The Qur’ān uses the words mushrikīn and ummiyyīn for these people. An elaboration of this view follows.

In this world, we are well aware of the fact that life has been given to us not because it is our right but because it is a trial and a test for us. Death puts an end to it whenever the duration of this test is over, as deemed by the Almighty. Commonly, He fixes the length of this period on the basis of His knowledge and wisdom. However, in case of the direct and foremost addressees of a rasūl (messenger of Allah), once the truth is communicated to them in its ultimate form after which they have no excuse but stubbornness and enmity to deny it, they lose their "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


107 right to live. The Almighty had blessed them with life to try and test them, and since after KJÂ&#x201A;Â&#x2026;š n   (itmÄ m al-h~ujjah87) this trial becomes totally complete, the law of the Almighty in this regard is that generally such people are not given any further right to live and the death sentence is imposed upon them. This punishment is enforced upon the direct addressees of a rasĹŤl in one of the two ways depending upon the situation which arises. In the first case, after accomplishing KJÂ&#x201A;š xn   (itmÄ m alh~ujjah) upon his nation, a rasĹŤl and his Companions (rta) not being able to achieve political ascendancy in their territory migrate from their people. In this case, Divine punishment descends upon their nation in the form of raging storms, cyclones and other calamities, which completely destroy them. The tribes of A^d and ThamĹŤd and the people of Noah (sws) and Lot (sws) besides many other nations met with this dreadful fate, as is mentioned in the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n. In the second case, a rasĹŤl and his Companions (rta) are able to acquire political ascendancy in a land where after accomplishing xn   KJÂ&#x201A;š (itmÄ m al-h~ujjah) upon their people they migrate. In this case, a rasĹŤl and his companions subdue their nation by force, and execute them if they do not accept faith. It was this situation which had arisen in the case of the rasĹŤl Muhammad (sws). On account of this, the Almighty bade him declare

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87. Communicating the truth to the extent that the addressees have no excuse but stubbornness and enmity to deny it.

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108 that those people among the ummiyyÄŤn who had not accepted faith until the day of H~ajj al-Akbar (9th hijrah) should be given a final extension by a proclamation made in the field of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ArafÄ t on that day. According to the proclamation, this final extension would end with the last day of the month of Muh~arram, during which they had to accept faith, or face execution at the end of that period. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says:

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&xI4xx R Âł % _O <x  4Cx = X xnxx  xx; [Â&#x2020;  ÂşC6) Â&#x2014;WX 4x =A 4xd  WX yG  O &x; xx = &xIxxg  &xITxs (-:ÂĽ) Â&#x2021;&%: Â&#x2021;:4YÂ&#x20AC; DC  &x;C%!" 4ŠC|X 9 OJw  4 9 CJg So when the forbidden months are over, slay the Idolaters wherever you find them. Seize them, besiege them and every where lie in ambush for them. But if they repent from their ill beliefs and establish the prayer and pay zakÄ h, then spare their lives. God is Most-Forgiving and Ever-Merciful. (9:5) A H~adÄŤth illustrates this law in the following manner:

&C" D%C? E FCG DC a4": a = a = x? d DC !? ? Jx A xDC  D  A x; < FJ t J$  =A A x7 A 4xg? {Â&#x2014; 4C X Â&#x2014;WX 9 OJw 4x Â&#x203A; x 9 CJg 4x%x  DC a4x": DC FC? &x;xd 6 n C "W  }Bd  &x;4 A &xIÂ&#x201E;8 Q (}$ "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


109 â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;AbdullÄ h ibn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Umar reports from the Prophet: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have been directed to wage war against these people until they testify to the oneness of God and to the prophethood of Muhammad, establish the prayer and pay zakÄ h. If they accept these terms, their lives will be spared except if they commit some other violation that entails their execution by Islamic law and [in the Hereafter] their account rests with God.â&#x20AC;?88

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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This law, as has been stated before, is specifically meant for the ummiyyÄŤn or the people towards whom Muhammad (sws) had been directly assigned. Apart from them, it has no bearing upon any other person or nation. So much so, even the people of the Book who were present in his times were exempted from this law by the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n. Consequently, where the death penalty for the ummiyyÄŤn is mentioned in the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n, adjacent to it has also been stated in unequivocal terms that the people of the Book shall be spared and granted citizenship if they pay jizyah. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says:

n J  4x}x  sÂŹ  n 4%  d  DC d 4x$ Â&#x203A;x   T 4C = FJ z \  4xA  T  }B   Q 4x$   xD4x": xDC (Â?ÂĽ:ÂĽ) xÂ&#x20AC; G &xI y ? K wÂ&#x201A;  4^ x Fight against those among the people of the Book who believe not in God nor in the Last Day, and who do not forbid what God and His Prophet have 88. Muslim, Al-JÄ miâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; al-sď&#x20AC;Şahď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤhď&#x20AC;Ş, vol. 1, 53, (no. 22).

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110 forbidden and do not accept the Religion of Truth as their own religion. [Fight them] until they pay jizyah out of subjugation and lead a life of submission. (9:29)

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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The foregoing discussion, outlines a law of the Almighty. There is a natural corollary to this Divine law as obvious as the law itself. As stated earlier, the death penalty had been imposed upon the ummiyyīn if they did not accept faith after a certain period. Hence, it follows that if a person among the ummiyyīn after accepting faith reverted to his original state of disbelief, he had to face the same penalty. Indeed, it is this reversion about which the Prophet (sws) is reported to have said: “execute the person who changes his faith.” The relative pronoun “who” in the above quoted H~adīth qualifies the ummiyyīn just as the words “the people” (al-nās) in the H~adīth quoted earlier are specifically meant for the ummiyyīn. When the basis of this law as narrated in these Ahādīth has been specified in the Qur’ān, then quite naturally this specification should also be sustained in the corollary of the law. Our jurists have committed the cardinal mistake of not relating the relative pronoun “who” in the H~adīth “execute the person who changes his faith” with its basis in the Qur’ān as they have done in the case of “the people” (al-nās) of the H~adīth quoted above. Instead of interpreting the H~adīth in the light of the relationship between the Qur’ān and H~adīth, they have interpreted it in the absolute sense, totally "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


111 against the context of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n. Consequently, in their opinion the verdict pronounced in the H~adÄŤth has a general and an unconditional application. They have thereby incorporated in the Islamic Penal Code a punishment which has no basis in the sharÄŤâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ah.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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iii. A Woman has Half a Manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Testimony

In the opinion of most Muslim jurists, the testimony of a woman â&#x20AC;&#x201C; where acceptable to them â&#x20AC;&#x201C; is half that of a man.89 They base their view upon the following verse of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n:

Â&#x2030; xRX  %CxR: )4\ & WX &\ R:   %;[ x; < "  Â&#x153;OTxX xI   ¤ A 8;v<   4q  J   A  (Â?/Â?:Â?) m sÂ&#x2020;  xI  And call in two male witnesses from among your men [over the document of loan]. And if two men cannot be found, then one man and two women from among those whom you deem appropriate as witnesses so that if either of them gets confused the other reminds her. (2:282)

89. AbĹŤ al-WalÄŤd Muhď&#x20AC;Şammad ibn Ahď&#x20AC;Şmad ibn Muhď&#x20AC;Şammad ibn Rushd, BidÄ yah al-mujtahid wa nihÄ yah al-muqtasid, 1st ed., vol. 4 (Beirut: DÄ r al-maâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;rifah, 1997), 311. It may be noted that in h@udu#d (punishments ordained by God), most jurists do not accept the testimony of a woman at all.

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112 While critically evaluating this view, Ghāmidī writes:90

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This view of our jurists concerning the testimony of a woman is not correct owing to the following two reasons:

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Firstly, the verse has nothing to do with the bearing of witness to an incident. It explicitly relates to testifying over a document. It is very evident that in the second case witnesses are selected by an external agency, while in the first case the presence of a witness at the site of an incident is an accidental affair. If we have written a document or signed an agreement, then the selection of witnesses rests upon our discretion, while in the case of adultery, theft, robbery and other similar crimes whoever is present at the site must be regarded as a witness. The difference between the two cases is so pronounced that no law about one can be deduced on the basis of the other. Secondly, the context and style of the verse is such that it cannot relate to law or the judicial forums of a state. It is not that after addressing a court of law that it has been said that if such a law suit is presented before them by a claimant, then they should call in witnesses in this prescribed manner. On the contrary, this verse directly addresses people who borrow and lend money over a fixed period. It urges them that if they are involved in such dealings, then an agreement between the two parties must be written 90. Ghāmidī, Burhān, 28-30.

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113 down, and to avoid disputes and financial losses only witnesses who are honest, reliable and morally sound should be appointed. At the same time, their personal involvement and occupations should be suited to fulfil this responsibility in a befitting manner. The verse should not be taken to mean that a law-suit will only stand proven in court if at least two men or one man and two women bear witness to it. It is reiterated that the verse is merely a guidance for the general masses in their social affairs and counsels them to abide by it so that any dispute can be avoided. It is for their own benefit and welfare that this procedure should be undertaken.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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Consequently, about all such directives the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says:

(Â?/Â?:Â?) 4xd   A F) QA 9Q ;J<C xn4 =A DC  $? Âť6 =A &\Â&#x2014; This is more just in the sight of God; it ensures accuracy in testifying and is the most appropriate way for you to safeguard against all doubts. (2:282) Ibn Qayyim comments on this verse in the following manner:

PM D a h N G U ÂŚYÂź Âś K%i4  P T;X ½[ TI 8([ TI  X &O š Dd &\Âź  &\š B Â? It relates to the heavy responsibility of testifying by which an owner of wealth protects his rights. It has no concern with the decision of a court. The two are "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


114

Common Misconceptions about Islam 91

absolutely different from each other.

iv. A Woman has Half a Manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Diyat92

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Diyat means a fine a murderer has to pay the family of the murdered person in case he or she is granted pardon. It is believed that if a lady is murdered the fine that would be given to her relatives would be half the amount of what would have been given in case a man had been murdered. Consider now the verse of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n which mentions this issue:

y 6 Wd D % ž8QA  x   d Â&#x2021;Â&#x2013; !} X ž8 ([ D%sA  xD ( Yx? X (,0/:Â?) Then for whom there has been some pardon from his brother, [the remission] should be followed according to the maâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;rĹŤf and diyat should be paid with goodness. (2:178) It is evident from this verse that the diyat should be paid according to the maâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;rĹŤf of a society. Maâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;rĹŤf means the customs and conventions of a society. In the times of the Prophet (sws), the maâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;rĹŤf of the 91. Shams al-DÄŤn Muhammad ibn AbÄŤ Bakr ibn Qayyim, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;lÄ m al-muwwaqiâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ÄŤn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;an rab al-â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ä lamÄŤn, 1st ed., vol. 1 (Beirut: DÄ r al-jÄŤl, 1973), 91. 92. The clarification presented in this section is based on GhÄ midÄŤâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s view. See: GhÄ midÄŤ, MÄŤzÄ n, 622-623.

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115 Arab society was that the diyat of a woman was half that of a man. So while following the directive of the Qur’ān regarding diyat, the Prophet (sws) enforced the ma‘rūf of his society. The ma‘rūf of different societies may be different and therefore the ma‘rūf of each society should be followed. In other words, Islam has not obligated Muslims to discriminate in this matter between a man or a woman, a slave or a free man and a Muslim or a non-Muslim. It wants them to follow the ma‘rūf of our society. Scholars have erroneously enforced the ma‘rūf of the Arab society of the times of the Prophet (sws). Since then, the wheel of fortune has revolved through fourteen more centuries and the tide of time has sped past innumerable crests and falls. Social conditions and cultural traditions have undergone a drastic change. As per this Qur’ānic directive, every society is to obey its custom, and since in our own society no law about diyat exists, those at the helm of affairs of our state can re-legislate in this regard.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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v. Punishment even if a Crime is not Fully Proven

It is alleged by some jurists that if a crime is not fully proven then in accordance with the following words attributed to the Prophet (sws) whereas a h~add punishment cannot be given, a ta‘zīr punishment can be given in such cases:

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116 Do not enforce a h~add punishment if there is a doubt.93

Common Misconceptions about Islam

A little deliberation shows that this argument is baseless. While pointing this out, Ghāmidī, writes:94

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The H~adīth in no way means that if there is some doubt, a h~add punishment shall not be given; it only means that in case of doubt, no punishment at all can be given. The word h~add has not been used as a term here; it is used in its literal sense for the term came into existence much later after the Prophet (sws). What he has reported to have said is based on the universal principle of the ethics of law that since in case of doubt a crime does not stand proven, the criminal cannot be punished. Consequently, if these people say that a ta‘zīr punishment can be given on the basis of a woman’s testimony, then this only means that the crime stands proven in their eyes. But then the question arises: If the crime stands proven, then why can’t a h~add punishment be given? And if they contend that if a woman’s testimony always leaves room for doubt, then a crime cannot be considered to be proven; so on what basis should the ta‘zīr punishment be administered? A crime, obviously, cannot be regarded to be proven ten, twenty, ninety or ninety-nine percent. It is either 93. Abū al-Fadl Ahmad ibn ‘Alī al-‘Asqalānī. ibn Hajar, Talkhīs al-h~abīr, vol. 4 (Lahore: Al-Matba‘ah al-‘arabiyyah, n.d.), 56. 94. Ghāmidī, Burhān, 34.

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117 proven one hundred percent or not proven at all. Consequently, it is absolutely baseless to accept a state between proof and lack of proof in a crime and in no way can it be accepted that a h~add punishment will be administered on certain grounds and ta‘zīr punishment on certain other grounds. No doubt that the nature of the crime and the circumstances of the criminal do have a bearing on the extent of punishment that is to be given. However, to imply that the “extent” of proof forms a basis for punishment is something common sense totally rejects and human nature completely discards.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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9. JihÄ d

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i. JihÄ d can be waged without State Authority

Some people are of the view that groups and organizations can wage jihÄ d and state authority is not a requirement for it. Consider the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä nic verse:

 T Â&#x2021;  &I g) FC? DC  4xCÂ&#x2122; &x;J)Â&#x2020;d 4C x  TC Â&#x2014;A (Â&#x201C;Â&#x17D;Â&#x201D;Â&#x152;ÂĽ: Â?Â?) xDC $vd: 44 A  ÂŁB  %Â&#x2C6;d &I:  Q  4xR sA Permission to take up arms is hereby granted to those who are attacked because they have been oppressed and God indeed has power to help them â&#x20AC;&#x201C; those who have been unjustly driven from their homes, only because they said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our Lord is Allah.â&#x20AC;? (22:39-40) While explaining this verse, GhÄ midÄŤ writes:95 This right to use force has been given to the Muslims in their collective capacity. Every person who appreciates the linguistic style of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n knows that verses which authorize Muslims to use 95. GhÄ midÄŤ, MÄŤzÄ n, 581.

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119 force do not address them in their individual capacity. Like the verses which mention punishments, these verses too address the Muslims as a community. Thus any step which is to be taken for use of force must originate from their collective system. No person or group has the right to take a step on its own in this regard on behalf of the Muslims. The word Â&#x2014;A (permission is granted) in the above quoted verse of SĹŤrah Hď&#x20AC;Şajj also points to the fact that the very first question in an armed offensive is that of justification and permission. The Almighty permitted the Muslims of those times to fight back the Quryash only when Muslims had political authority in spite of the tremendous oppression let loose upon them. Consequently, in these times also, this is an essential pre-requisite of war. The Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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Dd FJx  DL:   x Â&#x2030;KJ$Rx xn W  J)

A Muslim ruler is the shield [of his people]. An armed struggle can only be carried out under him and people should seek his shelter [in war].96 It may be noted further that the misconceived view has only arisen in recent times. There is a consensus among all authorities of Islam that only a Muslim state has the authority to wage jihÄ d. This condition is so explicit and categorical that all the scholars of this ummah unanimously uphold it. Sayyid SÄ biq, while referring to this consensus, writes: 96. Al-BukhÄ rÄŤ, Al-JÄ miâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; al-sahÄŤh, 447-450, (no. 2797).

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Common Misconceptions about Islam

120

Qš K = Q ;> :* &O š D%X Z<  K%L Y\ Â&#x2022;Y  Among collective obligations, there is a category for which the existence of a ruler is necessary e.g., jihÄ d and administering punishments.97

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;UthmÄ nÄŤ, a Hanafite jurist, writes:

Âł  Dd ´G O D  Q ;> NÂż ~T rM A FYĂ&#x20AC;   %C d 9: Ă  D f!i C6  O  4I Â&#x2DC; a4\ K %!d  â&#x20AC;&#x2122; D$? E (q: \d 4dA ) O S  KY%CĂ&#x201A;  |" d 8 C  5 d 4CX :fC=â&#x20AC;Ś rd ~A IA  K? Ă&#x192; A 8 C   K¤%! K c :4Â&#x2C6;* " FC? :  R: _C6h  K? Ă&#x192; A  g) FC?  D"Â&#x2020;d  DO4<d n \M T%Y$  O 6  R Â&#x2DC;    rA {Â&#x2014; 4\  D4^" D:d ] '  n4C'h ~Âż  &%\ KwÂ?$ D t $ K ! &\š KwÂ?$Ă&#x201E; 4I 9: Ă  : WX t $ S4XA ÂĄ%Â? P rA A   D%6 NÂż X ÂťX 9;< K%6 Q 9: 94 FC? K Ă    D \A K? Â?  D ! _C6h K ? FC? It is obvious from the Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth narrated by Makhď&#x20AC;ŞĹŤl98 97. Sayyid SÄ biq, Fiqh al-sunnah, 2nd ed., vol. 3 (Beirut: Dar al-fikr, 1980), 30. 98. The complete text of the Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth is:

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121 that jihÄ d becomes obligatory only in the presence of a ruler who is a Muslim and whose political authority has been established either through nomination by the previous ruler similar to how AbĹŤ Bakr transferred the reins [of his khilÄ fah to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Umar] or through pledging of allegiance by the ulema or a group of the elite â&#x20AC;Ś in my opinion, if the oath of allegiance is pledged by ulema or by a group of the elite to a person who is not able to guard the frontiers or defend the honour [of the people] or organize armies or implement his directives by political force nor is he able to provide justice to the oppressed by exercising force and power, then such a person cannot be called â&#x20AC;&#x153;amÄŤrâ&#x20AC;? (leader) or â&#x20AC;&#x153;imÄ mâ&#x20AC;? (ruler). He, at best, is an arbitrator and the oath of allegiance is at best of the nature of arbitration and it is not at all proper to call him â&#x20AC;&#x153;amÄŤrâ&#x20AC;? (leader) or a â&#x20AC;&#x153;imÄ mâ&#x20AC;? (ruler) in any [official] documents nor should the people address him by these designations. The reason for this is that the basis of leadership and rulership is power and authority and it does not hinge only on the fact that he gets famous by this name. It is not imperative for the citizens to pledge allegiance to

Common Misconceptions about Islam

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

&C" D %C? xDC FCG DC a4x": a = a = 9 xI (dA ? ya4x \ ? R X A  O §d yrA Â&#x153;O 5 &\ %C? Â&#x2021;NR xQ ;Â&#x201A;  Makhď&#x20AC;ŞĹŤl narrates from AbĹŤ Hurayrah who narrates from the Prophet: jihÄ d is obligatory on you only in the presence of a Muslim ruler whether he is pious or impious. (AbĹŤ DÄ â&#x20AC;&#x2122;ĹŤd, Sunan, vol. 3, 18, (no. 2533) "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


122 Common Misconceptions about Islam him or obey his directives, and no Jihād can be waged alongside him.99 Ibn Qudāmah, a Hanbalite jurist, writes:

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S %X D?  K%? nwC  SQ ;R n Á Å a4O4 Q ;> A {—  And the matter of jihād rests with the ruler [of a state] and his ijtihād. The opinion he forms in this regard must be obeyed by the citizens of his country.100 Al-Māwardī, a Shafi‘īte authority, while enumerating the obligations of a Muslim ruler says:

n "Á ) ?  Q ;R : tQ 6

And his sixth obligation is to conduct jihād against those who show hostility against Islam.101 In the words of Al-Farāhī:

In one’s own country, without migrating to an 99. Zafar Ahmad ‘Uthmānī, I‘lā al-sunan, 3rd ed., vol. 12 (Karachi: Idārāt al-Qur’ān wa ‘ulūm al-islāmiyyah, 1415 AH), 15-16. 100. Muwaffaq al-Din ‘Abdullāh ibn Ahmad ibn Qudāmah al-Maqdisī al-Hanbalī, Al-Mughnī, vol. 8 (Riyād: Maktabah al-riyād al-hadīthah, 1981), 352. 101. Abū al-Hasan ‘Alī ibn Muhammad ibn Habīb alMāwardī, Al-Ahkām al-sultāniyyah, 1st ed. (Beirut: Dār alkitāb al-‘arabī, 1990), 52.

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123 independent piece of land, jihād is not allowed. The tale of Abraham (sws) and other verses pertaining to migration testify to this. The Prophet’s life (sws) also supports this view. The reason for this is that if jihād is not waged by a person who holds political authority, it amounts to anarchy and disorder.102

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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While commenting on the underlying reasons that form the basis of state authority for jihād, Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, writes: The first reason [for this condition] is that God Almighty does not like the dissolution and disintegration of even an evil system until a strong probability exists that those who are out to disintegrate the system will provide people with an alternative and a righteous system. Anarchy and disorder are unnatural conditions. In fact, they are so contrary to human nature that even an unjust system is preferable to them ... this confidence [that a group will be able to harmonize a disintegrated system and integrate it into a united whole] can be reposed in such a group only if it has actually formed a political government and has such control and discipline within the confines of its authority that the group can be termed as al-jamā‘ah [the state]. Until a group attains this position, it may strive [by religiously allowable means] to become al-jamā‘ah – and that endeavour would be its jihād for that time – but it does not have the right to wage an “armed” jihād. 102. Al-Farāhī, Majmū‘ah tafāsīr, 56.

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Common Misconceptions about Islam

124

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The second reason is that the import of power that a group engaged in war acquires over the life and property of human beings is so great that the sanction to wield this power cannot be given to a group the control of whose leader over his followers is based merely on his spiritual and religious influence on them [rather than being based on legal authority]. When the control of a leader is based merely on his spiritual and religious influence, there is not sufficient guarantee that the leader will be able to stop his followers from fasÄ d fi al-ardď&#x20AC;Ş [creating disorder in the society]. Therefore, a religious leader does not have the right to allow his followers to take out their swords [that is to wage an armed struggle] merely on the basis of his spiritual influence over them, for once the sword is unsheathed there is great danger that it will not care for right and wrong and that those who drew it will end up doing all [the wrong which] they had sought to end. Such radical groups as desire revolution and whose objective is nothing more than disruption of the existing system and deposition of the ruling party to seize power for themselves play such games â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and they can, for in their eyes disruption of a system is no calamity, nor is cruelty of any kind an evil. Everything is right to them [as long as it serves their purpose]. However, the leaders of a just and righteous party must see whether they are in a position to provide people with a system better than the one they seek to change and whether they will be able to stop their followers from doing such wrong as they themselves had sought to

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125 root out. If they are not in that position, they do not have the right to play games with the lives and property of people on the basis of their confidence on mere chance and to create greater disorder than the one they had sought to end.103

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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Here some people justify that in some cases Islam allows jihād without state authority by citing the skirmishes carried out by Abū Basīr against the Quraysh. This is a misinterpretation of facts: It is known historically104 that after the treaty of Hudaybiyah, Abū Basīr defected to Madīnah. However, according to the terms of the treaty, he was duly returned back to the Quraysh by the Prophet (sws). He was sent back in the custody of two people of the Quraysh. On the way back, he killed one of his two custodians and again defected to Madīnah. When he arrived in Madīnah, the Prophet (sws) was angry at what he had done. Sensing that the Prophet (sws) would once again send him back to the Quraysh, he left Madīnah and settled at a place near Dhū al-Marwah, where later on other people joined him. From this place, they would attack the caravans of the Quraysh. If these guerrilla attacks are analyzed in the light of the Qur’ān, the basic thing which comes to light is that whatever Abū Basīr and his companions did was not sanctioned at all by Islam. The Qur’ān says that the actions and deeds of a person who had not migrated to 103. Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Da‘wat-i dīn awr us ka tarīqah kār, trans. Asif Iftikhar, 1st ed. (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1989), 241-242. 104. Al-Bukhārī, Al-Jāmi‘ al-sahīh, vol. 2, 974-979, (no. 2581).

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126 MadÄŤnah were not the responsibility of the Islamic state:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

FJ y8 ([  &;   &\  xR ;x &  4x$  T (0Â?: /) xR ;x

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And as to those who believed but did not migrate [to MadÄŤnah], you owe no duty of protection until they migrate. (8:72) Not only did the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n acquit the newly founded Islamic state of MadÄŤnah from the actions of these people, we even find the following harsh remarks of the Prophet (sws) about AbĹŤ Basď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤr when he returned to Madinah after killing one of his two custodians:

Â&#x2021;A xD  O 4 yz   6 D}A  

His mother be cursed, if he is able to find some supporters he is bound to ignite the flames of war.105 So, one can safely conclude that jihÄ d without state authority is terrorism and is totally prohibited in Islam. Moreover, clandestine attacks on a country even with state authority are not allowed. JihÄ d must be openly declared against the enemy country. If a peace treaty has been made with it, then it should first be openly declared null and void. Similarly, non-combatants of the enemy country should never be targeted. No one has the right to take the life of innocent civilians.

105. Ibid., vol. 2, 979, (no. 2581).

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127

ii. JihÄ d is only for Self-Defence

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There are some scholars who believe that all wars fought by the Prophet of Islam were defensive. Muhammad (sws) never carried out unprovoked attacks. Sir Thomas Arnold is one prominent authority who holds this view. He writes: There are no passages to be found in the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n that in any way enjoin forcible conversion, and many that on the contrary limit propagandist efforts to preaching and persuasion. It has further been maintained that no passage in the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n authorizes unprovoked attacks on unbelievers, and that, in accordance with such teaching, all the wars of Muhammad were defensive.106 It seems that this viewpoint has emerged because of a misunderstanding of certain verses of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n. Following is a typical verse107 that is quoted in support of this stance:108

(,ÂĽÂ&#x17D;:Â?) x   &\)4C x  T DC %!" (X 4C = 106. Thomas Arnold, The Preaching of Islam, 4th ed. (Lahore: Ashraf Publications, 1979), 451. 107. Maulvi Chiragh Ali, Jihad, 1st ed. (Karachi: Karimsons, n.d.), 17. 108. For a complete list of verses that are used by the advocates of this stance, see Maulvi Chiragh Ali, Jihad, 1st ed. (Karachi: Karimsons, n.d.), 225-227.

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128 Fight in the way of Allah with those who fight against you and do not transgress bounds. (2:190)

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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The verse apparently says that Muslims should only fight their enemy when the enemy initiates the attack. However, if the context of the verse is taken into consideration, this seems to be an erroneous interpretation. The verse is not talking about war in general. It is talking about war in the vicinity of the BaytullÄ h and that too in the forbidden months. The succeeding verses read:

&O4C = WX D%X &O4C x FJ n  Â&#x201A; 6   $? &xI4C x  (,ÂĽÂ?:Â?) &xI4Cx = X But do not initiate war with them near the BaytullÄ h unless they attack you there. But if they attack you, put them to the sword [without any hesitation]. (2:192)

& \ %C? m ? X Â&#x2021;Ă&#x2020; g= x7 xx  n   ;J< d xn  x ;J< 5  DC A 4xC ? DC 4J &\ %C? m ?   *d D %C? x ? X (,ÂĽÂ&#x201C;:Â?) _Jx  A sacred month for a sacred month; [similarly] other sacred things too are subject to retaliation. So if any one transgresses against you, you should also pay back on equal footing. Have fear of Allah and [keep in mind that] Allah is with those who remain within the bounds [stipulated by religion]. (2:194) So, in other words, verses like 2:190 have a specific context and do not relate to jihÄ d waged in general.

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129 Moreover, the propounders of the view that jihÄ d is only for self-defence must reflect on other verses of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n which explicitly ask the Muslims to wage offensive war. Perhaps the most explicit of these verses is the following:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

8 6}$ a R}  _Y ¤ 6x  DC %!" (X 4C x  &\  ;C IA & ' K   STI  $ R sA $Jd: 44  T  4  (0-: Â&#x201C;) rg) { )x  $  R §% { )x  $  R And why is it that you not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated and oppressed â&#x20AC;&#x201C; men, women, and children, whose cry is: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our Lord! rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from Yourself one who will protect and raise for us from Yourself one who will help!â&#x20AC;? (4:75) iii. QitÄ l is a lesser JihÄ d

There is a persistent notion among many Muslims that fighting in the battlefield is something very inferior to fighting against oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s desires. While the former is termed as jihÄ d-i asghar (the lesser jihÄ d), the latter is called the jihÄ d-i akbar (the greater jihÄ d). This notion is not true. It is generally understood that the terms jihÄ d-i akbar and jihÄ d-i asghar are supposedly attributed to the Prophet (sws). However, this attribution does not have a sound basis. The chain of narrators of this narrative is very weak. Authorities of "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


130 Hadīth like Ibn Hajar, Ibn Taymiyyah and al-Bānī have convincingly challenged the authenticity of this narrative.109 So, one can safely conclude that there is no such thing as a greater jihād or a lesser one. It needs to be appreciated that the word jihād is used in the Qur’ān to connote striving in the way of Allah. One particular form of such a struggle is that in which one might have to take up arms for Allah’s cause. This is also termed as qitāl. In other words, striving in the way of Allah in whatever form one is able to in accordance with the needs that arise is what is required from a believer. Whether striving in His way in a particular form is more superior than some other one has not been indicated in any authentic source.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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iv. Islam was spread by the Sword

In the early period of Islam, we find that Islamic rule was extended by the Companions (rta) of the Prophet (sws) to a large part of the world. In an astounding series of conquests, country after country fell to the sword of Islam. It was not long before the Muslim empire 109. For details see Ibn Hajar’s Takhrīj al-Kashshāf as annotation on Abū al-Qāsim Muhammad ibn ‘Umar alZamakhsharī’s Kashshāf ‘an haqā’iq al-tanzīl wa ‘uyūn alaqāwīl fī wujūh al-ta’wīl, 1st ed., vol. 3 (Beirut: Dār al-turāth al-‘arabī, 1997), 174-5; Abū al-‘Abbās Ahmad ibn ‘Abd alHalīm ibn Taymiyyah, Fatāwā, 2nd ed., vol. 11 (Riyād: 1399 AH), 197; Nāsir al-Dīn al-Bānī, Silsilah al-ahādīth al-da‘īfah wa al-mawdū‘ah, 1st ed., vol. 5 (Riyād: Maktabah al-ma‘ārif, 1992), 478-480

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131 stretched from the shores of the Mediterranean in the West to as far as Indonesia in the East.110 Some people ask the question: “Why did they impose Islam on these countries? Is this not Arab Imperialism?” The fact that all these conquests took place is established history and hence cannot be denied in any way. However, the thesis that it was “Arab Imperialism” that accounted for these conquests is something which cannot be condoned. While looking at the spread of Islam in the early period, one must resort to the basis which the Qur’ān itself offers for these conquests: According to the Qur’ān,111 the Almighty through His messengers punishes in this world the direct and immediate addressees of these messengers who deny the truth in spite of being convinced about it. This punishment called a divine practice by the Qur’ān and must not be undertaken by human beings on their own. It is God’s retribution carried out by God Himself. The purpose of this worldly retribution is to make mankind mindful of the most important reality that it tends to forget: reward and punishment in the Hereafter on the basis of a person’s deeds. This reward and punishment which is to take place in the Hereafter is substantiated visually by the Almighty through the agency of His messengers so that mankind may always remain heedful to this reality. The court of justice which will be set up for every person on the Day of Judgement was set up for

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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110. For a detailed account of these conquests see: Ahmad ibn Yahyā ibn Jābir al-Balādhurī, Futūh al-buldān, Qum, Manshūrāt al-arumiyyah, 1404 AH. 111. See, for example: 10:47, 14:9-14, 40:51, 58:20-21.

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132 the nations of messengers in this world so that the latter could become a visual testimony to the former. To put it another way: before the advent of the greater Day of Judgement, several lesser days of Judgement were brought about in this world in which people were rewarded and punished on the basis of their deeds so that they could become a visual evidence to the judgement that will take place in the Hereafter. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä nic words used are: (Â&#x201C;:,Â&#x2018;-) x"v  d Â&#x2030;KJÂ&#x201A;x DC FC? t J$C 4\ Â&#x2020; (so that mankind after the coming of these messengers is left with no excuse against the Almighty, (4:165)). Consequently, the conquests of the followers of the Prophet (sws) at that time were basically not aimed at spreading Islam as such. Their primary objective was to subjugate and punish people who had deliberately denied the truth. Moreover, Muhď&#x20AC;Şammad (sws) himself initiated the task by writing letters to eight heads of state and thereby demarcated the areas where the Companions (rta) could go. Summing up, it can be said that it is erroneous to conclude that Islam was spread by the sword. The whole exercise of the Companions (rta) was a continuation of the mission of Muhď&#x20AC;Şammad (sws) and no independent endeavour. This mission is governed by a specific practice of the Almighty according to which He punishes people who deny the truth even though they are fully convinced about it.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w v. Regarding the Basis for JihÄ d

In this regard, it needs to be understood that, after the "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


133 departure of the Prophet (sws) and his Companions (rta), apart from self-defence, the only legitimate reason for an Islamic state to undertake jihÄ d is to curb oppression and persecution in some other country, whether Muslim or Non-Muslim. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

8 6}$ a R}  _Y ¤ 6x  DC %!" (X 4C x  &\  ;C IA & ' K   STI  $ R sA $Jd: 44  T  4  (0-: Â&#x201C;) rg) { )x  $  R §% { )x  $  R And why is it that you not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated and oppressed â&#x20AC;&#x201C; men, women, and children, whose cry is: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our Lord! rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from Yourself one who will protect and raise for us from Yourself one who will help!â&#x20AC;? (4:75) Again, this should be resorted to when all diplomatic means fail. Moreover, Muslims should be in a position to successfully combat the enemy, otherwise the whole venture would be no more than suicide. Again whether or not a country is in a position to wage war is a decision that should be taken by the elected representatives of the state and of course for human beings the possibility of error is always there. The guideline to give due consideration to oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s military might is found in the life of the Prophet (sws) also. According to the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n, it was necessary in those times that the believers should be in a certain number before they launch an attack. Initially, the believer to "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


134 enemy ratio was 1:10 (The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n, 8:66). However, later, after large scale conversions to Islam in later years of the Prophet (sws), this was reduced to 1:2 (The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n, 8:66). It seems that in both these situations, the Almighty would be providing the remaining support Himself for this noble cause of curbing oppression. The above ratios were meant for the time of the Prophet (sws) and his Companions (rta). Today, of course, the overall extent of faith that Muslims have cannot be compared to that found in the days of the Prophet (sws). Therefore, an Islamic State should realize that if it wants to wage jihÄ d, its military might should never be less than half of the enemyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s military might even if it wants to expect Divine help. Consequently, Muslim countries of today should keep consolidating and developing their military might to check any aggression from its enemies. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says:

Common Misconceptions about Islam

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D C Jx? Dd 4x!I x  %|  Z d:  y9J4=  &x ^ "  &x; v?A

 4Y$x  &x;xC  xDC &x;)4xC   &;)xQ   s &OJx? (Â&#x2018;Â&#x17D;: /) 4xC 'x  &x )A &\ % JÂ 4x DC %!" (X y8 ([ And muster against them all the men and cavalry at your disposal so that you can strike terror into the enemies of Allah and of the believers and others beside them who may be unknown to you, though Allah knows them. And remember whatever you spend for the cause of Allah shall be repaid to you. You shall not be wronged. (8:60) _______________ "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


10. Non-Muslims

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i. All Non-Muslims are Condemned Kāfirs

It is generally thought that all non-Muslims are kāfirs who are worthy of the condemnation and punishment referred to by the Qur’ān.112 This view is not correct. A non-Muslim becomes such a kāfir when he denies the truth in spite of being convinced that it is the truth. Since it is humanly impossible for a person to determine whether a person is denying the truth or not, it is only on the basis of information provided by the Almighty that a person can be called such a kāfir. In the times when He sent His messengers (rusul), He chose to impart this information to His messengers through wahī; however, after the departure of the last rasūl Muhammad (sws), people who have deliberately denied the truth cannot be pinpointed since the institution of wahī has been terminated. No Muslim preacher is in a position to reveal the truth in a manner a rasūl is able to, nor can he ascertain who among his addressees is guilty of deliberately denying the truth. After the departure of Muhammad (sws), the last of the Messengers of God, only on the Day of Judgement will it now be known 112. See, for example: 10:47, 14:9-14, 40:51, 58:20-21.

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whether a particular person is such a kāfir or not. It is evident from this explanation that the Christians and Jews and followers of other religions in times after the Prophet (sws) are not the kāfirs who are condemned by the Qur’ān. As far as Christians are concerned, it must be noted that they are basically followers of monotheism. They never admit to polytheism, though they are involved in certain polytheistic practices. A person becomes a polytheist when he openly admits that he is a polytheist. A person who claims to be a monotheist in spite of being involved in polytheistic practices, cannot be regarded as a polytheist. The reason is that a person might be doing something wrong without realizing what he is doing; all Christians whether of today or from the period of Jesus (sws) never admit to polytheism; trinity to them is in accordance with monotheism. Of course Muslims do not agree with them but unless they claim polytheism, it can only be said that in spite of claiming to be monotheists they are involved in polytheism. Their case is the case of a Muslim who goes to the grave of a saint to ask him to grant a wish; such a Muslim cannot be called polytheist; he shall be told that what he is doing is something which is against monotheism to which he himself strongly claims adherence. Similarly, Christians cannot be called polytheists; however, they will be told that what they are doing is not in accordance with monotheism. It is precisely for this reason that the Qur’ān never referred to the People of the Book as polytheists though they were incriminated with certain blatant forms of polytheism. The Qur’ān only called the Ishmaelites as polytheists because they admittedly subscribed and

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137 testified to the creed of polytheism. They strongly advocated that polytheism was the very religion the Almighty had revealed and claimed that they were the strong adherents to this religion.

Common Misconceptions about Islam

ii. Prohibition of Friendship with Non-Muslims

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On the basis of the following verse of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n, some Muslim scholars113 are of the view that Muslims should never make friends with non-Muslims; in fact, they should show hostility and venom towards them:

(Â?/: Â&#x152;) _$ Â&#x203A;x  xQ  Â&#x201E;8 % A  X \  4x$ Â&#x203A;x  T|J  Believers should not make friends with the al-kÄ firÄŤn leaving aside the believers. (3:28) Similar verses read:

_$ Â&#x203A;x  xQ  Â&#x201E;8 % A  X \  T|J  4x$  T ;v A  (,Â&#x201C;Â&#x201C;: Â&#x201C;) $%!x ) ^ Cx" &\ %C? DC 4C Â&#x201A; A x xA Believers! Do not make friends with the al-kÄ firÄŤn leaving aside the believers. Do you wish to offer God an open argument against yourselves? (4:144)

113. AbĹŤ Bakr Ahď&#x20AC;Şmad ibn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;AlÄŤ al-Jasď&#x20AC;Şsď&#x20AC;ŞÄ sď&#x20AC;Ş, Ahď&#x20AC;ŞkÄ m al-Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n, vol. 2 (Beirut: DÄ r ihď&#x20AC;ŞyÄ â&#x20AC;&#x2122; al-turÄ th al-â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;arabÄŤ, 1405 AH), 288; AbĹŤ al-FadÄ â&#x20AC;&#x2122; IsmÄ â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ÄŤl ibn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Umar ibn KathÄŤr, TafsÄŤr Al-Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n Al-â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;AzÄŤm, 1st ed., vol. 2 (Lahore: Amjad Academy, 1982), 68.

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&x;x¤ d Â&#x201E;8 % A m: gJ$ Q4x;%  T|J  4x$  T ;v A  (-,: -) &x; $ xDJ)WX &\ $ &x;4  yl d Â&#x2026;8 % A

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

Believers! Take not these Jews and the Christians for your friends. They are but friends to each other. And he amongst you who turns to them [for friendship] is of them. (5:51) A deliberation at the context of these verses, will show that, in principle, they are related to the divine practice mentioned in the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n114 according to which the direct addressees of a messenger of God are punished if they knowingly deny the truth delivered to them by the messenger. These verses specifically deal with the deliberate denial of Muhď&#x20AC;Şammadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s addressees. This deliberate denial is referred to in the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n in the following way:

: YO &\) ÂŻ  d  &\)vQx 4 z \   IA  Â&#x2021;r*O JQ (,Â&#x17D;ÂĽ: Â?) vB  &x; J%!   d  &;6Y)A  $?  6 Many of the people of the Book wish that if they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed out of envy from their own selves even after the truth has become manifest to them. (2:109)

(/ÂĽ: Â? )  X \  FC? DC K$ CX Dd xYO 4X?  &xIÂ&#x201E;8 R JCX When there came to them that which they recognized, they disbelieved in it. So let the curse of 114. See, for example: 10:47, 14:9-14, 40:51, 58:20-21.

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Allah be on the disbelievers. (2:89)

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A little deliberation on the context of the prohibition of friendship verses quoted above shows that they were revealed in MadÄŤnah in that phase of the Prophetic mission in which the Muslims were being told to separate themselves as a collectivity from the non-Muslims. This was because the latter could be identified as a collectivity that was soon to be visited by divine punishment if they continued to deliberately deny the truth. In other words, these verses relate to non-Muslims of the times of the Prophet (sws) who had denied the truth even though they were convinced of it. This is evident from the context in which the article alif lÄ m (al) on al-kÄ firÄŤn (these disbelievers), on al-yahĹŤd (these Jews) and on al-nÄ sÄ rÄ (these Christians) refers to a specific category of nonMuslims: they were the direct and immediate addressees of the Prophet (sws) who had intentionally denied the truth communicated to them by him. Consequently, none of these verses relates to the non-Muslims of today. iii. Prohibition of asking for Forgiveness for Non-Muslims

A common perception among Muslims is that the following verse of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n has stopped them from asking the Almighty for forgiveness of non-Muslims:

( A 4x) O 4 _O <x C xY Â&#x2C6; 6 A 4x$  T }(!J$C  O  (,,Â&#x152;: ÂĽ) &%Â&#x201A;  xz  GA &x;J)A &x; J%!   d  Fd = It is not proper for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s forgiveness for the mushrikĹŤn, even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to

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them that they are the dwellers of the Fire. (9:113)

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It is evident from the underlined portion of the verse itself that the Idolaters of Arabia of the Prophetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s times were condemned to Hell because of their persistence in denying the truth in spite of being convinced about it. It was such people about whom, the Prophet (sws) and the Muslims were stopped from praying and asking forgiveness. After the departure of the Prophet (sws), this intentional denial cannot be known since it could only have been known through divine revelation. Hence, this verse does not relate to non-Muslims of times after the Prophet (sws) and his Companions (rta). iv. Prohibition of Inheritance between Muslims and Non-Muslims

On the basis of the following narrative, there are scholars who are of the view that Muslims and NonMuslims cannot mutually inherit from one another:115

&C" D%C? E FCG ¢$ A ;$? E (q: y j d K "A ? &C 6x  xX \   X \  x&C 6x  ¨  a = UsÄ mah ibn Zayd reported that the Prophet said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;A Muslim cannot be an heir to a disbeliever nor can a disbeliever be a Muslimâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s.â&#x20AC;?116 115. See, for example: Shams al-DÄŤn al-SarakhsÄŤ. KitÄ b almabsĹŤtď&#x20AC;Ş, vol. 30 (Beirut: DÄ r al-ma â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;rifah, n.d.), 30. 116. Al-BukhÄ rÄŤ, Al-JÄ miâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; al-sď&#x20AC;Şahď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤhď&#x20AC;Ş, vol. 6, 2484, (no. 6383).

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Today with numerous conversions taking place all over the world, this issue has become very relevant as often a family ends up in a situation in which one blood relative has entered the folds of Islam. In order to understand a Hadīth, it is imperative to relate it to its basis in the Qur’ān, for a Hadīth cannot give an independent directive. The Qur’ān mentions a divine practice as per which people who deliberately deny messengers of God are punished in various degrees. A little deliberation shows that this Hadīth relates to this divine practice and cannot be extended to general application. Thus the article alif lām appended to the word al-kāfir refers to the disbelievers of the times of Muhammad (sws) who had deliberately denied the truth.117 Giving due consideration to this, an accurate translation of this word would be “such a Disbeliever”. Now, according to the Qur’ān (4:12), the basis of inheritance between relatives is “benefit of kinship”. If a lack of this benefit is diagnosed in some relations, then the matter of inheritance will be severed between them. After a deliberate denial of the truth by the Quraysh and the People of the Book, this “benefit of kinship” no longer existed between them and the Muslims. Hence, they could not inherit from one another. In other words, this directive is only related to the direct addressees of the Prophet (sws), and has no bearing on later non-Muslims.

117. Adapted from: Ghāmidī, Mīzān, 39.

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Common Misconceptions about Islam

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v. Non-Muslims Necessarily Doomed in the Hereafter

It is generally held that all non-Muslims will necessarily go to Hell. Verses like the following usually form the basis of this view:

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

& J$;R : ) FX _O <x  z Â?\   IA  xYO  T  (Â&#x2018;: ÂĽ/) KJ !  v[ &xI {Â&#x192;Â? A ÂŹ;%X   Â?s These disbelievers among the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] and the Idolaters shall burn for ever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures. (98:6)118 It must be appreciated that these verses speak of the Jews and Christians and the Idolaters of the Prophet Muhammadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (sws) times, who had deliberately denied the message of Muhammad (sws). As far as the nonMuslims of later times are concerned, they will meet this fate only if they are not sincere seekers of the truth and also deny the messengerhood of Muhammad (sws) in spite of being convinced about its veracity. _____________

118. For verses of similar meaning, see 3:10, 63, 131; 4:56, 115; 7:41; 8:50; 9:63, etc.

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11. Miscellaneous Issues

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i. Regarding the Prohibition of Songs and Music

It is generally believed that the attitude of Islam towards the fine arts is not very encouraging; it does not nurture the aesthetic sense found in human nature; thus, for example, it totally prohibits singing and music. Unfortunately, this view is not consistent with the sources of Islam. In this regard, it is necessary to bear in mind two important principles of interpreting the sharī‘ah. Firstly, it is only the Qur’ān which prohibits anything in Islam. As far as the Ahādīth are concerned, they only explain something alluded to by the Qur’ān or state the corollary of some principle mentioned in the Qur’ān. They are not an independent source of Islam and must have some basis in the Qur’ān, the Sunnah or the established principles of sense and reason. Consequently, if some Ahādīth mention the prohibition of something, it is imperative to look up its basis in the original sources. Secondly, if a particular matter has been elaborated upon in the Ahādīth, it is necessary to have a complete picture of it by collecting and analyzing all the Ahādīth on the subject. This is essential in order to get some idea "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


144 of the context and background of what has actually been said or implied. In the light of these two principles, it is evident that: 1. As far as the Quran is concerned, there is no mention of any absolute prohibition of music. On the contrary, it is a known fact that one of the other divinely revealed scriptures, the Psalms of David is basically a collection of hymns. The Prophet David (sws) used to sing on his harp the various Psalms revealed to him:

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

The Psalms mention:

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation (Psalms, 95:1) Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. (Psalms, 96:1) I will sing a new song to you, O God; on the tenstringed lyre I will make music to you, (Psalms, 144:9) The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n refers to this in the following words:

(0ÂĽ:Â?,) _C? X J$O  %^  }!6x a !Â&#x201A;  QxQ 5 ) J|" And We caused the mountains and the birds to join with David in singing Our praise. And all these things could have been done only by Us. (21:79) 2. If the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n does not apparently mention this absolute prohibition, it is necessary to re-analyze all the Ahď&#x20AC;ŞÄ dÄŤth on this subject to see whether they have been interpreted correctly.

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145 If all Ahď&#x20AC;ŞÄ dÄŤth pertaining to music are examined, the real picture which comes to light is that musical gatherings possessed various objectionable elements in them. The most prominent among them included lewdness and liquor consumption. Slave-girls used to dance before inebriated gatherings, where lewdness was rampant and promiscuity prevailed. They were a means of stimulating base emotions in people. There has been narrated in the Sď&#x20AC;Şahď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤhď&#x20AC;Ş of Al-BukhÄ rÄŤ one such incident from which the extent to which such gatherings of music and dance had reached can be imagined. It took place right after the battle of Badr:

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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Â&#x2021; : [ Ă&#x2021; f) O a = §%C? A SosA n CJ6 &;%C? ÂŁ(C? d  %6x  &C" D%C? E FCG ¢$  O y: d n4 &$ Â&#x2C6;   (!%g)  ($ dA A x7 Q:A CX yTÂ&#x192; 4 ÂĄxx|   D%C? E Â&#x201E;8 XA J () ^ ?A CxR: x7 ? &C" D%C? E FCG ¢$ f $d n CJ6 ;%C? KÂ? Yd Dx  %dA A x7 Q:Â&#x2020;X ys Â&#x2014;Wd ( Â&#x2020;$X (    A Â&#x2013; x$ %= ($d P Â&#x20AC;J4G J(X: < x5 RA )A $ %!X (" x? K% P Dd _  6$X _Â&#x20AC;J4Jg  9 Â&#x201A;x N $R Ă&#x2026;  s $x ~ X: [ a !  LÂ&#x2C6;  z  =Â&#x2020;   = J(X: <d )A Â&#x2014;WX xf R  xf R k : g )Â&#x2020;   yxR: &CX IQ ! OA  TsA xIxG4s 7xd ;$"A fJ!RA 9 w  xDC X 4 = TI  X  fC= ' $  f A: _ J($ %? {C A Â&#x2030;K$ %= xS $? : g )Â&#x2020;   yz [ P f %!  P 4I NC^x  !? d "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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9w  Ni4X 84}$ Â xv<C xw  A ;L $Â&#x20AC; P f X xDxd  GA IQ ! OA  TsA xIG4s d x;$ "A JNRÂ&#x2020;X Â&#x2019; %J6 Ă&#x2026;

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Hď&#x20AC;Şusayn ibn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;AlÄŤ reported that â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;AlÄŤ said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;From among the spoils of Badr, a she-camel was given to me as my share. Besides her, the Prophet (sws) also gave me another she-camel from [the gains of] khums. When my marriage was decided with Fatď&#x20AC;Şimah the daughter of the Prophet (sws), I made a deal with a goldsmith belonging to the tribe of Qaynuqaâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; that he would go with me to bring a special type of grass by loading it on the camels. By selling this grass to the goldsmiths I wanted to throw my walÄŤmah. For this, I arranged for ropes and packsaddle for my shecamels. These camels were sitting in the house of a person from the Ansď&#x20AC;ŞÄ r tribe. After gathering these things I went to the camels, I saw that someone had chopped off their humps and taken out their livers by cutting open their stomachs. I could not restrain my tears at this situation. I asked people: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Who is responsible for this?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; They replied: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Hď&#x20AC;Şamzah ibn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Abd al-Mutď&#x20AC;Ştď&#x20AC;Şalib; he is drinking liquor in this house along with many people of the Ansď&#x20AC;ŞÄ r. A songstress is also present there along with his friends. What happened was that when she sang the following words: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hď&#x20AC;Şamzah! Get up and slay these robust shecamels,â&#x20AC;? he immediately pounced on them with a sword and chopped off their humps, and took out their livers by slicing open their stomachs.â&#x20AC;?119 119. Al-BukhÄ rÄŤ, Al-JÄ miâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; al-sď&#x20AC;Şahď&#x20AC;ŞÄŤhď&#x20AC;Ş, vol. 4, 1470, (no. 3781).

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147 In other words, musical gatherings were not disallowed per se. it was because of these forbidden elements found in them that they were forbidden. Thus in some narratives musical instruments are censured because of this aspect.120 They were used in gatherings which were vulgar and lecherous. Their positive use was never forbidden: We find narratives which show that such music and songs were not disallowed by the Prophet (sws):

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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D%C? E FCG DC a4": J(C? sQ f = K<L ? ? 9 x? ? Ă&#x2C6;  Y  FC? 5Â&#x201A;^ q X ¨  xd 8 $Â&#x2C6;d  %}$Â&#x2C6;x   : R ~ $? &C"  $?  ^ %J< 9:  w a = (); ) X y \d 4dA sQ xD; R aJ4 n CJ6 D%C? DC a4": D%C? ! =Â&#x2020;X &C" D%C? E FCG ¢$ y%? n4  O R|X x;x wÂ&#x20AC; YÂ&#x20AC; CX x; ?Q a X â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Urwah reports that â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ä&#x20AC;â&#x20AC;&#x2122;ishah said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Prophet (sws) [once] came over to me. On this occasion, two slave-girls were singing the songs related to the battle of Buâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ä th. He lay down on a bed, and turned himself to the other side. [In the meantime], AbĹŤ Bakr came along and scolded me [for what was going on] and said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Why these devilish musical instruments in the presence of the Prophet (sws)?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; The Prophet turned and said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Leave them alone [and let them sing]. When AbĹŤ Bakr got involved in some work, I gestured towards these songstresses to go. So they went away. This was the day of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ÄŤd.121 120. Ibid., vol. 5, 2123, (no. 5268). 121. Ibid., vol. 1, 323, (no. 907).

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Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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It is evident from the above narrative that the Prophet (sws) did not prohibit singing and music on the occasion of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ÄŤd. Not only did he not express any resentment on the two slave-girls singing, he even stopped AbĹŤ Bakr (rta) from asking them to discontinue. The following narrative shows that singing with a musical instrument (tambourine) common in those times was also not prohibited by the Prophet (sws):

&C" D%C? E FCG ¢$ J(C? sQ f = yÂ&#x2014;}4 x f $d 5}%dv ? Â&#x2021;7   4xR (}$ {6C Â&#x201A;O ([X FC? ÂĄCÂ&#x201A;X J(C? ($xd 9Â&#x20AC; f = k y: d n4 J;L d  =   dx $ } v d  d ¤ &C" D%C? E FCG ¢$ a X yÂ&#x20AC; P  x&C  ÂŞ(!) $%X Â&#x2030;K : R _4 f $O  (4= T\I (4  Al-RabÄŤâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; bint Muâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;awwidh said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;When I departed as a bride [to my husbandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house], the Prophet (sws) came over to me and sat on my bedding the way you are sitting on it. At this time, our slave-girls were singing an elegy to the martyrs of Badr on a small tambourine. On this occasion, one of the slave-girls [while singing said the words]: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Present amongst us is the Prophet who knows what is going to happen in the future.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; At this the Prophet said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Do not say this but sing what you were singing before.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;?122 It is evident from some narratives that the Prophet 122. Ibid., vol. 4, 323, (no. 3779).

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149 (sws) had kept a person called Anjashah who was a camel-driver who would sing marching tunes to boost the speed of the camels. During one journey, when these camels were impelled to trudge faster by his chants, the Prophet (sws) lovingly chided him that he should think of the women riding the camels lest they should fall down because of their fast speed:

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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x )A $i 9Q = $i Â&#x2021;n JI $i  J! )osA xÂľ  " $i ÂĄ D a x yQ  &C" D%C? E FCG }(!J$C  O a = y{  d &C" D%C? E FCG ¢$ D a X 7 4Jg 6  O K<Â&#x201A; )A 8 6}$ KY q ($  9Q = a =  :4  6 \  K<Â&#x201A; )A # x: Anas reported that the Prophet had a camel-driver called Anjashah and he had a very melodious voice. [In one journey], the Prophet (sws) said to him: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sing slowly O Anjashah lest you might break these delicate crystals.â&#x20AC;? QatÄ dah clarified that this refers to 123 delicate women. In the light of this analysis, the prohibition of music can be easily understood: only music and songs which possessed an element of immorality in them had been forbidden. Music, it is clear, was not condemned because of any intrinsic evil in it but because it was responsible for stimulating base sentiments in a person. The main object of the religion revealed to the Prophet (sws) was to cleanse and purify human souls from evil. All means 123. Ibid., vol. 5, 2294, (no. 5857).

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150 which promote base emotions in people certainly could not be allowed in the society. He, therefore, strongly took exception to the gatherings of music and dance in order to rebuild the society on healthy lines. In short, the prohibition of music and songs pertains to a few specific forms of this art; if they are not vulgar and lewd in nature, they cannot be regarded as forbidden.

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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ii. Regarding IstikhÄ rah and Dreams

People generally think that istikhÄ rah is a sure-shot way to find out the will of the Almighty in a particular matter. For this they even go to professional istikhÄ rah-doers. It needs to be realized that istikhÄ rah is nothing but a supplication (duâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ä ) to God. It asks God to guide us in matters in which it is difficult to take a decision. One can see how powerful and potent is this prophetic supplication from its words:

{  C ¤X  {Â&#x2020; "A {: d #x:  "A { C d #xr| "A (}) J&x;C J&x;C z4x%xÂ&#x2C6;  xn C? f )A x&C ?A  x&C  x: =A  x:  {J)WX &%'  ~ A K!= ? ([   ($ Q (X ( Â&#x2021; %s  Â&#x2020;  TI A x&C  f $O   Â&#x2020;  TI A x&C  f  $O  D %X ( #: d J&i ( xS}6  ( xS : = X xD $? ($ X G (}$? xD X G X ~ A K!= ? ([   ($ Q (X ( ÂŞ[ ($q :A J&i  O Âł %  %|  ( : = O Allah! I seek what is better through Your Knowledge, and through Your Might I seek "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


151 strength, and I beg from You Your great blessings, because You have the might and I do not have the might. And You know everything and I do not know, and You have knowledge of the unseen. O Allah! If in Your Knowledge this action [which I intend to do] is better with regard to my religion, my life and my fate then destine it for me and make it easy for me and then add blessings to it for me. And O Allah! In Your knowledge if this action is bad for me, for my religion and for my fate, then turn it away from me and turn me away from it, and [O Allah!] whatever is better for me, ordain that for me 124 wherever it is, and then make me satisfied with it.

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

Now, like every supplication, the Almighty either positively responds to it through some indication or there can be times when He defers action on it depending upon His wisdom. Thus, it needs to be realized that the istikhārah is no more than a supplication and is not a formula to find out the will of God. Moreover, people generally think that only through dreams does one get an indication of Allah’s will after doing istikhārah. It is because of this misconception that they think that an indication through a dream is the only way to know the Almighty’s will in a particular matter. Actually, there are a number of ways in which this indication can come if at all. Dreams are just one of these. There may be several ways. For example, circumstances sometimes become more clear so that a person is able to judge for himself. Similarly, someone 124. Ibid., vol. 1, 391, (no. 1109).

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152 might just come along and help a person in his decision. Likewise, the Almighty may directly guide a person by giving him an inner indication. However, whatever be the source, it is imperative that an indication which is against divine revelation and sense and reason should not be accepted. One should always act according to one’s common sense, since this sense is the foremost guidance provided by the Almighty to man. Generally, dreams help us in deciding when there is an indication from no other source. Again, what is interpreted from them should not refute knowledge, common sense or experience if it is to be accepted and if it does refute any of these bases, then that interpretation must be ignored.

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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iii. Regarding the Return of Jesus (sws)

Muslims generally believe that near the end of this world, Jesus (sws) who was lifted alive from this earth will re-appear, and this re-appearance will actually be a sign of the coming of the Day of Judgement. While critically analyzing this issue, Ghāmidī writes:125 As far as the narratives which record the advent of Jesus (sws) are concerned, though the muhaddithūn have generally accepted them; however, if they are analyzed in the light of the Qur’ān, they too become dubious. 125. Ghāmidī, Mīzān, 178-179.

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153 Firstly, the personality of Jesus (sws) has been discussed in the Qur’ān from various aspects. The Qur’ān has commented on his da‘wah mission and his personality in many places. The cataclysm that will take place on the Day of Judgement is also a very frequently discussed topic of the Qur’ān. The advent of a celebrated prophet of God from the heavens is no small an incident. In spite of the fact that there were many instances in which this incident could have been mentioned, we find that there is not a single place in which it is mentioned in the Qur’ān. Can human knowledge and intellect be satisfied with this silence? One finds this hard to digest.

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

Secondly, the Qur’ān has recorded a dialogue of God with Jesus (sws) which will take place on the Day of Judgement. During the course of this conversation, the Almighty will ask him about the real sphere in which the Christians had gone astray: the divinity of Jesus (sws) and Mary. He will ask Jesus (sws) if it was as per his instructions that he had told people to deify himself and his mother whilst leaving aside God. In response to this question, among other things, Jesus (sws) will say that he instructed his people in the very manner he was asked by God and that as long as he remained among them he watched over what they were doing, and that after his own demise he was not aware of what good or evil they did, and that after his death it was God who watched over them. In this dialogue, one can clearly feel that the last sentence is very inappropriate if Jesus (sws) had also come to this world a second time. In such a case, "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


154 he should have responded by saying that he knew what happened with them and that a little earlier he had gone to warn them of their grievous faults. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n says:

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

om i.c id am rg g h d .o ad wri hm a da l-m ve .a .j a w w ww w w

f x $O &\Jd: (}d: DVC xx! ? A Dd ($ A   &x; xf C=  N  %=J f)A f$O ($ %X4 JCX &;%X xf xQ J %;[ &; %C? (,,0:-) Â&#x2021;%;[ y8 ([ Â&#x153;O FC? f)A &; %C? Never did I say to them except what You commanded me to do: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Worship Allah my Lord and your Lord,â&#x20AC;? and I was a witness over them while I dwelt with them. When You gave death to me, You were the Watcher over them and You are a witness over all things. (5:117) Thirdly, in one verse of the Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n, the Almighty has disclosed what will happen to Jesus (sws) and his followers till the Day of Judgement. Sense and reason demand that here He should also have disclosed his second coming before the advent of this Day; however, we find no such mention. If Jesus (sws) had to come, why was silence maintained at this instance? One is unable to comprehend any reason for it. The verse is:

 ? R xYO  T  #x};^x J( {x X: {%Â&#x153;X4x (})

&\x R  J( J&i K  %  n 4 F xYO  T Âľ 4X #4x !J  T (--:Â&#x152;) 4YC | D%X &x$O %X &\ $ %d x&\ Â&#x2020;X "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


155 “O Jesus! I have decided to give death to you and raise you to Myself and cleanse you from these people who have denied [you]. I shall make those who follow you superior to those who reject faith till the Day of Judgement. Then to Me you shall all return and I shall give My verdict in what you have been differing.” (3:55)

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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iv. Regarding Fate and Predestination

Some Muslims believe that their fate has been prewritten. If this is so, then why will some people be sent to Hell for deeds which were written down beforehand and they could do nothing about them? Also, what is the purpose of du’ā when it cannot change pre-determined fates? In this regard, if the following points of clarification are kept in mind, they may prove helpful in removing the confusion which in general seems to surround this concept of predestination: 1. The Almighty has given us the free will to select between good and evil. If a person intends to adopt the right path, it is up to him, and if he intends to adopt the wrong path, it is entirely his choice. It is after this liberty given to us in exercising our intention that the Almighty will reward or punish us. This retribution therefore will be based on our own deeds and not under any compulsion of fate. 2. Whatever is written about our fate, concerns Allah’s knowledge about our fate. His prior knowledge does not mean that we are under any compulsion to do what has "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


156 been written. It only means that He knows what we are going to do. Consequently, if Allah knows beforehand that such and such people will go to Hell or certain others will go to heaven, then it only means that such people will do the deeds which will lead them to a bad fate. In other words, a person’s deeds will determine his fate only. However, whatever deeds he will do are already in the knowledge of Allah. 3. Du‘ā has a great significance since it is an expression of tawh~īd. There are things which will be given to us if we only ask for them; otherwise we will not receive them. In other words, they are dependent upon du‘ā. So one cannot and should not disregard it.

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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v. Regarding the Prohibition of Portraits and Pictures

It is believed that Islam prohibits making pictures of living-beings.126 Unfortunately, the stance of Islam on this issue has been grossly misunderstood. It is not true that Islam prohibits pictures and portraits in the absolute sense. Only pictures which cultivate sentiments of worship in people are prohibited. Thus we see that not only does the Qur’ān not mention any such prohibition, it, in fact, praises the pictures and sculptures made by the Prophet Solomon (sws). Had there been any issue of prohibition with them, it would certainly have condemned this act: 126. See, for example: Badr al-Dīn Mahmūd ibn Ahmad ibn Mūsā ibn Ahmad al-‘Aynī, ‘Umdah al-qarī sharh Sahīh alBukhārī, vol 22 (Beirut: Dār ihyā’ al-turāth al-‘arabī, n.d.), 70.

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Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

157

 4Â&#x201A;  O y YR %i  N : J  8 <  xD 4C  z x:4\J< ~Q !? } Â&#x2030;%C=  \x[ QxQ a 4C ? y7 %"J: y:x= (,Â&#x152;:Â&#x152;Â&#x201C;)

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They made for him whatever he pleased: shrines and 127 tamÄ sÄŤl and basins as large as watering-troughs, and built-in cauldrons. We said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Act with gratitude House of David.â&#x20AC;? Yet few of My servants are truly thankful. (34:13) We find more detail in the Bible regarding the portraits and statues placed in the Temple of Solomon: In the inner sanctuary he made a pair of cherubim of olive wood, each ten cubits high. One wing of the first cherub was five cubits long, and the other wing five cubitsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;ten cubits from wing tip to wing tip. The second cherub also measured ten cubits, for the two cherubim were identical in size and shape. The height of each cherub was ten cubits. He placed the cherubim inside the innermost room of the temple, with their wings spread out. The wing of one cherub touched one wall, while the wing of the other touched the other wall, and their wings touched each other in the middle of the room. He overlaid the cherubim with gold. On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers. (1 Kings, 6:23-29) 127. The word tamÄ sÄŤl is the plural of timsÄ l and denotes portraits and statues of both living and non-living beings.

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Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

158

He also made ten movable stands of bronze; each was four cubits long, four wide and three high. This is how the stands were made: They had side panels attached to uprights. (1 Kings, 7:27-28)

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The face of a man toward the palm tree on one side and the face of a lion toward the palm tree on the other. They were carved all around the whole temple. From the floor to the area above the entrance, cherubim and palm trees were carved on the wall of the outer sanctuary. The outer sanctuary had a rectangular doorframe, and the one at the front of the Most Holy Place was similar. (Ezekiel, 41:19-21) It is thus clear that the Qur’ān does not prohibit portrait and images in the absolute sense. The source of this prohibition are certain Ahādīth. By collecting and analyzing all these Ahādīth, the complete picture which emerges is that a particular category of pictures and portraits had acquired the status of idols and were worshipped. They were regarded as deities by the people of Arabia. As such, they used to consider them alive and capable of granting them their wishes.128 They used to bow down before them in adoration. There were many sacred pictures drawn on the walls, columns and the roof of the Ka‘bah, as a study of its history reveals. Consequently, there is mention of the fact that the 128. See: Jawwād ‘Alī, Al-Mufassal fī tārīkh al-‘arab qabl al-islām, 2nd ed. vol. 6 (Beirut: Dār al-‘ilm li al-malāyīn, 1986), 141; Ibid., vol. 6, 69.

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159 portraits of Abraham (sws), Jesus (sws) and Maryam (rta) were sketched on its columns.129 In the light of these details, the prohibition of portraits can easily be understood: only portraits which possess religious sanctity and lead people into worshipping them are prohibited. Pictures, photographs and image-making, it is clear, is not condemned because of any intrinsic evil in them, but because they contribute to the polytheistic tendencies of people. The Qurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ä n regards monotheism as the fundamental article of faith, and the Prophet (sws) considered it his duty to eliminate any traces of polytheism in the society; therefore, he ordered for the elimination of portraits and images which had assumed the status of gods. Consequently, if these Ahď&#x20AC;ŞÄ dÄŤth are carefully studied, the words which cannot be missed are â&#x20AC;&#x153;such picturesâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;these picturesâ&#x20AC;?, which point only to a certain type of portraits and not to all forms.130 In this regard, another Hď&#x20AC;ŞadÄŤth often quoted in support of their total and unconditional prohibition has also not been interpreted correctly. The words of the Prophet (sws) as quoted in the SahÄŤh of al-BukhÄ rÄŤ are:

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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E FCG DC a4x": A SosA ;$? E (q: ?x d DC  !? n4 4xdT x :4vg STI 4x $ g  T  a = &C" D%C? 129. See, for example: AbĹŤ al-WalÄŤd Muhď&#x20AC;Şammad ibn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;AbdullÄ h ibn Ahď&#x20AC;Şmad al-AzraqÄŤ, AkhbÄ r Makkah, vol. 1 (Beirut: DÄ r al-Andalus li al-nashr, 1996), 165. 130. See, for example: Al-BukhÄ rÄŤ, Al-JÄ mi â&#x20AC;&#x2DC; al-sahÄŤh, vol. 6, 2747, (no. 7119) ; Muslim, Al-JÄ mi â&#x20AC;&#x2DC; al-sahÄŤh, vol. 3, 1629 (no. 2107).

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Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

160

&x Cs  4x% A &¡ a x K %  â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;AbdullÄ h ibn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Umar reports from the Prophet (sws): â&#x20AC;&#x153;Indeed creators of such pictures will be punished on the Day of Judgement and it would be said to them: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Inject life in what you have created.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? 131

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These words actually point to what has been stated earlier. People used to regard these images as living beings and as such used to invoke their help. The HadÄŤth warns such people and says that those who believe that these images are living creatures and will save them on the Day of Judgement from the wrath of the Almighty, shall actually be asked to inject life in them on that Day to redeem them of their punishment. This demand, of course, will only be meant to add insult to injury. It is therefore evident that the prohibition of pictures pertains to a specific form. If the art of image-making and sculpturing does not cultivate the sentiments of worship towards something, then it is certainly not disallowed. Islam has no objection against photographs, which, today, have become a social need as well in the form of identity cards, passports, etc, whether they are made by a still camera or a video camera. Similarly, pictures of oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relatives and family bear no label of prohibition. ____________

131. Al-BukhÄ rÄŤ, Al-JÄ miâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; al-sahÄŤh, vol. 5, 2220, (no. 5607).

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Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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i. Hamīd al-Dīn al-Farāhī

132

133

Al-Farāhī was born in 1863 in Phriha (hence the name Farāhī), a small village in Azamgarh district (Uttar Pardesh, India). He was a cousin of the famous theologian-historian Shiblī Nu‘mānī (d. 1914), from whom he learnt Arabic. He studied Arabic literature with Fayd al-Hasan Sahāranpūrī (d. 1887), who was considered a master in this field at that time. At the age of twenty one, he took admission in the Aligarh Muslim College to study modern disciplines of knowledge. Here he also learnt Hebrew from the German Orientalist Josef Horovitz (d. 1931). After his graduation from the Allahbad university, he taught at various institutions including Aligarh and Dār al-‘ulūm, Hyderabad. Whilst teaching at the Dār al-‘ulūm, al-Farahī proposed the setting up of a university where all religious and modern sciences would be taught in Urdu. Later in 1919, his vision materialized in the form of 132. Expanded from: Mustansir Mir, Coherence in the Qur’ān, A Study of Nazm in Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, 1st ed. (Indianapolis: American Trust Publications, 1986), 6-9. 133. Sharf al-Dīn Islāhī, Dhikr-i Farāhī, 1st ed. (Lahore: Dār al-tadhkīr, 2002), 68.

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162 Jāmi‘ah ‘Uthmāniyyah, Hyderabad. In 1925, he returned to his home town Azamgarh and took charge of the Madrasah al-Islāh. Here, besides managing the affairs of the Madrasah, al-Farāhī devoted most of his time in training a few students. Among them, was Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, who was destined to become the greatest exponent of his thought after him. Farāhī died on 11th November 1930 in Mithra, where he had gone for treatment. For almost fifty years, al-Farāhī reflected over the Qur’an, which remained his chief interest and the focal point of all his writings. His greatest contribution is to re-direct the attention of Muslim scholars to the Qur’ān as the basis and ultimate authority in all matters of religion. He stressed that the Qur’ān should be practically regarded as the mīzān (the scale that weighs the truth) and the furqān (the distinguisher between good and evil), a status which it invests on itself. Thus Ahādīth cannot change or modify the Qur’ān in any way. They should be interpreted in the light shed by this divine book and not vice versa. It was as a result of this status of the Qur’ān that he insisted on the univocity of the Qur’ānic text and rejected that variant readings be regarded as the Qur’ān per se. It was his deep deliberation on the Qur’ān that led him to unfold its nazm (coherence) in a unique way. By taking into consideration, the three constituents of nazm: order (tartīb), proportion (tanāsub) and unity (wahdāniyyah), he proved that a single interpretation of the Qur’ān was possible. This alone was a far reaching consequence of the principle of Qur’ānic nazm. Serious differences in the interpretation of the Qur’ān which

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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163 have given rise to the menace of religious sectarianism are actually the result of disregarding thematic and structural coherence in the arrangement and mutual relationship of various Qur’ānic verses and paragraphs. Each sect has adopted its interpretation because isolating a verse from its context can associate multiple meanings to it. It is only the coherence of the Qur’ān, which if considered leads to a definite and integrated understanding of the Divine Message. Al-Farāhī also made another significant contribution by rewriting and reconstructing most sub-disciplines of the Arabic language needed to study the Qur’ān. Almost all of al-Farāhī’s works are in Arabic. Except for a few, most of them are in the form of notes and unfinished books. He could only complete a few of them. Foremost among them is a collection of his interpretation of fourteen sūrahs of the Qur’ān by the name Majmū‘ah tafāsīr-i Farāhī. In his Mufradāt alQur’ān, he explained some difficult words and constructions of the Qur’ān. He elucidated the nature of oaths and adjurations in the Qur’ān in his book entitled Al-Im‘ān fī aqsām al-Qur’ān. In his book, Al-Rā’y alsahīh fī man huwa al-dhabīh, he elaborated upon the philosophy of sacrifice and by furnishing evidences from the Qur’ān and the Torah convincingly refuted the claim of the Jews that it was Isaac (sws) not lshmael (sws) whom Abraham (sws) had intended to sacrifice. He relaid the principles of rhetoric needed to study the Qur’ān in Jamhurah al-balāghah and outlined some special Qur’ānic styles and constructions in Asālīb al-Qur’ān. The arguments he presented to verify the principle of coherence are soundly enlisted in Dalā’il al-nizām. His

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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164 complete mastery of Arabic and Persian can be seen from his poetical works in both these languages. Besides these scholarly dissertations, there are at least twenty other unfinished works which need to be completed and developed further. www.hamid-uddin-farahi.org is a resource site on his life and works

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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ii. Amīn Ahsan Islāhī

Islāhī was born in 1904 at Bambhūr, a small village in Azamgarh (U.P.), India. He passed out from the Madrasah al-Islāh around 1922. The teacher which influenced him the most during his student life at the Madrasah was ‘Abd al-Rahmān Nigrāmī (d. 1928?), himself a versatile genius. Nigrāmī’s attention helped him in developing a profound inclination towards Arabic literature. After graduating from the Madrasah, he entered the field of journalism. For a while, he edited a newspaper Madīnah at Bijnawr and also remained associated with Sach, a newspaper edited by the luminary ‘Abd al-Mājid Daryābādī (d. 1977). From 1925-1930, he remained with al-Farāhī like his shadow. It was in this forming period of his life in which he developed a deep understanding of the Qur’ān and learnt from al-Farāhī the principles of direct deliberation on the Book of Allah. After al-Farāhī’s death, Islāhī studied Hadīth from a celebrated scholar of this discipline, ‘Abd al-Rahmān Muhaddith Mubārakpurī (d. 1935). In 1936, he founded the Dā’irah-i Hamidiyyah, a small institute to disseminate the Qur’ānic thought of alFarāhī. Under the auspices of this institute, he brought out a monthly journal, al-Islāh, in which he translated "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


165 many portions of al-Farāhī’s treatises written in Arabic. Islāhī was among the founder members of the Jamā‘at-i Islāmī, a religious party founded by the eminent Islamic scholar, Abū al-A‘lā Mawdūdī (d. 1979), in 1941. In 1958, he abandoned the Jamā‘at, after serious differences arose between him and Mawdūdī on the nature of the constitution of the Jamā‘at. After leaving the Jamā‘at, he finally got the chance to fulfil his cherished goal of writing a commentary on the Qur’ān. He also launched a monthly journal Mithāq in which portions of this commentary, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, were published. In 1961, he established a small study circle Halqah Tadabbur-i Qur’ān for college students to whom he taught Arabic language and literature, the Holy Qur’ān and the al-Jāmi‘ al-sahīh of Imām Muslim. He also taught Shāh Walī Ullāh’s Hujjatullāh al-bālighah and Ibn Khaldūn’s Muqaddimah to some pupils. It was on the 29th of Ramadān 1400/ 12th August 1980 when the great day arrived – the day when a monumental effort reached its culmination: the Tadabbur-i Qur’ān had taken twenty-two long years to complete. In the Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, he produced a masterpiece of tafsīr which does not simply reflect the principles of his illustrious mentor, al-Farāhī: it also bears the stamp of originality. It is indeed a unique work that has ushered in a new era in the field of scriptural interpretation. Islāhī proved from a Qur’ānic verse that the Almighty has divided the Qur’ān in seven discrete groups keeping in view the preaching mission of the Prophet Muhammad (sws). Each of these groups has a theme and sūrahs are arranged in a group keeping in view this theme. Within a group, the sūrahs themselves generally occur in pairs with

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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166 regard to the subject discussed in them. Each sūrah also has a specific theme which is the most comprehensive statement of its contents. In 1981, Islāhī founded the Idarah Tadabbur-i Qur’ān-o Hadith, which remained until his death (15th December 1997) the centre of his intellectual activities. A quarterly journal Tadabbur was taken out in 1981 as its organ. He gave weekly lectures on the text of the Qur’ān. Later, he took up deep study on the principles of Hadith and began teaching al-Mu’attā’ of Imām Mālik in weekly sittings to a close circle of students and associates. After completing al-Mu’attā’, he also taught some portions of Imām al-Bukhārī’s al-Jāmi‘ al-sahīh. Besides the Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, Islāhī authored a number of books in Urdu on various topics of Islam. They include Tazkiyah-i nafs (Purification of the Soul), Haqīqat-i shirk-o tawhīd (The Essence of Polytheism and Monotheism), Da‘wat-i dīn awr us ka tarīqah-i kār (Islamic Message and the Mode of its Preaching), Islāmī riyāsat (The Islamic State), Mabādī tadabbur-i Qur’ān (Principles of Understanding the Qur’ān), Mabādī tadabbur-i Hadīth (Principles of Understanding the Hadīth), Islāmī riyāsat mayn fiqhī ikhtilāfāt kā hal (Solution of Juristic Differences in an Islamic State) and Islāmī qānūn kī tadwīn (Codification of Islamic Law). Islāhī also translated al-Fārahī’s commentary consisting of fourteen sūrahs of the Qur’ān, as well as his following books from Arabic: Fī man huwa aldhabīh (Which of Abraham’s son was Sacrificed?) and Aqsām al-Qur’ān (Oaths of the Qur’ān). www.amin-ahsan-islahi.com is a resource site on his life and works.

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

167

iii. Jāved Ahmad Ghāmidī

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Jāved Ahmad Ghāmidī was born in 1951 in a village of Sāhīwāl, a district of the Punjab province. After matriculating from a local school, he came to Lahore in 1967. He did his BA honours (part I) in English Literature from the Government College, Lahore in 1972 and studied Islamic disciplines in the traditional manner from various teachers and scholars throughout his early years. In 1973, he came under the tutelage of Amīn Ahsan Islāhī (d. 1997), who was destined to who have a deep impact on him. He was also associated with the famous scholar and revivalist Abū al-A‘lā Mawdūdī (d. 1979) for several years. He taught Islamic studies at the Civil Services Academy for more than a decade from 1979 to 1991. Ghāmidī has written and lectured widely on the Qur’ān, Islamic law and various other aspects of Islam. He is the founder-president of Al-Mawrid, Foundation for Islamic Research and Education (www.al-mawrid.org) and is the chief editor of the Urdu Monthly “Ishraq” (www.javedahmadghamidi.com/index.php/ishraq) and the English Monthly “Renaissance” (www.monthlyrenaissance.com). He is also the founder of the Mus‘ab School System (www.musab.edu.pk). He appears regularly on various tv channels to discuss Islam and some contemporary issues as a part of his campaign to educate people about Islam. His talks and lectures can be accessed online from www.tv-almawrid.org. Ghāmidī has drawn heavily from the Qur’ānic thought of his two illustrious predecessors, Hamīd al-Dīn alFarāhī and Amīn Ahsan Islāhī presenting many of their "All rights of this book are reserved for the publisher and the author. This copy is for reading purpose only. This copy cannot be uploaded on any website except those of the publisher and the author."


168 views in a more precise manner. However, many of his contributions to the Islamic thought are original. Both these features can be witnessed in his ongoing annotated translation of the Qur’ān, al-Bayān. It takes the reader close to the classical Arabic of the Qur’ān in which ideas are conveyed with brevity and terseness. Words and concepts which are understood are suppressed and left to the perspicacity of the reader. To achieve this brevity, various devices are employed in classical Arabic which are not found in most other languages. Ghāmidī has tried to unfold the meaning of the divine message by taking into consideration these devices within the text of the translation. Another original contribution of Ghāmidī is his categorization of the contents of religion. According to him, the Qur’ān itself divides the contents of Islam in two categories: al-Hikmah and al-Sharī‘ah. Whilst the former refers to topics related to the philosophy of religion, the latter to those that relate to law. Ghāmidī further classifies these two categories into subcategories. The former comprises two sub-categories: Faith and Ethics and the latter comprises ten subcategories: The Sharī‘ah of Worship Rituals, The Social Sharī‘ah, The Political Sharī‘ah, The Economic Sharī‘ah, The Sharī‘ah of Preaching, The Sharī‘ah of Jihād, The Penal Sharī‘ah, The Dietary Sharī‘ah, Islamic Customs and Etiquette, Oaths and their Atonement. In each of these categories, Ghāmidī has made unique contributions in interpreting the directives of the Qur’ān. Examples include his views on the specific nature of the preaching mission of Abraham’s progeny, the punishment of apostasy, the testimony and

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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169 diyat of women, the etiquette of gender interaction, slavery in Islam, the requisites of citizenship, inheritance laws and the general and specific directives of jihād. Ghāmidī has also contributed to the science of hermeneutics. He has enunciated foundational principles of understanding Islam in his essay, Usūl-o mabādī (Fundamental Principles). These principles take into account the specific nature of the texts of the Qur’ān and Hadīth. One distinctive feature of the approach that pervades these principles is what can be summed up in the form of a dictum: the Hadīth should be interpreted in the light shed by the Qur’ān and not vice versa. An important contribution of Ghāmidī is the distinction he has made between sharī‘ah and fiqh. They are generally rather loosely regarded as synonymous. Whilst the former is divine, the latter is a human endeavour and thus the two must be distinguished from one another. In his seminal work on Islam, Mīzān, he has attempted to decipher the sharī‘ah from the sources of Islam. Another prominent contribution of Ghāmidī is his concept and definition of the word Sunnah. Whilst categorizing it to be distinct from Hadīth, he has laid down certain principles to precisely determine its corpus. By applying these principles, he has actually come up with a list of contents of the Sunnah. Ghāmidī has also presented an integrated framework of the concepts and terms of Islam in his essay Haqīqat-i dīn (The Essence of Religion). This framework in itself is a representative of a complete interpretation of Islam in contrast with the two other prevailing interpretations of Islam in the Muslim ummah: the tasawwuf-based interpretation and the jihād-based interpretation.

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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170 Burhān and Maqāmāt are two of Ghāmidī’s other books. The former is a treatise in which contemporary religious thoughts have been critically analyzed, while the latter is a collection of religious and literary essays. www.javedahmadghamidi.com is a resource site on his life and works.

Appendix: Brief Biographical Notes

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Common Misconceptions about Islam