MUFTI MOHAMMAD ANWAR KHAN
The family and social lives of the Muslim community today are plagued by dissension and breakdown. As every day dawns, the Muslims are united in their dislike and prejudices towards others in their community, which keeps on intensifying, and shows no signs of dying down. Husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters, friends and relatives, neighbors and acquaintances are the most significant and vital elements that play roles in shaping an Islamic society. Their mutual sympathy towards one another and understanding, the urge to help, and support one another in their sufferings, the spirit of respect and honor towards everyone in the Muslim community, and the feeling of a sense of brotherhood and kinship towards their brothers and sisters in faith, and observing their social responsibilities towards the entire Muslim community are disappearing fast. These are qualities, which must be observed by every member of the community to breathe a fresh lease of life into the present day Muslim society, and put it on the path that guarantees its prosperity and development.
But, it is a matter of great concern that the Muslim community instead of showing love, goodwill, and sympathy towards one another has, of late, become indifferent to the basic Islamic values that are desired in Muslims. As a result, the social system outlined in the Holy Qur’an and the Traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad is no longer being observed. The culture of a feeling of brotherhood that existed in the past in the Muslim society, which enabled them to scale glorious heights in human civilization, is now totally into shambles. The moral structure of the society, and the basic family values of each unit of the Muslim society have crumbled to such an extent that it has caused them to drift away from one another by the day.
Honor and respect towards their brothers have been replaced by insult and derision, love and sympathy by hatred and enmity, harmony and brotherhood by jealousy and spite, mutual cooperation and integration by discard and disunity. The killer instinct to make it good in the society at the cost of other Muslims on the material and social scale has become the dominant urge among Muslims and the order of the day. This is the state, which has exposed the Islamic Ummah to a number of social perils and moral bankruptcy.
The relation between parents and children signifies honor and sacredness on one hand; it carries a great degree of love and affection on the other. But, the current trends of the modern society with all its social evils have crept into their lives, and the Muslims as a community have done away with all the respect and honor that should be accorded to one another both in the family and the society. Parents should confer all the love they can muster towards their children, and likewise the children should hold the parents in reverence and high esteem over all the members. However, the opposite of the ideal enjoined on a Muslim family is true, as we read the newspapers everyday about cases, which are lodged in courts against parents by their children and vice versa: all of which go to prove that the community is plunged into the abyss of social disintegration and collective decay.
Next, comes the relationship between husband and wife, which is held sacred in the tenets of Islam that visualizes for them a image of deep love, sympathy, trust, and honesty towards one another. Its teachings mirror for them a respectful, peaceful, responsible and a happy married life. However, this sacred relationship has crossed the boundaries set for the married couple by the Islamic Shariah, into the profane complexities, which are the benchmarks of a materialistic society. Cruelty and callousness, greed and avarice on the part of the husband, and his merciless demand of a huge dowry from the guardians of the wife, and his trampling over the rights of the wife, and the disobedient and impertinent attitude of the wife, her irresponsible behavior with her spouse and his family take place on a daily basis. Their quarrels reach to such an extent that they come out into the open under the scrutiny of the courts and the media.
Under such circumstances, the conjugal life, in spite of flourishing and prospering at the material level, is on the verge of ruin and despair, because of petty trivial matters, prejudices, dislike and hatred towards one another along with their families.
Quite evidently, for the same reasons, cases of murder and plunder, theft, fraud, and robbery have now started taking root in the members of the Muslim society. Divorce and breakdown of marriages have become commonplace. They are the result of our rejecting the social norms, human values, and morally sound attitudes enjoined upon us by the teachings of Islam.
At the same time, the human relations like brothers, sisters, neighbors are undergoing mutual spite, quarrels, and differences, which keep undermining the true bliss of life and the real taste of social existence that is desired in a Muslim society.
Is it not our responsibility to diagnose the ailments of our society and find solutions for them according to the Islamic law of the Holy Qur’an and the Holy teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (saws)? In fact, this is a collective responsibility of the Muslim Ummah. These crises and hostile issues that have been plaguing the Muslim community should be given a deep thought in order to bring out the solutions for them as early as possible. According to our humble view, the cure lies in the fact that every Muslim individual should make himself aware of the basic elements of his purpose of his life on earth, his reckoning in the Hereafter. Having learnt the religious injunctions, he should imbibe its teachings into his thoughts, actions, and into his very soul. The only way to possess them is to strive hard to gain a better Islamic knowledge and religious awareness from the elders and learned in the society who are well versed with the Holy Qur’an and Hadith literature or read the authentic Islamic literature that is now abundantly available in the market. When in doubt, one should crosscheck it with those who know better, and in this way become a more responsible Muslim in the society.
Secondly, everyone should make a vow that he tries his best not to trample on the rights of others in his community and fulfill his duties where they are due, not caring whether the others in his society are mindful about them or not. If we – the Muslims as a community – instead of demanding our personal rights, should first try to discharge our own responsibilities, then this world would become a better place to live in.
MUFTI MOHAMMAD ANWAR KHAN
The modern era is distinguished as an age of amazing discoveries, wonderful inventions and a huge explosion of knowledge. The human being who had a very limited scope of invention and scientific vision in the past now has become able to create a vast range of surprising devices employing the resources Allah Almighty has bestowed upon his intellect. We have scores of devices, which have crept into our lives and are available at our disposal, which were quite unbelievable in the time of our forefathers. Many unlocked areas of science and information have been brought to light by the scholars of research and technology in different arenas of our life like space, layers, and oceans etc.
One of the most important and substantial inventions our time has brought about is in the field of communication, interconnecting people across the city, country, and even other countries across the globe. Even in the recent past the human being was unable to communicate his voice or message for one kilometer but now he can convey his message and communication successfully to the four corners of the world at anytime he desires without much effort through radio, television, fax, mobile and telephone etc. One can have a satisfactory and long conversation through the help of telephone or a mobile in the most clear, and effective way as if he were sitting with the person talking to or communicating with.
The invention of satellites and powerful devices, which are used in them, have made the use of these communication instruments even more easy, more accessible and more convenient with the fastest services built into them, which can be ever imagined or visualized by the ordinary human mind.
If we give a close thought over these manmade technical instruments, we come to know that these inventions and devices, in fact, corroborate some of the Islamic teachings and beliefs. The Holy Qur’an, time and gain, admonishes us that everything in the world is directly managed and supervised by Allah, the Almighty, run under His Absolute Knowledge and Power, everything judged under His keen scrutiny. Every creature of the world receives commandment from God without any agency, and in His mercy delivered to it directly by means of Prophets and Messengers to us under His great Cosmic Plan.
The Revelations sent to the Prophets of Allah were very much in this way delivered to them, which appeared impossible to the human intellect in those days. The Divine Commandments were sent to the Messengers of Allah sometimes directly as Allah spoke to Moses on the Mount Sinai, and sometimes they were delivered through inspirations and spiritual indications as it happened in the case of Prophet Ibrahim (as) who was ready to slaughter his dear son on the basis of a dream in order to please his Lord. Sometimes they are communicated to them by a powerful angel invisible to the naked eyes who consigns the Divine Word to the Apostle of Allah, as is the case with all Prophets of Allah including the seal of all Prophets, Muhammad (saws).
One of the most important inventions, highly beneficial for the human beings is the telephone which draws distances nearer, and gives each person a chance to share the happiness or sorrow cutting across all geographical boundaries. It has minimized the concept of space, removed the obvious obstacles, and given “distance” a new meaning, and a different sense that the world appears to us as having shrunk in size, which the intellectuals of the world term as a “Global Village.”
Historically speaking, telephone was invented by the great scientist and genius Alexander Graham Bill, which has now been improved upon and evolved into a dynamic mobile system. Nowadays, this invention has gained a great popularity in almost all circles from a beggar to the world’s richest businessman, who cannot simply do without it. The time has gone away when only the rich enjoyed the privilege of speaking on a telephone. In recent days, it has been noticed that almost every person possesses his own set of mobile and treasures it as he would do to a precious gem, uses it constantly, and in this way it has become one of the crucial requirements of a city life, the hallmark of a developing modern civilization.
After this brief introduction, I would like to give some details on this invention from an Islamic point of view in order to enlighten Muslims on the use of this device.
In fact, talking on a telephone is just like meeting someone personally or directly. Therefore, all the etiquettes mentioned in Islamic Fiqh books regarding personal and direct meetings will be based on this case also.
The Messenger of Allah (saws) has instructed a person visiting another to first greet him and say “Assalamu Alaikum”, and then ask his permission to enter his house. This Prophetic guidance makes it obvious that whenever we happen to make a phone call to someone, we must first say “Assalamu Alaikum”. Since this particular “Salaam” is designed especially for Muslims greeting each other, it will be better to greet a non-Muslim in any other form of greetings or compliments, which he is familiar in using it.
Islam has made it forbidden for a non-Mahram male and female to greet each other for this is prone to arouse a fitnah. However, there is very least chance of this fitnah while on phone, so one can greet a non-Mahram on phone. However, it is advisable to avoid this altogether for the unforeseeable problems, which may result at a later date. The person may record the voice of the female, edit it totally out of context, and present it to others as evidence of a unique relationship, which he enjoys with her with malice and mischief.
One of the main points to be explained here is that one should take great care while revealing one’s identity over the phone to a person who is he or she not familiar with for there is a danger that once when the voice is identified as belonging to a particular person, then he/she may open all the doors of harassment from unwanted callers, like telemarketing persons, or other perverts, who take pleasure in the anonymity of the telephone to verbally abuse a person, threaten him, or blackmail him into submission. So, one should be extremely careful as to keep his telephone numbers a secret, and give it to a select few who are anxious to know the welfare of a person. The best method of contacting someone on a phone is that after dialing the number when the other person receives the call, one immediately should make sure that the person at the other end is completely known to him.
If a person does not receive your call after dialing three times, you should not redial again. We are instructed in a hadith that once we are not allowed to enter into a house after asking permission three times, then we should go back to our houses, or attend to our businesses. So, one should not confuse or inconvenience a person by constant dialing more than three times if he is not receiving it for maybe he is busy in some important work.
Furthermore, the Messenger of Allah (saws) would knock on the door for asking permission in a way that no one sleeping onside should be disturbed because of him. Therefore, it is advisable for a Muslim not to dial someone late in the night and thus disrupt his sleep and rest. In this case, our suggestion to such persons is to switch off the mobile to prevent it from being misused by others.
If one has to make a long conversation with another person for an important reason, he should tell the person and ask his permission whether he can spare him that time. If he is granted the time then he/she may prolong the talk on the phone, otherwise, they should decide another different point of time to do the same. However, one can talk to government places any time he pleases and ask the information like airports, bus stands, railway stations and other public and corporate organizations.
It is immoral not to be gentle while talking in phone as in the case of a personal meeting. The Messenger of Allah (saws) has guided us: “Those visiting have a right over you.” We can know from this that if a person is a friend or a relative and likes to talk to us on phone, we should do it gently and decently, and not to be rude unnecessarily. In the same way, it is sinful to give the message through someone that you are unavailable while you are there.
It has become very common nowadays that people have started to set music ring tones in their phones so that if the person has to wait for some time, he could enjoy this. Islam has forbidden this type of entertainment for it goes beyond all the moral norms.
In some cases, people harass a particular person by dialing constantly. It is also noticed that some people abuse while on phone. Indecent words are spoken, and preposterous statements are made, even at some times the receiver of the phone is threatened all of which are strictly forbidden in Islam. Such a person should immediately bring it to the notice of the mobile provider and the police who can track this person, and a case can be booked against him for using the telephone in illegal and unlawful ways.
While talking on phone it must be made sure that one talks only according to the need, up to the point in a brief period, without wasting away too much time, and prolonging the discussion unnecessarily, for Islam has discouraged waste of money and time for no valid reason.
When the conversation is finished, one should greet at the end for the Messenger of Allah (saws) would greet and make Salaam at the end of the meeting.
These are a few basic guidelines regarding conversation on phone, which if applied by the people may be a great means of convenience and ease for all of us.
The last and final warning is that the mobiles in the present age are changing models with an alarming rate. They come with cameras equipped with zoom lens inbuilt inside them, which has evolved over a period of time to give a clear and sharp focus of a person, who is at a great distance away from him. A lady from a Muslim household should take care to veil her faces and strictly observe Hijab, if she is going out of the house for a particular errand, for her photograph in the hands of a pervert will put her into endless problems, which cannot be envisioned by her or her family at that point of time
MUFTI MOHAMMAD ANWAR KHAN
One of the most beautiful moral aspects of Prophet Muhammad’s life was that he always spoke the truth. He spoke when he had to, and always with a purpose. His language was always polite. He would smile while speaking and there was a sweet tone in his speech. His voice would be moderate and he never uttered harsh or ridiculous words and in the process hurt the feelings of others, as some people do in their daily lives. The same moral merit has been given a great amount of significance in the Holy Qur’an in which Almighty Allah has rendered an extremely polite way of _expression. That is why the words for “copulation” have been mentioned in different styles and expressions in ways that avoid crudity in the Arabic language, and with much openness in uttering words and phrases, which are well known to the people reciting the Holy Qur’an.
Most significantly, our Prophet (saws) would, always, preach the most serious teachings with delicacy and in allusive terms and avoid speaking about difficult matters and questions exclusive to women on account of his modest nature and polite disposition. At such occasions, Ayesha, his most beloved and pious wife, would convey problems faced by women to him in order that he may present solutions for them without hearing them from women in a direct way.
Muslims should take a lesson from the life of our Holy Prophet (saws) and always speak in a noble and dignified way. The Holy Prophet (saws) has strongly advised Muslims not to spoil their tongues with foul language. He has advised Muslims against speaking ill of others and not to indulge in backbiting, abusing, slandering and carrying tales etc. However, there are many Muslims who gossip, backbite, use a lot of dirty words, and obscene utterances in their daily conversation, both in public and in private, and converse with each other in an impolite way, crossing all the limits of modesty and decency.
Today, we also find people chatting on the Internet cutting across international borders where they, intentionally, use many ridiculous, outrageous, and senseless words in excessively unpleasant and unacceptable sentences, which also include words with sexual suggestions and overtones. Such acts are terribly dangerous in both, moral and Islamic perspectives.
Every one should try his utmost to shun such detestable conversations by adopting a civilized manner of expressing words, so that a psychologically, socially, and religiously healthy community of people could be brought about throughout the world.
In fact, such kinds of problems, immoral and detestable activities must be dealt with in a direct way. Chatting in a vulgar language on the Internet, reading absurd storybooks full of obscene words and passages should be avoided totally for they kill modesty, politeness, and dehumanize the readers and considerably affect their moral character.
Ayesha (ra) reports, “It was not the nature of the Prophet of Islam to talk in an indecent manner, nor did he engage himself in the use of foul language.” (Shamail-e-Tirmidhi)
Abu Saeed Al-Khudri (ra) relates, “The Prophet (saws) was more bashful than a virgin in her veil.” (Shamail-e-Tirmidhi)
Prophet Muhammad (saws) has also said, “Modesty is one of the branches of Islamic faith.” (Muslim)
Therefore, let the Muslims across the world ornament their moral character with the most beautiful standard of speech, and modesty, and adopt a decent manner in every thing they say or do, following the way of our Prophet (saws).
(Mufti Anwar Anwar Khan can be accessed at: firstname.lastname@example.org)