Special Virtues of the Last Ten Days of Ramadan: Urdu Article
by Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Ramadan & The Holy Quran: Urdu Article
By Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
By From Faza'il-e-A'maal
Salman, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports, "On the last day of Shaban Rasulullah addressed us and said, 'O people there comes over you now a great month, a most blessed month in which lies a night more greater in virtue than a thousand months. It is a month in which Allah has made Fasting compulsory by day. And has made sunnah the Taraweeh by night. Whosoever intends drawing near to Allah by performing any virtuous deed, for such person shall be the reward like the one who had performed a fardh in any other time. And whoever performs a fardh, shall be blessed with the reward of seventy faraa-idh in any other time.
This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward for true patience is Jannah ( paradise. It is the month of sympathy with one's fellowmen. It is the month wherein a true believer's rizq is increased. Whosoever feeds another who fasted, in order to break the fast at sunset, for the feeder there shall be forgiveness of sins and emancipation from the fire of Jahannam (hell}, and for such feeder shall be the same reward as the one who Fasted (who he fed) without that persons reward being decreased in the least."
Thereupon we said, "O messenger of Allah, not all of us possess the means whereby we can give a fasting person to break his fast." Rasulullah replied, "Allah grants the same reward to the one who gives a fasting person to break the fast a mere date, or a drink of water, or a sip of milk."
"This is a month, the first of which brings Allah's mercy, the middle of which brings His forgiveness and the last of which brings emancipation from the fire of Jahan-nam."
"Whosoever lessens the burden of his servants (bonds-men) in this month, Allah will forgive him and free him from the fire of Jahannam."
"And in this month four things you should continue to perform in great number, two of which shall be to please your Lord, while the other two shall be those without which you cannot do. Those which shall be to please your Lord, are that you should in great quantity bear witness that there is no deity to worship except Allah (i.e. recite the Kalimah Tayyibah Laa llaaha illallaah) and make much Istighfaar beg Allah's forgiveness with Astagirfirul-laah)." And as for those without which you cannot do, you should beg of Allah, entrance into paradise and ask refuge in Him from Jahannam."
"And whoever gave a person who fasted water to drink, Allah shall grant that giver to drink from My fountain, such a drink where after that person shall never again feel thirsty until he enters Jannah."
By From Bahishti Zewar
1. Rasulullah said: "The sleep of a fasting person is regarded as an act of ibaadah, his remaining silent is regarded as a tasbeeh, the reward for his good deeds is multiplied, his duas are accepted, and his sins are forgiven."
2. It is mentioned in a Hadith that fasting is a shield and a strong fortress in order to save oneself from hell. In other words, just as a person seeks refuge in a strong fortress or by means of a shield from an enemy, in the same way, one gets salvation from hell by fasting. By fasting, a person's power of committing sins gets weak, and his power to do good gets stronger. When a person fasts in the proper manner and implements all the etiquette of fasting, he will free himself of sins and gain salvation from hell.
3. It is mentioned in a Hadith that fasting is a shield as long as it is not destroyed by lies and backbiting. In other words, fasting works as a shield as explained above. But this is on the condition that the person abstains from sinning. If a person fasts and still speaks lies, backbites, and commits other sins, then although he will be absolved of the fard of fasting, he will be committing a major sin. Furthermore, he will be deprived of the barakah of fasting.
4. It is mentioned in a Hadith that fasting is a shield. The person who awakens in the morning in a state of fasting should not commit any act of ignorance. If a person approaches him in an ignorant way, he should not reply him in the same ignorant manner nor should he address him disrespectfully. Instead, he should inform him that he is fasting. By him in whose control is the life of Muhammad , the smell that emanates from the mouth of a fasting person is more beloved in the sight of Allah Ta'ala than the fragrance of musk. In other words, on the day of judgement, the smell that emanates from the mouth of a fasting person will be replaced with a fragrance even better than musk. This fragrance will emanate from the mouth of the fasting person and it will be most beloved in the sight of Allah Ta'ala. This foul smell that emanates from a fasting person in this world will actually be a source of attaining that fragrance in the hereafter.
5. It is mentioned in a Hadith that at the time of opening the fast, the person is permitted to make a dua whose acceptance is promised.
6. It is mentioned in a Hadith that Rasulullah addressed two persons saying: "You should fast because fasting is a shield in order to save oneself from hell and in order to save oneself from the difficulties of time." In other words, one will be saved from hell and also from the difficulties and calamities of this world.
7. It is mentioned in a Hadith that on the day of judgement, three persons will not have to give an account of the food that they ate, immaterial of what they ate as long as it is halal. They are: the fasting person, the person who makes sehri, and the person who is stationed on the borders of the Islamic state safeguarding it from being invaded by the kuffaar. This is a great concession for these three persons that they have been absolved from giving an account of their eating. It should be borne in mind that despite this concession, one should not spend a lot of money and time in preparing very exquisite meals. Spending a lot of time in preparing delicacies turns one away from the remembrance of Allah Ta'ala and gives impetus to one's power of committing sins. This should always be borne in mind. One should value the bounties that Allah Ta'ala has blessed one with. The best way of showing gratitude to Allah Ta'ala is that one should obey all His commands and orders.
8. It is mentioned in a Hadith that the person who feeds a fasting person at the time of opening fast will receive the same reward as that of the fasting person without there being any decrease in the reward of the fasting person. In other words, through the mercy and generosity of Allah Ta'ala, both of them will receive the same reward. This will apply even if the person feeds him with a very simple or insignificant meal. Even if he merely gives him some water to drink.
9. It is mentioned in a Hadith that Allah Ta'ala multiplies the rewards of His pious servants by ten times up to 700 times except for the reward of fasting. In other words, there is no limit for the reward of fasting. As regards fasting, Allah Ta'ala says: "It is for Me alone and I will give the reward for it." From this we can gauge how great the reward of fasting is that there is no limit to the rewards. In addition to this, Allah Ta'ala will give the reward for fasting Himself and will not delegate this task to the angels. Glory be to Allah Ta'ala for attaching such importance to this little effort on our part. However, it should be borne in mind that all these virtues and benefits of fasting will only come into effect when we fulfil this duty as it ought to be fulfilled, and only when we abstain from speaking lies, backbiting, and all other sins. In the month of Ramadaan, some people leave out their Salats completely while others miss out the fajr Salat. In doing so, they are depriving themselves of the numerous blessings and rewards of fasting. Furthermore, by reading this Hadith, one should not have this misconception that fasting is more virtuous than Salat because Salat is the most virtuous of all the different acts of ibaadah. The meaning of this Hadith is that there is a very great reward for fasting and it does not mean that fasting is the most virtuous act of ibaadah. The above-mentioned Hadith continues that there are two times of extreme happiness for the fasting person. The first time of happiness is when he opens his fast and the second time is on the day of judgement. That is, when he meets Allah Ta'ala, as mentioned in other Ahaadith.
10. It is mentioned in a Hadith that on the first night of Ramadaan the doors of heaven are opened. These doors remain open right till the end of Ramadaan. There is no Muslim who offers Salat in any of the nights of this month except that he receives 2500 rewards for every rakaat that he offers. In addition to this, Allah Ta'ala will construct a palace of rubies. This palace will have sixty doors. Each of these doors will have a golden chamber which will be decorated with rubies.
When the person keeps the first fast of Ramadaan, all the minor sins that he had committed during the past year since the first fast of the last Ramadaan will be forgiven. In addition to this, 70 000 angels will make dua for his forgiveness daily from morning till sunset. For every rakaat of Salat that he offers in Ramadaan, whether it be during the day or at night, he will be rewarded with a tree in paradise. The shade of this tree will be such that a traveller will be able to travel beneath it for a journey of 500 years.
How great is the virtue of fasting! O Muslims! Never allow yourself to miss any fast. In fact, if you have the strength, then keep nafl fasts as well. Show total love for Allah Ta'ala who is so merciful that He is rewarding us so abundantly in exchange for a little effort on our part. At least make Allah Ta'ala your beloved for your own benefit in that you will receive the abundant benefits of jannah.
11. It is mentioned in a Hadith that jannah is decorated from the beginning of the year till the end of the year especially for Ramadaan. In addition to this, the large-eyed Hoors of jannah decorate and beautify themselves from the beginning of the year till the end of the year especially for the fasting persons. When Ramadaan commences, jannah says to Allah Ta'ala: "O Allah! Enter your pious servants into me in this month." As for the large-eyed Hoors, they say: "O Allah! Appoint husbands for us from among your pious servants."
The person who did not slander anyone in this month and did not consume any intoxicants shall have all his sins wiped out. As for the one who slanders someone or consumes any intoxicant, all his good deeds for the past year will be wiped out. In other words, he will be committing a major sin. It should be borne in mind that just as rewards are multiplied in a holy month, punishment is also increased if a sin is committed in a holy month. One should ponder over the warning in this Hadith.
Fear the month of Ramadaan because it is the month of Allah Ta'ala. In this month, Allah Ta'ala has ordered His servants to emulate His practice by abstaining from food and drink. Since Allah Ta'ala is pure from food and drink all the time, this month of Ramadaan has been specially attached to Him. As for the other months, they all belong to Him as well. Allah Ta'ala has given you eleven months in which you can eat, drink, and indulge in other halal pleasures. He has set aside just one month for Himself in which He has ordered you to abstain from food, drink, and other halal pleasures. Therefore, fear the month of Ramadaan, for most certainly, it belongs to Allah Ta'ala.
Obey Allah Ta'ala in this month and abstain from sins. Although obedience to Allah Ta'ala is necessary all the time, it's importance is stressed in particular places such as Makkah al-Mukarramah and Madinah al-Munawwarah; and at particular times such as in the month of Ramadaan. Special attention should be paid to abstaining from sins at such places and at such times because just as rewards are multiplied at these times and places, so too is punishment.
12. It is mentioned in a Hadith that when food is presented to you at the time of iftaar, then prior to opening your fast you should recite the following dua:
Translation: "In the name of Allah. All praise is due to Allah. O Allah! I have fasted for Your pleasure, it is with Your sustenance that I am opening my fast, and I have placed complete trust in You. Glory be to You and praise be to You. Accept this fast from me for most surely You are All-Hearing, All-Knowing."
13. It is mentioned in a Hadith that when you open your fast, it is preferable to open it with dry dates because there is a lot of blessing in this. If you do not have dates, open your fast with water because water is a great purifier. In certain Ahadith it is also mentioned that the fast should be opened with milk.
14. It is mentioned in a Hadith that the person who keeps fast for 40 days solely for the pleasure of Allah Ta'ala shall have whatever dua he makes to Allah Ta'ala accepted. In other words, this person will become so beloved in the sight of Allah Ta'ala that whatever dua he makes will be accepted by Allah Ta'ala if He feels that it will be to the benefit of that person. The respected sufis, may Allah Ta'ala be pleased with them, have laid down a system of cutting off all relations with this world for forty days and engaging in the ibaadah of Allah Ta'ala in a musjid. In addition to this, the person must fast for these forty days while he is in the musjid. By doing this, the person will benefit tremendously and will also develop the strength to do good deeds. Through the barakah of this, he will receive special knowledge from Allah Ta'ala and he will also be blessed with a deep understanding of things.
15. It is mentioned in a Hadith that the person who fasts on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays of every sacred month, he will receive the reward of making ibaadah for 700 years. There are four months which are sacred. They are: Rajab, Zul Qa'dah, the first ten days of Zul Hijjah, and Muharram. However, it should be borne in mind that it is haram to fast on the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th of Zul Hijjah.
16. It is mentioned in a Hadith that the person who keeps three fasts in the sacred months, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, he will receive the reward of making ibaadah for two years. That is, on the Day of Judgement it will be written in his book of deeds that he had made ibaadah for two years in return for these three days of fasting.
MUFTI MOHAMMAD ANWAR KHAN
Maulana Shah Abdul Qadir Raipuri, the celebrated spiritual reformer and well-known guide of Sufism in India, was born in 1296 A.H., in the village of Dhadiyal located in Sargodha District of Punjab Province of modern day Pakistan. His father, Hafiz Ahmad, was a righteous individual who belonged to a family steeped in religious learning and piety. Thus, when Maulana Raipuri was born, he was surrounded by Islamic scholarship and religiosity. As the Maulana’s life shows, he too began to develop a thirst for knowledge that was a common trait amongst his family members. In his early years, Maulana Abdul Qadir Raipuri committed to memory the entire Holy Qur’an under the guidance of his uncle, Maulana Kalimullah. It was also under the tutelage of his uncle that he acquired knowledge of the Persian language. As he continued his studies, Maulana Raipuri had the privilege of learning the Arabic language from Maulana Muhammad Rafiq, a renowned scholar from amongst the most talented students of Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi. He also traveled to Delhi, where he studied the subject of hadith in Madrasa Abdur Rabb from Maulana Abdul Ali as well as Sunan at-Tirmidhi from the great Maulana Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmiri. All in all, Maulana Abdul Qadir Raipuri vigorously pursued his academic endeavors and he fulfilled the courses of the general Islamic syllabus by traveling to different Islamic schools and institutions in India. At the culmination of his studies, Maulana Raipuri was an expert in logic and philosophy.
After achieving his goals in his studies of the religious books of his time, Maulana Raipuri dedicated himself to the task of learning Greek medicine. Once he had successfully acquired the depth and breadth of the medicinal sciences, he opened a clinic in Afzal Garh, a small town in the district of Bijnor, where he assisted in providing relief for the sick. Later in life, he traveled to Bareilly in U.P. and conducted classes on Qur’an and hadith. Maulana had always had an enquiring mind, which compelled him to spend his life in pursuit of knowledge. His continuous journey in search of truth required that he travel to different localities in India, which concluded after his meeting with Maulana Abdur Rahim Raipuri. After his first encounter with the wise scholar, he felt a desire kindle within him to remain in his company and have the opportunity to live under his new mentor’s guardianship who would help him develop his intellect, his morals, and most importantly, his soul. While Maulana Abdur Rahim advised his newfound student to head for Gangoh in order to learn from Maulana Rasheed Ahmad, his apprentice could not bear to part ways with him. Eventually, Maulana Abdul Qadir pledged himself to a spiritual allegiance under Maulana Abdur Rahim. His teacher counseled him to become more punctual in his task of worshipping Allah and remembering Him throughout the day as he carried out the daily tasks that needed his attention. Soon, many students would flock to his school in search of spiritual knowledge, which is the first step for the seekers of truth in the science of Tasawuff.
As time passed, Maulana Abdul Qadir began to develop the spiritual perception known as Wuquf Al Qalb, a state in which an individual constantly reflects on the signs of Allah while carrying out his daily tasks. The Maulana would devote his whole day in remembering Allah while serving his spiritual guide and teaching students of knowledge. His nights were filled with devotions and determined supplications to Allah, the Almighty. Maulana Abdur Rahim was pleased with the piety and spiritual progress of his student. At the time of his death, he declared Maulana Abdul Qadir to be his foremost successor and spiritual inheritor and urged him to spend the rest of his life in Raipur so that people may benefit from his knowledge and company. It is for this reason that the Maulana has always been remembered as “Maulana Raipuri.’
After his teacher’s demise, Maulana Abdul Qadir followed in the footsteps of his beloved mentor and devoted his efforts to the spiritual reformation of thousands of new students who traveled to him from different parts of India. For forty-five years, he spent his days and nights teaching his disciples the methods of the purification of the soul and the secrets of Tasawuff. He himself had strived in his spiritual training to the level in which he exemplified the Sunnah. Now he was helping others inculcate the Prophetic Tradition within their own lives. Word of Maulana Raipuri’s self-reformation movement spread to the homes of hundreds of thousands of Muslims who began to correct their practices and beliefs and took to sincere repentance inspired by Maulana Raipuri. Thousands of Muslim scholars also turned to him in order to tread on the path of Tasawuff gaining knowledge, seeking truth and ultimately finding peace and solace. Observing his students’ quick progress, he began to authorize them to teach and propagate Islam in different parts of India. While Maulana Raipuri spent many years encouraging and guiding the Muslims of India on the path of truth, his time in this world was nearing its end and he finally passed away on Rabi Al-Awwal, 14, 1382 AH.
Concentration in studies
During his years as a student, Maulana Raipuri was engrossed in Islamic scholarly literature and would always be seen studying from them. Later in life, when he was a teacher, he would instruct students to read their books out loud so that he could listen and revise what he had already learned. It was during this early period of his life when Maulana Raipuri lost himself in the world of books. During his stay in Saharanpur, he was always seen in the company of his student Mr. Azad and would call on him after the Fajr Prayer. He selected him to read out the book - Futuh ash Sham - or any other Islamic book discussing the biographies of the Companions of the Holy Prophet (saws). When Mr. Azad was busy attending to his personal needs, Maulana Raipuri would long for him to such a degree that he would send someone to fetch him to be at his side reading out the books that he desired. Maulana pressed Mr. Azad to continue reading, which would take up all of his time, and when he would fall silent, Maulana would find more books for him to read out loud.
Maulana Abul Hasan remarks, “His love for books may well be highlighted from the following story. When I was staying in Rai Bareilly in the month of October 1960, I wrote to him that the third volume in the series of books ‘Saviors of the Islamic Spirit,’ which covered the biography of Khawaja Nizamuddin Aulia, was successfully completed. A short period after writing this letter to him, I presented myself before him in Raipur. He was extremely delighted to see me and asked me for the manuscript of my book. He instantly ordered it to be read out to his students. After prayers, it became a regular routine for me to read this book before him and his students. He kept away from all other tasks until I completed reading out my entire book before his students.”
Amazing Spiritual Strength
The first thing that would catch the attention of a newly arrived visitor coming to see Maulana Raipuri at his seminary was the humming of Allah’s names and the whispered supplications of his devout students. When new students set foot on his campus, it would seem that even the leaves of the trees in the area were making mention of Allah’s name. Even Maulana’s students seemed to be constantly glorifying and calling unto Allah, taking only a few moments of rest in between their praises and prayers.
Those who had the special opportunity of attending the gatherings of Maulana Abdul Qadir would get the feeling of contentment and spiritual ecstasy during the time spent in his company. Experiencing a relief from their daily anxieties and burdens, it was as if their grief and sorrows melted away every time they drew near to him. Those gifted with keen insight and farsighted ones would clearly comprehend that it was originally the wonderful characteristic of the Naqshbandi chain of Sufism, which prevailed over the entire ambiance in Raipur. Some witnessed that as they gained in physical proximity towards Maulana Abdul Qadir, they increased in spiritual strength required for worship which in turn would allow them to enjoy a sweet inward bliss that was like nothing comparable to any worldly joy they knew. Maulana Raipuri’s remarkable and enlightening personality uplifted their souls over their benign daily lives and served as an inspiration of the spirit of submission to the will of Allah, the Almighty.
Once a person, who attended the Khanqah of Maulana Abdul Qadir, reported an incident related to one of his spiritual gatherings, “I was always disheartened when hearing people say that they experienced some strange and incredible inner change in themselves while in the presence of blessed persons who had devoted their entire lives to the will of God because this was one feeling that I had not yet experienced. However, I was amazed to experience this feeling after the Maghrib Prayer in the gathering of people who were present in the congregation led by Maulana Raipuri. During this gathering, I felt a unique proximity towards the Divine presence of Allah, the Almighty, during my supplications. Suddenly, I felt tears started flowing from my eyes as this feeling overwhelmed me and Maulana Raipuri was besides me, consoling my unexpressed emotions and the love that I felt towards God, a mood that was shared by all the seekers. On this special occasion, I completed the prescribed amount of meditation only after great difficulty. Once I had done so, I turned to Maulana Raipuri, and said, “O master, today everything appeared to me as completely mysterious and different.”
Love for the Righteous Men
Once, Maulana Abul Hasan Nadwi remarked: “Since his early days, Maulana Raipuri had developed a keen sense of love and desire for learning. This desire was coupled with the flames of divine love that were always kept alive burning in his heart, a love which had become second nature to him, and pulsated throughout his arteries and veins like blood. That is the reason that he was a great admirer of Khawaja Nizamuddin Auliya. He always listened with great attention to the biographies of renowned devout Sufis- an obsession that only grew his affection towards them. He developed a deep admiration within his heart for those selfless individuals who strived to cure the spiritual ills of the people around them.
On another occasion, Maulana Abul Hasan mentioned about Maulana Raipuri: “During his stay in Lahore in 1959, some of his close companions advised him to select the biography of Maulana Fazlur Rahman, while they were at the villa of Haji Mateen Ahmad, to be read out for people after the Asr prayer, to which he agreed to. The book was still unpublished but I had its incomplete manuscript with me, which was read before him. The inspiring, and heart-touching stories were related to the Maulana, after which he was completely entranced and in a state of spiritual elation that words cannot describe. The people who were attending the gathering listened with rapt attention, which was a reaction that was sparked by his elevated spiritual state, a state that began to spread to others. Some of those who were present at the gathering remarked that they had never felt such an extraordinary spiritual experience. At the closing of the sitting, Maulana Raipuri commented, “These stories are so lovely. In fact, all the actions of beloved people are always beloved.”
Standard of Decoration
Once while he was staying in the Mosque of the Prophet at Madinah, one of his servants said to him, “Master, the later generations of Muslims have added much decoration to the mosque of the Prophet and they have spread extremely expensive carpets over its floor. I wish it were left in its previous state of simplicity.” On hearing this, he reacted strongly, “Wherever decoration and beauty are found, they are a result of the Prophet’s being.” While expressing these words, his inner spiritual state was enigmatic, pregnant with strange deep emotions and love that he held in his heart for the Prophet Muhammad (saws).
Love for the Prophet (saws)
It is said that while Maulana Raipuri was on his deathbed, whenever he heard the name “Madinah Al-Munawwarah”, the abode of the Holy Prophet, he would start to weep bitterly. Once, Maulana Muhammad Anwari paid a visit to Maulana Raipuri, who was about to set out for his Umrah (minor pilgrimage). Whenever Madinah was mentioned to the Maulana, he would start weeping sadly and uncontrollably for being parted from the charismatic company of Holy Prophet’s (saws) presence that comes into view by every Muslim looming large in his mosque at Madinah even today. Maulana Muhammad says, “I never saw the Maulana expressing as much inward joy as he would at the mere word of the City of Light, Madinah, the last resting abode of the Prophet Muhammad.” When one of his acquaintances, Babu Abdul Aziz, came to him, the Maulana said to him sadly, “Look! He is going to Madinah!” When he uttered these words, there were tears in his eyes.
Humility and Modesty
Maulana Abul Hasan describes his humility in the following manner: “During his stay in Faisalabad, his well wishers, servants, and those who were close to him were in a state of confusion about where Maulana Raipuri should pass the month of Ramadan. The people from Faisalabad wanted him to stay in their area and they tried to persuade him to accept their invitation, whereas, those from Lahore wanted him to be in their midst while Mr. Qureshi was of the idea that he should stay in Rawalpindi. One day the Maulana called three eminent people from the three groups and said to them, “My brothers, I am just a son of a poor farmer. My family belonged to a financially weak background such that when I returned home from my daily tasks, my mother would get worried as to how to arrange a meal for me. Yet now, all of you are requesting me to take his side. Actually, this situation in itself is such a blessing and reward for which I have been granted only for mentioning Allah’s name for a few days. Why should you too not engage yourselves in remembering Allah’s name with sincerity? Why do you make me feel ashamed?” His words that were said on this occasion moved some people to tears.
His Generous Nature
Thanks to Allah, Maulana Raipuri’s needs were always fulfilled ahead of time by his well-wishers. Whenever he was in possession of extra funds, he would immediately spend these funds in charity as he was generous by nature. He found it unbearable to withhold surplus wealth with him throughout the night. Haji Fazlur Rahman Khan says, “I have on many occasions distributed hundreds of thousands of rupees among the needy ones by his order.” It was a general habit of the Maulana that he gave some Ulama one or two hundred rupees under the pretext of giving them a journey fare.
One of his servants while on his pilgrimage to Makkah left from there to Egypt and then to Syria. Maulana Raipuri gave the amount of one thousand rupees to a friend of his and requested him to send the funds to him and ordered him to write: “Your health cannot allow you to make this journey by a sea route. Therefore, you should accept this money and arrange your travel by plane.” In brief, he received money from one only to give it to another.
Availability of Funds
Once while there was a large gathering of people sitting with him, someone came to him to shake hands and then requested Maulana Raipuri in an unceremonious manner, “Master, I need ten rupees.” The Maulana said to him, “Pray to Allah.” And, then he kept silent. After a short period of time, someone came to the Maulana and placed a hundred rupee note into his hand. Then he inquired, “Where is the man who just asked me for ten rupees?” He said, “Here I am, O master.” He said to him, “Take the ten rupees that you asked for.” He said, “Master, it is a hundred rupee note.” He said, “No problem, just take it and enjoy.”
His Kind Nature
Once a certain person who frequented Maulana Raipuri’s sermons described the kind nature of Maulana Raipuri by stating, “During my fifty-two years of life, I have never had a teacher, friend, or any other person as compassionate and loving as him. If any of his guests ever fell ill, he would lie awake worrying over him throughout the night. Each individual who was connected to the Maulana thought that the Maulana loved him more than anyone else. He had such a considerable amount of love stored in his heart that even the most wretched, worried person facing hardships found all his problems vanishing on meeting him.”
Another student adds, “Throughout my life, I have never come across a kind person like him. No one can even behave so kindly and lovingly as he did with us.”
Maulana Abul Hasan added: Once, after finishing my meal, my eyes fell on Maulana Raipuri who had not eaten anything and I requested the Maulana, “Master, you have taken nothing for yourself from the meals!” On that he said, “When I see you eat, I feel that I am also eating.”
MUFTI MOHAMMAD ANWAR KHAN
The word “globalization”, in the present age, is most frequently used by the Mass media. According to the definition of the word presented by them, its meaning is that: in the past, the people of the world had extreme difficulty in interlinking with one another in different locations across the globe, in terms of communication, migration, for exchanging ideas and thoughts. However, the recent scientific discoveries, improved means of transport, and vast technological advances made in the mass communication sectors have turned the world into a courtyard. For the first time in the history of Mankind, it has become possible for the entire human race to tune in, and share their ideas with international thought, diverse cultures, fashions, and wisdom instantly. The advancements of the satellite technology, the invention of radio and television, and the arrival of the Internet on the world scene have caused the distance between countries to dramatically shrink, by crossing all geographical and manmade boundaries and barriers, to link the people of the world into a “Global Village.” This has resulted in a massive explosion and cohesion of modern thought and culture, which was spread to all the areas of the world, cutting across all geographical divisions, with the result that the whole world is influenced and overwhelmed by it.
Among the trends and fashions that have appeared across the globe as a result of “Globalization”, the most outstanding feature of this phenomenon was the liberation of women from all restraints. This resulted in women across the world accepting Western culture, and embracing modern thought that gave rise to “Women’s Liberation Movements,” which has spread to all the other parts of the globe. The end result of this phenomenon was that women started copying Western styles in their dresses, holding the same views, and behaving in the same manner as their counterparts in the other parts of the Western World. The entire credit for this phenomenon to develop into a mass-movement goes to the social and the political think-tanks of the United States of America. That was heavily indebted to, and influenced by European thinkers who spared no efforts in remaking of a New World Order. Their ideology was solely centered on promoting their ‘self-interests’ and political ambitions of the hegemony of the world by removing all cultural barriers that differed from their own. They made, and are making, all possible efforts to abolish the different kinds of conflicts and the clash of ideologies that sharply contrasted with their way of life in order to reshape the world into a new mold with a design that was never seen, imagined, experienced or heard in the former times of the History of the World.
Nonetheless, the Muslim women of the Islamic world always proved to be one of the biggest obstructions to their goals of globalizing the world, a plan that was masterminded by the US modernists, psychologists, policy-makers, and the other architects of strategies of the likes of Samuel Huntington etc. After a deep thought, they came to the conclusion that in order to overcome the monolithic brotherhood and the invincibility of the Islamic World, they need to first concentrate on breaking up of the strongest link in its chain. That is, of course, the Muslim family with its sound values, which bonds the Islamic society as a monolithic entity. The most easy to prey upon in this family unit would be the Muslim women who should be alienated from this unit by making them abandon their inherent Islamic values, religious rites, making them part ways with the Moral and Islamic Code of life demanded from them by the Religion of Islam.
After a long study, the US Strategists devised a comprehensive plan to liberate the Muslim women from their religion by a perverted method of brainwashing, leading them to believe that the Religion of Islam acts as a hindrance towards progress. It proves to be an obstacle in furthering their economic development, and acts as an obstruction in their careers, and in this way, making them hate the veiling of their faces as a curse. In order to translate their strategies into realities, they hatched different plots that showed their Western counterparts brazenly acting out parts scripted for them on television screens. They showed them as highly-educated, sophisticated, bold, outspoken, career-minded, materialistic, dressing them up in immodest clothes and alluring costumes, living their lives in the lap of luxury, surrounded by all the good and lasting things of the materialistic world.
If we turn through the pages of Islamic History, we come across a number of women who were highly educated scholars, businesswomen, accomplished linguists, gifted with brilliant minds. They occupied important posts, with a well-rounded education that was known to the world during their times, along with a sound religious education of Islam that made them despise all the evils of modern societies. They played an enviable role in propagating Islamic teachings, and battering their Western counterparts in all good things in life, by keeping themselves completely within the bounds set on them by the Religion of Islam. They have left a history of their lives recorded in golden words as examples that can be acted upon and followed by the generations of Muslim women to come.
However, many among the present day Muslim women who have completely divorced themselves from the excellent deeds and examples set by their illustrious predecessors of the Islamic world, have left the Muslim world shell-shocked and perplexed by becoming blindly dazzled by the glamour world. They have thrown all caution to the winds and have taken themselves in imitating blindly the Western way of life in their dress, their code of behavior and conduct, their devilish lifestyles and ideologies. They have accepted them as examples worthy to be followed in order to stay ahead with the times to achieve the comforts and the lasting benefits of the material world, after giving short-shrift to all the ‘good’ that has been taught to them by the Religion of Islam. As a result, they have fallen prey to the evil snares, and the devilish traps that were laid out for them by the enemies of Islam. This consequently has led them to break the family as a unit, with divorces becoming rampant among the Muslim community by women who have set out to chart their own careers, and in the process causing a rift that has sharply divided the Muslim Ummah into two camps. The first camp is the one which still insists on adhering to the Islamic Concept of family life and is labeled as “fundamentalist and conservative,” whereas, those who have thrown their lot with the opposite camp are called as “liberal, modern and progressive-minded Muslims!” Of late, there are a few among the fair sex of the freethinking camp who, after having discovered the error of their ways, being exploited by others, in their quest for name, fame and glory, are now reverting back to their Islamic roots. Now, they have realized the erroneous decision of leading a hollow life having fallen into the trap of following the footsteps of the “modern-thinking Muslim women.”
Those who remain back as loyalists of the so-called progressive camp do not realize that those in the West, who talk about their emancipation, and urge them to break the shackles of ‘self-restraint’ imposed on them by the teachings of Islam, have set out with a mission to destroy their modesty, chastity, and family lives. The empty slogans of liberating the Muslim women and their glib talks about sharing compassion with them are nothing more than misleading them, and putting them on the path of personal ruin and moral bankruptcy.
In the current world, pressure groups have been formed to loudly raise slogans about the torture, confinement, and seclusion of Muslim women. They encourage them through seminars, literature, and other forms of propaganda, actively aided in their task by the mischievous among the Media who by presenting one set of views to the general public, urge women to come out of their seclusion and participate actively in social, public, and political arenas of life. On the face of it, the idea presented by the modern analysts and the experts in the Mass Media may appear to many as excellent, impartial, and based on equality and justice, but in the long run, it is a dangerous signal to victimize and dehumanize womanhood.
The evils of modern trends, and the free inter-mixing of both the males and females, advocated by the champions of Women’s Liberation Movements have created grave threats and moral dangers to the very existence of womanhood. According to a report that appeared in a newspaper, 80% of the girls below the age of eighteen lose their virginity in the United States of America. One million girls who are still in their teens become pregnant every year as a result of having sex out of wedlock, and 56% of them give birth to illegitimate children and become unwed mothers at a very young age, whereas, the rest of them abort their fetuses or suffer miscarriages. All this happens under the name of ‘freedom of sex’ and takes place without entering into any responsibility for the children born out of such sexual unions or the sacred ties of matrimony. This phenomenon has resulted in a huge financial loss that costs seven billion dollars per year to the United States of America’s State Exchequer in providing medical care, and doling out welfare handouts to the unwed mothers to help them bring up their children.
According to a newspaper report, a nudist marriage ceremony was organized in Delray Beach, Florida, May 10, 1964, which went against all the norms and rules of a civilized society. The report said: “The shapely brunette wore a veil on her face, and high-heeled shoes - but nothing else - and her 23 year old groom wore only a Florida sun-tan when they were married today in what was described as the largest nudist wedding ever held. News reporters who were invited to attend watched the marriage ceremony. The best man, an octogenarian, carried the ring in his hand since he had no pockets. The only person wearing clothes was the local lawyer, who performed the ceremony on the beach in sunshine watched by some two hundred nude guests.”
The Land of the United States of America falsely projects the face of a civilized society. With its fake slogans of gender equality, justice, and liberating women, it wants the Muslim communities also to suffer from this epidemic - a way of life that has failed to project them as an enlightened society. In this way, they are inviting the Believing Muslim chaste women to immodesty, immorality, free-mixing, dancing, music, nudity, and exhibitionism etc. It wants the Muslim countries to emulate its example and keep themselves in tune with the immodest trends and other perversions before they can become accepted as a part of the group of progressive, free-thinking, open-minded, tolerant societies without realization that they are being misused by them for their target of globalizing the world, ushering in the “New World Order” to dominate the other countries of the world.
It was the Religion of Islam, Revealed to Prophet Muhammad by Allah, that for the first time in human history, it taught the humanity that a woman should be protected as a precious treasure, valued like a pearl, and should be treated as gently as a fragile glass, nurtured and provided by those family members entrusted with her well-being. Whereas they were exploited and kept as chattels in the pre-Islamic days by the males of the Arab society.
The self-styled, liberal-minded Muslims who protest, and say that the Muslim woman is a victim of injustice, cruelty, and aggression, and encourage the women to come out of their homes, are in fact, trying to alter the direction of nature, and thereby encroaching on the Divine limits set for them by the Holy Qur’an and the Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (saws). In this way, they are acting unwittingly as partners to the “globalization trends,” which is in fact another name for “Americanization,” which aims at imposing its cultural dominance all over the Muslim world by dehumanizing Muslim women, and by making them deviate from the Right Path.
A Muslim woman should always try to obey the commands of Allah and the moral values laid down by Him and His Last Prophet Muhammad (saws). She should always do her best to emulate the example of pious Muslim women before her who were the torchbearers of true Islamic spirit in the first generation of Islam. She should never run crazily to follow the example of the present day actresses, models, and the social celebrities spawned by the Western culture. She should do her best to perform her duties towards Allah and His Religion. She should do her bit to arrest the new Globalizing or Americanizing trends by adhering to the Tenets of Islam as it had first been Revealed in the Holy Qur’an in all its pristine purity. Islam is the loftiest, the best, and the most beautiful religion, which has been perfected for human beings 1400 years ago, liberating both men and women. It is the religion that made them as harmonizing members and partners of a Muslim family - a unit and the strongest link of its society. It can really give a complete meaning and a sense of direction to life, of both Muslim men and women, to further their spiritual and material pursuits remaining within the limits set by Allah in the Holy Qur’an.
MUFTI MOHAMMAD SHUAIBULLAH KHAN
TRANSLATED BY MUFTI MOHAMMAD ANWAR KHAN
Sometimes, women have to face far extremely complicated problems and cruel conducts at the hands of their husbands and from the families into which they have married. Often, these problems appear to be unbearable for women, and appear to them as almost impossible to deal with e.g., the unjust treatment of the husband who always victimizes her with his brutality, and does not give her the allowances to meet the household expenses, which can be the cause of a serious matrimonial discord in the family. At other times, it happens that the husband is sexually impotent, and the wife is helpless to take any steps to get a cure if it is a medical problem, as it is bound to trample on the egos of all concerned if such sensitive matter is brought out into the open, leaving the door ajar for the disintegration of a family. In other cases, the husband is insane, and the wife fears some bodily harm or physical damage to her person from his hands. There are a host of other problems, which a woman may have to confront in the course of her married life, and learn to bear them, or get over the handicaps faced by her in order to sustain the marriage and stop it from breaking up.
Apparently, on one hand, there is a human sympathy to rescue women from these complications and entanglements, and to look for solutions for them, there is a serious requirement according to the Islamic Shariah that her legitimate needs should be addressed on an urgent basis in order to save the marriage from a certain collapse, on the other. But, regrettably, a grave misunderstanding exists among the Muslim masses that the Islamic Shariah does not have the answers to address all the modern issues faced by the Muslim women, which are troubling the newly married women in a family. It is generally believed that the Muslim Personal Law does not have what it takes to find solutions for these problems, and the only solution lies only in seeking a recourse in the government courts.
The basic reason for this misunderstanding is that, generally, the Fiqh of Imam Abu Hanifah is observed and practiced in our country, and in most of the cases related to women an Islamic Qazi (judge) is needed without whose interference there can be no solutions for the problems faced by the women in a matrimonial discord. Since there is no Muslim government in our country, India, and the Muslim community lacks a ruling authority, a Qazi appointed here may not be the Qazi of Islam. Consequently, his verdicts, if he has a narrow-minded understanding on the problems he is faced with, would also be unsound and unreliable. The general populace, therefore, deduces from this fact that the Islamic Shariah and the Muslim Personal Law are unable to find solutions for the problems faced by the Muslim women. It is because of the reason that in our country there is no learned Muslim Qazi nominated by the Government of India whose judgments can be upheld and made binding on the litigants by any Indian Court of Law. The reason is that there is no provision vested in the Constitution of India to grant such an authority to a judge belonging to the Muslim community.
With this growing misunderstanding, some more serious problems have cropped up. Some women have turned apostate and converted themselves to other religions on account of some illiterate people’s advice, thinking that such an act would break the tie of marriage and they would get rid of their cruel husbands. Whereas the fact is that conversion or apostasy cannot nullify the marriage. They will still remain as husband and wife. Our community is facing this tragic situation because generally people are unaware of the solutions presented to them by the Shariah to address all their problems. Hence, they fall prey to numerous misunderstandings and conjectures because of the want of a Qazi who can address their problems, and interpret the situation, in the broadest possible way - keeping within the bounds of the Islamic Shariah. As a result, it is wrongly understood that the Islamic Shariah has no solution for these problems and social matters. But, this is a dreadful misunderstanding, as we have affirmed it in the above lines. The Islamic Shariah has given reasonable solutions for all the problems faced by the women. It presents adequate solutions to address them on a sympathetic level taking their feelings and apprehensions into account that she has about getting a proper justice from the Islamic Courts of Law.
No doubt, there are a host of problems, which are impossible to deal with according to the Hanafi Fiqh, unless a Muslim Qazi mediates, and looks into the issue at hand from all possible angles. But we can never infer from this that these problems cannot be solved in the light of the Islamic Shariah, because there is a difference of opinion whether or not it is possible in India for the appointment of an Islamic Qazi to look into the problems faced by the Muslim society. In the existing set-up in India, a ‘Qazi’ can be appointed according to the Islamic scholars of Bihar. If the Muslim intellectuals have complete faith in his sound judgment and knowledge of the Islamic Shariah to address those problems, the judgments and verdicts of such a Qazi shall be effective and valid as of the judges of Islamic courts. These scholars have based their theory on the account of some passages found in the Hanafi Fiqh. For example, there is a regulation declared in the Fiqh of Ahnaf that a Qazi could be appointed by the approval of all Muslims. These people emphasize that if Muslims together appoint someone as a Qazi to arbitrate between them with their consent, then he will have the power and the authority of a judge as it is done in an Islamic State. On account of this thesis, several courts for Qazis (Darul-Qaza) have been established under which the rights of women are given full protection and defended against cruelty and misbehavior by their other relatives, by bringing appropriate solutions for all their problems and difficulties. The majority of the Muslim scholars in India in this regard hold the opinion that since India lacks an Islamic government, the Muslims do not have an authoritative power. Therefore, the Qazi appointed by the Muslim community will not have the power of an Islamic judge. Hence, his verdicts would not be binding on the contending parties. Now, there may arise a question in the minds of people of an Islamic society: what about the solutions for their problems, especially those facing women, while the fact remains that there is no Islamic Qazi appointed by the Government of India vested with full judicial powers, which can be made binding on the both the accusers and the petitioners, and they cannot be solved without him?
The answer to this question is that if the solution for problems faced by women appear to be impossible according to the Hanafi Fiqh, then we can always turn to other schools of thoughts in such difficult and complicated situations. The Hanafi Fiqh itself gives allowance for the same opinion that we could benefit from other Schools of Thought as well to find a solution to a problem. Since the different Schools of Thoughts of the eminent Muslim theologians, and Jurists of the Islamic Ummah are based on the teachings of the Shariah, the Muslims can also benefit from the rulings of another School of Thought. That also amounts to following the Shariah itself, as these rulings have been deduced by the Islamic Theologians of the other Schools of Thought from the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (saws).
Keeping this point in view, the Islamic Scholars of the Hanafi School of Thought took an advantage of this opportunity that was allowed to them by the Hanafi Fiqh by following Imam Malik in solving such problems. Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (ra) has declared the Shar’ee Panchayat as a substitute to an Islamic Qazi. Therefore, we may solve all our problems, which need the intervention of a Qazi and seek the judgment under the protection of a Shar’ee Panchayat. All the positive and negative aspects of a Shar’ee Panchayat, its limitations and conditions, pros and cons, have been clearly explained in Maulana Thanwi’s book titled “Al-Heelatun Najizah”.
In brief, one must turn to the Islamic courts or Shar’ee Panchayat for the solution of one’s problems. So, it is an unfounded and inappropriate objection to complain that there is no solution for all the problems faced by the women in the Muslim Personal Law Board.
From these details, it is clear that the Muslim Personal Law has a good solution for all kinds of problems concerning women.
Now, we believe it is significant to make a mention of some of the important problems relating to the Laws concerning Divorce in the Islamic Shariah.
One of the solutions for the problems and difficulties of a woman in the Islamic Shariah is that she should be given the right to divorce a man, in the same manner as he can do it, on her own. In the terminology of Fiqh it is called “Tafweez-e-Talaqe” (consignment of divorce), which is mentioned in the Hanafi Fiqh itself.
The detail for this is that if the woman fears cruelty on part of her husband, or she fears that there is a possibility that he may create trouble for her in a manner that could not be foreseen by her at that time, then she can take it in writing from the husband that if he behaved cruelly with her or is troubling her or threatening her guardian, or representative, she would be entitled to initiate a divorce that will automatically come into effect, if such matters come to pass. Later, if she is faced by any problem or trouble, she or her guardian will have the right to get the divorce on their own, so that she might save herself from his misconduct and cruelty. If the husband was forced to give the right of divorce at the exact time of Nikah or after it, the woman would be able to initiate a divorce on her own without taking in the refuge of a Qazi or an Islamic court to protect her rights.
Since a woman lacks the foresight of the unforeseeable consequences that may result in the long run and the social implications that may result because of her action on the entire Muslim community in initiating a divorce on her own, the guardian of the woman should not allow this right for women without a limit. Maulana Thanwi says that some reasonable limit or condition should be added to this clause in the marriage contract. For example, two persons will stand witness that the woman has been conducted with cruelty. If they verify it, the woman would be permitted to make divorce effective on her own, otherwise she will be denied that opportunity in the Islamic Shariah, if this clause is not included and made binding in the contract, which is done and agreed upon by both the parties. (See Al-Heelatun Najizah P: 34)
Either way, the sacred Islamic Shariah has allowed “Tafweez-e-Talaqe” (consignment of divorce) on such occasions. The Muslim Jurists have devoted a special chapter under the title of “Tafweez-e-Talaqe”, in which the rules and regulations regarding it are mentioned. We don’t need here to go deep into its detail. For more detailed information, one must look up the authentic Fiqh books and most importantly “Al-Heelatun-Najizah” by Maulana Thanwi.
A Missing Husband
A woman passes through a critical phase in her life when her husband has gone missing without a trace. His people are unable to locate his whereabouts or the reasons for his absence from his house. Here, the Muslim theologians differ on the matter of a woman who loses her husband in this manner. Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Shafi‘ee, and some other Islamic jurists hold the view that a missing husband shall be supposed to be living until the time his contemporaries exist. His wife, therefore, shall remain as the wife of the missing husband. She would not be entitled to marry with some other person in his absence. When all his contemporaries no longer exist, the Islamic government will make a proclamation of his death. Later, his wife is permitted to marry anybody she likes after passing the Iddah of his death.
However, Imam Malik has chosen a more moderate way, following the example set by Umar, Ali, and Usman (ra). He remarks that the way out is that a woman whose husband has gone missing can marry some other person after waiting for him for four years and passing the Iddah of his death. But, the period of these four years will commence from the time of appealing to the court of a Qazi.
Obviously, the first opinion is very difficult for women in our current age, though it is highly supported with proofs, as you will find it in its place. While the other way is very simple and easy for women, particularly, in India there is no alternative except it. Therefore, the Hanafi scholars have chosen this way as an Islamic verdict. But it must be remembered that a Qazi is needed to break the marriage bond in this case. Where a Qazi is not found, a group of Muslims of a high moral character (Shar‘ee Panchayat) will deal with this problem and take the responsibility of nullifying the marriage, which has been described in detail in Maulana Thanwi’s “Al-Heelatun-Najizah”. The scholars should, therefore, read this book carefully before dealing with such sensitive problems.
There is an important thing about a missing husband, which must be understood: that is, when the Hanafi jurists and others had adopted “that unless the contemporaries of the missing person pass away, his wife cannot marry another person”, this rule was applicable during the period of time when such cases rarely happened. If they happened, they were for some reasonable causes like the husband was put into jail or he was stranded during a voyage on some foreign land, and for the inconvenience of postal services, which are available today, he could not give his family the location of his exact whereabouts. But, generally, the incidents of missing husbands, nowadays, take place on account of the misconduct of the husbands who desert their wives and move to somewhere else and, consciously, hide themselves and get married with another woman.
In previous times, such incidents took place because of some unforeseen calamities, so the Muslim theologians and scholars commanded such a woman to wait for her husband until his life can be expected. But the times have changed, and cases of misconduct on the part of the husbands have increased. It has been discovered that most of the supposedly missing husbands trick their wives in order to make them believe that they are lost. They do all that to get rid of their wives on this pretext. Now she will have no other recourse except seeking divorce from him in an Islamic court. The second theory that was found simpler and easier was that a woman should be permitted to marry only after waiting for four years following the opinion of the Maliki School of Thought.
Both the concepts are derived from the Islamic Shariah and are based on reliable proofs. From this, it became obvious that there is a better solution in Shariah for such women.
How to Get Free from a Careless Husband?
Some women suffer from hardships when their husbands do not take care of them and their needs by providing them with maintenance and necessary expenses for living nor do they fulfill their respective rights and duties towards their wives, which they are entitled to in the Islamic Shariah, because of which they undergo untold miseries and face several problems. Such a man is called “Muta ‘annit” in the terminology of Islamic Fiqh.
Under such circumstances, a woman, on one hand, is disturbed and upset on account of her allowances and daily expenses that are being denied to her from her husband, she faces the problem of self-protection, on the other, if she complains to others about her suffering and risks physical abuse from her husband. In this case, the Hanafi scholars are of the opinion that the woman shall not be separated from her husband. As a last resort, she may seek a “Khula”, which is bound by her husband’s will, and if he is unwilling, she must remain patient until it is granted to her.
Imam Shafi‘ee, on the other hand, is of the opinion that it is a proper thing to allow a separation from such a wayward husband and break the bond of marriage provided the husband is not capable of providing her with an allowance owing to his poverty. If he affords, the woman can go to the Qazi to seek his help in obtaining her living expenses from an Islamic court; but she is not allowed to demand separation as Allama Shami has made it clear. Since, it is an obvious fact that this is not applicable in India because of the lack of a Qazi, the Islamic scholars in our country have adopted what Imam Malik has said in this regard, that is, the woman has the right to be separated with certain conditions which have been mentioned in details in Al-Fiqh-alal-Mazahibil-Arba‘ah. Our scholars have accepted the opinion of Imam Malik with the addition of two conditions: One is that the woman cannot afford expenses on her own to maintain herself. Secondly, the woman has a strong fear of falling into sin. Though, these two conditions are not included as part of Imam Malik‘s opinion, these two clauses have been added; because we need acute compulsion in adopting other’s thoughts and theories in order that the compulsion may be proven as Thanwi has described in the footnote of his book “Al-Heelatun-Najizah”.
In brief, if these two conditions are met, the woman would be entitled to file her case to the Qazi or the Shar‘ee Panchayat in order to apply for being separated from her husband. Thus, the Qazi or the Shar‘ee Panchayat shall take necessary steps with regards to this case and the divorce will take place in their presence, and get the marriage nullified, so that the woman may go forward with her life.
How to Get Rid of an Insane Husband?
One of the most serious problems related to women is that her husband is mad for which the wife is greatly fearful and terrified. She fears that he might inflict on her numerous kinds of physical harm and mental torture, and make her life quite miserable for her, because of which she finds it not only difficult to carry on as his wife, but also finds it impossible to live with her husband any longer. If such a woman demands separation from her insane husband, would she be justified?
In this regard, Imam Abu Hanifah and his pupil Imam Abu Yusuf say that such a woman has no right to demand separation whereas the other renowned pupil of Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Muhammad Ibn Hasan allows such a woman the right of separation provided she fears harm and the pain that would be inflicted on her by her husband. Imam Shafi‘ee, Imam Malik, and Imam Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, too, are of the same opinion. Even some Hanafi scholars have given judgment according to Imam Muhammad; but this opinion needs to be discussed in some detail. Since there is some ambiguity in this regard, Maulana Thanwi has noted that in such a case, a Qazi hearing the petition should proceed with caution. He says, “It is better that an insane husband should be given a chance for getting himself treated for his malady for one year. If he recovers within this period, then it is all right for the marriage to continue; otherwise, the Qazi or the Panchayat after deliberating over the case of the woman will separate them as husband and wife and nullify the marriage bond between them with the condition that the rules governing this issue in the Books of Fiqh are met.”
Note: These examples have been presented here only for the purpose of elaborating on the point that the Muslim Personal Law has the solutions for women’s problems. These solutions exist either in the rulings of the Hanafi School or can be borrowed from the rulings of the Maliki School of Thought. All that is presented here is meant only to shed light on this matter in a brief way. We cannot give here the complete details on this subject with its clauses and sub-clauses for this is beyond the scope of the limitations of this article.
Therefore, on such occasions, one must turn to Muslim theologians and Islamic jurists and act according to their issued verdicts. Everybody must not hold a Panchayat in order to solve the problems as they crop up in the Muslim community. It would cause division and disintegration amongst the Muslim masses. Being unaware of these problems and serious aspects and dimensions and the conditions required for them, which have been mentioned elaborately in Maulana Thanwi’s book “Al-Heelatun-Najizah”, people would not be able to solve them. Everybody should, therefore, try not to encroach, and interfere in this respect, which falls within the domain of the rulings of the Islamic Jurists who are well versed in these laws.
Professor Basheer Hussain and His Misunderstanding
Finally, we deem it necessary to make clear that Maulana Thanwi had issued this verdict (Fatwa) and similar juristic judgments following the thoughts of Imam Malik, which were supported by the majority of Muslim scholars. Based on the details, which we have given above and explained that a verdict derived from the Maliki School of Thought, also, bears the weight of being an Islamic declaration, no understanding person will ever dare to deduce that Maulana Thanwi, wrongly, interfered in the Shariah. Only an uneducated person who is not well versed in the Islamic books on this subject would consider that he and other Muslims have accepted and justified the “legislative” to interfere in the Shariah.
Oddly, Professor Basheer Hussain has deduced both the results in his article, “Uniform Civil Code” published in the Daily Salar, Bangalore, dated: 13, August, 1996 and later he committed the same mistake in his other article published in the same newspaper.
I have given a satisfactory answer to his misunderstandings and his erroneous remarks in an article titled “A Critical Analysis of the Objections on the Muslim Personal Law” in the same newspaper Salar, dated: 25-26-27, August, 1996.
In brief, Maulana Thanwi had adopted the thought of Imam Malik and left the Hanafi thought in certain cases in the light of Islamic teachings supported by the Qur’an and Hadith. It is an incorrect idea to declare such an act as interference into the Islamic Shariah, and to justify it is a clearly misleading notion based on ignorance and misunderstanding of the subject.
MUFTI MOHAMMAD ANWAR KHAN
The family and social lives of the Muslim community today are plagued by dissension and breakdown. As every day dawns, the Muslims are united in their dislike and prejudices towards others in their community, which keeps on intensifying, and shows no signs of dying down. Husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters, friends and relatives, neighbors and acquaintances are the most significant and vital elements that play roles in shaping an Islamic society. Their mutual sympathy towards one another and understanding, the urge to help, and support one another in their sufferings, the spirit of respect and honor towards everyone in the Muslim community, and the feeling of a sense of brotherhood and kinship towards their brothers and sisters in faith, and observing their social responsibilities towards the entire Muslim community are disappearing fast. These are qualities, which must be observed by every member of the community to breathe a fresh lease of life into the present day Muslim society, and put it on the path that guarantees its prosperity and development.
But, it is a matter of great concern that the Muslim community instead of showing love, goodwill, and sympathy towards one another has, of late, become indifferent to the basic Islamic values that are desired in Muslims. As a result, the social system outlined in the Holy Qur’an and the Traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad is no longer being observed. The culture of a feeling of brotherhood that existed in the past in the Muslim society, which enabled them to scale glorious heights in human civilization, is now totally into shambles. The moral structure of the society, and the basic family values of each unit of the Muslim society have crumbled to such an extent that it has caused them to drift away from one another by the day.
Honor and respect towards their brothers have been replaced by insult and derision, love and sympathy by hatred and enmity, harmony and brotherhood by jealousy and spite, mutual cooperation and integration by discard and disunity. The killer instinct to make it good in the society at the cost of other Muslims on the material and social scale has become the dominant urge among Muslims and the order of the day. This is the state, which has exposed the Islamic Ummah to a number of social perils and moral bankruptcy.
The relation between parents and children signifies honor and sacredness on one hand; it carries a great degree of love and affection on the other. But, the current trends of the modern society with all its social evils have crept into their lives, and the Muslims as a community have done away with all the respect and honor that should be accorded to one another both in the family and the society. Parents should confer all the love they can muster towards their children, and likewise the children should hold the parents in reverence and high esteem over all the members. However, the opposite of the ideal enjoined on a Muslim family is true, as we read the newspapers everyday about cases, which are lodged in courts against parents by their children and vice versa: all of which go to prove that the community is plunged into the abyss of social disintegration and collective decay.
Next, comes the relationship between husband and wife, which is held sacred in the tenets of Islam that visualizes for them a image of deep love, sympathy, trust, and honesty towards one another. Its teachings mirror for them a respectful, peaceful, responsible and a happy married life. However, this sacred relationship has crossed the boundaries set for the married couple by the Islamic Shariah, into the profane complexities, which are the benchmarks of a materialistic society. Cruelty and callousness, greed and avarice on the part of the husband, and his merciless demand of a huge dowry from the guardians of the wife, and his trampling over the rights of the wife, and the disobedient and impertinent attitude of the wife, her irresponsible behavior with her spouse and his family take place on a daily basis. Their quarrels reach to such an extent that they come out into the open under the scrutiny of the courts and the media.
Under such circumstances, the conjugal life, in spite of flourishing and prospering at the material level, is on the verge of ruin and despair, because of petty trivial matters, prejudices, dislike and hatred towards one another along with their families.
Quite evidently, for the same reasons, cases of murder and plunder, theft, fraud, and robbery have now started taking root in the members of the Muslim society. Divorce and breakdown of marriages have become commonplace. They are the result of our rejecting the social norms, human values, and morally sound attitudes enjoined upon us by the teachings of Islam.
At the same time, the human relations like brothers, sisters, neighbors are undergoing mutual spite, quarrels, and differences, which keep undermining the true bliss of life and the real taste of social existence that is desired in a Muslim society.
Is it not our responsibility to diagnose the ailments of our society and find solutions for them according to the Islamic law of the Holy Qur’an and the Holy teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (saws)? In fact, this is a collective responsibility of the Muslim Ummah. These crises and hostile issues that have been plaguing the Muslim community should be given a deep thought in order to bring out the solutions for them as early as possible. According to our humble view, the cure lies in the fact that every Muslim individual should make himself aware of the basic elements of his purpose of his life on earth, his reckoning in the Hereafter. Having learnt the religious injunctions, he should imbibe its teachings into his thoughts, actions, and into his very soul. The only way to possess them is to strive hard to gain a better Islamic knowledge and religious awareness from the elders and learned in the society who are well versed with the Holy Qur’an and Hadith literature or read the authentic Islamic literature that is now abundantly available in the market. When in doubt, one should crosscheck it with those who know better, and in this way become a more responsible Muslim in the society.
Secondly, everyone should make a vow that he tries his best not to trample on the rights of others in his community and fulfill his duties where they are due, not caring whether the others in his society are mindful about them or not. If we – the Muslims as a community – instead of demanding our personal rights, should first try to discharge our own responsibilities, then this world would become a better place to live in.
MUFTI MOHAMMAD SHUAIBULLAH KHAN
TRANSLATED BY MOHAMMAD ANWAR KHAN
Muharram Al-Haram is the first month of the Islamic Calendar as January is the first month of the English Calendar. Most of us are aware about the dates of the English (Gregorian) calendar- when it starts and ends. On the contrary, we do not know anything about the dates of the Islamic calendar, which begins from the year when the Holy Prophet Muhammad migrated to Madinah. We only refer to the dates of the Hijri Calendar at the beginning of the Month of Ramadan or the Month of Dhul-Hijjah. As far as the other days of the year are concerned, we usually take the dates of the Islamic calendar lightly, and they almost pass by unnoticed.
At the start of every New Year of the Muslim calendar, the month of Muharram al-Haram dawns on us, and then the days glide past us without being noticed. On the other hand, when the month of January starts, many of the Muslims in our society join other people in celebrating it enthusiastically, greeting each other, wishing a “Happy New Year” with all warmth and sincerity. Some of them hold parties, cut cakes, eat pastries, and mark that day for an outing for a picnic. They look forward to its arrival every year eagerly to become one among the people celebrating this joyous occasion, with the bursting of firecrackers at the midnight of December 31st, and cheering loudly with others to usher in the New Year. The next day, many of our Muslim brothers in their ignorance, go through the newspapers looking at the astrological section for what the stars predict for them for the whole year. Some of them unfortunately believe in what is printed in them with their heart and soul modifying their lifestyles accordingly! If the astrological charts in the newspaper predict a bad news about their health and financial affairs in any given month, the superstitious ones in their ignorance take extra precautions to ward off the evil omens of those months. As a result, they do businesses and other transactions on those months, which have been predicted by the astrologers for them as lucky. If they strike a windfall in their fortunes on those months, then they place all their trust in those astrological predictions completely forgetting the fact that it is the Qadr that has been destined to them by Allah (swt), and not the planetary stars, or the effects of the constellations for all their fortunes and misfortunes!
Everyone knows that the celebration of the commencement of the first day of January spreads among the nations of the world like wildfire. All the communities, irrespective of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews have taken to the Gregorian calendar and have adopted its ways in their lives with all enthusiasm. They write letters to their loved ones among their relatives and friends wishing them all health, wealth, and prosperity, whereas, the awareness of Islamic dates, and its significance, which is compulsory for all Muslims, are completely brushed aside with contempt even if some person who is knowledgeable about the event informs others about it. The Muslim theologians declare that following the Hijri Calendar is made binding on all Muslims as (Farz-e-Kifayah) i.e. a general obligation whose observance by a majority of Muslim in an adequate number absolves all the other Muslims who are ignorant of it.
The Significance of the Islamic Calendar
The Holy Qur’an says, “They ask you concerning the new moons. Say, they are but the signs to mark fixed periods of time, in the affairs of men and for pilgrimage.” (2:189)
It is narrated that the Companions of Prophet Muhammad (saws) asked him about the moon of the first days of the month, whereupon, this Qur’anic verse was revealed to the Prophet (saws) in order to make it clear for them that the appearance of the moon can be used for measuring of the time in the affairs of men and for performing other acts of religious worships. Consequently, when the month begins, it indicates the beginning of the month by the crescent shaped figure of the moon, then it keeps growing bigger with each passing day. In this way, Muslims feel it convenient in fixing the time for all their worldly purposes as well as performing the religious acts of worship like the Pilgrimage, Zakah, fasting, and for celebrating the two Eids and marking the period of iddat etc. In the Holy Qur’an, it is only the Pilgrimage (Hajj) that has been mentioned in this verse to mark its beginning, which states that the moon is a measure of time for it. However, all the other forms of worship are also included under it, which are to be performed in a particular month or time in an Islamic Hijri year like fasting, which is performed in the month of Ramadan. Therefore, it is necessary to know the time of Ramadan, to fulfill this obligation and it depends completely on the beginning of the sighting of moon and ends with the sighting of the new moon in the month of Shawwal. In the same manner, the annual Pilgrimage, the Hajj, the Eid-ul-Adha, and the timing of paying out the Zakah to the poor etc. are also performed with the help of the Hijri calendar, which measures out the time according to the lunar months.
In brief, the Qur’anic verse that has been mentioned above gives a clear indication about the fact that the moon is to be used in regulating the affairs of the daily life of men and should be taken to calculate all the religious months as a measure of time in and for fixing periods.
The Importance of Lunar Month in Shariah
The Muslim theologians, therefore, have stated that it is compulsory in performing religious obligations and acts of worship to follow the Lunar Calendar. Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi writes under the commentary of this verse, “The Islamic Shariah has made it compulsory to act according to lunar calendar and the same is preferable in other matters as well. This is a kind of worship and an Islamic character of the Muslim Ummah throughout the world.
However, the Solar Calendar is not prohibited at all provided the Muslims do not forget the Hijri Calendar, because of its popularity and its hold on the minds of masses, for, such an act causes a disorder in religious affairs, like fasting in the month of Ramadan and for performing the Pilgrimage etc. Nowadays, it is common to see that all people date their businesses according to the Solar System, which exists in our offices and business institutions and in the personal letters written by people and for other matters relating to official correspondence. A great number of Muslims who work in these offices do not remember the Islamic dates. This proves to be a sign of our intellectual and religious bankruptcy concerning all matters relating to Islam. If we use the English dates in official matters, which are related to Non-Muslims, and use Islamic dates in personal and private affairs and the other necessities of our daily lives, we will obtain the reward of fulfilling Farz-e-Kifayah and, in this way maintain our Islamic character and Muslim identity.” (Maariful Qur’an, 1:468)
We should learn a lesson from the Christians in this regard. They have imposed their values and their way of life all over the world and we Muslims, not speak of spreading our culture, even do not practice it for our personal and communal laws and traditions!
The system of the calendar in the past nations
However, it is important to use and remember the dates of the Islamic calendar as an Islamic act, which identifies us as a Muslim community with our own set of values, and in turn, it will help us keep in close touch with our Islamic identity. Here, we should know when the Hijri year, which has been determined for the Islamic Calendar, began and what the reasons were behind it. But, at first we must understand that different things were adopted to fix a time and decide a period in the ancient nations.
Imam Sha‘abi says: “When the number of the descendents of Adam (as) increased and spread to different parts of the earth, people fixed their dates in history from the time of Adam’s arrival on earth, which continued until the Flood occurred during the time of Nuh (as). Thereafter, a date was determined from the time of the Great Deluge or Flood, which continued until the time of Ibrahim (as) being thrown in the fire acting on the orders of Nimrod. Then, from the time of Ibrahim’s incident until the period of Prophet Yusuf (as), different periods in the history of man were counted based on this event.
From thereafter, to the time of Musa’s (as) migration from Egypt and then from there, to the period of Prophet Dawood, and then, to the time of Prophet Sulaiman (as) and from there, to the arrival of the period of Isa (as) as a Prophet and Messenger of God on earth, dates were fixed respectively. (Umdah Al-Qari 17: 66)
Ibn Al-Kalabi says: “The people of Himyar tribe used to date their events in history from the time of Yemen’s kings and the people of Ghassan from the time of the breaking of the Ma‘arib Dam in Yemen, and the people of Sana‘a counted their dates in history from the time of domination of Ethiopians, and then followed from the time of the domination by the Persians. And the Arabs dated their days in history by the famous days like Boos, Dahis, Ghabra etc.” (Umdah Al-Qari 17:66)
Ibn Hisham narrates, “The dates of history fixed by the Roman Empire continued from the murder of Dara Ibn Dara until the Persians conquered them. As far as the Qift (the Copts) are concerned, they determined their dates in history from the time of Bukht-e-Nassar (Nebuchadnezzar) to Falabetrah who was the Queen of Egypt. And, the Jews fixed their dates in history from the time the temple of Solomon at Baitul-Maqdis was destroyed on the order of Emperor Titus of Rome. And, the Christians decided their dates in history from the time of the birth of Prophet Isa (as) who was raised among them as a Prophet and a Messenger of God.” (Umdah Al-Qari, 17:66)
Allama Ibn Katheer has narrated, “The Persians (Iranians) dated their events in history from the birth of a king and his death. When he was replaced by another king, they would fix their dates from the time of the new king. They continued to do that from one king to another and left the old events of the past, consigned to the dustbins of history. (Al-Bidayah Wa An-Nihayah 3:206)
Now, it has become quite clear from the details, which we have mentioned above that usually people used to fix their dates from well-known and famous events and incidents. Though some of them did it from the point of the decline, and fall of their empires and kingdoms. The Jews decided their dates from time of the destruction of their temple at Baitul-Maqdis at the hands of the Roan General Titus. On the other hand, the Christians started their calendar after Isa (saws) was raised to Allah. The Arabs started their date from the time when Abraha of Yemen attacked the house of Allah (the Ka‘bah in Makkah) with giant elephants and a large number of soldiers, which is remembered in Islamic history as the Incident of Elephant.
The Starting Point of Hijri Year
The Islamic Calendar, which is called Hijri, is based on the glorious event of Hijrah (migration) of the Holy Prophet to Madinah. Hijrah means migration and that is the reason it is called as the Hijri Calendar. It is narrated that for the first time the Hijri year was declared as the Islamic Calendar during the glorious and successful Caliphate of Umar, the Great. This was decided with the advice of the Companions of the Prophet (saws). Let us have a brief glance through the traditions, which are mentioned about the events that led to the start of the Hijri Calendar.
Abu Musa Ash ‘ari (ra) wrote a letter to Umar (ra) wherein he explained: “We receive many letters from you without a date put on them i.e. it becomes very difficult to know when the letter was written, whereupon Umar (ra) collected the Companions and consulted them about their views on this matter. For the affairs of his administration over the Islamic Empire needed a marking of events. Some of them advised him to fix the time from the time When Allah (swt) commissioned Prophet Muhammad (saws) to be the last Apostle of Allah, to deliver the Last Testament of God to human beings. Whereas others disagreed about this matter and opined that some of them were of the opinion that the date must be fixed from the time of Hijrah (Migration of the Holy Prophet from Makkah to Madinah), and a few of them were inclined to mark the events of Islamic history after the death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws).
But, the majority of the Companions were of the opinion that the Islamic Calendar should commence from the year of Hijrah. Umar (ra) – after hearing all their views - declared his final judgment in the favor of this opinion. (Fath Al-Bari 7:268, Thiqat-e-Ibn Hibban 2:206)
From the above narration it becomes clear that Umar (ra) consulted the Companions owing to the initiation of this point on the part of Abu Musa Ash‘ari to proclaim that the Islamic date should be started from the event of Hijrah of Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Madinah, which was an important event that led to the establishment of the Islamic Empire.
However, another narration states: ‘A person came from Yemen to Umar and told him that he had seen in Yemen a thing which they call as “date “ to mark the daily events in their life. They write about everything using it as a measure of time, and declare that such an event happened in such and such a year and the month or a day. On hearing this, Umar (ra) declared: “This is a good practice to fix a date to mark events in history and to regulate the daily lives of people and religious events according to it. When he collected the people, they advised him to fix it from Prophet Muhammad’s (saws) birth, and some of them were of the mind to start the Islamic calendar from the date when he first received a revelation from Archangel Jibrail (as) in the Cave of Hira. Some others were of the opinion to mark this event from his Hijrah from Makkah to Madinah and a few others from his death. Umar said, “Let us fix the date from the time of Hijrah.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:269, Al-Bidayah Wa An-Nihayah, 3:206)
From this narration, we come to the conclusion that the movement of fixing the date started from Yemen. Here is another narration that Umar (ra) determine this as he felt a necessity to do this to mark the dates in Islamic history and for the records of his correspondence and administration. Ibn Hajar, Aini and Ibn Katheer have mentioned the narration on the authority of Maimoon Ibn Mehran, ‘Once a document was handed over to Umar, which was dated with the month of Sha‘aban. Upon this he said, ‘Which Sha‘aban is meant, the past or the future? Later, he collected the Companions and consulted them and fixed the calendar.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:268, Umdah Al-Qari 17:66, Al-Bidayah Wa An-Nihayah 3:206).
From these recorded events, we can draw a conclusion that Umar (ra), acting by himself felt the necessity to decide the date, later other Companions were also united on the same idea. Therefore, Umar consulted the Companions in a special meeting and declared that the date of the Islamic calendar would start from the Hijrah of Prophet Muhammad (saws) from Makkah to Madinah.
The Hijrah Calendar and its Founder Umar
We now come to the conclusion that Umar founded the Islamic calendar for which he will be remembered for good in the History of Islam. Allama Suyuti has included this in the list of Umar’s outstanding achievements and virtues, which he performed first time in the Islamic history and added, “He is the person who, for the first time, fixed the dates in Islamic History from the time of Hijrah.” (Tareekh-ul -Khulafa: 108)
In another narration of Musnad-e-Ahmed it is mentioned that Yala Ibn Umayya is the first person, who wrote the date, but this narration is weak. (Fath Al-Bari).
So, the right thing in this regard is to recognize the role of Umar (ra) who was the person who fixed the date and the Companions, who were his main advisors, Ali and Usman (ra) who supported him in this decision.
Why do we start the Islamic Calendar from Hijrah?
Here is an important thing, which holds our attention and our thoughts. The matter is that the event, on which the Companions have based the starting point of Islamic dates, is the event of the Hijrah, while there are many other different events of great importance in the Islamic history, which could have been made as a landmark and a starting point of the Islamic calendar. The event of his (i.e. Prophet’s) birth was one of the greatest events. Due to this a few Companions had advised Umar (ra) about their opinion, which they held in this matter.
In the same way, the event of being told for the first time in the Mount of Hira by Archangel Jibrail that he was the Last prophet of Allah (swt) who was being sent to all human beings with His Last Testament was also an important event in the Islamic History. The start of the Islamic Calendar could also have been made from this point of time in Islamic History. The event of Meraj could also not be neglected in this regard. But the Companions, especially, Ali and Umar made the event of Hijrah as the starting point for it.
Let them explain it by themselves as the scribes in their own words have recorded it. They justified, “The Hijrah (migration) separated the right from the wrong.” (Fath Al-Bari, 7:268, Umdah Al-Qari, 17:66)
The meaning is that Hijrah was thought to be an important highlight in Islamic history because the event of Hijrah has differentiated completely between the right and the wrong.
Anybody can read the Islamic history books and know how the act of Hijrah separates the right from the wrong.
The disbelievers had hatched a conspiracy to assassinate Prophet Muhammad (saws) as he slept in his house that night. They besieged his house throughout the night. They thought with the passage of this night he will be murdered, and with his murder, Islam will also be finished and completely uprooted.
But in the same night, the divine commandment for Hijrah (migration) came from Allah, and he escaped from the devilish plot of the pagans safe and intact. He reached to Madinah in a miraculous way. Thus the pagans were left surprised, disappointed and frustrated. They kept regretting that all the careful plans they had hatched for his assassination had failed them. The Disbelievers felt humiliated and defeated. On the other hand, when Prophet Muhammad (saws) reached Madinah, Islam began to rise and gather strength, and the Muslims kept marching on the path of success and glory from that day onwards. There the Muslims formed their own assembly and an Islamic state of sorts. They established an Islamic government.
The Companions have taught a great lesson to all of us by selecting this event as the starting point of the Islamic calendar, and the generations to come by considering the year of Hijrah as the starting point of the Islamic date. The great lesson is that the uplift and advancement of Islam and its grandeur and splendor depended on the fact that the other Muslims had made valuable sacrifices like the Prophet Muhammad (saws) had done, forsaking the land of their birth, their wealth, and positions, by joining him in Madinah, and became his Companions in the way of Allah.
The Second Reason
One reason has been mentioned why the Islamic Calendar started from the year of Hijrah. The second reason is that there was a difference of opinion about the date of his birth as well as the exact day when Allah (swt) commissioned the Holy Prophet as His Apostle in the Mount of Hira through the agency of Archangel Jibril (Gabriel). The Companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws), who were alive after him viewed that starting the calendar from the year of his death would have been a regrettable act, which they did not like. And in fixing the year of Hijrah, no objections were raised from the general body of Muslims who had gathered under the leadership of Umar (ra) to debate this issue.
Muharram Al-Haram -the First Month of the Islamic Calendar
And, by consensus, when it was decided by the Companions of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws) that the Islamic date should be fixed from the event of Hijrah, another problem arose as which month should be regarded as the first month of the year. After consulting the Companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws), some of them remarked, “Rajab should be declared as the first month of Ramadan.” Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf (ra) was inclined to this opinion. And some of them said, “Ramadan should be the first month.” This was chosen by Talha (ra). Usman (ra) remarked, “We must begin the year by Muharram, because this is a respected month and the beginning of the year and time of returning of the Hajj Pilgrims.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:269, Umdah Al-Qari 17:66)
Ibn Hajar says, “The narrations and traditions as a whole indicate that the Companions who were in the favor of Muharram are Umar, Usman and Ali.” (Fath Al-Bari, 7:269)
In brief, it was agreed upon by all the Companions that Muharram Al-Haram must be declared as the first month of the Hijri year.
A Complication and its Solution
A complication may occur in one’s mind, as the Companions must have regarded the month in which the event of Hijrah took place as the first month of the Islamic year because they attached a lot of importance to the Hijrah. And the month in which Hijrah took place was Rabi Al-Awwal. Then why did they not agree to make Rabi Al-Awwal as the first month of the Hijri year?
The solution for this question is that no doubt, the event of Hijrah took place in the month of Ramadan. But the prophet Muhammad (saws) had determined to leave for Madinah in Muharram Al-Haram. The Muslims, while returning from Madinah after performing their Pilgrimage, invited Prophet Muhammad (saws) to Madinah. He accepted their invitation. When the month of Muharram came, he determined to migrate. From this viewpoint, Muharram is the month of Hijrah although it was practically done in the month of Rabi Al-Awwal.
Ibn Hajar says commenting about this, “This is the strongest reason for starting the Islamic year from the Month of Muharram.” (Fath Al-Bari, 7:269)
A Critical Analysis
After making known to our readers in complete details all the facts that led to the start of the Islamic calendar, we should examine ourselves in a critical way. The actions and practices of the Companions indicate to some important things, which, in fact, are a message and guidance for us. We should examine ourselves in the mirror of their achievements:
The first message is that when the Companions felt a necessity to fix a date, they invented the Islamic year and it gained currency among the Islamic Empire from then onwards. At that time, there were many other different dates, which were followed in different nations of the world. But the Companions did not follow the other nations or communities of the world blindly by imitating their dates in Islamic history. On the contrary, they founded a new Islamic year by consulting one another. This incident indicates that Islam is a complete and an independent religion, which has its own set of codes, beliefs, and practices that set it apart from the other non-Muslim nations of the world. It has its own values, traits, and special characteristics. Islam always wants its followers to maintain these values and traits. Hence, the question arises, “Is it permissible to act upon other dates?” The fact is that it is permissible to use and write other dates but the Islamic date must be given the first priority and care in all our writings and correspondence with one another. The practices of Companions give us an excellent lesson of Islamic Morals, which they followed to this effect. Their Islamic actions appeal to uphold and maintain Islamic values and characteristics. The Companions wanted to display the success and glory of the Muslims and the defeat and ruin of the pagans by fixing the date from the time of Hijrah with the Month of Muharram. Muharram Al-Haram is the month in which the disbelievers were defeated and ruined. On the other hand, the Muslims achieved great success and glory for Islam.
The Companions wanted that we must remember this month as it comes and lead our life successfully. But it is a pity that a large number of Muslims regard this month as an unhappy and unlucky month. Hence, many Muslims avoid this month and they do not hold marriage ceremonies and other functions during this month. This month was highly sacred and respected to them. On the other hand, some misguided Muslims nowadays regard it as an unlucky month. While the fact remains that the best fasting days after the month of Ramadan are the days of Muharram as Imam Muslim narrates in a hadith.
In this Hadith, this month has been declared as to be the month of Allah, which indicates its sacredness and glory. It has been considered as the best month after the month of Ramadan. But because of Shiite’s distorted interpretation of the events, which took place in this month, many Muslims think this month as unlucky, influenced by the Shiite School of Thought, which has no basis in the Islamic Shariah of the mainstream Sunni Islamic Ummah. This is a wrong belief, which must be corrected.
The Companions attracted our attention to the fact that we must sacrifice in the way of Allah by fixing the Islamic date in order to improve and develop Islam as the Prophet Muhammad and his other Companions showed us by their examples and sacrifices by strengthening Islam. If the Companions had not sacrificed all that they had and had not abandoned their comforts and amenities, which they enjoyed in the comforts of their homes in Makkah, it was possible that Islam would have been obliterated from this world.
So, when the Islamic date comes to us, we must have the same feelings of sacrifice as they did, and think of ways and means by which we can strengthen Islam both at an individual and collective level. Now let us think for ourselves, what sacrifices have we presented for the sake of strengthening Islam from its present position to take it to more glorious heights. What services have we rendered to it for the sake of Allah for its improvement? Think, have we not become a source to strengthen disbelief and paganism consciously or unconsciously weakening Islam and its values by following the un-Islamic practices of the non-Muslims blindly in this month, or have we not invested our whole time into improving the assets of our worldly life and developed in us a love and hankering for its material wealth?
After imprinting the above knowledge in our minds, and imbibing its spirit into our souls, everyone must lead his life in the way of developing and raising Islam to reach the zenith of its glory from the present state in which we find ourselves. By working for it selflessly for the sake of the religion and the Muslim community, we can make the Ummah the most distinguished, and respected people on the face of this earth.
MUFTI MOHAMMAD ANWAR KHAN
The ban on Hijab has stirred a great deal of discussion that has gone far deeper than simply the issue of wearing the Hijab. The intellectuals and the analysts of the world are discussing the issues involved in depth, leaving their audience with a variety of opinions and questions to contemplate. Perhaps no other issue has stirred as much controversy as the recent decisions to impose the ban on the veil in many European public places and schools.
In the heat of the passions that have raged across the Muslim and the Western World, this issue has again ignited, and reinforced the view about the conflict between Islam and the West and the question of Western racism against Arabs and Muslims. The furor over Hijab opened the gateway to a host of other issues. The first incident over Hijab that was debated hotly took place in France in 1989. The modernists attempted to link it to the global winds of change that were taking place during the period 1989 - 1992. Before then, Muslims had been present in France for years, and the people of France had accepted the Hijab donned by the Muslim women as a part of their religion and culture, and there was not a single problem among the tolerant people of France about the right of Muslim women wearing the Hijab in public places, schools, and colleges.
It is extremely distressing for the Muslim world to observe that some people in the West simply like to attribute the problems faced by the Muslims of Europe to Islam. Then they link it to the problems of Muslim women in an Islamic society, and finally they deduce from their observations that it is all because of the issue of Hijab, which stops the Muslims and their women from getting integrated with the Western society. The larger questions relating to the problems of Muslims in Europe, like racism, unemployment, discrimination, and being treated as second class citizens even those Muslims who are born and brought up over there and acquired the citizenship of the Western countries, are simply brushed aside. If the Western politicians address these problems taking the bull by its horns, then they will emerge out among the guilty people who are responsible for the present plight of Muslims in the Western world - a responsibility they do not want to shoulder - for that will not be in their political interests to do so.
We would like to dwell on the subject and its diverse dimensions and answer to the most frequently asked questions and misunderstandings regarding Hijab. Let us first shed some light on what is considered in the West as the greatest symbol of women’s oppression and servitude in the Islamic world - the Hijab - the veil or the head cover worn by a Muslim woman to fulfill her obligatory duty enjoined upon her by the Islamic Shariah. A believing Muslim woman does not follow the rite of veiling herself as an act of compulsion imposed upon her by the males in an Islamic society, but to fulfill her sacred duty that has been enjoined upon her by the teachings of the Religion of Islam.
Lexically, Hijab is derived from the Arabic word “hajaba”, which means “to conceal something” or “to prevent from being seen or noticed by others”. The Islamic code of dress requires that a Muslim woman wears clothing that is loose and opaque. Whenever a Muslim woman leaves the house, or whenever the males in her house receive male visitors not belonging to the immediate family members, she is required to don on the Hijab, until the guests leave the house.
Now, let us examine whether the Hijab is mandatory on women of other religions. Rabbi Dr. Menachem M. Brayer (Professor of Biblical Literature at Yeshiva University) comments in his book “The Jewish woman in Rabbinic literature”: It was the custom of Jewish women to go out in public with a head covering which, sometimes, even covered the whole face leaving one eye free. He quotes some famous ancient Rabbis saying, “It is not like the daughters of Israel to walk out with heads uncovered” and “Cursed be the man who lets the hair of his wife be seen…. a woman who exposes her hair for self-adornment brings poverty.” It is clear from the words of the learned Professor that the Rabbinic Law clearly forbids the recitation of blessings or prayers in the presence of a bareheaded, married woman since uncovering the woman’s hair was considered equivalent to “nudity”.
Dr. Brayer also mentions in his book: “During the Tannaitic period the Jewish woman’s failure to cover her head was considered an affront to her modesty. When her head was uncovered she might be fined four hundred zuzim for this offense.” Dr. Brayer also explains that veil of the Jewish woman was not always considered a sign of modesty. Sometimes, the veil symbolized a state of distinction and luxury rather than modesty. The veil personified the dignity and superiority of noble women. It also represented a woman’s inaccessibility to others and signified that she was a sacred possession of her husband.
It is clear in the Old Testament that uncovering a woman’s head was a great disgrace and that’s why the priest had to uncover the suspected adulteress in her trial by ordeal (Numbers 5:16-18). The next question that immediately comes to our mind is: What does the Christian tradition say about Hijab? It is well known that the Catholic Nuns have been covering their heads for hundreds of years, but that is not all the tradition that is found in the New Testament. St. Paul in the New Testament has made some very interesting statements about the veil: “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head - it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man, neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.” (I Corinthians 11:3-10).
St. Tertullian in his famous treatise ‘On The Veiling Of Virgins’ wrote, “Young women, you wear your veils out on the streets, so you should wear them in the church, you wear them when you are among strangers, then wear them among your brothers…” Among the Canonical laws of the Catholic Church today, there is a law that requires women to cover their heads in church. Some Christian denominations, such as the Amish and the Mennonites for example, keep their women veiled to this present day. And, the reasons for the veil, as offered by their Church leaders of those particular denominations are: “The head covering is a symbol of woman’s subjugation to the man and to God.”
From all the above evidence, it is obvious that Islam did not invent the head covering for a woman or ordered the veiling of her face, but Islam reinforced the teachings of all the Prophets of Allah who came before Prophet Muhammad (saws). The Holy Qur’an urges the believing men and women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty, and then urges the believing women to extend their head covers to cover the neck and the bosom: “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty… And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms….” (24:30,31). The Holy Qur’an is quite clear that the veil is essential for a woman to maintain her modesty, but why is modesty so important in the Religion of Islam? The Holy Qur’an further elaborates this fact in some of the other verses found in the Book of Allah: “O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their bodies (when abroad) so that they should be known and not molested” (33:59). And, this is the sole reason why modesty is prescribed to protect women from molestation, in other words, modesty is protection. Thus, the only purpose of the veil in Islam is protection. The Islamic veil, unlike the veil of the Christian tradition, is not a sign of man’s authority over woman nor is it a sign of woman’s subjugation to man. The Islamic veil, unlike the veil in the Jewish tradition, is not a sign of luxury and distinction of some noble married women. The Islamic veil is only a sign of modesty with the sole purpose of protecting women, all the women who live within the boundaries set by the Religion of Islam. The Islamic philosophy is that it is always better to be safe, rather than being sorry at a later date.
In fact, the Holy Qur’an is so concerned with protecting women’s bodies and women’s reputation that a man who dares to falsely accuse a woman as being unchaste without producing adequate proof to this effect will be severely punished. It is stated in the Holy Qur’an: “And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations)- Flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors.” (24:4). If we compare this strict Qur’anic Law and attitude with the extremely lax punishment for rape in the Bible then we learn that: “If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.” (Deuteronomy, 22:28-30)
If ‘civilization ‘ offers enough protection to women of the Western world, then we should learn the answers about why is it considered unsafe for women in North America, who dare not walk alone in a dark street - or even across an empty parking lot? If education is the solution, then why is it that respected universities like University of Essex have a ‘walk home service’ for female students on its campus? If self-restraint is the answer, then why do the newspapers and the television channels of the world report cases of sexual harassment in the workplace on the news media on a daily basis?
According to reports: In Canada, a woman is sexually assaulted every 6 minutes”, 1 in 3 women in Canada will be sexually assaulted at some time in their lives”, 1 in 4 women are at the risk of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime”, 1 in 8 women will be sexually assaulted while attending college or university. A study has found 60% of Canadian university-aged males said they would commit sexual assault if they were certain they would not get caught.”
These alarming statistics show that something is fundamentally wrong in the Western Christian society. A radical change in the society’s lifestyle and culture is absolutely necessary. A culture of modesty is badly needed, modesty in dress, in speech, and in manners of both men and women. Otherwise, the grim statistics will grow even worse day after day, and the unfortunate women of the Western world will be paying the heavy price for forsaking modesty. Therefore, countries like Britain, and France, which expel young women from schools because of wearing a modest dress are simply harming themselves.
It is one of the great ironies of our world today that the very same headscarf revered as a sign of ‘holiness’ when worn for the purpose of showing the authority of man by Catholic Nuns, is reviled as a sign of ‘oppression’ when worn for the purpose of protection by Muslim women. The orthodox Muslim woman does not perceive the veil as inhibiting or oppressive. On the contrary, the veil guarantees her the full respect of the surroundings, and is considered by her as a privilege and not as a burden, which runs contrary to the popular belief held by the members of the non-Muslim society. The dignity of the wife or the daughters, or the dignity of any Muslim woman, for that matter, must be respected and protected. The Western world entertains the erroneous notion that the veil represents a compulsion from the husband and the religion. But women wearing veils, on the other hand, normally radiate devotion, and take pride in following their religion. They have chosen the veil as a clear demonstration of their Muslim identity. Of course, there may be families where the woman is forced, for instance to stay at home. But that does not imply that the Religion of Islam endorses this act.
Alain Badiou, one of France ‘s leading philosophers, and head of the Philosophy Department of the Ecole normale supérieure in Paris, once wrote when he saw some feminist ladies demand the President to impose a ban on Hijab: “Strange is the rage reserved by so many feminist ladies for the few girls wearing the Hijab. They have begged the poor president Chirac to crack down on them (Veiled ladies) in the name of the Law. Meanwhile the prostitution of female body is everywhere. The most humiliating pornography - depicting women in the receiving end - is universally sold. Advice on sexually exposing bodies lavishes teen magazines day in and day out. It is said virtually everywhere that the “veil” is an intolerable symbol of control over female sexuality. Do you really believe female sexuality is not to be controlled in our society these days? This naiveté would have made Foucault laugh. Never has so much care been given to female sexuality, so much attention to detail, so much informed advice, so much distinguishing between its good and bad uses. Enjoyment has become a sinister obligation. The universal exposure of supposedly exciting parts is a duty more rigid than Kant’s moral imperative!”
The relation between the Western and Eastern world is very complicated and may include several subjects that can be written down in many volumes. The idea of colonial wars and Western campaigns on the Arab and Islamic world left deep wounds in the latter. The great European countries profited a lot from these campaigns, especially France and Britain. When the Colonial Era ended, the Arabs and Muslims felt annoyed because of Western bias, which tilted towards the Israeli occupation of their lands. Three events that occurred in the past few years deeply affected the relations between the Arab and Islamic world and the West. First, it was the Al Aqsa Intifada, which erupted in the year of September 2000 against Israeli Occupation of the Holy Mosque of Aqsa that is sacred to all the Muslims of the world. The second reason was the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. And, the third was the war on Afghanistan and Iraq. During this period, both sides exchanged hostile feelings encouraged by the radicals of both the societies. At the same time, the Muslims are deeply appreciative of the fact that certain sections of society of the non-Muslim community, where the Age of Reason still exists, have seen the merits of the Religion of Islam. They have fearlessly sided with the Muslims after understanding their viewpoints, their religion and culture. They have debunked the myths of those people who have tried to transform this era into a Clash of Civilizations between Islam and the Western Christian world. They have frustrated the efforts of the Right Wing Christian Missionaries and the Politicians who have pledged allegiance to them for destroying the social fabric of Islam of which the Muslim family is a unit, by targeting the most vulnerable person in the family - the Muslim woman. On the other hand, the Muslim women who are well aware of the Western game plan have chosen not to walk into this trap and have bravely fought back for the right to wear Hijab and follow Islam as the religion of their choice!