By Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi
The fast of 'Ashura was prescribed before the fasts of Ramadan. The Jews observed it and so did the people of Arabia before the dawn of Islam.
It is related by Imam Bukhari on the authority of Ibn-i-Abbas that when the Prophet came to Madinah he found that the Jews observed the fast of 'Ashura. He enquired about it from them and was told that it was the day on which God had delivered the Children of Israel from the enemy and Moses used to keep a fast on it as an expression of gratitude to the Almighty. The Prophet thereupon, remarked that 'Moses has a greater claim upon me than upon you,' and he fasted on that day and instructed his followers to do the same.
It is also mentioned in Muslim that it is a most important day. On this day God had delivered Moses and his followers and drowned Pharaoh and his men. Moses fasted on it in thanksgiving. Imam Bukhari adds that it is related by Abu Bishr: "We also keep fast as a token of respect to Moses."
But the celebrated mathematician Abu Rehan Beruni challenged the veracity of these reports on the basis of a comparative study of the Jewish and Arabian Calendars. He writes: "It is said that 'Ashur is a Hebrew word which has become 'Ashura in Arabic. It stands for the tenth day of the Jewish month of Tisri. The fast observed on this day is called Yom Kippur. It came to be incorporated in the Arab Calendar and the name was given to the tenth day of the first month of their year in the same way in which it denoted the tenth day of the first month of the Jewish Calendar. It was instituted as a day of fasting among the Muslims in the first year of Migration. Later, when fasting was enjoined in the month of Ramadan it was dropped. A Tradition has it that when the Prophet came to Madinah and saw that the Jews observed the fast of 'Ashura he enquired about it and was told that it was the day on which God had drowned Pharaoh and his people and delivered Moses and his followers from them, and Moses used to fast on it in thanksgiving. The Prophet, then, remarked that Moses had a greater claim upon him than upon them and he fasted on that day and instructed his followers to do the same. When the fasts of Ramadan were prescribed, the Prophet neither enjoined the fast of 'Ashura nor forbade it.
Ashura as mentioned in the tradition, is a day of merriment and decoration. We fast on this day as a token of respect to Prophet Musa, alayhis-sallam (Moses).
But this report is fallacious and does not stand the test of enquiry. The first day of the month of Muharram in the first year of Hijrah (Migration) was Friday, which corresponds to the 16th of Tamuz, 933 (A.E.). As against it, the first day of that year among the Jews was Sunday, the 12th of Awwal which corresponds to the 29th of Safar. Hence, the fast of Ashura should have fallen on Tuesday, the 9th of Rabi-ul-Awwal, while the Migration had taken place during the first half of that month. The two dates, at any rate, do not correspond to each other."
He adds: "The contention that on this day God had drowned the Pharaoh, too, is not supported by what is given in the Torah. The event of the drowning of the Pharaoh had taken place, according to Torah, on the 21st of Nisan, which is the seventh day of the festival of Passover. The first Jewish fast of Passover, after the arrival of the Prophet in Madinah, occurred on Tuesday, the 22nd of Azhar 933 which corresponds to the 17th of Ramadan. This report also is, therefore, without a foundation."
With due respect to the scholarship of Beruni, it is clear that he has built his thesis wholly on conjecture. He has, for instance, surmised that the talk reported by Ibn-i-Abbas and other Companions had taken place on the very first day of the Prophet's arrival in Madinah as is evident from his observation, "when the sacred Prophet came to Madinah or entered it."
This misconception is due to the ignorance of the science of Traditions and of the holy Companion's mode of narration, innumerable instances of which are available in the Traditions. For example, it is related by Anas bin Malik: "When the Prophet came to Madinah and (saw that) there were two days which the people of that place celebrated as festivals he enquired about their significance. (The people of Madinah) told, 'These were our days of fun and entertainment during the days of Paganism.' The Prophet, thereupon, observed, 'God has given you two better days in their place, 'Id-ul-Fitr and 'Id-ul-Adha'."
Now, will it be proper for anyone to infer from the above Tradition that the arrival of the Prophet in Madinah took place on the same day that was the day of celebration in that town, and to proceed to question the veracity of the Tradition on the ground that it was not chronometrically possible? Similar errors of interpretation have been made in respect of other traditions as well, like the one relating to pollination in date palms.
Commenting on the argument advanced by Beruni, Allama Ibn-i-Hajr Asqallani says,
"He found it difficult to accept the tradition due to the misunderstanding that when the Prophet arrived in Madinah he saw the Jews in the state of keeping the fast of 'Ashura while, in fact, it was in the month of Rabi-ul-Awwal that the Prophet had come to Madinah. The answer to it is that he has erred in the interpretation of the tradition. What the tradition actually means is that the Prophet came to know of the fast of 'Ashura only when he had migrated to Madinah and made his enquiry, for the first time, after he had reached there. In other words, the Prophet, when he came to Madinah and stayed there till 'Ashura, found that the Jews fasted on that day."
There is left no chronological contradiction after Allama Asqallani's explanation, in the Tradition regarding the fast of 'Ashura.
The second misconception under which Beruni labors is that the fast of 'Ashura mentioned in the Tradition signifies the tenth day of the Jewish month of Tisri which is also known as Yom Kippur or the Fast of Atonement and is observed by them with greater ceremony than any other fast. But there is nothing in the tradition to warrant such a conclusion, and it is also not supported by the Torah because the Fast of Atonement was instituted in expiation of a mortal sin and observed as a day of penance and mourning.
The Day of Atonement, which is the tenth day of the seventh month of Tisri, is referred to in these words in the Third Book of Moses called, Leviticus:
"And this will be a statute for ever unto you; that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger who sojourneth among you: for on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute forever" (Lev. 16:29-31)
At another place, in the same Book, it is said: "And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be a holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day; for it is a day of atonement to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God." (Lev. 23:26-28)
Similarly, in the Book of Numbers, it is set forth: "And ye shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month a holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls; ye shall not do any work therein."
On the other hand, it explicitly occurs in the traditions that the day of 'Ashura (on which the Muslims are enjoined to fast) was a day of rejoicing among the Jews. As Imam Bukhari has related it on the authority of Abu Musa Ashari, the Jews regarded it to be a day of Eid and it was on seeing it that the holy Prophet advised his Companions also to keep fast on it.
In Saheeh Muslim, also, it is related from Qais bin Muslim that men of good-doing observed the fast of Ashura and celebrated it as the day of Eid, with their women wearing the best of clothes and ornaments. The Prophet, on seeing it, said to us, "You should also fast on this day."
It is, further, related by Koraib bin S'ad from Omar bin el-Khattab that, "On the Day of Judgment God will ask you only about two fasts, the fasts of Ramadan and the fast of the day of adornment (i.e., 'Ashura)."
In the light of the facts given above, it will be incorrect to say that 'Ashura is the Day of Atonement. Were it so, it would have been a day of lamentation and mortification while 'Ashura, as mentioned in the tradition, is a day of merriment and decoration.
The same fallacy is shared by a number of Western scholars as well. As for instance, Abraham Katish observes about the Day of Attonement in his book entitled, 'Judaism in Islam,' that "Mohammad, in the beginning, instituted it as a day of fasting for Muslims."
The assertion of the Jews themselves about 'Ashura that it was the day on which God had delivered the Israelites from their enemies is enough to set at rest all doubts in this connection. In the Torah it has been repeatedly mentioned as Abib which later came to be known as Nisan. About Abib, we read in Dairatul M'aarif, "it is a Hebraic word which means 'green'. It is the name of the first month of the Hebraic year. This name was given to it by Moses and it corresponds nearly to the month of April. When the Jews were exiled in Babylon they changed its name to Nisan, meaning 'the month of flowers.' Their 'Id-ul-Fateer (Passover) is also held in the middle of it."
Beruni, also, has admitted that it is wrong to suppose that the Day of Atonement signified the day on which God had drowned Pharaoh and his men. He says, "Their contention that on this day God had drowned Pharaoh is opposed to what is stated in the Torah because the event of drowning took place on the 21st of Nisan, which is the seventh day of Ayam-ul-Fateer (Passover). It is set forth in Torah (Ex. 12: 18): 'In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even'."
We, therefore, conclude that 'Ashura, which is mentioned in the traditions related by Ibn-i-Abbas and others and on which day the Muslims have been exhorted to fast and was included among the near-obligatory duties in Islam before the fasts of Ramadan were prescribed, corresponds, in the largest measure, to the day which falls in the middle of the Hebraic month of Abib, whose name was changed to Nisan by the Jews during the period of their exile in Babylon and was celebrated by them as an 'Id and an event of fasting and entertainment. It was on this day that the Israelites had come out of Egypt and the Pharaoh was drowned. In the second Book of Moses it is related: "And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place; there shall no leavened bread be eaten. This day came ye out in the month of Abib." (Ex. 13: 3-4)
In sum, the general consensus among Muslim theologians and religious scholars is that 'Ashura fell on the tenth day of the Arab month of Muharram in the second year of Migration and that it was later annulled by Ramadan.
Besides, any attempt to make the Lunar Arabian Calendar correspond to the Solar Jewish Calendar can, at the best, be only hypothetical. The ancient custom of Nasi has also taken a hand in adding to the confusion. This practice was quite common in Arabia, both before and after the advent of Islam, till it was prohibited by the Qur'anic injunction which reads: Postponement of a month is only an excess of disbelief, whereby those who disbelieve are misled. (ix: 37)
On the occasion of the Farewell Hajj, the holy Prophet had declared, "Time has returned to the original state that obtained when the heavens and the earth were created". These words were of Divine Inspiration for the Arab arrangement of time into days, weeks, months and years had been changed so frequently that it could not be relied upon nor restored to its original form through mathematical calculation. It is, therefore, incorrect to question the authenticity of successive Traditions merely on the basis of an erratic and inconstant Calendar.
It is also possible that the Jews of Madinah were different from the other Jewish communities where the fast of 'Ashura was concerned and observed it with greater enthusiasm and regularity, and, in this respect, they were similar to the Arabs who, seeing that so many important events had taken place on that day, fasted on it out of reverence.
It is related by Hazrat-at Ayesha , "the Quraish fasted on the day of 'Ashura during the period of Ignorance and the sacred Prophet also kept it." (Muslim). Further, the fast days among the Jews living in different countries differed from one another. We have seen how in the Jewish Encyclopedia it is indicated that apart from the fixed fast-days many fasts of a local or national character had become established among the Jews from the early days, which varied from place to place. Private fasts were also common among the Jews and one could take it upon oneself to fast on certain days in memory of certain events or at the time of adversity to arouse God's mercy. In these circumstances, it is quite possible that the fast of 'Ashura, on the tenth day of the first month of the Arab Calendar, was peculiar to the Jews living in Arabia alone. Perhaps, it is for this reason that the Talmud and the Jewish Calendar are silent on this score. Some historians have treated it as identical! to the Fast of Atonement which all the Jews, wherever they be, consider obligatory. Thus, those who subscribe to this view are inclined to doubt the veracity of the afore-mentioned traditions. But their judgment is influenced by the ignorance of the habits and practices of the Jews living in various parts of the world, specially in Arabia where they had been settled for generations as a distinct community, possessing their own beliefs and customs and receiving local impressions in the historical course of things.
By Mufti Taqi Usmani
Muharram is the month with which the Muslims begin their lunar Hijrah Calendar. It is one of the four sanctified months about which the Holy Quran says, "The number of the months according to Allah is twelve (mentioned) in the Book of Allah on the day He created heavens and the earth. Among these (twelve months) there are four sanctified."
These four months, according to the authentic traditions, are Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab. All the commentators of the Holy Quran are unanimous on this point, because the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, in his sermon on the occasion of his last Hajj, declared: "One year consists of twelve months, of which four are sanctified months, three of them are in sequence; Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram, and the fourth is Rajab."
The specific mention of these four months does not mean that any other month has no sanctity, because the month of Ramadan is admittedly the most sanctified month in the year. But these four months were specifically termed as sanctified months for the simple reason that their sanctity was accepted even by the pagans of Makkah.
In fact, every month, out of the twelve, is originally equal to the other, and there is no inherent sanctity that may be attributed to one of them in comparison to the other months. When Allah Almighty chooses a particular time for His special blessings, the same acquires sanctity out of His grace.
Thus, the sanctity of these four months was recognized right from the days of Sayyidina Ibrahim, alayhi salam. Since the Pagans of Makkah attributed themselves to Sayyidina Ibrahim, alayhi salam, they observed the sanctity of these four months and despite their frequent tribal battles, they held it unlawful to fight in these months.
In the Shariah of our Noble Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, the sanctity of these months was upheld and the Holy Quran referred to them as the "sanctified months".
Muharram has certain other characteristics special to it, which are specified below.
Fasting During the Month
The Noble Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, has said: 'The best fasts after the fasts of Ramadan are those of the month of Muharram."
Although the fasts of the month of Muharram are not obligatory, yet one who fasts in these days out of his own will is entitled to a great reward by Allah Almighty. The Hadith cited above signifies that the fasts of the month of Muharram are most rewardable ones among the Nafl or voluntary fasts.
The Hadith does not mean that the award promised for fasts of Muharram can be achieved only by fasting for the whole month. On the contrary, each fast during this month has merit. Therefore, one should avail of this opportunity as much as he can.
The Day of 'Ashurah'
Although Muharram is a sanctified month as a whole, yet, the 10th day of Muharram is the most sacred among all its days. The day is named 'Ashurah'. According to the Holy Companion Ibn 'Abbas, Radi-Allahu anhu. The Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, when migrated to Madinah, found that the Jews of Madinah used to fast on the 10th day of Muharram. They said that it was the day on which the Holy Prophet Musa (Moses), alayhis salam, and his followers crossed the Red Sea miraculously and the Pharaoh was drowned in its waters. On hearing this from the Jews, the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said, "We are more closely rotated to Musa, alayhi salam, than you," and directed the Muslims to fast on the day of 'Ashura'. (Abu Dawood)
It is also reported in a number of authentic traditions that in the beginning, fasting on the day of 'Ashura' was obligatory for the Muslims. It was later that the fasts of Ramadan were made obligatory and the fast on the day of 'Ashura' was made optional. Sayyidina 'Aisha, Radi-Allahu anha, has said:
"When the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, came to Madinah, he fasted on the day of 'Ashura' and directed the people to fast. But when the fasts of Ramadan were made obligatory, the obligation of fasting was confined to Ramadan and the obligatory nature of the fast of 'Ashura' was abandoned. Whoever so desires should fast on it and any other who so likes can avoid fasting on it." (Sunan Abu Dawud)
However, the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to fast on the day of 'Ashura' even after the fasting in Ramadan was made obligatory. Abdullah ibn Musa, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports that the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, preferred the fast of 'Ashura' on the fasts of other days and preferred the fasts of Ramadhaan on the fast of 'Ashura'. (Bukhari and Muslim)
In short, it is established through a number of authentic ahadith that fasting on the day of 'Ashura' is Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and makes one entitled to a great reward.
According to another Hadith, it is more advisable that the fast of 'Ashura' should either be preceded or followed by another fast. It means that one should fast two days: the 9th and 10th of Muharram or the 10th and 11th. The reason of this additional fast as mentioned by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is that the Jews used to fast on the day of'Ashura alone, and the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, wanted to distinguish the Muslim way of fasting from that of Jews. Therefore, he advised the Muslims to add another fast to that of 'Ashura'.
Some traditions signify another feature of the day of 'Ashura. According to these traditions, one should be more generous to his family by providing more food to them on this day as compared to other days. These traditions are not very authentic according to the science of Hadith. Yet, some Scholars like Baihaqi and Ibn Hibban have accepted them as reliable.
What is mentioned above is all that is supported through authentic sources about Ashura.
Misconceptions and Baseless Traditions
However, there are some legends and misconceptions with regard to 'Ashura' that have managed to find their way into the minds of the ignorant, but have no support of authentic Islamic sources, some very common of them are these: This is the day on which Adam, alayhi salam, was created. This is the day when Ibrahim, alayhi salam, was born. This is the day when Allah accepted the repentance of Sayyidina Adam, alayhi salam. This is the day when Qiyaamah (doomsday) will take place. Whoever takes bath on the day of 'Ashura' will never get ill.
All these and other similar whims and fancies are totally baseless and the traditions referred to in this respect are not worthy of any credit.
Some people take it as Sunnah to prepare a particular type of meal on the day of 'Ashura'. This practice, too, has no basis in the authentic Islamic sources.
Some other people attribute the sanctity of 'Ashura' to the martyrdom of Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, during his battle with the Syrian army. No doubt, the martyrdom of Sayyidina Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, is one of the most tragic episodes of our history. Yet, the sanctity of 'Ashura' cannot be ascribed to this event for the simple reason that the sanctity of 'Ashura' was established during the days of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, much earlier than the birth of Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu.
On the contrary, it is one of the merits of Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, that his martyrdom took place on the day of 'Ashura'.
Another misconception about the month of Muharram is that it is an evil or unlucky month, for Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, was killed in it. It is for this misconception that people avoid holding marriage ceremonies in the month of Muharram. This is again a baseless concept, which is contrary to the express teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah. If the death of an eminent person on a particular day renders that day unlucky for all times to come, one can hardly find a day of the year free from this bad luck because every day is associated with the demise of some eminent person. The Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, have liberated us from such superstitious beliefs.
Lamentations and Mourning
Another wrong practice related to this month is to hold the lamentation and mouming ceremonies in the memory of martyrdom of Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu. As mentioned earlier, the event of Karbala is one of the most tragic events of our history, but the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, has forbidden us from holding the mourning ceremonies on the death of any person. The people of jahiliyyah (ignorance) used to mourn over their deceased through loud lamentations, by tearing their clothes and by beating their cheeks and chests. The Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, stopped the Muslims from doing all this and directed them to observe patience by saying "Innaa lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji'oon". A number of authentic Ahaadith are available on the subject. To quote only one of them:
"He is not from our group who slaps his checks, tears his clothes and cries in the manner of the people of jahiliyyah." (Sahih Bukhari)
All the authentic jurists are unanimous on the point that the mourning of this type is impermissible. Even Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, shortly before his demise, had advised his beloved sister Sayyidah Zainab, Radi-Allahu anha, at not to mourn over his death in this manner. He said, "My dear sister! I swear upon you that in case I die you shall not tear your clothes, nor scratch your face, nor curse anyone for me or pray for your death." (Al-Kamil, ibn al-Athir vol. 4 pg. 24)
It is evident from this advice of Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, that this type of mourning is condemned even by the blessed person for the memory of whom these mourning ceremonies are held. Every Muslim should avoid this practice and abide by the teachings of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and his beloved grand child Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu.
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Cleanliness and purification is one of the great privileges of Islam. It has evolved a wonderful system that encompasses Muslim life on individual and social levels. Islam places great emphasis on cleanliness, in both physical and spiritual terms. The attention to hygiene is the aspect which is an unknown concern in any other religion or philosophy before Islam. While people generally consider cleanliness a desirable attribute, Islam insists on it, making it an indispensable fundamental of faith. Cleanliness is an essential part of Islamic life and in fact the meaning and spirit behind the concept of cleanliness is much beyond the superficial concept of the conventional cleanliness.
In the Holy Quran, there are a number of verses which shed light at the importance of cleanliness: "Truly, Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean." (Al Baqarah 2:222) At another place Allah says: “In it (mosque) are men who love to clean and to purify themselves. And Allah loves those who make themselves clean and pure.” (9:108) Cleanliness and purity has been emphasized by various means in hundreds of Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him). In a Hadith he said: Cleanliness is half of faith. (Sahih Muslim Book 2, Number 0432)
The importance of cleanliness can be estimated from the fact that the books of Hadith as well as the Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) start with a chapter on cleanliness. There are two terms used in Islamic literature: taharah and nazafah. Taharah (Cleanliness from physical impurities) is required by Islam to be observed by each and every Muslim in his and her daily life while nazafah (neatness) is a desirable attribute.
There are two kinds of cleanliness; physical and spiritual. As far as physical cleanliness is concerned, it is of two types. One which is related to human body and the other is related to environment, water, house, road and public places. Muslims are required to observe cleanliness from the excretions of the penis, vagina or anus. Semen, sperm, urine, menstruation, vaginal fluid, stool and blood are impure and require compulsory modes of cleanliness. Muslims wash their genitals after passing urine and secretion and take bath every time they have intercourse with their mates. Muslims also enjoined to use water, not paper or anything else after eliminating body wastes. They are categorically prohibited to have sex with their wives during their menses.
A Muslim is obliged to make ablution if exposed to minor impurities. This means he must wash off those parts of the body (like hand, feet, face, nostrils etc) which are commonly exposed to dust, dirt and environmental pollution. Before every prayer (at least five times a day) and before recital of the Quran, Muslims are asked to perform this ablution. Likewise, Muslims are enjoined to have a Ghusl (bathe) after ejaculation, sexual intercourse, menstruation and puerperium. While at many other occasions, bathing is recommended as for Friday prayer, festival days, in Hajj etc.
Muslims are duty bound to keep the nails clipped, to remove hair from the armpit and from the pubic area as a matter of routine practice. Muslim males are required to get circumcised to avoid even faint traces of urine entrapped in the foreskin of the genitals. They are also instructed to trim their moustaches in order to avert oral intakes. Islam has directed attention in taking care of mouth by using any purifying agent like miswak. Brushing the teeth (once or twice a day) is very recent development of near past, but Muslims are accustomed this herbal brush for the past 1400 years, five times a day prior to each ablution. There are a number of Hadith that lay special stress on cleaning the teeth, hands and hair.
Apart from body, Islam requires a Muslim to keep his clothes, houses and streets clean. In fact a Muslim cannot offer his prayers with unclean body, clothes or using dirty premises. They are asked to use clean water and keep it safe from impurities and pollution. The particular chapter of taharah starts with the classification of water and goes on to describe how water gets impure or polluted.
Moreover, Islam instructed Muslims to maintain the cleanliness of the roads and streets. This is considered a charity to ridding the streets of impurities and filth. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) strictly warned against it and considered it one of the reasons to provoke Allah's curse and the people's curse, saying: "Beware of the three acts that cause others to curse you: relieving yourselves in a watering place, on foot paths or shaded places." (Abu Dawud, No 26)
Apart from physical cleanliness, Islam emphasizes on spiritual cleanliness. This means that one is free from polytheism, hypocrisy and ill manners, love of wealth, love of fame and other carnal desires. The emphasis in Islam is more on the cleanliness of the inner-self that is heart, mind and soul. The external cleaning process and rituals in reality are the preparatory ground work to obtain the more important task and that is cleanliness of the inner-self, which is the ultimate goal of the religion. Islam requires the sincere believer to sanitize and purify his entire way of life. The directives of Zakah (alms) and fasting are nothing but to purify ones wealth and soul.
Cleanliness is the pathway to health and strength. Islam wants a healthy and strong Muslim society which is immune against infectious diseases and is capable of understanding and applying God's message and carrying it away to the whole world. The Holy Quran says: You are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing In Allah. (Surah Aal-Imran, 3/110)
In view of the significance of cleanliness in Islam, Muslims should have the highest standard of cleanliness and personal hygiene of all the people in the world. But, it is highly regrettable that the heap of garbage has become an identity of Muslim homes and localities. The Muslim majority areas are marked with unhygienic and unhealthy conditions.
Patience always triumphs!
By Ibn Abdullah
The sweetness of Sabr (Patience) outlives grief. Patience is a cup every person has to drink from. There are some types of grief that weigh on the heart, that if they were to be felt by a mountain, that mountain would crumble to the ground…
When The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (peace be upon him) lost his beloved son Ibrahim, he held his small body in his arms and said "The eyes send their tears and the heart is saddened, but we do not say anything except that which pleases our Lord. Indeed, O Ibrahim, we are bereaved by your departure from us." Then he turned his face towards the mountain before him and said, "O mountain! If you were as sorrowful as I am, you would certainly crumble into pieces! But we say what Allah has ordered us: (we are the servants of Allah and we will return to Him; we thank Allah, the Creator of the Universe)." (Ibn-i Sa'd, Tabaqat v.1, p.131-144)
The human heart is just a small, fragile piece of flesh - but with Sabr (patience), it is able to carry the kind of pain that would cause a mountain to disintegrate. Allah Ta’ala says;
"Oh you who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy. Vie in such perseverance, strengthen each other, and be pious, that you may prosper." (Qur’an 3:200)
Patience only comes with great struggle and difficulty. It is like trying to grasp and hold onto a strong and fast-swimming fish with your bare hands. You may succeed for a moment or two, but if you are not vigilant, it will escape from grip just as quickly as it came. Really how desperate is our need for patience?!
Patience doesn't mean to just ‘wait out’ the pain. It doesn't mean burying your head in the sand until the storm has ended and you can be sure safely re-emerge into life. And patience isn't peaceful…at least not at first.
True patience is like stepping onto shards of glass and muffling your screams. As you sit and remove the pieces from your skin, tears stinging at your eyes from the pain, you smile and do not say a word.
Patience is like being lit on fire from within, a fire that feels as though it will consume you. And yet you keep walking forward calmly, extending your hand to take cool water from those who offer them in order to quell the flame.
Patience is like treading water in violent seas after your boat has capsized – you are exhausted, but if you stop trying for a moment, you will drown.
Patience is indeed a pillar of great virtue. Allah Ta’ala says; "No one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune." (Qur’an 41:35)
"Verily man is in loss, except such as have faith, and do righteous deeds, and join together in the mutual enjoining of truth, and of patience and constancy." ( Qur’an 103:2-3)
Patience and success are like twin brothers, for victory comes with patience, relief comes with distress and ease comes with hardship. Its relationship to victory is like that of the head to the body.
In the Qur’aan, Allah Ta’ala has guaranteed those who are patient that He will give them reward without measure. He tells them that He is with them by guiding and supporting them and granting them a clear victory. Allah Ta’ala says;
“Surely, Allaah is with those who are As‑Saabiroon (the patient)” (Qur’an al-Anfaal 6:46)
During times of deep trial, despair and sadness, patience is a fort. Relief and comfort can be found in adhering to Deen. We will most definitely be tried and tested in life, and these trials should be borne with "patience, perseverance and prayer." Indeed, people before us have suffered and had their faith tested; so too will we be tried and tested in this life but we should not lose hope or feel despondent. Allah Ta’ala says;
“Verily, with every difficulty there is relief” (Qur'an 94:5-6)
When our focus ceases to be solely on ourselves, our pride and our ego, then patience is easier to manifest. No matter what types of adverse conditions prevail, a person who exercises patience will not be at loss. The Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace be upon him) said;
"How wonderful is the affairs of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him." (Hadith-Muslim)
So next time you are struck with arrow of grief or caught-up in a storm of difficulties, remember to exercise patience, turn to Allah Ta’ala in repentance and pray to Him for relief…for at the end of every dark tunnel there are rays of light!
اردو میں مزید فتاوی اور مضامین کے لیے درج ذیل لنک دیکھیں
_ by Mufti Taqi Usmani
Rabi'ul-Awwal is the most significant month in the Islamic history, because humanity has been blessed in this month by the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Before the birth of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, not only the Arabian peninsula, but also the so-called civilized nations of Rome and Persia were drowned in the darkness of ignorance, superstitions, oppression and unrest. The Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, came with the eternal truth of Tawhid (Oneness of Allah), the only faith which provides a firm basis for the real concepts of knowledge, equity and peace. It was this faith which delivered humanity from ignorance and superstitions and spread the light of true knowledge all over the world.
Thus the birth of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was the most significant and the most remarkable event in human history. Had there been room in Islamic teachings for the celebration of birthdays or anniversaries, the birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, would have undoubtedly deserved it more than the birthday of any other person. But that is against the nature of Islamic teachings. That is why, unlike Judaism, Christianity, and Hinduism, there are very few festivals in Islam, which provides for only two Eids (Eidul-fitr and Eidul-Adha)during the whole year. The dates of these two Eids do not correspond to the birthday of any of the outstanding persons of Islamic history, nor can their origin be attributed to any particular event of history that had happened in these dates.
Both of these two Eids have been prescribed for paying gratitude to Allah on some happy events that take place every year. The first event is the completion of the fasts of Ramadan and the second event is the completion of Hajj, another form of worship regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam.
The manner prescribed for the celebration of these two Eids (festivals) is also different from non-Islamic festivals. There are no formal processions, illumination or other activities showing formal happiness. On the contrary, there are congregational prayers and informal mutual visits to each other, which can give real happiness instead of its symbols only.
On the other hand, Islam has not prescribed any festival for the birthday of any person, however great or significant he may be. The prophets of Allah are the persons of the highest status amongst all human beings. But the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, or his noble companions never observed the birthday or anniversary of any of them. Even the birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, which was the most happy day for the whole mankind was never celebrated by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, himself, nor by his blessed Companions.
The Companions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, remained alive after him for about a century, but despite their unparalleled and profound love towards the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, they never celebrated the birthday or the death anniversary of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Instead, they devoted their lives for promoting the cause of Islam, for bringing his teachings into practice, for conveying his message to the four corners of the world and for establishing the Islamic order in every walk of life.
The Origins of Christmas
In fact, commemorating the birth of a distinguished person has never been prescribed by any religion attributing itself to divine revelation. It was originally a custom prevalent in pagan communities only. Even Christmas, the famous Christian feast commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ finds no mention in the Bible or in the early Christian writings. It was only in the 4th century after the ascension of Jesus Christ that Christmas was recognized as a regular Christian feast. To quote the Collier's Encyclopedia: "It is impossible to determine the exact date of the birth of Christ, either from the evidence of the gospels, or from any sound tradition. During the first three centuries of the Christian era there was considerable opposition in the Church to the pagan custom of celebrating birthdays, although there is some indication that a purely religious commemoration of the birth of Christ was included in the feast of Epiphany. Clement of Alexandria mentions the existence of the feast in Egypt about the year A.D. 200 and we have some evidence that it was observed on various dates in scattered areas. After the triumph of Constantine, the Church at Rome assigned December 25 as the date for the celebration of the feast, possibly about A.D. 320 or 353. By the end of the fourth century the whole Christian world was celebrating Christmas on that day, with the exception of the Eastern Churches, where it was celebrated on January 6. The choice of December 25 was probably influenced by the fact that on this day the Romans celebrated the Mithraic feast of the Sun-god, and that the Saturnalia also came at this time." (Collier's Encyclopedia 1984 ed, v. 6, p. 403).
A similar description of the origin of Christmas is found in-the Encyclopedia Britannica with some more details. Its following passage will throw more light on the point: "Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church, and before the 5th century there was no general consensus of opinion as to when it should come in the calendar, whether on Jan. 6, March 25 or Dec. 25. The earliest identification of Dec. 25 with the birthday of Christ is in a passage, otherwise unknown and probably spurious, of the philos of Antioch (c.180), preserved in Latin by the Magdeburyg centuriators (i, 3, 118), to the effect that the Gauls contended that since they celebrated the birth of Lord on Dec. 25, so they ought to celebrate the resurrection on March 25. A passage, almost certainly interpolated, in 'Hippelates' (c. 202) commentary on Daniel iv, 23, says that Jesus was born at Bethlehem on Wednesday, Dec. 25, in the 42nd year of Augustus, but he mentions no feast, and such a feast, indeed, would conflict with the then orthodox ideas. As late as 245, Origin (hem. viii on Leviticus) repudiated the idea of keeping the birthday of Christ "as if he were a king Pharaoh". (Britannica, 1953 ed. v. 5, p.642)
These two quotes are more than sufficient to prove the following points:
1. The commemoration of birthdays was originally a pagan custom, never recognized by a divine scripture or prophetic teaching.
2. The exact date of the Birth of Sayyidna 'Isa is unknown and impossible to be ascertained.
3. The commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ was not a recognized practice in the early centuries of the Christian history.
4. It was in the 4th or 5th century that it was recognized as a religious feast, and that, too, under the influence of the pagans who worshipped Sun-god.
5. There was a strong opposition against the commemorating of the birthday by the early Christian scholars like Origin, on the ground that it is originally a custom of pagans and idolaters.
Original Islamic Resources
In original Islamic resources, also we cannot find any instruction about the celebration of birthdays or death anniversaries. Many Companions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, passed away during his life-time. His beloved wife Sayyidah Khadijah, Radi-Allahu anha, passed away in Makkah. His beloved uncle Sayyidna Hamzah, Radi-Allahu anhu was brutally slaughtered during the battle of Uhud. But the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, never observed their birthday or their death anniversaries, nor did he ever advise his followers to celebrate his own birthday in Rabi'ul-Awwal.
What is Wrong with These Celebrations
The reason for abstinence from such celebrations is that they divert the attention of people from the real teachings of Islam towards the observance of some formal activities only. Initially, these celebrations may begin with utmost piety and with a bona fide intention to pay homage to a pious person. Yet, the experience shows that the celebration is ultimately mixed up with an element of merrymaking and rejoicing and is generally confused with secular festivals and the secular, and often sinful, activities creep into it gradually.
The Transformation of Christmas
The example of Christmas will again be relevant. This Christian feast was originally innovated to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ and, of course, to remember his teachings. But once the occasion had been recognized as a feast, all the secular elements of public festivals crept in. The following quotation from the Encyclopedia Britannia is worth attention: "For several centuries Christmas was solely a church anniversary observed by religious services. But as Christianity spread among the people of pagan lands, many of the practices of the winter solstice were blended with those of Christianity because of the liberal ruling of Gregory I, the great, and the cooperation of the missionaries. Thus, Christmas became both religious and secular in its celebration, at times reverent, at others gay."
Then, what kind of activities have been adopted to celebrate Christmas is mentioned in the next paragraphs of which the following quote is more pertinent here: "Merrymaking came to have a share in Christmas observance through popular enthusiasm even while emphasis was on the religious phase. ... In the wholly decked great halls of the feudal lords, whose hospitality extended to all their friends, tenants and household, was sailing, feasting, singing and games, dancing, masquerading and mummers presenting pantomimes and masques were all part of the festivities." (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1953 v. 5, p. 643)
This is enough to show as to how an apparently innocent feast of reverence was converted into a secular festival where the merrymaking and seeking enjoyment by whatever means took preference over all the religious and spiritual activities.
Being fully aware of this human psychology, Islam has never prescribed, nor encouraged the observance of birthdays and anniversaries, and when such celebrations are observed as a part of the religion, they are totally forbidden.
The Religion is Complete
The Holy Qur'an has clearly pronounced on the occasion of the last Hajj of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam: "Today, I have completed the teachings of your religion." [Al-Maida 5:3]
It means that all the teachings of Islam were communicated to the Muslims through the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. No one is allowed after it to add any thing to them as a part of religion. What was not a part of religion during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, can never become part of it. Such additions are termed by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, as Bid'ah or innovation.
Thus, the observance of the 12th of Rabi'ul-Awwal as a religious feast is not warranted by any verse of the Holy Qur'an or by any teaching of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Had it been a part of the religion it would have been clearly ordered or practiced by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and his blessed companions or, at least, by their immediate pupils. But no example of the celebration of the occasion can be traced out in the early centuries of the Islamic history. It was after many centuries [Albalagh Note: According to Maulana Yusuf Ludhinavi it was in the year 604 A.H.] that some monarchs started observing the 12th of Rabi'ul-Awwal as the birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, without a sound religious basis, and the congregations in the name of Maulood or Milad were held where the history of the birth of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to be narrated.
Disagreement About the Date
The observance of the 12th of this month as the birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is not only an innovation having no basis in the Islamic teachings, but the accuracy of this date as the real birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is also very much doubted. There are different dates suggested in different traditions, and the majority of the authentic scholars is inclined to hold that the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was born on the 9th of Rabi'ul-Awwal. This difference of opinion is another evidence to prove that the observance of the birthday is not a part of the religion, otherwise its exact date would have been preserved with accuracy.
The life of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is, no doubt, the most important source of guidance for all the Muslims, and every Muslim is under an obligation to learn and study the events of his life, and to follow the practical example set by him in every sphere of life. The narration of his pious biography (the Seerah) in itself is a pious act, which invites the divine blessings, but the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah have not prescribed a particular time or method for it. This pious act should be performed in all the months and at all the times. The month of Rabi'ul-Awwal has not been designated by the Shariah as a special season for holding such congregations to commemorate the birth or life of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. It is thus an innovation (Bid'ah) to restrict the Seerah meetings to the month of Rabi'ul Awwal only, or to believe that the meetings held in this month are worthy of more reward than the meetings held on any other date during the year. In fact, the Companions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to commemorate the life of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, throughout the year, not only by studying and conveying his message to others, but also by following his way of life and acting upon his teachings in each and every branch of their activities, and this is exactly what a Muslim is required and supposed to do.
By this we do not mean that the Seerah meetings should not be held in the month of Rabi'ul-Awwal. The point is only that they should not be restricted to it, nor should it be believed that the Shariah has laid any kind of emphasis on holding such meetings in this particular month.
Another point that should always be kept in mind while holding such meetings is that they must be in complete conformity with the rules of Shariah. A Muslim is supposed to abide by the rules of Shariah in all his activities. But at least the meetings held in the memory of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, should be free from all the acts forbidden by the Shariah.
Contemporary Seerah Meetings and Shariah
It is often observed, especially in the Western countries, that the people hold the Seerah meetings where men and women sit together without observing the rules of hijab prescribed by the Shariah. The teachings of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, are obviously against such mixed gatherings. How can a Seerah meeting bring fruits where such fundamental teachings of the Shariah are openly violated?
In some meetings the Na'ts (poems) in the memory of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, are recited by the women before the male audience, sometimes with music, which is totally against the instructions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. It is clearly prohibited by the Shariah to hold such meetings or to participate in them, because it is not only a violation of the Shariah rules, but it is an affront to the sanctity of the Seerah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
All other activities, often practiced on the twelfth of Rabi'ul-Awwal, like holding processions, constructing the mock tombs of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and illumination of the buildings and the roads are not warranted by any rule of the Shariah. Rather they are based on conscious or unconscious imitation of certain other religions. No example of such activities can be traced out from the earlier Islamic history.
Real Message of Seerah
What is really important with regard to the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is, first, to follow his teachings, and second to make his pious Seerah available to every Muslim, to preserve it in the hearts of the Muslims from the very childhood, to educate the family members to run their lives according to it and to hold it as the most glorious example of the human conduct the universe has ever witnessed -- and all this with utmost love and reverence, not manifested by some formal activities only, but also through actual behavior of following the Sunnah. This cannot be done by merely holding processions and illuminating the walls. This requires constant and consistent efforts and a meaningful program of education and training.
Links for some fatwas from Darul Uloom Deoband:
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 social structure of the families throughout the world is crumbling down to pieces. In the present times, it would not be totally wide of the mark to say that an overall social anarchy is prevailing in the family order of human beings everywhere in the world. The beautiful concept of family life in the world has been completely ruined. The sanctity of relations bound by blood, and based on sound moral values, is seen as disappearing fast from this planet.
Islam has provided us with the most precise and comprehensive guidance on how we are to fulfill all our social responsibilities, and conduct, in all our dealings and relationships, with all our relatives with whom we come into contact on this earth, and other people in different walks of life. One of the most primary relationships in this world exists between a person and his/her parents. In Islam, the rights of parents have been described as those that are next to the rights of Allah (swt).
The Holy Qur'an says:“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and do good to parents. If either of them or both reach old age, do not say to them “Uff” (a word of anger or contempt) and do not scold them. And address them with respectful words, and submit yourself before them in humility out of compassion and say, “My Lord, be merciful to them as they had brought me up in my childhood.” (17:23-24)
Further, the Holy Qur'an states: “We commanded man to be good about his parents. His mother carried him facing weakness after weakness, and his weaning in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents. To Me is the ultimate return'. And if they force you to ascribe to Him partners about whom you have no knowledge, do not obey them. And be with them in this world, with due fairness, and follow the way of the one who has turned himself towards Me. Then, towards Me is your return, so I shall tell you about what you had been doing.” (31:14-15)
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws) has also laid a very great stress on giving full devotion to the needs of parents, and obedience to one's parents. It is a highly grievous sin to disobey one's parents, ignore their feelings, or to disregard their comfort and happiness in any way. Allah and His Prophet have declared it as the greatest sin, and have characterized a disobedient attitude towards parents after polytheism.
The Holy Prophet (saws) has said: “In the pleasure of parents lies the pleasure of Allah, and in their displeasure, the displeasure of Allah.” The Prophet (saws) once said, “Every time a dutiful son or daughter looks with affection and respect towards his or her father or mother, Allah writes against his or her name the reward of an approved Hajj.” (Baihaqi)
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws) once said to his Companions that the most mortal sins in the world are three: “Associating anyone with Allah, disobeying parents, and giving a false evidence.” (Mishkat)
Once a person enquired from the Prophet (saws), “What are the rights of the parents?” The Holy Prophet replied, “Parents are the Heaven or Hell of their children, i.e. Salvation and Paradise could be gained by serving one's parents well while disobedience to them could lead one to Hell.” (Ibn Majah)
So, every Muslim should be highly respectful towards his parents though he suffers some kind of problem or difficulty, while treading on this path on account of his parents rebuking him or using harsh words against him because of their old age.
Parents, after all, are human beings susceptible to weaknesses and desires. It is possible that they might say or do something wrong and offending to their children. In such circumstances, the children should not mind the acts or utterances of their parents. They should not become enraged at such things and start cursing them. Whatever the parents may do to their children, they should control their temper keeping in view of the hardships and difficulties suffered by them in raising him up as a child into an adult. A Muslim should always consider this fact, and stand by the side of his parents in the way of their appreciating all that they have done to him in bringing him up, and be respectful and obedient to them every time especially in their old age.
No doubt, some of the parents, by their unjust behavior, can create certain situations in which the children may become rebellious and disobedient to them. Especially, when the father remarries and the children have to live with their stepmother who is usually callous and uncompromising with them. It is often seen that the stepmother tries to get her husband angry towards his children from his first wife, over their trivial faults.
In most of the cases, the father-out of love and consideration for their new brides, and in an effort to please all their whims and temperaments- does change his attitude towards his children, and mistreat them. He too, becomes like a stepfather to his own children. Similarly, if the mother, a widow or a divorcee, marries again after divorce or death of her husband, the second husband does not like that his wife treat her and his children alike. And, the poor wife in order to please her husband is compelled to adopt a different attitude towards her children from her first husband.
Either way the Islamic Shariah has admonished the children to obey their parents even at the cost of endangering their own lives. We hope that people will learn from the verses of the Holy Qur'an and the Traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws) that we have quoted above to behave in the best possible terms with their parents, especially in their old age, so that they might gain the pleasure of Allah in this world, and the Hereafter.
(Mufti Anwar Anwar Khan can be accessed at: email@example.com)
MUFTI MOHAMMAD ANWAR KHAN
The champions of the modern culture vociferously babble that only the modern things may be accepted in the scheme of life. They reject all that is old, traditional which they call as a symbol of radicalism and conservativeness. This bunch of modern individuals has devised a set of beautiful words to describe their ideas, feelings, sentiments, and expressions. But this is a fact that nothing relating to modernity is good or wholesome for humanity.
The modern culture wants that women should be made devoid of dresses so that they revel in seeking after their unbridled lusts. Dance, music, film, coeducation, dating, friendship, exhibitionism are all but means for them to satisfy their uncontrolled emotions. These modern champions are unable to understand that they, while advocating modernity, are inviting the whole human race towards utter misery and irreparable damage.
Those who oppose modernity and all that the new globalizing culture offers to humanity are called as radical, extremist, fundamentalist, and conservative. On the other hand, those who support their viewpoints are dubbed as modern, up-to-date, contemporary, enlightened, broad-minded, cosmopolitan, charismatic, and, in brief, complete human beings.
All this is taking place for no reason but to satisfy their base desires, to copy the modern civilization. You may cross no road, street, park, public place or office and institution without noticing a half-naked woman trying to allure the unlucky onlookers, which often make them a regular sufferer of hypertension and other psychological problems.
We may put the simple question before the ardent supporters of modernity and free living societies: Why have murder, incest, rape, kidnapping, eve-teasing, sexual harassment, date-raping, drug abuse, trafficking and a number of other serious issues started to take deep roots in the lives of the human brings? Wickedness, injustice, grief, pessimism, trouble, loneliness, fear, stress, frustration, distrust, unscrupulousness, anxiety, rage, jealousy, resentment, drug addiction, immorality, gambling, prostitution, hunger, poverty, social corruption, theft, war, struggle, violence, oppression, fear of death… News about these issues appear in the newspapers and on TV every day. Who is, at last, responsible for these curses? Why is the modern generation so fascinated with committing bestial crimes, a latest series of felonies that make the sensitive among the humanity shudder to even think about them? All these phenomena clearly indicate that something is terribly wrong with the lifestyle of the modern man.
The story of 74 year old Austrian building engineer is before us to think. This incestuous man locked his daughter in a rat-infested dungeon for 24 years and even he fathered seven children by her. There is found intense global criticism over cases like that. Our country India is also likely to be riveted by the newly revealed case of an outwardly respectable Guajarati businessman in Mumbai who allegedly has been raping his daughter for nine long years. In 2008, Maria Monica Susairaj and her boyfriend killed Neeraj Grover, hacked him into pieces, stuffed them into plastic bags, and later set fire to them. Why do sordid tales of rape, incest, and unimaginable cruelties to children attract so much attraction? Is it prurient interest or revulsion that drives public fascination? We can only guess.
In fact, the main problem lies in the modern mindset that has generated a strange kind of social fabric to live in. The traditional values have been trample over. Parents are not obeyed. Incestuous relations are very often reported. Drug abuse and alcoholism have become the order of the day. Cheating and swindling have become a norm in the human society. Brutalism has exceeded all the limits in a way that it resembles the bestialities of the animals let loose in a jungle. Murder and kidnapping are reported on a daily basis. Fraud and embezzlement have been included as part of the modern politics. Social integrity, national cohesion, and communal harmony find their place in the back stage. Affection with the juniors and the respect of the elders is the talk of the bygone era. Morality has been marginalized. Dirty politics has been made as the part of the modern national and international agenda.
Until the world does not revert to its original course of living, we can never dream a world full of peace and satisfaction. Only making agendas cannot work unless we make an effective step towards changing the modern course that is in fact leading the world towards its final decay. Raising hollow slogans has diminished the hope of people in true democracy.
Time and again, the world has witnessed a number of policies, agendas and memorandums to be imposed for the betterment of humanity. Conferences, seminars, programs, and projects are organized but with no utility or effectiveness. The people must think about the future of humanity and chart out a plan that ensures full security and total safety for them. In order to crystallize these outlines, they will need a program that might revolutionize this planet. The solution lies nowhere but in Islam, which if objectively analyzed, has the potential and power to guarantee what the humanity is waiting for a long time: that is life, liberty, and the pursuit of real happiness.
(Mufti Anwar Anwar Khan can be accessed at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
31 May is the world Tobacco day. Governments and organizations mark this day to boost awareness in the people against the dangers of smoking and tobacco consumption.Since the discovery of tobacco in the American continent in approximately1492, the epidemic of smoking has spread continually around the world. Even today, smoking is the largest addiction of the globe. There are an estimated 1.3 billion smokers. About a third of the male adult global population smokes. About 15 billion cigarettes are sold daily - or 10 million every minute. Among young teens, about one in five smokes worldwide. Between 80,000 and 100,000 children worldwide start smoking every day - roughly half of whom live in Asia. Among the Western Pacific Region - which covers East Asia and the Pacific - has the highest smoking rate, with nearly two-thirds of men smoking. About one in three cigarettes are consumed in the Western Pacific Region. The Western Pacific has one third of the world's smokers, the highest rate of male smokers and the fastest increase of smoking among children and young women. One-quarter of adults in UK smokes. Smokers puff their way through 77 billion cigarettes annually. Almost one-third of girls aged 15 and 16 smoke. People in the 20 to 24 age group smoke the most – 38 per cent of men and 34 per cent of women.
Smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of death. Half of long-term smokers will die from tobacco. Every cigarette smoked cuts at least five minutes of life on average - about the time taken to smoke it. Every seven seconds, someone dies from tobacco use. Tobacco claims 4.9 million lives a year, and if the present consumption patterns continue, the number of deaths will increase by 2020 to 10 million, 70% of which will occur in developing countries. There are an estimated 1.3 billion smokers and half of them (some 650 million) are expected to die prematurely of a tobacco-related disease. Smoking related-diseases kill one in 10 adults globally, or cause four million deaths. By 2030, if current trends continue, smoking will kill one in six people.
Tobacco kills more than 3000 people each day in the Western Pacific Region. Smoking is among the leading causes of death and disease in the area. About a quarter of youth alive in the region will die from smoking. About 12 times more British people have died from smoking than from World War II. Cigarettes cause more than one in five American deaths.
Tobacco is an addictive plant containing nicotine, many carcinogens and other toxins. When transformed into products designed to deliver nicotine efficiently, its toxic effects, responsible for causing many diseases, are often magnified because the process of increasing exposure to nicotine often results in increases in exposure to many poisons in the products. While, cigarettes comprise of many poisonous ingredients of which nicotine is not the only poisonous ingredient, but includes other ingredients which are more dangerous than nicotine. From amongst its poisonous ingredients are:
Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death. It is a prime factor in heart disease, stroke and chronic lung disease. It can cause cancer of the lungs, larynx, oesophagus, mouth, and bladder, and contributes to cancer of the cervix, pancreas, and kidneys. At least a quarter of all deaths from heart diseases and about three-quarters of world's chronic bronchitis are related to smoking.
In addition to the high public health costs of treating tobacco-caused diseases, tobacco kills people at the height of their productivity, depriving families of breadwinners and nations of a healthy workforce. Tobacco users are also less productive due to increased sickness. A 1994 report estimated that the use of tobacco resulted in an annual global net loss of US$ 200 billion, a third of this loss being in developing countries.
Our country India is home to over 250 million tobacco users and smokers. Smoking is on the rise in the developing world, tobacco consumption is rising by 3.4% per year in developing countries. At the current rate, the number of smokers will rise from today's 1.3 billion to 1.7 billion by 2025. In India, more than 900,000 people succumb to tobacco-related diseases every year. Researchers calculated that almost 200,000 people a year throughout India die from TB because they smoked; half of the smokers killed by TB are in their early 50s or younger. Among men aged 35-69 in India, smoking causes about half of TB deaths and about a quarter of all deaths. India may lose 2.5 million people a year by 2025 due to growing tobacco consumption that will prove to be a great hurdle to the country's economic growth, experts have warned.
The dealers in death
Three of the world's five biggest tobacco firms are British and make £2.9bn in pre-tax profits. The tobacco market is controlled by just a few corporations - namely American, British and Japanese multinational conglomerates. US-based multinational Philip Morris, the world's biggest cigarette company, was the world's ninth largest advertiser in 1996, spending more than $3 billion. By advertisements, the tobacco firms try to link smoking with athletic prowess, sexual attractiveness, success, adult sophistication, adventure and self-fulfilment. Studies show teenagers are heavily influenced by tobacco advertising. The youngsters are taking to tobacco as a 'hobby' while smoking has become a lifestyle statement.
Though, realizing the dangers of smoking the government has ordained Laws to discourage smoking and even today it continues taking tobacco control measures, like bans on direct and indirect tobacco advertising, tobacco tax and price increases, smoke-free environments in all public and workplaces, but this very little head is paid to it. The cigarette packets and products carry a tiny message, somewhere at the corner, that smoking is injurious to health, but who cares?
Islamic Stand on Smoking
Addiction to whatever habit is undesirable and disliked. It is a kind of slavery that one imposes upon oneself. The smokers when they do not have their daily dose go crank. Smoking is no doubt prohibited and discouraged in Islam for many reasons. In view of the vivid hazards of health that tobacco has, it is tantamount to taking slow poison. The Glorious Quran says, " Do not cast yourselves, with your own hands, into destruction.” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:195); "...nor kill yourselves..." (Surah al-Nisaa 4:29). Though, smoking is not exactly like committing suicide but one should fear that it resembles to it. Suicide is a major sin, in a Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Whosoever drinks poison, thereby killing himself, will sip this poison forever and ever in the fire of Hell."
Apart from the health effects, smoking is a source of wasting one’s wealth. It is also resented by Islam. Allah says, "But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the devils.” (Surah al-Israa’ 17:26-27) In another Hadith the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that: "Allah hates for you three things: gossiping, begging (while being able to work and earn), and wasting money."
WHO-WPRO-The facts about smoking and health.htm 30 May 2006
WHO-WPRO-Smoking Statistics.htm 28 May 2002
India eNews (in), 2006-05-31: Tobacco consumption by youths hampers economic growth
AP Health News - Statistics on TB and Smoking in India.htm AUGUST 16, 2003
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi can be reached at: email@example.com
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Think of the past days when a caravan used to reach its destination, by sea or land route, passing through plains, climbing mountains and navigating in water with lots of adventures and sufferings. No need to go far; just think of your childhood days when the postman of village used to knock at your door carrying a bag full of letters, money-orders and so on. Now, all these things have gone by and the journey of information revolution surged ahead from conventional table phones to multi-function mobiles. Communication is the field in which the modern science and technology has made extra ordinary progress. Once upon a time, an incident occurring in a nearby city would take days to travel to a neighboring city. But, thanks to science, now sitting at a lonely place at a remote area one can stay informed of petty happenings going on anywhere in the world.
And, naturally, with the spread of mobile phones there arose many new problems and issues in the society. Islam, being a living and comprehensive religion, has a set of ethics and teachings related to mobile and the like. First of all, let us discuss what Islam, basically, says about the use of mobile, whether it is allowed or not. Before jumping to a conclusion, let us have a look at the things that a mobile includes. Besides being a talking tool, a mobile phone contains watch, alarm, reminder, calculator, converter, calendar, games, phonebook, tones, internet connection, audio recorder, camera, video camera and so on. The majority of these things are basically allowed in Islam, except some which are related to photography or music, they are partly disallowed. Keeping in view the nature of mobile, according to Islamic principles, it is allowed to use it since it has more advantages than disadvantages. Islam has permitted the things that are useful for the community and forbade the things that are harmful. Mobile involves more positive points than negative. So, on the basis of its positive points it will be termed as allowed for those who use them in the right way. But, if anyone utilizes mobile for an anti-social, immoral or wrong way it will be regarded as sinful and forbidden. It is just like a knife; if one uses it to cut vegetables it is quite right, but if anyone thrusts it into the belly of his fellowman then his hands shall be cuffed and he shall definitely be sent to retire behind bars.
Forbiddances of Mobile
It is noteworthy that the mobile phone involves some dangerous stuff that is principally not liked in Islam. Most important of these are music and picture. Music, which arouses carnal desires and inflames sensual passions, is prohibited in Islam. Thus, the songs that contain such attributes are disliked. The mobile tones that are based on songs or that indicate to songs fall in the same category and hence are disallowed. The Glorious Quran and Hadith have categorically dismissed music. The Quran says: “And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allah, the Verses of the Qur'an) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment”. While in a number of traditions the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) warned us against music. He counted spread of dance and musical instruments', among many things, a sign of Qiyamah (Doomsday). Hazrat Ali (Raz.) reports that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "when people start taking ‘spoils of war’ unduly, occupying trust, considering Zakat as tax, seeking the knowledge of religion for the sake of the worldly gain, obeying wife other than mother, approaching friend and distancing father, making noise in mosques, when the sinner ones rule people and the leader is the lowest one, when a man is honoured due to his mischief, when singer women and music is common, when wine is drunk and when the following people start cursing their predecessors then wait for red wind, earthquake, disface etc.” The Prophet said that Allah has sent him as mercy and guide for mankind and He commanded him to destroy all the musical instruments, idols, crosses and all the trappings of ignorance. Allah said that if a man took even a mouthful of wine, He would make him drink the same quantity of pus of the wounds of the people in Hell.”
As far as the matter of pictures is concerned, Islam prohibited making pictures of living beings as well as keeping them. Capturing pictures and scenes from a mobile camera is forbidden. Likewise, keeping pictures in a mobile phone can never be encouraged by Islam. If the pictures are hidden then it is allowed to keep it but not desirable. It is narrated by Hazrat Aisha: Allah's Apostle said, "The painter of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be said to them, make alive what you have created." It is narrated by Hazrat 'Aisha : The Prophet entered upon me while there was a curtain having pictures (of animals) in the house. His face got red with anger, and then he got hold of the curtain and tore it into pieces. The Prophet said, "Such people who paint these pictures will receive the severest punishment on the Day of Resurrection." Hazrat Ali (Raziallahu Anhu) Says that I prepared food and invited the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). When he came and entered he saw a curtain having pictures on it, he went out and said that angels do not enter a house in which there are pictures."
So, those who use the mobile phone in wrong ways are warned of their consequences. If we use the mobile in listening to songs or we set musical ringing tones then this mobile will amount to musical instruments. Likewise, if we capture pictures of living beings then using mobile in this direction will be as unlawful as a photographing camera.
General Ethics of Using Mobile Phone
However, there are many general rules that one should follow. For many people, mobile is a tool of play and amusement, they kill their most valuable time and energy. This is surely not liked in Islam. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "It is beauty of one's Islam that one forsakes the things that are unmeaning.” Also, it is narrated by Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "There are two blessings which many people lose: (they are) health and free time for doing good." Also, he stated: "On the day of judgment, the feet of one cannot move until he will be questioned about four things: about his age how he spent it, about his knowledge how much he acted upon, about his wealth from where he earned and where he spent it, about his body in which things he exhausted it.” Therefore, it is strongly recommended that one should carefully watch whether or not the mobile is engaging him into rubbish things.
Generally, mobile is a dangerous device for youngsters. It affects their education and proper development. Mobile plays key role in engaging them into immoral and sinful activities.
We must remember that as acts like telling a lie, deceiving, backbiting, abusing, hurting etc are unlawful in general conditions, these things are unlawful on mobile too. Likewise, taping some one's call or listening without his consent is also prohibited.
One must switch off his mobile in mosques, religious meetings and at places where ringing mobile may disturb the people or cause interference. Similarly, while going to meet respected and elderly persons and while visiting a sick, it is better to switch mobile off.
If any one wants to call a person first he should look, in general situations, for an appropriate time to ring. It must not be time for prayer, rest or engagement as per the situation of the one who is to be called. If any one intends to talk on an important subject, seek some suggestion or talk for a considerable long time then one should have prior permission.
While calling, some people ring repeatedly for a long time that causes inconvenience. Likewise, some have habit of unnecessary miscalling; these are unlawful as they cause trouble.
While calling to a person one should greet with Islamic greeting 'Assalamu Alaikum' followed by a brief introduction so that the person at the other end should easily get informed. One should avoid uttering words like 'hello' and so on. One should greet at the end also.
One should maintain calmness while talking. It is commonly seen that some people talk with maximum volume as if the person at the other end is hard hearing. Similarly, one should avoid talking on mobile while walking as it may cause him harm. One should talk as much as is needed. Talking too much for nothing is not liked and it is wastage of time and money.
One should avoid, as much as one can, calling Ghiar Mahram (strange, to whom marriage is allowed) individuals of opposite sex. If a woman happens to talk to a man she should not speak in too complaisant of speech. She should talk only needful to men.
While calling to non-Muslims one should not greet him with Islamic greeting nor reply him with the same. One can use common words of greetings used for non-Muslims like ‘Wa’alaikum’ or ‘Hadakallah’ etc.
 Surah Luqman 31:6
 Tirmizi, chapter 32, Hadith No. 2308
 Musnad Imam Ahmad, Vol. 5, Musnad Al-Ansar, Hadith Abu Umamah
 Bukhari, Chapter 93. Oneness, Uniqueness of Allah, Hadith 646
 Bukhari, Chapter 73, Good Manners and Form (Al-Adab) Hadith 130
 Nasai, Chapter of Zinat
 Tirmizi, Chapter of Zuhd, Hadith 2419
 Bukhari, Kitabur Riqaq, Hadith No. 6049
 Tirmizi, Chapter of Doomsday, Hadith No. 2532
by: Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
In this media-controlled world, when violence is associated to the Quran and Muslims are labeled as terrorists, it may sound strange to many that it was Quran which first proclaimed the slogan of universal brotherhood, equality, justice and tolerance at a time when the humanity was fast asleep in the gruesome darkness of ignorance and injustice. The message of the Quran was very clear. That was the reason that it appealed millions of minds through ages and now also its adherents form one fifth of the entire population of the world.
Teaching of Equality
The first and foremost fundamental of the Quran about equality is that all human beings are descended from one father and mother, thus on the basis of humanity they are equal. The Quran says: “O mankind, we have created you from a male and a female, and made you into races and tribes, so that you may identify one another. Surely the noblest of you, in Allah‘s sight, is the one who is most pious of you. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (49:13)
The Quran very explicitly declared that the differences of races, tribes, colours and places are of no value and importance and they are only for identification. Only on the ground of race, colour and nationality one can not be considered higher and superior. By this, the Quran aimed at levelling the differences and discriminations of nations, races and tribes. The second thing which Quran proclaimed in the verse is that the cause of nobility is only ‘piety’. Thus Islam uprooted the racial pride and ego of the so-called higher classes.
This fundamental of equality was more elucidated in Hadith by the Prophet (peace be upon him): O people! Behold, your Lord is One, there is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor for a non-Arab over an Arab, nor for a black on a red, nor for a red on a black, but due to piety and righteousness, in deed the best amongst you are those who are more pious and righteous. Behold, did I conveyed you the message? The people shouted: Yes, O the Messenger of Allah! Then the Prophet said: Those who are present should convey this message to those who are not present. (Baihaqi, Roohul Ma’ani 13:163-164)
Another Hadith says: O people! People are of two types; pious, righteous, estimable before Allah or nefarious, wretched, insignificant before Allah. All the people are descendants of Adam and Allah created Adam with soil. (Timizi, Baihaqi)
This was the first example of its kind in human history that the Quran eradicated racial prejudice so vehemently and emphatically, and asserted Muslims to consider the people of the world their brother and a human being like themselves. It uprooted racial hatred and asked to treat each other with good conduct. It is the fundamental principle of tolerance to consider the other communities human being like yourselves; since then only you can behave with them tolerantly and morally. If we consider them humiliated, abject and lowly then it is impossible to have a moral and tolerant conduct towards them.
Freedom of Expression
Second thing which the Quran taught about tolerance towards non-Muslims is granting freedom of expression. Islam regarded freedom of expression a birth right of human being and termed force and oppression as unfair and forbidden. The Quran strictly forbids forcing something on somebody which his conscience does not accept, it clearly and vividly declared: “There is no compulsion in Faith.” (2:256) Everyone is allowed whether to believe or to deny: “Now, whoever so wills may believe and whoever so wills may deny.” (18:29) At another place the Quran says: “We have shown him the way to be either grateful or ungrateful.” (76:3)
Islam utterly abhors conversion by force and called those who accept Islam due to any force, fear or greed as ‘munafiq’ (hypocrite). It regarded ‘nifaq’ (hypocrisy) such a great sin that the lowest part of Jahannam (Hell) has been allotted as abode of the hypocrites: “Surely, the hypocrites are in the lowest level of the Fire, and you shall never find for them a helper.” (The Quran 4:145)
Justice and Fairness with Others
The Quran asked Muslims to maintain justice and transparency with non-Muslims: “But if you judge, judge between them with justice. Surely, Allah loves those who do justice.” (5:42) At another place it says: “Allah does not forbid you as regards those who did not fight you on account of faith, and did not expel you from your homes, that you do good to them, and deal justly with them. Surely Allah loves those who maintain justice.” (60:8) Justice is to be maintained even if it goes against ones near and dear ones: “O you who believe, be upholders of justice - witnesses for Allah, even though against (the interest of) your selves or the parents, and the kinsmen. (4:135)
Muslims must hold on justice and fairness with people in every condition even if they have enmity with them to any extent, the Quran warns: “O you who believe, be steadfast for (obeying the commands of) Allah, (and) witnesses for justice. Malice against a people should not prompt you to avoid doing justice. Do justice. That is nearer to taqwa (piety).” (5:8)
The enmity against any people should not motivate you to do justice. If you have some malice and rivalry against anyone you should not find fault with him in every matter, but you must accept what is good in him. You should not violate the obligation of honesty in any matter only because the other party is your opponent, rather you must observe justice and fairness.
Tolerance through Fulfilling Promises
One of the most significant teachings of the Quran about tolerance towards others is to fulfil every promise made to them, lest government, prestige and power or racial pride make you to go against your promises. So, the Quran states: "And fulfil the covenant, surely the covenants shall be asked about (on the Day of Reckoning)." (17:34) It asserted: "So, fulfil the treaty with them up to their term, surely Allah loves the God-Fearing." (9:4)
Some Muslims enquired the Prophet (peace be upon him) about the pledges they made to non-Muslims in ‘the Days of Ignorance’ (before Islam). The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “Fulfil the promises and pledges made in the Days of the Ignorance; since Islam emphasizes more to fulfil them.” (Mishkat p. 347, Tirmizi)
Good conduct with Others
The Quran commanded the believers to observe tolerance and good conduct with people: “Worship Allah, and do not associate with Him anything, and be good to parents and to kinsmen and orphans and the needy and the close neighbour and the distant neighbour and the companion at your side and the wayfarer and to those (slaves who are) owned by you. Surely, Allah does not like those who are arrogant, proud.” (4:36) In the abovementioned verse, those who were asked to be treated kindly have not been discriminated on the basis of their religion. Muslims were asked to have good conduct with them whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims.
The Holy Quran taught Muslims very clearly and openly to behave the non-Muslims with tolerance, good conduct and politeness: “Allah does not forbid you as regards those who did not fight you on account of faith, and did not expel you from your homes, that you do good to them, and deal justly with them. Surely Allah loves those who maintain justice.” (60:8)
While another verse says: “Allah enjoins to do justice and to adopt good behaviour and to give relatives (their due rights).” (16:90)
The Quran laid down a high scale law that no person (whether Muslim or non-Muslim) is hurt and offended. The Quran says: “Allah does not like the evil words to be said openly except from anyone wronged. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (4:148) Having established this law, Islam obstructed the passage of many evils that may occur due to offending and slandering others.
Treatment with Enemies
Leave alone the free people, Islam taught tolerance to such an extent that it asked Muslims to have good conduct with their enemies: The Quran requires Muslims to observe high grade tolerance with enemies in tough and trying situations as well, as it says: “Good and evil are not equal. Repel (evil) with what is best, and you will see that the one you had mutual enmity with him will turn as if he were a close friend.” (41:34)
When the oppressions and transgressions of enemies go beyond limits then punishing them is also in complete accordance with the law of nature. But, the moderate law about those oppressors deserves to be written with golden water as the Quran asserts to forgive and tend to reconcile. The Quran says: “The recompense of evil is evil like it. Then the one who forgives and opts for compromise has his reward undertaken by Allah. Surely, He does not like the unjust.” (42:40)
Love towards Other Religions
One of the tolerances which the Quran showed to non-Muslims is that it did not create any ill-will and hatred in its followers about other religions and their leaders; rather it pushed forth their love and strengthened their relation with other religions by various means. Sometime, it admitted the greatness of the leaders and prophets of other communities saying: “We did raise a messenger among every people, with the message.” (16:36) While sometimes, it sowed the seed of love in idolaters stating: “Do not revile those whom they invoke other than Allah.” (6:108)
The Quran presented a model of high grade tolerance that it regarded all the prophets and messengers of the Jews and the Christians as true prophets sent down by Allah. The Quran says: “Surely, We have revealed to you as We have revealed to Noah and to the prophets after him.” (4:163) And, it regarded the books believed by the Jews and the Christians as divine revelation from Allah: “Surely we have sent down the Torah, in which there was guidance and light.” (5:44) “We gave him the Injīl (Gospel) having guidance and light therein, and confirming the Torah that was (revealed) before it; guidance and a lesson for the God-fearing.” (5:46) Thus it extended the hand of friendship towards the Judaism and Christianity which were the well-known and prominent religions of the age. As far as other religions and nations are concerned, it declared that there were prophets from Allah to other nations and communities: “and there was no community without a Warner having passed among them.” (35:24)
Concisely, it secured the honour of the sacred figures of other religions in the eyes of Muslims forever and stopped Muslims absolutely to abuse any religious leader of others. Thus, it established the foundation of universal brotherhood, sympathy and tolerance which was extinct before the advent of Islam.
How to Preach and Argue?
Islam is for all humanity and the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sent down for all those in the world: “We did not send you but as mercy for entire people.” (The Quran 34:28) So, it was necessary to deliver the message of truth to the whole world, but the Quran observed complete tolerance in this regard also and ordered Muslims: “Invite (people) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good counsel. And argue with them in the best of manners. Surely, your Lord knows best the one who deviates from His way, and He knows best the ones who are on the right path.” (16:125) In short, at every step the Quran enjoined Muslims to be so tolerant that no harsh and tough discussions take place during debate too.
The Quran asked Muslims to remain calm and exercise maximum restraint with people of other faith in order to avoid clash. It advised Muslims to forgive and overlook, as it says about the Jews and Christians: “They change words from their places, and they have overlooked a good deal of the Advice they were given. Every now and then you come across a certain treachery from all of them, except a few. So, forgive them and forego. Indeed, Allah loves those who are good in deeds.” (5:13) At another place it says: “So, turn away from them (disbelievers) and wish them peace.” (43:89)
Even if the non-Muslims strive to deviate Muslims from their religion then also Muslims were asked not to be provoked: “(O Muslims,) many among the people of the Book desire to turn you, after your accepting the faith, back into disbelievers — all out of envy on their part, even after the truth has become clear to them. So, forgive and overlook till Allah brings out His command.” (2:109)
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
by: Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
"Islam is the best and Muslims are the worst”. Although this infamous quotation is an exaggeration, it carries some truth in view of the current moral situation of Muslims all around the globe. People who interact with Muslims complain of their immorality and misbehaviour. Anecdotes like the following abound: Once a Christian owed some money to a Muslim and the Christian was not prepared to pay him back. Ultimately, the Muslim went to a priest and beseeched him for help. The priest wrote a note to the Christian who paid immediately. Surprised the Muslim asked the Christian about the content of the note. The priest had written: “Since when have you become a Muslim?”
However, if we cast a cursory glance at Islamic history we will come across the best role models of morality and good manners. Not to speak of the high morals and noble character of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). Even common Muslims were civilized and well mannered in the days of Muslim glory. Many chronicles bear witness that wherever Muslims went they impressed the local people with their transparent dealings, their disciplined and fair way of living. In Indian subcontinent, home nearly to 500 million Muslims, Islam was propagated by Muslim traders and saints who won the heart of people with their behaviour. In many regions good manners and powerful teachings were the factors that attracted people to come closer to Islam.
So why did Muslims deviate from the path they were guided on by their forefathers. There was nothing remarkably wrong with Muslims morals throughout history when they were politically stable and strong. The turning point came when Europe experienced the industrial revolution and gradually most of the Islamic world was captured by the colonial powers. A wave of inferiority complexes swept all across the Muslim regions that gradually resulted in Muslims’ distancing themselves from their religious history and cultural assets. Being dominated, they started adopting the rulers’ culture, but could not detach themselves completely from their religion. This, consequently, formed a strange type of mixture that neither had the good qualities of the western culture nor the spirit of Islamic teachings.
Muslims believe the Glorious Qur’an, which is both constitutional and divine literature, to be the perfect and eternal guide for the whole of humanity. Likewise the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (SAWS) is a key figure whose actions and sayings are treated as living example of the Glorious Qur’an that is necessary to follow. The Glorious Qur’an itself has emphasized the need to follow the Prophet as a role model saying:
“Certainly you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent exemplar for he who hopes in God and the latter day, and remembers God much”.
In some other verses it asserts that whatever the Prophet says is to be followed by Muslims:
“And whatsoever the messenger gives you, take it. And whatsoever he forbids, abstain (from it).”
“And it becomes not a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His messenger have decided and affair (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say in their affair; and whoso is rebellious to Allah and His messenger, verily goes astray in error manifest.”
The Glorious Qur’aan invites Muslims to be earnest, truthful, trustworthy and useful for others while it asks them to shun from hurting people, backbiting, mocking, and cheating. The Glorious Qur’an has demanded Muslims to be humble and respectful for others. They should be clean-hearted and fair in their transactions and dealings. They should not hurt any one, should not use impolite language and should neither defame one another, nor insult one another by bad names. The Prophet (SAWS) has given glad tidings that the nearer to him in paradise will be those who are the best among you in manners and the farther to me in paradise will be those who are worse among you in morals. One Holy Hadith states that one cannot be a true Muslim until one likes for his brother what one likes for himself. An other tradition of the Prophet (SAWS) says that the best amongst you are those who are useful for others. Muslims have been asked to show mercy to all because all creatures are part of the family of Allah and Allah will not have mercy on those who do not have mercy on His creatures.
The Holy Prophet of Islam (SAWS) possessed the magnificent status of prophecy and divine leadership, but his manners in dealing with the people and his way of life were so simple and gentle that when he was among the people and a newcomer wanted to know about him, he had to ask, `Which one of you is the Prophet'? He never spoke with a morose face, nor did he ever apply rough, awkward words. The Holy Prophet of Islam did not care to sit down in the seat of honour in gatherings, and on entering any place would sit down in the first empty seat available. He did not let anybody stand up before him and treated others most respectfully. When travelling, the Prophet would work like the others and would never let any of his persons do his work. Once one of his companions requested him to be allowed to help him with his chores. The Holy Prophet of Islam answered: ‘I do not like to be treated as if I were privileged because Allah does not like any of His creatures to consider themselves privileged or to be treated as if they were privileged over others'. And he got up and collected firewood.
He invariably stood by his words and pledges. He paid affectionate visits to his relatives and friends but would never take their side unduly. The Holy Prophet of Islam would never permit anybody to backbite others and said: ‘I want to meet people with a loving heart'. The Prophet treated everyone with great respect and considered nobility and honour to be owing to faith, piety, and good behaviour. He was not interested in wealth or status, nor did he revere anybody for his riches or position. The Holy Prophet of Islam never attempted to retaliate against the insults and disrespect of anybody, and forgave people's mistakes or their misconduct. His reaction to the torment and disregard of ignorant people was forgiveness and tolerance. In spite of all the tortures and torments that the Quraish had inflicted upon the Holy Prophet of Islam, on conquering Makkah, he forgave them and set them free.
You will come across people who are considered to be religious minded but they insist on tiny matters more than on morals and good behaviour. Some people are inwardly pious but when they chance to deal with others they forget the beautiful and wise lessons that were taught to them by the Messenger (SAWS). It is regrettable that those who were taught lofty manners have forgotten them completely. However, one should keep in mind that the public and social matters are much more important than individual and private ones. As far as the matter of religious practices (Huqooq al Allah) is concerned they are more private and therefore less public than moral teachings (Huqooq al Ibaad), which are related to human beings and even to every creature.
Every one knows that adultery has been sternly prohibited in Islam and those who are found guilty of it are sentenced to punishments like whipping or even death. But in Islam, backbiting, though it is not a crime of capital punishment, has been regarded as worse than adultery. The reason is clear; backbiting is taken lightly and it causes conflict and disturbance in the society while, generally, people take adultery as a grave sin and it happens less. Many people are seen to perform their religious duties enthusiastically, but in the meantime they carry out such immoral behaviour that purges away the spirit of their good deeds. For instance, during the Hajj we see people while circling the Ka’bah, stoning the Satan and in other activities where the crowds are huge, not caring for the weak, the ill and the women, lacking all social consideration and only concerned with their own well being. Islam emphatically warns against violating the moral requirements and regards them as first and foremost. But the problem is that most of us consider the word of the teachings and not the spirit and inner meaning that lay beneath. It is reported on the authority of Hazrat Sahl bin Ma’az that his father said, “we set out on a journey of Jihad with the Prophet (SAWS) and while staying at a place some people filled houses and blocked the road. So, the Prophet (SAWS) sent a person to call that one who fills a house or blocks a road there is no Jihad for him (his Jihad is useless).
The moral teachings of Islam cover all the areas of life. We have been guided how to lead our personal and social life. Islam has left no stone unturned to provide its followers with the best set of morals and manners. Cleanliness has been regarded as half of the Iman (faith). It is narrated, “Allah is clean and He likes cleanliness”. Qualities such as truth, trustworthiness, and keeping promise have been given due importance in Islam. The Prophet (SAWS) has said: “Beware of lies, they lead you to debauchery and they will take you to hell. Hold fast to truth, it leads you to righteousness and takes you to Paradise”. Likewise, there are some other traditions such as “One who deceives is not one of us”. “One who can not keep his promise can never be a true Muslim, one who can not guard a trust can never be a true Muslim”.
The Prophet of Islam (SAWS), due to his fair and transparent dealings, was called “Al-Sadiq” and “Al-Ameen” (the truthful and the trustworthy) even by his bitter enemies. Before prophethood, he used to be a successful trader and every one liked him to handle his/her business. People used to give their deposits to the Prophet for safety and he always fulfilled their expectations. Once a trader asked the Prophet in a market to wait for him till he came back and the Prophet (SAWS) promised to do so. The Prophet (SAWS) waited for three days. When the trader remembered the Prophet (SAWS) he rushed back to the market and found the Prophet (SAWS) waiting at the place of promise. The Prophet said nothing except, “You made me wait for so long”.
One of the most virtuous deed is to bid Salaam (saying ‘may peace be upon you’) while meeting each other. It has been regarded as an expression of love and great reward has been promised for the same. Paying visits to the sick, attending funeral and sharing one’s grief and joy have also been profusely emphasized in Islam. The Prophet (SAWS) used to take the lead to bid Salaam. He always instructed people to show kindness to the weak, sick and needy. His behaviour towards the needy was amazingly affectionate, and he would do his best to remove the troubles and sufferings of the poor. He loved the children very much, bid them Salaam (peace) whenever he met them and put his hand on their heads showing mercy. Hazrat Anas bin Maalik, a companion, narrates that he lived with the Prophet for ten years but the Prophet never scolded him nor asked about a reason for his action.
Today we see that youths do not pay respect to their parents. The men, instead of being a shield to the women, commit violence against them. The younger are deprived of the love of the elders, so they also grow rude and ill mannered. Whereas Muslims are asked to pay exclusive attention to their parents and to stay obedient to them, even their happiness has been regarded as the happiness of Allah.
“Thy Lord hath decreed, that ye worship none save Him, and (that ye show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them to attain old age with you, say not "Fie" unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word. And lower unto them the wing of submission through mercy, and say: My Lord! Have mercy on them both as they did care for me when I was little.”
Likewise, Muslim men were repeatedly warned not to violate the rights of women. The will and testimony, which The Prophet (SAWS) dictated on his deathbed, included repeated warnings concerning the right of the women. He is reported to have said: “The best amongst you are those who are good to their family and I, among you, am the best to my family”.
The Prophet (SAWS), in spite of being occupied with other people’s work, had fixed a time during which he used to pay visits to his wives and talk to them of love and pleasure. Hazrat Aa’ishah narrates that he never minded doing chores with them and used to stitch his shoes, milk the goats and sweep the house. Similarly, the parents have been made aware of the rights of children. The Prophet (SAWS) has been reported saying that it is the right of a child that he/she is given good name and taught in the best of manner while an other Hadith states that the best gift that parents give to their child is the teaching of ‘Adab’ (courtesy, etiquettes, and education). The elders have been ordered to behave tenderly with the young while the young have been called upon to respect the elders. In Islam it is an act of great reward to maintain ties of kinship with relatives even with those who snap them, while those who severe the ties of kinship have been strongly deplored.
The neighbours have been given much importance in Islam. Various Hadith of the Prophet (SAWS) emphasize to behave well with neighbours. The Prophet (SAWS) says: “No one who harms his neighbours can enter in to paradise.”. Once the Prophet (SAWS) swore by Allah thrice and said: “One can never be a believer whose neighbour is not secured by his mischief” and “One who is killed defending his neighbour one will die as a martyr”.
It is to be noticed that neighbour is not only one who lives besides one’s house. In its broader Islamic meaning a neighbour is everyone who shares a part of one’s life. Helping the poor and fulfilling one’s need is an act of great reward in the eye of Islam. Muslims have been immensely encouraged to feed a hungry, give drink to a thirsty, dress a naked and guide someone gone astray. The Prophet (SAWS) said to his wife Aa’ishah: “Do not send a poor away empty handed, give him even if you have only a piece of date. O Aa’ishah! Love the poor, Allah will love you.” In other Hadith he says that one who adopts an orphan will be with him in Jannah (paradise). It is worth mentioning that these acts of kindness are not confined to Muslims only. Every needy should be looked after without any distinction of caste, creed and colour.
This is a bird’s eye view on the moral system of Islam. I hope that this much will suffice to create an interest in the reader to explore the ocean of Islamic moral teachings and to adopt them as his/her way of life. For a Muslim, the only thing that can lead him/her to success in this world and the hereafter are the teachings of Islam. But, those who ignore these bright teachings will go astray and waste their life. The Glorious Qur’an mentions both the parties in its inimitable style:
“Lo! Those who believe and do good works, theirs will be Gardens underneath which rivers flow. That is the Great Success.”
“The likeness of those who disbelieve is the likeness of one who calls unto that which hears naught except a shout and cry. Deaf, dumb, blind, therefore they have no sense.”
 Short cut of ‘Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam’, meaning ‘peace be upon him’. It is a blessing sent to the Prophet by Muslims.
 Surah 33, Al-Ahzab, Aayah: 21
 Surah 59, Al-Hashr, Aayah: 7
 Surah 33, Al-Ahzab, Aayah: 36
 Musnad-I-Ahmad, Musnad-us-Shamiyin, narrated by Abu Salabah Khashini
 Sahih Bukhari, Kitabul Iman, Hadith No. 13
 Al-Jami-us-Saghir, Hadith No. 4044; Kanzul Ummal, Hadith No.43065
 Kanzul Ummal, Hadith No. 16171; Majma-uz-Zawaid, Hadith No. 13706
 Kohlul Basar, pp. 67, 68.
 Mishkat, p. 340
 Sunan-i-Tirmizi, Hadith No. 2951
 Musnad-I-Ahmad, Musnad-I-Hazrat Anas bin Malik
 Kanzul Ummal, Hadith No. 18653
 Surah 17 Al-Israa or Bani Israel, Aayah: 23, 24
 Ibn-I-Majah, Kitab-un-Nikah, Hadith No. 1977
 Sahih Muslim, Kitab-ul-Iman, Hadith No. 73
 Sahih-ul-Bukhari, Kitabul Adab, Hadith No. 5670
 Kanzul Ummal, Hadith No. 11172
 Sunan-I-Tirmizi, Abwab-uz-Zuhd, Hadith No. 2457
 Surah 85. Al-Buruj. Aayah: 11
 Surah 2. Al-Baqara, Aayah: 17
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi can be reached at: email@example.com
by: Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
The social matters that are related to morals and ethics are mainly associated to tongue. The tongue, though very small and tiny in size, holds great importance in ones social life. The good behaviours and characters are chiefly the phenomenon of tongue, while telling a lie, abusing, slandering, backbiting, gossiping, scandal mongering and other social evils are concerned with this tiny piece of flesh. Therefore, in Islamic teachings the tongue has been given due place and Muslims were warned to use it very carefully. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been reported saying: "Whoever protects his tongue from unlawful utterances and guards his private parts from illegal sexual relations, I shall guarantee him entrance into the Paradise." (Sahih Bukhari: Hadith No 6109)
While, at another place the Prophet (peace be upon him) is asked: “Who is the best Muslim? The Messenger of Allah replied: “He is the one from the evils of whose tongue and hands people are safe." (Sunan Nasai: Hadith No 11726)
Another Hadith explains the important position of tongue among the other parts of the body saying: "When man wakes up in the morning each day, all parts of the body warn the tongue saying, ‘Fear Allah as regards us; for we are at your mercy; if you are upright, we will be upright and if you are crooked, we become crooked." (Sunan Tirmizi: Hadith No 2407)
Islam is a religion of peace, love and compassion. Lies, suspicion, backbiting, slander and gossip are totally against the spirit of Islam. Islam demands that our relationship with our fellow society members should be one of sincerity and responsibility. There should be respect for the honor, prestige and privacy of others. These are the foundations that prop up the entire fabric of social system. If society members are sincere and responsible towards one another they gain trust and thus peace and fraternity prevails in the society. While the aforesaid social evils attack at the very root of social fabric; they cause destruction and devastation. When the society members will not be responsible towards one another and loose mutual confidence and trust, the peaceful society will cease to exist.
Today, we shall discuss one the most destructive of all social evils i.e. backbiting and slandering. They are so widespread that it has become the topic of our meetings and an avenue for expressing anger, envy and jealousy. The Glorious Quran declared it as abhorring and hateful, saying: “O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, in deed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah, verily, Allah is the one who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” (Al-Quran, Surah Hujrat, 49:12) According to the meaning of the verse, slander and backbiting are repugnant to the intelligence and heart, to humanity and conscience, to human nature and religious and societal brotherhood.
Backbiting is to speak ill of a person behind his back, including matters concerning his character, worldly affairs, physical appearance and personality. Not only is backbiting restricted to words, but also it includes every behavior and deed, whether indicating to a person by gesturing with ones eyes, hand or head.
So, backbiting is to mention something about a person in his absence that he hates to have mentioned, even though these things exist in him and are true. In order to describe the meaning of backbiting once the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked his companions: "Do you know what backbiting is?" They said, "Allah and His Messenger know best." He then said, "It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike." Someone asked him, "But what if what I say is true?" The Messenger of Allah said, "If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him." (Sahih Muslim: Haidth No 2589).
Backbiting and slandering is amongst the meanest manners and serious social crimes which cause dishonour and ignominy to other fellowmen. It leads to hostilities between people of the same household and between neighbours and relatives. We have been emphatically asked to maintain good ties with relatives and neighbours and not to hurt them by our hand and tongue. ‘A perfect Muslim is one from whose hand and tongue people are safe.’ Islam strongly dislikes enmity and distrust among relatives, neighbours and other community members. The Quran has commanded believers to refrain from such utterances and statements that may sow enmity and discord among the family or society members. It says: “Say to My servants that they should only say those things that are best, for Satan does sow dissensions among them, for Satan is to man an avowed enemy.” (Al-Quran, Sura Israa, 17:53)
Backbiting is the one of the grave social evils today. Backbiting is a destructive element that devastates the social construction and spoils the tied up relations. When the ill speech reaches the one about whom it is said, it hurts him and arises feelings of hatred, distrust and enmity in him. Through its regulations, Islam intends to reinforce fraternity and develop mutual amicability, while it warns against any matter that roils the pure hearts or raises malice and contempt.
Some of the Hadith goes to define the evil of backbiting more serious than a social crime. It is reported in a Hadith that backbiting is graver even than adultery. This is because when a man commits adultery and then repents to Allah, Allah accepts his repentance, but the sin backbiting is not purged away until it is forgiven by the person who was backbitten. (Mishkatul Masabeeh by Baihaqi: 4874)
By committing backbite, a person intends to ridicule and degrade his fellowman and shows that he is superior to him. This character is again very disgusting and highly offensive. Backbiting is the weapon of the weak and the low. Backbiting is a shameful weapon and most commonly used by people of enmity, envy and obstinacy; no self-respecting, honorable man will ever demean himself by resorting to such a vile weapon. Those who indulge in backbiting hide their own imperfections by speaking ill of others and flinging mud upon them.
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
by: Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
The issue of women's right has been the most complicated one in the human history. All the Civilizations of the world have adopted the two extreme positions on this matter. Rome, Greece and Europe had tested the two extremes throughout their history. Some civilized nations like Greece once and presently the so-called civilized Western nations have equated them with men in every sphere of life. They drew them out of their homes for total emancipation. While other Country like ancient Persia went to other extreme, describing women as a blunder of Nature and a creature, which ought to be ignored. (1) The Greece, Rome and Christian Europe regarded women as the root cause of evil, gateway to Satan and an unavoidable creature. The women had no value and no status in the society. (2) Hinduism regarded women as a salable commodity. The women were deprived of basic human rights. Even a widow had to burn herself with the dead body of her husband. (3) The Islamic viewpoint regarding women is quite moderate. Unlike the other religions and civilizations of the world, it offers a divine solution to this matter. It directly addresses the nature and appeals to the heart of human beings. It adopts middle path and takes into consideration the physical formation of the women to give them their due status in human society.
Women in Islam
According to Islam women are equal partners to men in building a human society. They have their own rights, privileges and status. They play important and equally significant role in the development of human civilization. They must be given education and training so that they can efficiently perform their duties. They have right to chose their spouse and enjoy their life. They inherit property from their father and husband. When she is a child her father has responsibility to bring her up and to provide educational facilities. When she is a wife it is her husband's duty to respect her sentiments and give her due rights. When she is a mother her son is asked to behave gently and provide extraordinary love and care and remain obedient to her. The women have been assigned the duty to look after homely affairs. They have to arrange home well and take care of the family members. They have been given instructions by Islam to put veil on their bodies and not to display their feminist charm to outsiders.
Why women have been ordered to manage home?
Here is a common question asked by Non-Muslims 'why only women are forced to cover and veil. Before we go to answer we must understand some natural facts so that we can realize the situation in a broader perspective.
It is a universal fact that every creature doesn't hold same status. As human beings are supreme to all, so only a senseless person is going to equate them with animals. In the same fashion all the creatures have been categorized by nature itself. Even the duties and mental approach of them differ from sex to sex. This is an absolute truth, none can deny.
The women have been given a different type of physical and psychological system from men. The biological and scientific researches reveal the fact that the women have entirely different structure ranging from body formation to the cells and particles of body. Having being grown up she undergoes menstruation every month and pregnancy now and then. It is medically proved that a woman is nearer to illness in menstruating and pregnancy days. She loses her temper and suffers from many abnormal changes. A mother has to suckle her baby and nourish. It requires full time attention.(4) Because of these natural and physical reasons a woman is not able to discharge her duties like earning livelihood, sponsoring family, working hard, govern a country, fighting in the battle field and deal with the challenges of the world. It is unjust on her part to put these duties on her weak shoulder. Biologically women are to bear a child and nurse. Their advancement is to make their biological nature grow not to suppress it and turn to an opposite direction. Therefor Islam has drawn a different framework for both man and woman. The women have full freedom to excel in their field. The duty of nursing a child and management of the house is of greater value than to earn money. If a woman earns bread she serves an ordinary purpose and leaves the important one incomplete. If she nourishes a child with full attention she will cooperate the society to produce a good and noble member for it. This job is much more important for her than the first one. Even Antom Nimlov, a renowned communist scientist of Soviet Union admits this fact and writes in his book "The Biological Tragedy of Women”:
"Biologically men and women are not equal and they were not put equal burdens."(5)
Apart from biological aspect, the women were equal to men historically. There passed many civilizations on this earth which gave them chances to go ahead shoulder to shoulder with men but they failed. Nowhere in the world women could prevail over the men. There were only men who ruled the world, in general, and dominated the history.
Purdah for Women
Purdah code in Islam is well connected with that of marriage and Islamic family system. The West considers the society a group of individuals free to indulge in any activity that involves them personally. On the contrary, Islam considers all society a unit. It does not allow an individual to carry out such an action that damages the social structure though it is confined apparently to his/her personality.
Islam believes that a human civilization can survive only when the society is clean, pious, systematic, and responsible. The success of the society lies in its spiritual development. Free sexual relation, uncontrolled carnal desires, shamelessness and nudity is disastrous for society. It will lead it to a horrible end. Even some western writers have admitted that the family system is a must for any flourishing society. The last president of Soviet Union Michael Gorbachov says in his book "Prostraika" chapter "status of women":
"Our family system has been destroyed. It will put an end to our nation. The disadvantages of women emancipation are more than its advantages"(6)
So Islam has put certain restrictions and regulations in order to protect. It has forbidden marriage between close relatives (Gair Mahram) to purify the family atmosphere and lessen the chances of sexual relations to the least degree. It commands Muslims to marry as soon as it is possible. Islam asks men to cover always their body from umbilicus centre to kneel while the women were commanded to cover their body except the face, hand and feet all the time. It is unlawful for both men and women to open these parts before any person other than their spouses. Women have been prohibited to go out and walk about without any obvious reason. They should lower their voice and not to talk to outsiders with softness in their speech. If they go outside they have to fulfill the condition of Purdah. The Holy Qura'an says:
"Stay at home and do not show off in the manner of the women of the days of ignorance."(7)
"O' prophet! direct the wives and daughters and the women of the believers that they should put down their outer cloaks from their head over their faces. This will make it possible for them to be distinguished so that they will not be molested"(8)
(3)" Direct the believing women to restrain their looks and guard their senses and not disclose any part their beauty or adornments, save that which is apparent thereof……"(9)
According to these verses she has to cover her face too when outside. Nearly all the Islamic scholars have stated that women should cover their faces. They can open the eyes if needed. It is better for them to open only one eye.
In Islam a woman should stay in house even it is better for her to offer prayers in a corner of her home. It is of greater virtue than to attend congregation in the mosque. When a woman goes out she attracts the undue attention of people. This attention promotes sexual lust and urges a man to commit adultery. So in the sight of Islam a bad glimpse is the first step towards adultery that causes a good deal of harm and ruination to the society. That is why the Prophet (pbuh) said:
"the eyes commit adultery and it is their looking (at forbidden things), the hands commit adultery and it is their catching (the forbidden), the legs commit adultery and it is their walking (towards forbidden) and the adultery of tongue is talking (to prohibited persons), and the heart wishes then (finally) the private parts confirm it (by doing) or belie it (by avoiding)."(10)
Looking deeply into the social teachings of Islam and the capital punishments set for adulterers and adulteress, it appears that Islam has eased the conditions of marriage and made adultery difficult enough. Isalm not only ordered women to veil their body but it has commanded men also to shun to cast a brazen and bad look at women. They were instructed to lower their gaze and guard their modesty. The Quraan says:
“Direct the believing men to restrain their looks and to guard their senses. That is purer for them.”(11)
Here a question may be raised that according to Islam when women are not permitted to come out of home then how they will satisfy their need. It is noteworthy that Islam has solved their financial problem. Being a daughter she will be fed and brought up by her father. Being a wife she will be paid and given all facilitates by her husband. If she is a sister or mother her brother or son will provide money, food and all necessities of life. If there happens no male to care for her then the Muslims of the locality or an Islamic state is responsible respectively. It is obligatory on men to give the women their due rights. All the details are mentioned in Fiqh books.
Employment & Business for Woman
Apart from this she can do business and make money. She is allowed to join an institution or office to strengthen her economic status. But there is a condition she must fulfill it. She will never be allowed to show her body and be a plaything in the hands of males. She cannot work at a place where she is not safe from male intervention. (12)
Some people object that Islam has deprived women of opportunities to advance and suppressed their inner abilities. Only those who have no knowledge of Islamic history and women’s natural abilities raise this question. Muslim women have their own remarkable history. There were women teachers who used to teach men. The women used to be scholars, writers and pious (waliah). There were mothers who follow Hijab code brought up countless giant, genius and towering personalities of the world. Instead of being hurdle, Hijab helped them to reach the heights of fame and utilize the inner capabilities given to them. Hijab helps men and women both to utilize their time and opportunities in a constructive direction. When a man and woman are attracted towards each other they waste their time, money and abilities in frivolities. It is only Hijab that prevents them to kill their energies in petty rather destructive matters.
Equality in Islam Today the West shouts slogans of women emancipation and equality. As per the West a woman is free to live as she likes. None can object on her action, relation and speech. She can run in the work field parallel with men. Islam also gives her equality and liberty, but they differ from those of the West. Islam gives a woman equal justice, equal protection, equal honour and equal rights to live. But it does not believe in the equality of work field because the field of their work is different from men. If the women are driven out of their field and taken to that of men the whole system will be reduced to chaos. It will harm the society more, for they will not be able to produce a good person for the future of the society. It will be just “killing the goose that lays the golden eggs”. Islam provides her full freedom in term of speech, movement and relationship. Interestingly, the advancements that the West has given to women is not appreciable because it has not given them these advancements as a woman. They have brought them to this height turning them into men. Their slogans of equality and freedom are empty and hollowed. There is no ground reality that is seen. Not only this but they have added burdens to the women’s homely work cleverly in the name of emancipation and equality. Now women are supposed to look after the child, cook the food, arrange the home and go to office to earn money. Men share their responsibilities with women but none comes the women’s burden and work. This is not only a mere exploitation but also rather a criminal act. The women in West could not come yet upto the grade of men. Men have been occupying all the important posts and status. Women are only exploited employees and workers. Equality and liberty is just a lip service and paper writing. On the contrary they have used women as an instrument of entertainment and enjoyment. They have pulled them out of their houses to the streets, offices, dancing clubs and beer bars just to serve their own end. The concept of women emancipation is nothing but an illusion. Antom Nimlov, a communist author is bound to say in his book "The Biological Tragedy of Women:
"If any one talk of giving less right to women a few people will support it. We ourselves will oppose. But we should not deceive ourselves that a practical equality between men and women is as easy as we think. Soviet Union has given them more rights than any country of the world, but the fact is that women could not find their positions."(13)
“If a man treats women equally the women themselves consider it a weakness of the man. There is neither a scientist, an author, a businessman, a communist nor a student who considers women equal to him."(14)
Finally, the sisters are requested to deliberate the matter thoroughly. It is better for them not to fall prey of “women emancipation & equality” because they biologically, naturally and historically are not to chase the men. Producing a noble, intelligent and talented child is, in no way, of less important. Actually it is women to whom goes the credit of men’s greatness. The West has deprived them of their freedom and mental peace. It has made them a puppet in the hands of tyrant men. They use women on every step of life and put extra burdens on them.
1. Insani Dunya par Musalmanon ke Urooj w Zawal ka Asar, Ali Miyan Nadvi
2. Purdah, 10 to 18 , Abul Aala Maududi
3. Purdah 153, Abul Aala Maududi
4. Islam aor Jadid Maddi Afkar 334, Muhammad Qutub Misri\ Purdah 139 to 145, Abul Aaala Maududi
5. The Biological Tragedy of Women 77, Antom Nimlov (with reference to Purdah 157
6. Islahi Khutbat 144, Md Taqui Usmani
7. Al- Quraan Surah Al-Ahzab 33\33 (Trans. By Zufarullah Khan)
8. Al-Quraan Surah Al-Ahazab 33\60 (*********************)
9. Al-Quraan Surah Al-Noor 24\32 (**********************)
10. Ahmad Bin Hanbal (with reference to Al-Mojam Al-Mofahras Lialfaz-il-Hadis Al-Nabevi, v 4, 454)
11. Al-Quraan Surah Al-Noor 24 / 31
13. Fatawa Rahimia v 10, 318
14. The Biological Tragedy of Women , Antom Nimlov (with reference to Purdah 157)
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi can be reached at: email@example.com
[Written on the occasion of 'All India Anti-Terrorism Conference' on 25th February, 2008 at the behest of: Hazrat Maulana Marghoobur Rahman Sahib Mohtamim, Darul Uloom Deoband & President, Rabita Madaris-e-Islamia Arabiah (Islamic Madrasas Association)]
By: Maulana Shaukat Ali Qasmi Bastawi,
Professor, Darul Uloom Deoband & General Secretary, Islamic Madrasas Association
Jointly Translated by:
Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi
Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Today, this rumour and lie is being spread that Islam and its followers do not have any tolerance towards the people of other faiths. This is a misleading and baseless propaganda. This is part of the planned world conspiracies to malign and defame Islam and Muslims.
Non-Muslims in Islam and their rights
In fact, Islam is the religion of blessings, kindness and tolerance for all humanity without any differentiation. It stresses on its followers to behave with equality, sympathy, love and tolerance towards non-Muslims. It orders the rulers not to have any discriminatory attitude towards them. Their lives, honour, property and rights must be protected. The Holy Quran says:
"Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of Religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity." (Surah Mumtahanah: 60/8)
Explaining the verse, Hazrat Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani says: "Some non-Muslims of Makkah neither embraced Islam nor they had any enmity and hatred against Muslims. They did not fight against them about the faith of Islam and did not help others torturing and ousting them. Islam does not permit Muslims to behave such non-believers with cruelty and malice but it commands them to behave them with kindness and affection. Islam does not permit Muslims to consider both non-Muslims on war and those not involved in war against them with the same yardstick. To treat both in an equal fashion is against common sense, wisdom and justice." (Footnote commentary on Tarjamah Shaikhul Hind)
This is the Islamic principle of co-operation which advises Muslims to extend their best help and assistance to the people of other faiths in common social and national issues as far as they are not against Shariah and Islamic teachings. If even some members of other faiths are bitter enemies to Islam, Islam teaches Muslims to show tolerance and patience toward them. The Holy Quran states:
If, then, they have patience, the Fire will be a home for them! and if They beg to be received into favour, into favour will They not (then) be received. (Surah Fussilat 41/24)
Good Treatment towards Makkan Non-Muslims
Makkan Non-Muslims strained their every nerve to harm, hurt and oppress the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him!). They called him a magician, poet and soothsayer. They tortured him physically and mentally. They pelted him with stones and hit him hard. Thorns were put in his way; his throat was pressed as an attempt to strangle him to death; the load of camel dirty intestines was put on his back when he was busy in the prayer. Plots to kill him were made by them. He was detained in Shi'ab Abi-Talib for long three years, during which he had to eat acacia leaves. In Taif, he was tortured beyond limit, was abused and was injured so much that drops of blood were collected in his shoes. He was forced to migrate from Makkah to Madinah. In Madinah too, he could not find relief but faced many trials and troubles. Several conspiracies were hatched against him. Plots were planned against the Prophet and his Companions with the help of the Jews.
At the conquest of Makkah, Non-Muslims were feeling very close to death and were thinking Muslims will avenge their tyranny and oppression. But the Prophet addressed them: O' Quraish! How do you think I would treat you? They replied: " We expect nothing but good from you as you are a noble and kind brother to us and the son of a noble and kind brother as well." The Prophet said," I say to you what the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him!) said to his brothers: No blame against you! You are free. (Zadul Ma'ad Vol.1, p.424)
Can human history present an example of such kindness and affectionate treatment?
Good treatment toward Jews
Many Jewish tribes lived in Madinah. For some time, after the Prophet's flight from Makkah to Madinah, the Jews remained neutral and silent. But they could not hide their hatred and enmity against Islam, the Prophet and Muslims for long. They strained their every nerve to do harm to the Prophet and his Companions. They made secret plots and planned rebellion against him; mix poison secretly in his food; made several plots to kill him. In brief, they left no stone unturned to damage Islam and Muslims. Envoy and biased feelings, coupled with their wrong creeds and foul manner, were among the causes leading them to such wrongdoings. Imagine surprise when he treated them with noble manners and tolerance.
After the Prophet arrived in Madinah, he entered into an important treaty with the Jews so that friendly relations and peaceful co-existence between Muslim and Jewish communities might be established and both might live peacefully and show tolerance to each other helping in removing anxieties and troubles from each other. Some important articles of the treaty are as follows:
1. All Jews will enjoy the same rights of citizenship that they had enjoyed before the coming of Muslims.
2. Muslims will have friendly relations towards all people.
3. If a Muslim is killed by a Madinah, a ransom will be taken from the killer if agreed by the heirs of the person killed.
4. If any inhabitant of Madinah commits a serious crime, his family will not be punished.
5. In need, Jews and Muslims will help each other.
6. Any group will not deceive its ally.
7. The wronged and distressed will be helped without any communal discrimination.
8. If the Jews are attacked by foreign enemies, Muslims will defend them.
9. The Jews will enjoy their religious freedom.
10. If any Muslim ill-treats someone, he will be punished by Muslims.
11. The Jews of Bani Auf will be considered among Muslims.
12. If any dispute takes place between the Jews and Muslims, the Prophet will act as judge in the case.
13. This treaty will not favour any sinful or criminal person.
(Seerat bin Hisham p.501-504)
Everyone can observe the equal rights granted to Jews with an open heart and full justice. The Prophet followed the treaty but it was Jews who breached the terms of the treaty. They helped Makkan Non-Muslims against Muslims. They always tried to do harm to Islam and Muslims.
Good treatment towards Christians
The Prophet showed exemplary good treatment towards Christians also. An important Christian delegation of Najran situated between Makkah and Yemen met and conversed with the Prophet. The Prophet accommodated them in the mosque and they had a dialogue with him on religious issues. A historic and important treaty was concluded between Muslims and Christians in which many rights were agreed upon for Christians. The articles of the treaty are as follows:
1. Their lives will be secured.
2. Their land, property and wealth etc. will continue to be in their custody.
3. Any change will not be made in their religious system.
4. Religious office-holders will continue their offices.
5. Crosses and statues will not be damaged.
6. Anything belonging to them will not be taken.
7. They will not be employed in military services.
8. Tithe or Ushr will not be levied on them.
9. Soldiers will not be sent to their country.
10. Full justice will be delivered in their cases and issues.
11. Any tyranny and ill-treatment will not be allowed against them.
12. Interest will not be allowed.
13. Any innocent will not be punished in the place of the offender.
14. They will not have any mistreatment from Muslims.
(Deen-e-Rahmat p. 239, Futuhul Buldan)
No government of today's world can give even to its own subjects the rights that were granted by Islam to non-Muslims.
Non-Muslim subjects living under an Islamic government or Zimmis are in the protection of Allah and the Prophet according to Islamic Shariah. Therefore, they are called Zimmis. The Islamic law orders to remove the wrong from Zimmis in the same way as from Muslims themselves. (Al-Mabsut Li Al-Sarakhsi Vol. 1 p.85)
Good treatment towards Hypocrites
In Madinah, there was an opportunist group which pretended to be Muslims but they were not genuine Muslims. Seeing the growing influence and power of Muslims, they declared themselves Muslims but, in fact, had severe hatred and enmity against them. Their leader was Abdullah bin Ubai ibn Salul. He was an influential person of Madinah and the inhabitants of Madinah were preparing to make him their ruler. But, after the Prophet's migration, his hopes were dashed to pieces. He pretended to be Muslim but remained a Hypocrite until his death. Hypocrites tried their best to divide Muslims; they insulted the Prophet; they made plots together with Jews and other non-Muslims to harm Islam and Muslims. In spite of their several plots and feeling of hatred against them, the Prophet and his Companions treated them with tolerance and patience. The Prophet even led the funeral prayer of Abdullah bin Ubai, the leader of Hypocrites, and offered his shirt or Jubbah for his shroud on the request of his son.
Rights of Non-Muslim subjects under Islamic rule
Islam came to the world as the religion of blessings and kindness for all human beings and groups of people. This is the reason why it treats the people of other faiths and Non-Muslim subjects with equality, kindness, love, sympathy, tolerance and forbearance. It is Islam, in the world history for the first time, which has guaranteed such social and national rights for them that no religion or culture has ever given to the followers of other faiths or culture. Islam has ordered the rulers to protect the life, honour, property and religious freedom of Non-Muslim subjects living under an Islamic government and treat them without any discrimination. The Islamic concept about Zimmis or Non-Muslim subjects is that they are in the protection of Allah and the Prophet. Therefore, the Islamic Shariah says: "It is a duty of Muslims to remove the wrong from Non-Muslim subjects in the same way as from Muslims themselves." (Mabsut Sarakhsi Vol. 1 p.85)
Oppressing a zimmi (Non-Muslim subject living under Islamic government) is worse than oppressing a Muslim. (Al-Durr Al-Mukhtar: 5/396)
Zimmis will have the same rights that Muslims have and they will be equally bound to what Muslims will be. Their lives will be safe and protected like Muslims. (Al-Durr Al-Mukhtar, Kitabul Jihad)
The non-Muslim subjects under Muslim rule enjoyed such freedom that their educational institutions and their personal law courts were independent and free.
According to Islamic Shariah, a Muslim who kills a Mu'aahid (a person who is granted the pledge of protection by Muslims) shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise which can be smelt at a distance of forty years (of travelling)."
An Islamic government is responsible to safeguard the wealth and property of the zimmis (non-Muslims living under Muslim rule).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Behold, one who will oppress non-Muslim subject, load them with extra burden or take their belongings without their pleasure I will fight their case against the oppressor on the Day of Judgment. (Abu Dawood, Mishkat: 354)
In Makkah, the infidels were inflicting great deal of oppression on Muslims that it was hard for Muslims to live in Makka. The Muslims did not find any relaxation after their migration to Habsha (Ethiopia) and Madinah. They were continuously victims of conspiracies hatched by the infidels and the hypocrites. Even the enemies invaded Madinah with a huge army with intention of ravaging Madinah and destroying Muslims. So, Muslims were left with no option except to defend the sword with sword. In the long run, they were ordained by Allah: "Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed able to give them victory, who have been expelled from their homes unjustly only because they said: "Our Lord is Allah." (Al-Quran, Surah Al-Hajj, 39)
Thus, on one hand, Jihad was allowed to fight against injustice and oppression, while on the other Muslims were asked to behave with tolerance and good conduct, the example of which is not found in any other religion:
1. It prevented Muslims to attack first. (Al-Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, 39)
2. It prohibited oppression and transgression of lawful boundaries. (Al-Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, 39)
3. It allowed continuing war with the enemies only until the mischief and evil is not over. (Al-Quran, Surah Al-Hajj, 39)
4. It guaranteed the peace of messengers and ambassadors of enemies. (Al-Bidayah wa Al-Nihayah: 3/47)
5. It forbade killing of enemy’s women, children, disabled and handicapped people. (Tareekh-e-Ibn Khaldoon: 2/499)
6. It prohibited ruining green fields and cutting down fruitful trees. (Tareekh-e-Ibn Khaldoon: 2/499)
7. It stopped demolishing worship-places and killing of ascetic people and religious elders. (Tareekh-e-Ibn Khaldoon: 2/489)
8. It disallowed torturing the prisoners of war.
9. It asked Muslims to tend to reconcile if the enemy requests for the same. (Al-Quran, Surah Al-Anfal, 61)
10. It asserted to give peace and behave well with the non-Muslims coming in Muslims’ refuge.
11. It prohibited fighting only for obtaining spoils of war. (Abu Dawood: 1/348)
12. Looting was regarded unlawful. (Tareekh-e-Ibn Khaldoon: 2/489)
13. Muslims were held responsible for the protection of lives and properties of Zimmis (Deen-e-Rahmat 229, with reference of Futoohul Buldan)
Love of one's native land
In fact, man needs food for life, and this food is obtained from the earth. Likewise, man has been created by the soil as the Quran says: "We created man from soil." (Al-Quran, Surah Al-Hajj)
At another place it says: "And surely, we gave you authority on the earth and appointed for you therein provisions (for your life)." (Al-Quran, Surah Al-Araaf: 10)
Thereof (the earth) we created you, and into it we shall return you, and from it we shall bring you out once again. (Al-Quran, Surah Taaha: 55)
Naturally a man has sentimental attachment with the land from which he was created and where he was born and where he leads his life. It is a famous saying of Arabic: "The land where a man is born is like his suckling mother". There is a famous wise saying: "Love of one's land is a part of faith".
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was reported saying when he was migrating from Makkah: "O Makkah, how much dear you are to me! I would never leave you if I was not forced by your people." (Jam'ul Fawaid, 1/195)
After settling in Madinah he was often reported stating: "O Allah! Infuse the love of Madinah in our heart as much as you infused the love of Makkah. O Allah! Sweeten the weather of Madinah and give us blessings in the Mudd and Saa' (measuring scales) and shift the traders of Madinah to Jahfa. (Al-Bukharif: 1/558)
This hadith signifies the love of one's land. Moreover, it expresses his ardent desire for its economic prosperity, goodness of weather and health of the people. Therefore, love of native land is natural as well as religious.
Virtues of India
Hazrat Shaikhul Islam Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani, former Head Teacher of Darul Uloom Deoband and President of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind writes: "The Islamic books tell that Hazrat Adam (peace be upon him) was sent down in India and lived herein, and from here his offspring spread throughout the world. Therefore human beings are called 'Adami' (attributing to Adam). (Hamara Hindustan awr uske Fazail, with reference of Tafseer ibn Kathir, vol 1, p 8)
Hakimul Islam Hazrat Qari Muhammad Tayyib, former Mohtamim of Darul Uloom Deoband writes: "India is the capital of prophet-hood since Hazrat Adam first descended from heaven here. The second prophet was Hazrat Shees who appeared in India and his grave is said to be in Ayodhya.
The Founder of Darul Uloom Deoband Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanautavi writes in one of his books that Ram Chandra Ji and Krishna Ji should be taken with respect and they should not be blasphemed. (Qaumi Ittihad, p 7)
Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Miyan says: "India is the capital of humanity since Hazrat Adam the prophet was guided by Jibreel (Gabriel, angel who brought the revelation from Allah); thus India was the land from where the sun of Islam rose. Hazrat Jibreel ascended first in India. Ibn Sa'ad writes in his book 'Tabaqaat' that Allah Almighty made the body of Adam from the soil of Wajni from India. According to scholars, Wajni was the name of a place in India. Thus India holds the honour that first prophet was made of its soil. Secondly, Hazrat Adam is the forefather of all prophets, thus the spiritual and material root of all prophets and humanity is India. As per the reproduction and breeding rules, the origin of all the prophets, pious people and entire mankind belongs to this sacred land.
Hazrat Ibn Abbas (May Allah bless him) narrates that Ahd-e-Alast was taken at Wajni in India when Allah derived all the souls from Hazrat Adam and addressed them: "Am I not your Lord?" All the souls unanimously said: "Why not? You are our Lord." (Hamara Hindustan awr uske Fazail)
Hazrat Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiri, former Head Teacher of Darul Uloom Deoband says: "In India and in every non-Muslim majority country every Muslim is responsible as much as he can to maintain the rights of peace and freedom which Islam has allotted for common people. Obviously, to fulfill this target every Muslim has to take part in the political, economical and civil activities of his country so that with his political and economical power he can discharge the responsibility of safeguarding the rights pertaining to life, wealth and belongings of common citizens. If a Muslim is only a spectator and keeps aloof from the political and economical activities of his country then how he can discharge the duty of serving the people." (Hindustan mein Musalmaanon ke Mulki Faraiz)
National duties of Muslims in India
Our ancestor Ulama and common Muslims has always played prominent roles to promote love, tranquillity, good manners, communal harmony, national integrity and tolerance.
Shaikhul Islam Hazrat Maulana Syed Hussain Ahmad Madani said: "We as Indians are integrated and have an alliance which perpetuates in all conditions along with the differences in religions and cultures. In the same way, being different in complexions, castes, colours and heights has no impact in our mutual humanity, we all are Indians as per holding same nationality. Hence, Muslims are equally dutiful like other communities to avail the national interests and make attempts to remove any kind of harm and damage. If the inhabitants of a village do not extinguish the fire together in case it catches, then the whole village will be engulfed by the fire and all people will be badly affected. Likewise, the inhabitants of a country, whether Muslims or Hindus, Sikhs or Parsis, all are equally obligated to strain every nerve jointly to guard their country in case of national calamity.
This responsibility implies all and being different in religions causes no hindrance. Everyone can discharge this duty having full allegiance to their respective religions. The same collaboration is prevailing in municipal boards, councils and assemblies. Member of different religions perform their duties related to a city, a district, a state or a country. This is what called 'composite nationalism'. (Extracted from 'Khutbaat Fidaa-e-Millat: 205, 216)
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
In our daily newspapers, rape rears its ugly façade almost every day. Sometimes, it is a brutal rape and murder by a stranger, gang-rape of a girl by her acquaintances or in many cases rape of a girl by her own father or elderly relatives. In recent years, there has been an alarming rise in ratio of rape in India. It is becoming such a common thing in our newspapers that we are apt to not even pay any remarkable attention.
In India, a woman is raped every 25 minutes. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics, between March 2004 and April 2005, 318 cases of rape were reported in Delhi alone. According to available statistics, more than 600 rape cases were registered in Delhi in 2005. NCRB statistics also show more than 18,100 people were tried for rape in the country in 2003. Rape cases pending in courts across the country till Oct 2003 were 56,000. The Startling aspect the story is that the perpetrators in most of the cases are a family member or a relative. According to a study, released in 1997 by the Sakshi Violence Intervention Centre based on a survey done with 350 school girls in New Delhi, “63% of the girls had experienced child sexual abuse at the hands of family members. Nearly one-third of the girls said the perpetrator had been a father, grandfather or male friend of the family.”
These are the cases that are registered in police stations. While a vast majority of the cases go unreported. There is one observation by a study that only 5% of women crimes reach police stations in villages and even in that little percent, only 30% cases are registered by police and actions are taken against the accused.
In view of the startling situation one naturally is forced to think what the reason of the increasing criminal and barbaric trends in Indian youths is. One thing is noticeable that as the country is heading rapidly to globalization and westernization the ratio of such crimes is going higher and higher. Globalization has caused a significant change in the Indian culture, society and scenario. Late night party cultures, discos, dating clubs, fashion shows and beauty contests have increased in numbers in the past 10 years. The satellite and cable TV channels have grown and are almost uncensored by any organized authority. Also, this decade has witnessed a huge increase in pornography materials both in CDs and on Internet. The Indian entertainment industry (national and regional) and media which have access nearly to every house, present bold scenes and nudity as fashion and symbol of higher lifestyle. The youths are heavily getting addicted to drugs and other intoxicant stuffs.
At the same time, it is regretful that Indian women have gone far away in following the western culture in terms of nudity, immodesty and fashionable lifestyle. The good and constructive aspects of western culture such as discipline, hard work, dedication, tolerance, transparency, honesty, incorruptness etc are neglected. While on the contrary, the superficial glitters are accepted as a source to climb the zenith of development and intellectualism. The way the daughters are dressed and nurtured is very dangerous for them and ultimately for the society. This has caused havoc in our social system and the sanctity of relations and respect of humanity is falling apart.
One who has an observation of recent social disorder and betrayal from the cultural and religious values is quite sure that the latest increasing trends of sexual violence against women are based on the changing scenario of our social system. It is quite surprising event and one is forced to think when we have a free and open society where men and women are free to make friends, have affairs, go to brothels and enjoy their life as they wish, then why some monsters prey girls to fulfil their lust. But, on the contrary, with the rise of globalization and westernization the crime ratio is on the rise. In USA, the hub of western culture, a woman is raped every 90 seconds. In 1995, 354,670 women were the victims of a rape or sexual assault. Over the last two years, more than 787,000 women were the victim of a rape or sexual assault. So, this is a clear proof that the direction to which our social system is headed is leading it to destruction and devastation.
As Muslims we believe that the guidelines that Muslims have been given by Glorious Quran and a Hadith are the ultimate points to find a peaceful and flourishing society. And, being followers of the only heavenly and most authentic religion, we can claim that the social and moral teachings of Islam can guarantee peace, tranquillity and safety if they are truly implemented. In order to get the society peaceful, safe and flourishing Islam has introduced complete social system. Unlike the current social systems, which hypocritically ban the consequences such as rape and sexual violence but leave the doors flung open by allowing the causes from where crimes creep in the society. But, Islam, on one hand, strictly deals with crimes like adultery and rape while on the other it roots out the immediate causes of the crime and regards them also illegal.
Islam has introduced strict penal codes for social crimes so that none dare to commit it. It set up such rules and commandments that narrow down the trends of committing such crimes. First, Islam has ordained it followers to cover their body necessarily every time; the men have to cover from pelvis to knee, while the women have to cover their entire body except their face, hands and feet. Islam has asked women to observe purdah form her distant relatives and strange men. The Glorious Quran enjoins Muslim men and women to lover their gaze and maintain modesty:
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to be modest. This is purer for them. Allah is fully Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze, and preserve their chastity, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent. They shall draw their veils over their bosoms, and shall not reveal their adornment save to their own husbands, their fathers, the fathers of their husbands, their sons, the sons of their husbands, their brothers, the sons of their brothers, the sons of their sisters, other women, the male attendants who lack natural vigour, or the children who have no knowledge of sex. They shall not strike their feet (when they walk) in order to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn to Allah together, O believers so that you may succeed.”
Women are recommended to wear modest clothes and not reveal their body and structure that may be sexually provocative to the opposite sex. In view of the women’s biological nature and their physical structure, Islam has asked women to, preferably, stay in their houses and not go out:
“Stay in your homes, and do not display your finery as women used to do in the old days of ignorance.”
However, due to some compulsions and reasons, if any woman has to go out she has been enjoined to maintain modesty and wear Hijab*:
“O prophet, enjoin your wives, your daughters, and the wives of the believers that they draw their veils close round them. That is more proper, so that they may be recognized (as righteous women) and not molested.”
To get the society free from crimes, the spate of pornographic materials must be strictly banned. The media, TV channels and cinema which present and publish vulgar materials must be censored. However, it heavily depends on our womenfolk whether they are careful to safeguard their modesty and self-respect or not.
After all, our youths and new generations need to be given more and more morals teachings and social values which are almost zero in our prevailing education system.
 sify.com New Delhi, the rape capital of India
 Indiatimes.com Debates and views on rape in India, Sunday, November 27, 2005, Source: neoncarrot
 Indiatimes.com Debates and views on rape in India, Sunday, November 27, 2005
 US Department of Justice, 2000
 National Crime Victimization Survey, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Department of Justice, 1996
 The Glorious Quran, Al-noor 24/30-31
 The Glorious Quran, Aa-ahzab, 33/33
 The Glorious Quran, Al-ahzab, 33/59
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org